Handel and Haydn Society to Open 2013-14 Season with MASS IN B MINOR, 9/27-29
The Handel and Haydn Society (H&H), led by Artistic Director Harry Christophers, opens the 2013-2014 season on September 27 and 29 with performances of J.S. Bach's choral masterpiece, Mass in B Minor. The 2013-2014 Season is marked by historically significant works that the Handel and Haydn Society introduced to American audiences in the 19th century, presented in anticipation of the H&H's Bicentennial celebration in 2015. Repertoire on the season is also intended to reveal the outstanding range of H&H's musical forces, from the youngest performers to the renowned professional chorus and period-instrument orchestra. A collection of prominent conductors and guest artists joins Handel and Haydn throughout the season.
Christophers promises the season opener will be "a concert to reach every range of emotion and expression." Considered one of the most iconic works in all classical music, Bach's Mass in B Minor is a fitting introduction to the new season by dramatically showcasing the acclaimed Handel and Haydn Society Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus. Calling for large performing forces and featuring soloists from the H&H chorus, the elaborate mass will demonstrate "the dazzling vocal exuberance of our chorus," says Christophers.
A late work from Bach's canon, the Mass in B Minor is believed to have been the composer's apotheosis of sacred music, composed not for a specific church mass, but instead as a statement for posterity. Bach composed the mass over nearly 15 years, combining new writing with selections culled from his previous compositions. Sadly, he would never know how the work into which he had poured his creative genius was received, as it was never performed in his lifetime; the first performance in entirety took place in 1859. Handel and Haydn Society first performed the mass in 1887. (See p. 3 for concert details.)
Highlights of the Handel and Haydn Society 2013-2014 season also include H&H's 160th annual performances of Handel Messiah (November 29-December 1). H&H has an esteemed legacy with this cherished work that is unrivalled by any other group in the United States: it gave the American premiere of Messiah in Boston in 1818, and has been performing it regularly ever since. Harry Christophers brings his renowned choral expertise to uncover new layers of the masterpiece, and will be joined by an entirely North American cast of soloists, including soprano GillIan Keith, countertenor Daniel Taylor, tenor Tom Randle, and baritone Sumner Thompson.
Two cornerstone programs of the 2013-2014 subscription season take place in February and May. On Feb. 21 and 23, Handel and Haydn Society brings together the full array of its musical forces in an extraordinary performance of Vivaldi's most popular and widely known sacred work, Gloria. Harry Christophers conducts H&H's Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus, who will be joined by members of H&H's Vocal Apprenticeship Program Young Women's and Young Men's Chorus. Soprano Nathalie Paulin is guest soloist. The program closes with Handel's inspiring Foundling Hospital Anthem, which the composer concluded with the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Messiah.
The subscription season culminates in May with performances of a work that has an important place in Handel and Haydn Society's history, Handel's oratorio Samson. H&H is pleased to return this important work to its repertoire: it gave the American premiere of the masterpiece in 1845, but has not performed it since 1893. Harry Christophers will lead the H&H orchestra and chorus in performances May 2 and 4 with soloists Joshua Ellicott, tenor, in the title role; Joélle Harvey, soprano (Dalila); Catherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano (Micah); Matthew Brook, bass-baritone (Manoah); and Dashon Burton, bass-baritone (Harapha).