Handel and Haydn Society Presents Classical Salon 3/9, 3/11


Handel and Haydn Society will present Classical Salon, led by H&H principal bass Rob Nairn and featuring sublime soprano Amanda Forsythe.

Chamber program to revisit salon concerts of Boston in the 1820s

Friday, March 9, 2012 at 8pm
Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 3pm

NEC’s Jordan Hall, 30 Gainsborough Street, Boston, MA (Friday)
Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA (Sunday)

Classical Salon

HANDEL: "Sweet Bird" from Il Penseroso
SCHUBERT: Gretchen am Spinnrade
RAYNOR TAYLOR: Sonata No. 2 for solo cello (with bass accompaniment) from Six solos
BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio No. 5, Ghost
GOTTLIEB GRAUPNER: Governor Brooks’ Grand March
Benjamin Carr: "Why Huntress, Why?" from The Archers
SPERGER: Romanze per il Contraviolone
ALEXANDER REINAGLE: Allegro con brio from Philadelphia Sonata No. 1
MOZART: Flute Quartet No. 1 in D Major, K. 285

Rob Nairn, leader and bass

Amanda Forsythe, soprano

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, 10am–6pm). Single tickets range from $20 to $78. Student rush available starting one hour before curtain: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.

Handel and Haydn’s principal bass Rob Nairn returns to the helm to lead H&H on another journey with an appearance by Boston favorite Amanda Forsythe. As the seasons change and spring arrives in Boston, audiences will travel back in time to Boston in the 1820s to hear a selection of music much like audiences would have heard in Boston around the time of Handel and Haydn Society’s founding in 1815. The program comprises Classical chamber music by the masters and by some of the great early American composers. Works by Handel, Beethoven, Graupner, and Reinagle will transport the concert hall and its inhabitants to the intimate, salon atmosphere of two centuries ago.

Of note on the program is Sonata No. 2 for cello by Raynor Taylor, who as a youth had sung at Handel’s funeral and later was Reinagle’s teacher. His “Six Solos for cello” are the first known American cello music. Another first featured is Benjamin Carr’s The Archers — the first American musical drama to be performed by a professional ensemble. “Why Huntress, Why” is all that remains from the larger work.

The concert will highlight the musicianship of the Handel and Haydn Society’s own musicians. Nairn will lead fellow principals Christopher Krueger, flute; Christina Day Martinson and Susanna Ogata, violin; David Miller, viola; Guy Fishman, cello; and Ian Watson, fortepiano; as well as guest artist soprano Amanda Forsythe. Forsythe returns to H&H for the first time since 2004, when she made her debut in Mozart’sMass in C Minor.


Pre-Concert Conversations
Friday, March 9, 2012 at 7pm
Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 2pm
Free with concert tickets

Musicologist Teresa Neff gives an illuminating look inside the music and historical context of the program.

Principal bass of the Handel and Haydn Society and a member of Juilliard Baroque, Rob Nairn is a versatile performer with a career that has spanned Europe, the US, and Australia; his teachers include Klaus Stoll, Tom Martin, and Max McBride. He has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the London Philharmonic, the English Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, The Melbourne Symphony, the Tasmanian Symphony Chamber Players, the Australia Ensemble, and the Australian String Quartet. He held the position of principal bass with the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and guest principal with the Hallé Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared as a soloist with the Australian Chamber, Adelaide, and Darwin symphony orchestras.

Nairn has also worked with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, Concerto Caledonia, Washington Bach Consort, Aulos Ensemble, Rebel, Boston Early Music Festival, English Baroque Soloists, Florilegium, and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Active in commissioning new works, Nairn has premiered more than 40 solo and chamber music works featuring the bass, championing in particular the music of Australian composers. He has worked with such groups as the London Sinfonietta, Gruppe Neue Musik Berlin, Australysis, the Music Theatre of Wales, and the Sydney Alpha Ensemble. In 2009, he premiered a new concerto by Barry Conyngham. He has performed recitals in Europe, the US, and Australia.

Nairn is on the faculty of both The Juilliard School and Penn State University, and is a recipient of a Howard Foundation Fellowship.

Amanda Forsythe made her Handel and Haydn Society debut in 2004 and returns to H&H for the first time since in Classical Salon. In August 2007, Forsythe made her European debut, singing Corinna in Il Viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro. Following her success in Pesaro, she was immediately engaged at the Grand Théâtre de Genève as Dalinda in Handel’s Ariodante. In the 2009–2010 Season, she co-starred with Ewa Podles in Opera Boston’s new production of Rossini’s Tancredi, debuted with the Ulster Orchestra in Handel’s Alexander’s Feast, returned to The Hartford Symphony for Brahms’ Requiem, and to Boston Baroque for Handel’s Messiah. After a short maternity leave, she made her Covent Garden debut as Barbarina in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, starring Soile Isokoski, Erwin Schrott, and Mariusz Kwiecien.

In the 2010–2011 Season, she returned to Covent Garden as Manto in a new production of Steffani’s Niobe, conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock, and directed by Lukas Hemleb. The production was revived in December 2011 at the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg. She debuted with Opera d’Angers-Nantes as Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, returned to the Boston Early Music Festival for the title role in Steffani’s Niobe, and to Boston Baroque for Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes.

Ms. Forsythe began the 2011–2012 Season at the Rossini Opera Festival, singing Guilia in Rossini’s La Scala di Seta. She returns to Covent Garden in the spring for Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff.

Harry Christophers is in his third season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2011–2012 Season. Since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, he has conducted Handel and Haydn each season and, following his appointment in 2008, Christophers’ tenure as Artistic Director began with the 2009–2010 season. Christophers and Handel and Haydn have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 197 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is 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 Sixteen’s “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. With that ensemble, 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, and The Sixteen 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 PhD in Musicology from Boston University. Her research interests center around Gottfried van Swieten, a late 18th-century Viennese patron and composer. Artaria will publish Neff’s edition of Swieten’s symphonies 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.

Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognize­d leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H 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). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, 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. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. In September 2010, H&H released its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor—the first in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial in 2015. The 2010–2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.

Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.