Stations of the Cross by the Breselor Ensemble

by Benjamin Sutcliffe in Penzance, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Total raised £2,210

raised so far

38

supporters

We have created a beautiful piece of choral music set in the Cornish language based on poems impassioned by the Stations of the Cross

by Benjamin Sutcliffe in Penzance, Cornwall, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 12th March 2023 we'd raised £2,100 with 32 supporters in 21 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target


Stations of the Cross is an ancient Christian processional ritual held during Lent to mark the Passion of Christ. 

 We have set it to music, with the Cornish songs as contemplations on the stages of Jesus’s journey to his death and burial.

 

Why have we done this?

 Cornwall is a beautiful place, with a past that has often been ugly; a past that needs healing.  The Reformation was particularly brutal here, where reprisals after the war/massacre/’Prayerbook Rebellion’ of 1549 led to the deaths of thousands of Cornish people, the suffering of their families, and to enduring scorn and ignominy for Cornish culture, especially the language.  

 Catholics and Protestants co-exist happily now, and by producing an ecumenical version of the Stations of the Cross, we are bringing back practices that our churches have not seen for hundreds of years, in the language that was taken from us.  

 Our work also represents some of the first classical music ever written in Cornish. It is a beautiful language and the number of speakers is growing again.  We want to bring its fresh blossoming to people in Cornwall and reach out to our cousins in Breizh (Brittany), and to the established Cornish communities of mining towns across the planet.

We plan to take the work to Devon, which shares much of Cornwall’s history.  The legendary Beer Quarry Caves, on Devon’s Jurassic Coast, contains a two-mile-long system of limestone caverns first dug out by the Romans.  The quarrying continued until 1922.  Nowadays, the Caves host live performances, and the Breselor Ensemble has been asked to perform next year in the recently excavated chapel.  This place of secret worship was used by Catholics during the time of religious persecution.  Devon is also the site of some of the bloodiest battles in modern English history; much Cornish blood was shed here.

Cornish heritage is of significance further afield, too – not just to the destination countries of Cornish emigrants, but to other Celtic countries.  Cornwall is at the centre of the Celtic seaboard, and a network of trade routes used from at least the Bronze Age, and certainly by the Romans.  We very much want to perform this music, one day, in urbe Roma.  

We hope that people of all religions and none will be able to find beauty (tekter), love (kerensa) and peace (kres) within the music of the Passion.  We are consciously choosing to honour Cornwall’s Catholic heritage and, by contributing a Cornish choral setting for the Stations of the Cross, we hope to help in the move for Cornish to take its rightful place as a world language within a world religion.  

 

Composer/MD – Ben Sutcliffe

Ben is a composer, musical director and violinist, based near St Just.  His string orchestra, the People’s String Foundation - founded with composer and guitarist Zaid al-Rikabi - has entranced audiences across Britain with its wildly uplifting urban gypsy sound – their work can be found here:  http://thepeoplesstringfoundation.com

Ben wrote the instrumental music for the St Just Ordinalia 2021 and is musical director for the Minack Theatre.

 

Writer/producer/artist – Fiona O’Cleirigh

 Fiona’s background is in journalism, but she has discovered the joy in telling the truth by making things up – the romance of the real.  She also lives near St Just, and wrote the Cornish words for Vicky Abbot’s songs for the St Just Ordinalia in 2021.  She first learned Cornish at Klass an Hay (Heamoor), outside Penzance, and via KDL.  If you live far from a Cornish class, you too can learn online, via www.kesva.org/KDL  

Our collaboration began during a Cornish-language residency with Endelienta in June last year.

 

What we will do with the money:

 On the evening of 10 March at St Endellion Church, the Breselor Ensemble will perform its first concert of the Stations of the Cross yn Kernewek.

This will be ticketed, on a pay-what-you-decide basis (and you can get tickets here:  https://endelienta.org.uk).

 

On 7 April – Good Friday – we will hold a traditional Stations of the Cross procession through St Just – with music.  It will start at 11am in the Plain-an-Gwarry (plên-an-gwari).  It will be led by the Reverend Karsten Wedgewood, vicar of St Just church.  At each station, after reading from the Gospels, a song will be sung in Cornish by our four professional soloists, and community singers. The song-poem will first be read in English for non-Cornish speakers.  This is the event for which the poems were originally intended, as a religious action in spirit with the land.  The music makes everything glow.

 After Easter, we will put together an album and release it.  £20 now will get you an early download of this!  (More than £20 will get you a place in heaven - possibly).  If you can’t get to Cornwall within the next month, the album is your best bet.

 Were extra money raised, it would go towards producing a book – Fiona created a hand-lettered and illustrated book of the poems as part of the original Endelienta residency, and would like to share.

 Most of the cost of creating the music and extra artwork, of paying performers and of technical support has already been raised – this is our last push.  Breselor means ‘fighter’ in Cornish.


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Rewards

This project offered rewards

£20 or more

Early release download of the new album

Early release recording of the Stations of the Cross album.

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