Oratorio Society of New York Presents Bach's Mass in B Minor, 5/8
The Oratorio Society of New York, the city's standard of choral grandeur will conclude its 144th season with Bach's Mass in B Minor, the composer's masterpiece and his greatest contribution to Baroque sacred music. Music Director Kent Tritle will marshal his nimble 200-voice chorus for this performance on Monday, May 8, 8:00 pm, at Carnegie Hall.
"Bach's Mass in B Minor is remarkable for its perfect symmetry - the summation of a numerologist's creative span," says Tritle. "It is also the perfect summary of Bach's involvement in all the musical forms of the Baroque, and as such I consider it the crowning achievement of the entire Baroque era."
Two of the OSNY's favorite soloists are returning for the Mass: soprano Leslie Fagan, a regular OSNY guest artist, and baritone Sidney Outlaw, who took second place in 2006 in OSNY's Lyndon Woodside Oratorio-Solo Competition and has appeared with OSNY in performances including Mendelssohn'sElijah (in the title role). And two singers make their OSNY debuts: countertenor Christopher Ainslie, a native of Cape Town, and tenor Lawrence Jones, a 2007 Woodside Competition finalist.
The Mass is a compendium of music that Bach wrote throughout his career. He wrote the Sanctus in 1724 for a Christmas service, and the Kyrie and Gloria as a presentation to the newly-crowned King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. He finished the work in 1749, a year before his death, and never heard it performed live. The first complete performance was not until 1859. Yet the work is astonishing for its coherence, according to Tritle. "The symmetry and the way the movements layer out, in a perfect fashion, seems so thought out in advance. It's an incredible journey that covers the whole range of emotions, with moments that move from plaintive to exuberant, and from transparency to grandeur."
Since its founding in 1873, the Oratorio Society of New York, New York's 200-voice avocational chorus, has become the city's standard for grand choral performance - having performed world, U.S., and New York premieres of works as diverse as Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem (1877), Berlioz'Roméo et Juliette (1882), a full-concert production of Wagner's Parsifal at the Metropolitan Opera House (1886), Britten's The World of the Spirit (1998), Juraj Filas' Song of Solomon (2012), and Paul Moravec's Blizzard Voices (2013). On its 100th anniversary the Oratorio Society received the Handel Medallion, New York City's highest cultural award, in recognition of these contributions.www.oratoriosocietyofny.org
Kent Tritle is one of America's leading choral conductors. Called "the brightest star in New York's choral music world" by The New York Times, he is also Director of Cathedral Music and Organist at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Music Director of Musica Sacra, the longest continuously performing professional chorus in New York. In addition, Tritle is Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Organ Department at the Manhattan School of Music, and a member of the graduate faculty of The Juilliard School. An acclaimed organ virtuoso, Tritle is also the organist of the New York Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. www.kenttritle.com
Leslie Fagan, soprano, has performed under the batons of such noted conductors as Sir David Willcocks, Hans Graf, Jukka Pekka Saraste, Kent Tritle, Heinz Ferlisch, Victor Borge, and Elmer Isler. She is a regular guest artist with OSNY; her 2011 performance in Poulenc's Gloria was heralded as "one of the most memorable performances of the season" by Opera News. She has recently released the first disc in a project to promote Canadian art song: Thread of Winter. www.canadianartsong.com www.lesliefagan.com
Christopher Ainslie, countertenor, started his singing career as a chorister in Cape Town, his home city. In 2005 he moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music, where he graduated with distinction. Mr. Ainslie has rapidly established himself as a leading interpreter of the countertenor repertory, and is active in exploring repertory not usually associated with that voice. The current season includes appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, the London Handel Festival, and at Teatro Real Madrid as Unolfo in Rodelinda and as Athamas in Semele at Garsington Opera.www.christopherainslie.com
Lawrence Jones, tenor, has established an active presence on the concert and operatic stages. His portrayals of Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress at the Princeton and Aldeburgh festivals received widespread praise. Among other notable recent performances: a featured role in the U.S. stage premiere of Elliott Carter's opera What Next? and his company debut in Oliver Knussen's Where the Wild Things Are at New York City Opera. Other recent projects have included Arvo Pärt's Passio with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the U.S. premiere of Nico Muhly's My Days.
Sidney Outlaw, baritone, has been lauded by The New York Times as a "terrific singer" and by the San Francisco Chronicle as an "opera powerhouse." He was the Grand Prize winner of the Concurso Internacional de Canto Montserrat Caballe in 2010 and is a graduate of the Merola Opera Program and the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. The rising American baritone from Brevard, North Carolina, recently added a GRAMMY nomination to his list of accomplishments for the Naxos Records recording of Darius Milhaud's 1922 opera trilogy, L'Orestie d'Eschyle in which he sang the role of Apollo. www.sidneyoutlaw.com
ORATORIO SOCIETY OF NEW YORK
Kent Tritle, Music Director
ORATORIO SOCIETY OF NEW YORK
Kent Tritle, conductor
Leslie Fagan, soprano
Christopher Ainslie, countertenor
Lawrence Jones, tenor
Sidney Outlaw, baritone
BACH Mass in B Minor
Tickets: $90-$25; also available as part of a subscription
At the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 57th St. and 7th Ave.
For more information, visit www.oratoriosocietyofny.org