Voices of Light

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Voices of Light is a 1994 musical composition by Richard Einhorn. It was inspired by the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer; live performances of the composition have accompanied screenings of the film. The libretto is based on excerpts from a variety of ancient writings, most of it from Medieval female mystics. The text incorporates accusations from Joan of Arc's actual contemporary accusers.

It is scored for a small orchestra, chorus and soloists.


In the 1980s, Richard Einhorn was developing a large piece on a religious subject when a friend suggested Joan of Arc as the subject. While sifting through the archives of the Museum of Modern Art, he found a still from the movie The Passion of Joan of Arc. After watching the film, he set to work on the entire piece.

The piece premiered in February 1994 as live accompaniment to the Dreyer film at the Academy of Music in Northampton, Massachusetts, performed by the Arcadia Players and the Da Camera Singers under the direction of Margaret Irwin-Brandon.


An album was released in 1995 which featured the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Radio Choir, the former conducted by Steven Mercurio, the vocals of Anonymous 4, Susan Narucki, Corrie Pronk, Frank Hameleers and Henk van Heijnsbergen. It totals 14 tracks and contains a 28-page booklet further detailing the background and history of the pieces.

When the Criterion Collection released the film on DVD, they included as an audio option a specially edited performance - using the 1995 recording - of the oratorio as a soundtrack accompanying the film.

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