The Gospel of Mary – written for Berit Norbakken

The award-winning Icelandic contemporary composer Hugi Guðmundsson has written a full-length church musical work on commission from Reykjavik Friends of the Arts Society and the Oslo International Church Music Festival. The oratorio is entitled The Gospel of Mary and is performed in Oslo in a collaboration between Oslo Sinfonietta and Icelandic Schola Cantorum, conducted by Hörður Áskelsson. Hugi Guðmundsson has written the work especially for the Norwegian soprano Berit Norbakken, the soloist at the concert.

The text of The Gospel of Mary was developed by Nila Parly and Niels Brunse, based on the book The Gospel of Mary of Magdala. Jesus and the First Woman Apostle by Karen L. King, a professor of church history at Harvard University. The book contains a reproduction of a gospel text dating from the first centuries after the birth of Jesus. The text was discovered in 1896, and a thorough historical and theological analysis of the text shows traces of a repressed movement among the first Christians. It indicates a less hierarchical and less patriarchal organisation, which gave women more influence in the early congregations. This spiritual heritage is of course highly relevant today.

The text itself, which is said to have originated from Mary Magdalene, is supplemented by texts from canonised gospels and from the female mystics Julian of Norwich (1346–ca. 1416) and Teresa of Avila (1515–1582).

For the first time in Norway, 6 September in Oslo Cathedral, at 20.00.