Commissioned by The Crossing and Donald Nally, conductor, with major support from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The first performance took place on 24th June 2016 at the Episcopal Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A with The Crossing and International Contemporary Ensemble.

  • (or multiple strings)
  • Soprano
  • 10 min

Programme Note

Ad Genua was commissioned by the Philadelphia-based chamber choir The Crossing. It is one of a series of responses by contemporary composers to Dieterich Buxtehude’s sacred oratorio of 1680 Membra Jesu Nostri. Buxtehude’s piece comprises seven cantatas, each addressed to one of the limbs of Christ hanging on the cross. My piece is a response to the second cantata, Ad Genua (To the Knees).

Guðrún Eva Minervudottir’s beautiful text inspired the lyricism of the solo voice that planted the seeds for the music. The music is also inspired by the notions of humility and of turning a blind eye - and a sense of longing for beauty in the face of pain and difficulty. The music envelops the solo voices in a dreamlike state, both terrifying and calm at the same time. She is surrounded by elements that occupy the same space, but she is alone, unheard – passionately longing for “reality” to resonate with her. But it is easy not to see the pain that does not belong to you.

Ad Genua was first performed by The Crossing and International Contemporary Ensemble conducted by Donald Nally at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on 24 June 2016.

Programme note by Anna Thorvaldsdottir


Anna Thorvaldsdottir: Ad Genua (To the knees)



More Info