In worldwide collaboration with choirs and vocal ensembles
and Muslim Psalms
from the 16th & 17th Cent.
Jews, Christians and Muslims sing and listen to songs of lament and joy,
confessions of sin, songs of praise and glory.
In this cooperative project, psalm settings by composers from three cultures and religions,
but the same epoch,
build bridges crossing today's ruptures. Psalms can serve as a source of spirituality but also as political tools:
With his polyphonic psalm settings, Salamone Rossi intended to save Italian-Jewish culture in the first European ghetto in
Mantua. Alî Ufkî / Wojciech Bobowski transformed melodies from the Genevan Psalter into authentic Ottoman-Turkish
music, because he wanted to give the Muslim-Calvinist alliance against the catholic Habsburg empire a musical voice.
Most of all, psalms can serve as a path leading humans together. In our performance, Salamone Rossi's, Claude Goudimel's and J. P. Sweelinck's polyphonic psalm settings blend with Alî Ufkî's powerful Turkish lyrics and monophoy, generating a colorful but seamless and natural musical flow - building sacred bridges between peoples, religions, between human beings.
Sarband created this program for collaborations with choirs and vocal ensembles,
collaborations that take our plea for peace across all political, cultural and religious borders.
Until now, we performed the program with:
The King's Singers,
RIAS Kammerchor, NDR Rundfunkchor, Innovantiqua Ensemble, Chorakademie Dortmund, Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir and Chorus Sine Nomine.
«Ensemble Sarband, the Neue Kammerchor Potsdam and soloists of the Cammermusik Potsdam lighted a beacon of spiritual unity in diversity. With his Ensemble Sarband, Vladimir Ivanoff has deeply immersed himself into the cultures of Orient and Occident, bringing to light the most amazing connections … Orient and Occident are joined with enchanting sounds. Once more, music thus shows a way, how the insanity of the world may be peacefully and harmoniously overcome.» Babette Kaiserkern, Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten (Germany), 26.11.2012
«Sacred Bridges reach across boundaries:
Ensemble Sarband and Company of Music excited the audience with their
program «Sacred Bridges» … An incredibly homogenous sound was created, which made forget perceived differences
and actually built not only bridges, but tore down walls … an extraordinary enjoyment. Perfectly intoned, intelligently phrased and performed with passionate intensity.» Michael Wruss, Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, 11.07.2012
«Performing masterly on fiddle, kanun (psaltery), reed flute and frame drum,
the group around Ivanoff supported
vocal soloist Mustafa Doğan Dikmen, improvising emotionally absorbing meditative as well as rhythmically lively
interludes and accompanied the vigorous chorus with unfamiliar yet captivating creations. … Three gracefully
rendered psalm motets … by Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck topped off this unusual concert which
was celebrated by the audience with applause lasting several minutes and closed with a bilingual hymn setting
as an encore.» Landeszeitung, 31.07.2011
«The audience followed the 80-minute performance (without break) intensely focused and applauded frenetically.»
«Politically explosive even today. This moving, aesthetically and philosophically unique performance proved all the
more relevant. Virtuoso ritual singer Mustafa Doğan Dikmen passed over an exotic bridge of sound accompanied
by Byzantine instruments. After this seamless exchange of Oriental mono- and Occidental polyphony, Bach's
hymn «Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden» («When one day I have to depart») had the final say.» Die Welt, 01.08.2011
«Hearing their expressive voices that sound like far-away places, Orient and adventure, makes you want to cheer
inwardly. This was a very strong performance.» Christopher Dömges, suite101.de, 13.05.2010
«Astonishing how well the different elements matched each other.
In many instances the passage from one religion
to another wasn't perceptible at all.» Andreas Schröter, Ruhrnachrichten (Germany), 12.05.2010
«Sarband's music speaks for itself - their message of intercultural understanding does not need any explanations.»
Frank Heindl, DAZ, 11.11.2009
«Like a beautiful dream. After this musical voyage through three cultures, the end of the concert was like waking up
from a beautiful dream.» Stephanie Knauer, Augsburger Allgemeine (Germany), 04.11.2009
«As a gentle memento against collective madness, intercultural ensemble Sarband
tries to build «Sacred Bridges»
together with the six King's Singers … a sounding Jacob's ladder woven from Christian, Jewish and Muslim psalm
settings … How enchantingly oriental this may sound! one marvellingly became aware and widely opened one's
classically limited hearing.» Lutz Lesle, Die Welt (Germany), 28.01.2008
«Apart from its equally exciting and symbolically strong concept, the performance was also musically convincing …
A concert a long way from any crossover randomness.» Stä, Hamburger Abendblatt (Germany), 28.01.2008
«The music dances in the ears! … The connecting semantics of the world language music could not be pictured more
beautifully … it sounded as if heaven and earth touched, … an island of bliss, where cultures walked hand in hand.»
Wolfgang Nussbaumer, Gmünder Tagespost (Germany), 20.07.2007
«But yes! The solution of the Middle East conflict lies in the hands of music. Tell it to the politicians!
The proof was
given yesterday evening at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.» Mya Tannenbaum, Corriere della Sera, Rome, 03.04.2007
«… effortlessly connected on the concert stage what is utopian on the global stage:
that nothing stands
between Christians and Jews and Muslims. Except for «and».» Michael Tschida,
Kronen Zeitung Graz (Austria), 04.06.2006
«A treat for the soul and the intellect … To write about the performance cannot do justice to the spell it cast.
Sacred Bridges aptly fulfilled the vision of a spiritual world without borders.»
Elizabeth & Joe Kahn, Classical Voice of North Carolina, 25.10.2005
«… this was more than an ordinary concert, this was a ritual celebration of bridge-building that joined people and
religions … fascinating unity of voices, instruments and physical expression … completely rounded, amazing and
full of hope how people can come together, independent of their origin, religious tradition or even detachment
from religion … The Psalms of David are a quite stable roof for understanding.»
Reinhold Lindner, Freie Presse (Germany), 19.07.2005
«… touching the bounds of ecstasy …
The merging of the two sound spheres resulted in a caleidoscope, of whose
components you would want to miss none.» Elisabeth Risch, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), 18.07.2005