Composer: Helder Alves de Oliveira
Duration: 5 min.
This five-minute work utilizes as inspiration a poem I wrote some years ago. It is about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to save the humanity from the sin. The emotions and mood suggested by the words of this poem were imitated in Calvary Song. The poem is in Portuguese, and its translation is:
Proof of love
By Helder Oliveira
Walking with your burden
In silence He goes
Bad people beside
Him Want to see
His blood flow
On a cross my Lord bore great pain
In my place suffered
Oh, what a proof of love!
Hands that operated healing
Were nailed there on the cross
Servile feet anytime
Yes, they were hurt by me
My bad decisions lashed Jesus
And His death on the cross I imposed
There on the cross, my Lord bore great pain
In my place suffered
Oh, what a proof of love!
Christ gave us salvation
Freed us from the rude cross
Traversed the darkness
Without complaining a second
Christ gave us his forgiveness
Give Him your heart!
This piece requires a marimba with 4.5 octaves at a minimum.
Calvary Song is the award-winning composition (shared 1st prize) of the Intermediate Category at the Stellar Composer Competition 2021.
Supported by the Stellar Composer Competition 2021.
About the composer +
Helder Oliveira, Brazilian composer, received his Licentiate degree in Music and his Vocational degree in Piano Performance from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Currently he works as adjunct instructor at State University of Maranhão and Rio Grande do Norte State University. Helder received his Master degree in Music Composition from the Federal University of Paraíba, Brazil, and studied composition with Danilo Guanais, Manoel Nascimento, Rodrigo Cicchelli and Liduino Pitombeira. He was a 2019–20 Fulbright Visiting Researcher at Louisiana State University, USA, under the supervision of professor Jeffrey Perry, and received his PhD in Music Composition from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, under the guidance of professor Liduino Pitombeira.
His works have been awarded and performed in Brazil, USA, Canada, Portugal and Germany. Some awards include the 1st prize in the 5th Composition Competition of the Academia de Flauta de Verão, 1st prize in the A Hymn for Mercy Competition 2019, the Internationalen Eisenacher Bach Kompositionspreis 2020, the Happy Composer Commission Project 2020 and the Audience and 1st prize in the Stellar Composer Competition 2021.
Helder uses a plurality of contemporary compositional techniques, reflecting his relentless search for new ways to organize sounds. These techniques are based on other fields of study, primarily Linguistics, Psychology and Mathematics. Another source of inspiration involves biblical stories as a means of organizing the structural form and musical gestures of the compositions.
"Calvary Song, by Brazilian composer Helder Oliveira is a wonderful and beautifully composed work for marimba solo. It is song like and march like at the same time, with a sophisticated harmonic vocabulary and key structure. I knew upon initially hearing this piece that it could become a very popular in the marimba repertoire. It has all the necessary elements: it is musically interesting, structurally well constructed, with lots of technical challenges that the young marimbist will enjoy working on. Calvary Song is well worth the effort."
- Gordon B Stout
Review (Percussive Notes, June 2022)
“Calvary Song” is inspired by a poem written by the composer titled “Proof of Love,” which details the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to save humanity from sin. Oliveira states this composition imitates the emotions expressed by the words in the poem. A winner in the intermediate category at the Stellar Composer Competition in 2021, “Calvary Song” is suited for undergraduate-level students.
As with many compositions published by Edition Svitzer, the program and performance notes are quite detailed. The entire poem is translated from Portuguese to English, giving performers a broader perspective rather than a few lines or a single stanza of text. Most material is technically accessible for a confident four-mallet marimbist. Players must be proficient at one-handed rolls, single alternating strokes at small intervals, and quick intervallic changes in both hands.
“Calvary Song” is a beautiful addition to the repertoire and allows younger students to explore more advanced techniques as well as their own musical voice. It will work well in a variety of performance environments, including solo recitals and community-based concerts.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Ronni Kot Wenzell
Photo: Marcel Castro-Lima
Engraving: CPH Engraving
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
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