bet golgotha (2015)

For 5 or more players [at least one wind, string and percussion player]

Commissioned by CEPROMusic

Programme Note:

Bet Golgotha (The Church of Father Golgotha) is an ancient rock-hewn church, one of more than eleven such ancient structures at the UNESCO World-Heritage site in Lalibela, Ethiopia. Even within its context, the church seems somehow special. It is the only such church on the site to contain rock-hewn representations of people (Jesus and St. John) and contains the tomb of King Lalibela himself, whose name was given to the area. And yet there are ambiguities. Bet Golgotha is part of a hybrid microcomplex of three rock-hewn structures and scholars disagree as to where one ends and the other begins. And despite its ornate contents, it is one of only a few churches that has fallen into disuse by the many pilgrims that flock to the entire Lalibela site every year. In many senses, it is now little more than a storage room for the priests that tend the area’s many other liturgical spaces.

bet golgotha - the piece - can be seen as an abstracted exploration of such ambiguities. The ensemble creaks with glitches and scratches, as its members attempt to mimic the materials of others as if even they themselves are in a perpetual state of erosion and forgetting. The piece forms part of a series of works exploring ideas of temporality, decay, space and place, collectively titled The Eleven Churches of Lalibela.

The piece was written for CEPROMusic (Mexico), who have the world premiere at //hcmf on 24 November 215.


Score Excerpt:

Flexible. 6+ minutes