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For Immediate Release
MOZART: MASS IN C MINOR
Gillian Keith • Tove Dahlberg • Thomas Cooley • Nathan Berg
Handel and Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus
“Onstage, Christophers has what it takes to inspire the Society’s fine musicians.” -The Wall Street Journal
In September 2010, the first Handel and Haydn Society recording with Artistic Director Harry Christophers — Mozart’s Mass in C minor — will be released on CORO, launching a multi-year recording project with the UK/London-based label. America’s oldest continuously performing arts organization, the Handel and Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus recorded the Mass in C minor for the first time in its history. Recorded live in Boston’s Symphony Hall in January 2010, the program features soprano Gillian Keith, mezzo-soprano Tove Dahlberg, tenor Thomas Cooley, and bass-baritone Nathan Berg.
“I feel very privileged to lead this august society in its first project with CORO,” said Artistic Director Harry Christophers; “Yes, the Handel and Haydn Society was founded in 1815. Handel was the old, Haydn the new, and what we can do is continue to perform the music of the past but strip away the cobwebs and reveal it anew. This recording will be the first of many recorded live by this historic orchestra and chorus in the equally historic Symphony Hall of Boston.”
This release of Mozart’s Mass in C minor represents the first in a series of CORO recordings under the direction of Harry Christophers as part of initiatives leading to the 2015 celebration of the Society’s Bicentennial. Future recordings look to include Mozart’s Requiem and Coronation Mass. The CORO label was launched in 2001 to record conductor and founder Harry Christophers’ UK-based ensemble The Sixteen.
“This recording represents the first of many projects inspired by Harry Christophers’ work and collaboration with Handel and Haydn Society, and we are pleased to build this relationship with CORO as a result,” said Society Executive Director and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard.
Often referred to as the ‘Great Mass,’ Mozart’s Mass in C minor is one of the best known and most widely performed of the composer’s mass settings and is generally considered to be one of his greatest works. It is a remarkable union of musical vision and religious text and draws on Mozart’s skill for drama that made his operatic works such a phenomenal success.
Harry Christophers has conducted the Handel and Haydn Society each season since his first appearance in September 2006, when he led a sold out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Held in the same location where Haydn lived and worked for nearly 40 years, this Austrian appearance marked the Society’s first in Europe. Handel and Haydn’s 2009-2010 Season marked Christophers’ first as Artistic Director. Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of The Sixteen as well as a regular guest conductor for many of the major symphony orchestras and opera companies worldwide. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, as well as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has been awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Harry has directed The Sixteen choir and orchestra throughout Europe, the United States and the Far East gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque and twentieth-century music. With The Sixteen, awards include the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, a Classic FM Gramophone Award for Baroque vocal works, Gramophone Artist of the Year 2009, a Grand Prix du Disque, a Diapason d’Or, numerous Schallplattenkritik, and a prestigious Classical Brit Award. Harry and The Sixteen have also been nominated twice for a Grammy. Christophers is also a Guest Conductor with the BBC Philharmonic, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Granada Symphony Orchestra and the Orquesta de la Comunidad de Madrid. He has also conducted the San Francisco Symphony, the Hallé and the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2000 he instituted the Choral Pilgrimage, a national tour of English cathedrals from York to Canterbury in music from the pre-Reformation, as The Sixteen’s contribution to the millennium celebrations. It raised awareness of this historic repertoire so successfully that the Choral Pilgrimage in the UK is now central to The Sixteen's annual artistic program. Increasingly busy in opera, Christophers has conducted for English National Opera, Lisbon Opera, Grange Park Opera and Buxton Opera.
Canadian bass-baritone Nathan Berg's musicality and artistry continue to receive international critical acclaim. Berg has performed with numerous orchestras around the world including Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Montreal Symphony, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and National Symphony. Operatic engagements have included New York City Opera, Netherlands Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Opera de Paris Bastille, and Vancouver Opera. This appearance was his first since he performed with the Society in Beethoven’s Mass in C Major in 1998.
Thomas Cooley's clear, lyrical, powerful and expressive voice makes him equally at home on the opera, concert and recital stages. As a concert performer, Cooley appears with major orchestras and ensembles including Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Bach Collegium Stuttgart, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As an operatic performer, his repertoire ranges from Monteverdi and Handel, through Mozart and Rossini, to the present day. This appearance marked his Handel and Haydn Society debut.
Allied with her luminous voice and flexible musicianship, Swedish mezzo-soprano Tove Dahlberg's engaging stage presence makes her a strongly communicative artist in repertoire ranging from Mozart to contemporary art song and jazz. Dahlberg has an extensive concert and oratorio repertoire, and is also an accomplished recitalist. A member of Royal Opera House, she worked with conductors such as Semyon Bychkov, Antonio Pappano and Sir Charles Mackerras. This appearance marked her Handel and Haydn Society debut.
Canadian soprano Gillian Keith, winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award in 2000, is in great demand on recital, oratorio and opera platforms. Operatic appearances include Basel, English National Opera, BBC Proms, Edinburgh Festival, Buxton Festival, Scottish Opera, Almeida Opera and Toronto Consort. Other recent engagements include Covent Garden, Boston Early Music Festival, The Sixteen, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. She last performed with Handel and Haydn in an all-Handel program in October 2008.
Handel and Haydn Society
The Handel and Haydn Society is a professional chorus and period instrument orchestra internationally recognized as a leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the time in which the music was composed. Founded in Boston in 1815, the Society is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878) and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879) Under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, is committed to its mission “to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible.” The Society is widely known through its local subscription concerts, tours, concert broadcasts, and recordings. The Society’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2002 Grammy Award, and its two most recent CDs, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. Since 1985, the Society’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program has fostered the knowledge and performance of classical music among young people including in underserved schools and communities. This school year alone, the program will bring music education and vocal training to more than 10,000 students in the Greater Boston area.
Since 2001 The Sixteen has been building its own record label, CORO, which has recently released its eighty-second recording featuring Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri. Other recent discs include Handel’s Dixit Dominus, “Ceremony and Devotion: Music for the Tudors” (music by Tallis, Byrd and Sheppard) which accompanied The Choral Pilgrimage in 2010, Fauré’s Requiem with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Handel’s celebrated oratorio, Messiah, with an all-star soloist line-up: Carolyn Sampson, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Mark Padmore and Christopher Purves, which was awarded the prestigious MIDEM Classical Award 2009. CORO has recently released on DVD the BBC’s groundbreaking classical music series, Sacred Music, which features Harry and The Sixteen.
Review copies of Mozart’s Mass in C minor will be sent out in July 2010. If you wish to be receive a review copy please email Cath Edwards firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1865 793999.
For information on Harry Christophers and CORO, please visit www.thesixteen.com or contact Cath Edwards email@example.com; +44 (0)1865 793999.
For information on Handel and Haydn Society please visit www.handelandhaydn.org or contact Michele Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 617 262 1815 or Nikki Scandalios email@example.com, Mobile +1 704 340 4094, Tel +1 704 568 0888