Sacred Music for a Sacred Space 2013 Program Notes

Except for a couple of years at the Dresden Court, Antonio Lotti (c.1647-1740) spent his career in Venice, working his way up from singer to organist to maestro di cappella at St. Mark’s Basilica. Lotti was an innovative composer of almost thirty operas, but in his sacred music he tended to rely on the great traditions of Renaissance polyphony. J.S. Bach, G.F. Handel and Felix Mendelssohn all knew and admired his music. Today he is known almost exclusively for his many settings of the Crucifixus text from the Credo of the mass. Why he wrote so many has remained a mystery but it may have been for insertion into mass settings by other composers.
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Program Notes.

Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle Program Notes

During the decades of the early 19th century, Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868) dominated the world of Italian opera in both the comic and serious categories. The Barber of Seville, Tancredi, Semiramide, Cinderella, The Italian Girl in Algiers, The Silken Ladder, The Thieving Magpie and William Tell are all still staged today.
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Program Notes.

Carmina Burana Program Notes

The British composer Jonathan Dove (b. 1959) has composed in a variety of fields, including film scores, orchestral and chamber music and choral music, but he’s maybe best known for his operas and opera adaptations. As well as The Adventures of Pinocchio and Mansfield Park, based on the novel by Jane Austen, Dove has also created a two-evening chamber adaptation of The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner.
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Categories: 2012-2013 Season and Program Notes.

Belshazzar’s Feast Program Notes

The Gloria by Francis Poulenc (1899 -1963) was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Music Foundation and first performed in 1961 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Charles Munch. It was dedicated to the memory of Nathalie and Serge Koussevitsky, a former Music Director of the BSO. To many, the work seemed irreverent – this ancient sacred text from the Mass being treated frivolously with wit and humour. But what they failed to catch was Poulenc’s interpretation of liturgical joy as a swirl of musical colour and dancing rhythms.
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Categories: 2011-2012 Season and Program Notes.

A Night of Brahms Program Notes

This all-Brahms programme deals with the theme of fate or destiny, a theme that fascinated Brahms through most of his career, ranging from desolation and isolation to resignation and acceptance. The German Requiem is the most consoling and optimistic. The Alto Rhapsody portrays a disgruntled social outcast, but resolves into a sublime prayer. In Nänie (Song of Lamentation), the gods calmly lament the passing of life and beauty. But in Gesang der Parzen (Song of the Fates), there is no way out – no resolution, no prayer – probably the most desolate piece Brahms ever composed.
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Categories: 2011-2012 Season and Program Notes.

Mozart: Mass in C minor Program Notes

Mozart composed Ave Verum Corpus just six months before he died. In June 1791, his wife Constanze was pregnant with their sixth child. As was her habit when pregnant, she left Vienna to take the waters at the nearby spa in Baden. Mozart joined her a few days later and composed this short motet for an old friend – the music director of a tiny church in the town, who had looked after Constanze during her frequent trips to Baden.
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Categories: 2010-2011 Season and Program Notes.

Sacred Music for a Sacred Space 2011 Program Notes

Throughout his life, Healey Willan claimed he was born with the ability to read music. As a choir boy in England, he studied singing, piano, organ, harmony and counterpoint and by the age of eleven was conducting choir practices. Willan continued on the path of a church musician in London, delighted by his natural gift for music.
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Categories: 2010-2011 Season and Program Notes.