Passion

Peter Gabriel, 1989

Peter Gabriel's remarkable musical collage for Scorsese's 'The Last Temptation of Christ', 1990 Grammy Award winner.

"One of the most important records for me was the Passion record which was an opportunity really to try as a writer to do a whole different sort of job than I usually do."

"I wasn't intending to sing on it, I ended up doing some sort of background singing but it was with the brief for The last Temptation of Christ for creating something that had references to that time and that part of the world but really had it's own character and was to be sort of timeless in a way."

"I was very fortunate to have some extraordinary performances from people Nusrat, Youssou N'Dour and I remember one night with Nusrat and Shankar and there was a sort of India and Pakistan working together effectively on the track that is called Passion, I think, was an extraordinary evening to be in the studio and just watch as these very gifted musicians really emoting."

"I have put together two albums around the music of The Last Temptation of Christ". This album is my work, the other, Passion Sources, represents a selection of some of the traditional music, sources of inspiration and location recordings.

I was excited to be asked to work on the music. When I first discussed the project with Martin Scorses in 1983 I wanted to find out how he was intending to film this controversial novel. He wanted present the struggle between the humanity and divinity of Christ in a powerful and original way, and I was convinced by his commitment to the spiritual content and message. He is an excellent and very musical director and working with him hs been a great experience.

After we finished mixing the film, there were some unfinished ideas that needed developing, and I took some extra time to complete the record. There are several pieces that were not able to be included in the film and I felt the record should be able to stand as a separate body of work. I chose the working title for the film - Passion.

We recorded some of the finest singers and soloists in the field of world music and set the score on a backdrop of traditional North African rhythms and sounds. It was a wonderful experience working with such different and idiosyncratic musicians. They came from Pakistan, Turkey, India, Ivory Coast, Bahrain, Egypt, New Guinea, Morocco, Senegal and Ghana. For many of them working with this material was something quite new and they were very enthusiastic. The soundtrack if full of the spirit of their performance" Peter Gabriel (1989)

Reviews

  • The album's best tracks are ambiguous, operating in the gap between anguish and serenity... ...the feel is edgy, of music whistling and banging in the dark...weird and wonderful... Q Magazine (UK)
  • ...Gabriel has a knack for brewing powerfully significant climaxes... ...from seemingly inconsequential notions. He definitely makes that magic work here.' The Philadelphia Inquirer (USA)
  • 'Where Gabriel uses voices they are as haunting as the instrumental melodies... A*:1* for consuming power and majesty.' Hi Fi News (UK)
  • 'Gabriel's skill in merging Indian, African and Eurasian styles is quite extraordinary...a wonderful synthesis of ancient ideas, forging something quite new and brilliant.' Sounds (UK)
  • ...the haunted, atmospherically charged... '...soundscapes conjured up here showed how an informed Western approach to what we call World Music could transform rather than trivialise African and Asian rhythmic and harmonic ideas.' Sunday Times (UK)
  • 'Unequivocally, this is Peter Gabriel's finest hour. A 21-track masterpiece that allowed him to clarify his many diverse interests into one almighty statement.' Sound On Sound (UK)