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Program includes concert aria to be recorded for first time on period instruments.
Friday, April 29, 2011 at 8pm
Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 3pm
Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA
Mozart Ave verum corpus, K. 618
Mozart Per questa bella mano, K. 612
Eric Owens, bass
Rob Nairn, double bass obbligato
Handel Dixit Dominus, HWV 232 (Psalm 109)
Mozart Requiem (Süssmayr), K. 626
Elizabeth Watts, soprano
Phyllis Pancella, alto
Andrew Kennedy, tenor
Eric Owens, bass
Handel and Haydn Society Chorus and Period Instrument Orchestra
Subscriptions and single tickets may be purchased through the Handel and Haydn Box Office by phone at 617 266 3605, online at handelandhaydn.org, or in person at the Handel and Haydn office, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M-F 10:00am – 6:00pm). Single tickets range from $18 to $75. Student rush available starting one hour before curtain: $10 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.
Mozart’s final moments are reflected in this masterpiece — the Requiem is a work that surrounds itself with mystery and was completed after Mozart’s death by his colleague Franz Süssmayr. “Mozart’s Requiem is his most immortal legacy, a work of profound drama, intensity and depth,” said Harry Christophers. “The almost crazy effervescence of Handel’s Dixit Dominus could not be more different; this unique musical pairing creates a season finale that is sure to touch all emotions.” Rounding out the program are Mozart’s Ave verum corpus and Per questa bella mano, also written in 1791, Mozart’s final year. Returning to perform are soprano Elizabeth Watts, tenor Andrew Kennedy, and bass-baritone Eric Owens. Mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, whose voice is described as “lustrous and expressive” by the Seattle Times, makes her Handel and Haydn debut.
In anticipation of H&H's Bicentennial, Mozart's Requiem will be recorded live for release on the CORO label in September 2011. The recording will join the live recording of Mozart's Mass in C Minor (January 2010) as well as Mozart's Coronation Mass (May 2012) as part of a Mozart trilogy. “Following the success of the Mozart Mass in C minor, CORO is delighted to be continuing its exciting new partnership with the Handel and Haydn Society,” said Cath Edwards, Label Manager at CORO. “Mozart’s Requiem is an iconic piece and to be able to release it on CORO with such an esteemed ensemble is a great privilege.” The CORO label was launched in 2001 to record conductor and founder Harry Christophers' UK-based ensemble, The Sixteen.
The Handel and Haydn Society is known for a long history of firsts — it has been H&H’s practice to introduce new works and artists to the community for almost 200 years. Recording Mozart’s Per questa bella mano will be yet another; the piece has never before been recorded by a period instrument orchestra. The rarely performed concert aria for bass, double bass obbligato, and orchestra will feature Requiem soloist Eric Owens and H&H’s own principal bassist Rob Nairn. The project continues H&H’s tradition of innovative and pioneering artistic initiatives, which dates back to H&H’s founding in 1815.
Harry Christophers was appointed Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society in 2008 and began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season. He has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and the Society have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that begins with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to H&H’s Bicentennial.
Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009 he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award; The Sixteen also won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields and the Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid.
In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. Most recently, he was elected an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama.
Teresa Neff received her Ph.D. in Musicology from Boston University. Her research interests center around Gottfried van Swieten, a late 18th century Viennese patron and composer. Neff’s edition of Swieten’s symphonies will be published by Artaria later this year. She has presented papers at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the New England Chapter of the American Musicological Society and the Architecture/Music/Acoustics Conference. She presents concert preview lectures for Elderhostel and Boston Lyric Opera, and also teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston Conservatory.
Friday, April 29, 2011 at 7pm
Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 2pm
Cabot Cahners Room, Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA
Free with concert tickets
Musicologist Teresa Neff gives an illuminating look inside the music and historical context of the program.
Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 5pm
Lucca Back Bay, 116 Huntington Avenue
Handel and Haydn celebrates the 2010–2011 Season by gathering with musicians, staff, and patrons for an evening of wine and hors d’oeuvres.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Founded in Boston in 1815, the Handel and Haydn Society is the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States. Its Chorus and Period Instrument Orchestra are internationally recognized in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, Handel and Haydn’s mission is 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 Handel and Haydn Society has an esteemed tradition of innovation and excellence, which began in the 19th century with the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1871) and Mass in B Minor (1887). More recently, the Society premiered Randall Thompson’s Passion According to St. Luke (1965)—commissioned for the Society’s 150th anniversary—Daniel Pinkham’s Garden Party (1977), Daniel Welcher’s Oratorio for Peace (1999), Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises (2002), and Thomas Vignieri’s Fanfare of Voices (2009), commissioned by H&H in honor of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death. In the last 20 years, Handel and Haydn has given important historical performances of core repertoire and has introduced such innovative programs as jazz/Baroque crossover concerts, staged opera with dance, and narrative set to music, to great critical and audience acclaim.
Among recent milestones, Handel and Haydn made its London debut under Sir Roger Norrington in July 2007 as a featured performer at the prestigious BBC Proms Festival, which the London Telegraph named one of the top musical events of 2007. In September 2006, it made its debut at the Haydn Festival at the Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria, with Harry Christophers. Between 2003 and 2006, the Society premiered new productions of baroque operas staged by director Chen Shi-Zheng. In fall 2005, two of the company’s recordings—All is Bright and Peace—were in the Top Ten on the Billboard classical music chart at the same time. Handel and Haydn Society won its first Grammy award for its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises (2002), co-commissioned with Chanticleer.
In 1985, Handel and Haydn launched the Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program to address the lack of performing arts education in public schools. Today, this award-winning program reaches 10,000 children throughout Greater Boston, mostly in underserved communities. The 2010–2011 Season marks the 25th Anniversary of the Educational Outreach Program.
As Handel and Haydn plans for its Bicentennial in 2015, Harry Christophers has set forth ambitious artistic plans that position the Society’s core identity as performer, educator, resource center, and community partner. By exploring both core repertoire and less familiar works of the Baroque and Classical periods, Handel and Haydn continues to develop a diverse audience and make its programs available to all, while expanding its national and international touring schedule, releasing live commercial recordings, and further developing its relationships with area cultural and higher education institutions. Its first recording with Harry Christophers, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, was released in September 2010 on the CORO label, and will be followed by Mozart’s Requiem in September 2011. These are the start of a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial.
The Handel and Haydn Society is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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