“History is everywhere and the present is fleeting. That’s what being in this room, with this music and these images is about.” The Guardian
This extraordinary project, several years in the planning, brought together two of the world’s most influential and enduring cultural figures. In early autumn 2013, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Alex Poots of Manchester International Festival introduced the German painter Gerhard Richter and Estonian composerArvo Pärt. As a result of that meeting, both made work inspired by and dedicated to the other – and that work was premiéred at Manchester International Festival 2015 in a significant new show at the newly reopened Whitworth: six works by Richter presented with Pärt’s Drei Hirtenkinder aus Fátima. The latter was performed live during the eleven days of the project by the Estonian choir Vox Clamantis and by a number of Manchester choirs.
This intimate, reverent and moving work was curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Alex Poots. Inside the quiet, relatively contained space of the Whitworth’s landscape gallery, the choirs performed in a suitable way, Pollyanna working with the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Sarah Frankcom to develop a sensitive choreographic direction for each, ensuring that how they entered, occupied and performed within the gallery fitted the overall aesthetic of the project.