Monday, July 11, 2016

Christmas Oratorio in December

Christmas Oratorio

Friday 16 December 2016, 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall


DAVID BURCHELL, conductor
CITY CHOIR DUNEDIN
DUNEDIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
SOLOISTS  Lois Johnston (soprano), Claire Barton (mezzo-soprano), Iain Tetley (tenor), Robert Tucker (bass)

JS Bach: Christmas Oratorio

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is a cycle of cantatas unified by the Christmas story and was first performed over six days (the first three days of Christmas, New Year’s Day, Sunday after New Year and the Feast of the Epiphany) in 1734/5. Like the St. Matthew Passion and St. John Passion, an Evangelist narrates this work.
From the splendid opening chorus of the first cantata, to the final chorale and trumpet fanfare the music takes the listener through a range of emotions from praise, joy and adoration to rage, fear and, finally, glory.

Tickets are now on sale!

Tickets are also available from the Regent Theatre box office or from the DVML office at Forsyth Barr Stadium Gate J, or phone 0800 111 999

Monday, July 4, 2016

Choir shows its strength

City Choir Dunedin. Photo credit Ian Thomson
Theresienmesse & Magnificat
Sunday 3 July 2016, Dunedin Town Hall

City Choir Dunedin, vocal soloists and members of the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra directed by David Burchell performed two choral works yesterday in the Dunedin Town Hall.

First up was C.P.E. Bach's The Magnificat in D Major H.772.

This son of the great J.S. Bach was influential in changing the established styles of music and although still very Baroque in character, the nine-section work shows signs of the lyricism to come, notably in the first soprano solo, Quia respexit, confidently delivered by Rebecca Ryan (Invercargill), standing in at very short notice for an indisposed Lois Johnston.

The choir presumably had warmed up but their opening Magnificat lacked the full-bodied impact required to launch this work assertively, although robust passages were evident later, particularly in the final passionate Gloria. Impressive secure melismatic definition from tenor James Adams in Quia fecit was a highlight, and Ryan's duo work with mezzo-soprano Claire Barton was well balanced in an ideal blend of voice tone and timbre. Bass soloist was Matthew Landreth.

Joseph Haydn composed six masses in the years 1796-1802, and Mass No 12 in B Flat "Theresienmesse'' had its first performance in 1799. Haydn was employed by the Esterhazy family for about 30 years, requiring him to regularly compose new works for the court musicians and visiting soloists.

This particular Mass lacks the usual horns and woodwinds, due apparently to a scarcity of those musicians at the time. Scoring then and yesterday was for two clarinets (an exciting new instrument for Haydn), two trumpets, timpani and strings plus chamber organ continuo.

Although clarity of diction in a large amateur choir will nearly always be wanting, yesterday's performers gave an authentic delivery, with good tempi and rhythmic energy, joyful contrasts and generally acceptable choral and instrumental contrapuntal passages. A powerful choral entry of the final Agnus Dei demonstrated the strength of the current City Choir Dunedin.

Review by Elizabeth Bouman, Otago Daily Times 4 July 2016.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Theresienmesse & Magnificat in July


Theresienmesse & Magnificat

Sunday 3 July 3:00 pm
Dunedin Town Hall


DAVID BURCHELL, conductor
CITY CHOIR DUNEDIN
DUNEDIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Soloists: Rebecca Ryan (soprano), Claire Barton (mezzo-soprano), James Adams (tenor), Matthew Landreth (bass)

FJ Haydn: Theresienmesse
CPE Bach: Magnificat

Haydn's Theresienmesse was composed late in his life, after his final ‘London’ symphonies, and a year after he completed both The Creation and the Missa in Angustiis or ‘Nelson Mass’, and it possesses similar qualities of tunefulness, variety, rhythmic energy, contrapuntal skill and colourful orchestration. It is a joyful festive work, written to celebrate the name-day of the wife of his patron Prince Esterhazy, and to demonstrate the high status of the Prince’s court at a time when Haydn was at the peak of his fame and creative powers.

Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bachʼs Magnificat is an extended setting of the Hymn of Mary, which is an integral part of the service of Vespers in both the Roman Catholic and Lutheran church. Composed for a festal occasion, this is an exuberant and tuneful work, with extended virtuosic and dramatic arias for each of the four soloists. It was his first major choral work, and was clearly inspired by his father Johann Sebastian’s setting of the same text; Bach returned to the work towards the end of his life, enhancing the orchestration and performing it several times.

Tickets are now on sale!