A major new work by Roxanna Panufnik will receive its world premiere in Tallinn on 29 June 2011. Tallinn Mass Dance for Life is described as a 'spritual and theatrical cantata', a sixty-minute work for soprano solo, narrator, double choir and orchestra. It sets the traditional Latin Mass and poetry by by two of Estonia’s leading poets, Doris Kareva and Jürgen Rooste. The premiere is promoted by the Tallinn Philharmonic Society, with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra and choruses directed by Mihhail Gerts, with Patricia Rozario the soprano soloist.
Inspired by the famous 15th century painting by Bernt Notke, “Dance of Death”, in Tallinn’s St Nicholas Church, the poets have taken this idea and transported its characters to the modern day, using their individual messages as a rich and dramatic framework to the Latin Mass movements (hence the piece being in 6 “Acts”). The sounds of Estonia resonate through the piece; original Estonian folk songs, the constant presence of the Estonian psaltery the “kannel” and the the church bell patterns of Tallinn’s churches which open and close the piece. The Mass provides a reflection on the momento mori of the Dance of Death - despite all our daily struggles and weaknesses, it suggests, there is pleasure to be had in the Dance of Life.