Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Theresienmesse & Magnificat in July

Theresienmesse & Magnificat

Sunday 3 July 3:00 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

Soloists: Lois Johnston (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!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Invitation to the 2016 Choral Season

City Choir Dunedin presents Handel's Messiah, December 2015.  Photo: Sean Waller
City Choir Dunedin are looking forward to an exciting year, presenting more of the cherished classical choral works to Dunedin audiences in the beautiful Dunedin Town Hall, with exquisite accompaniment by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra. David Burchell will conduct and we are negotiating to bring a stellar array of soloists to the concert stage.

This year our winter concert will be held on a Sunday afternoon, which should help to minimise exposure to any possible chilly weather conditions.

Theresienmesse & Magnificat
Sunday 3 July 2016, 3:00 pm
Dunedin Town Hall
FJ Haydn: Theresienmesse
CPE Bach: Magnificat

Christmas Oratorio
Friday 16 December 2016, 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall
JS Bach: Christmas Oratorio

City Choir's choral season also includes performing in two concerts in the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra's 2016 season; one in April and the other in October.

If you are a singer and you would like to join City Choir Dunedin we would love to hear from you. Read more about becoming a member of City Choir. Rehearsals commence on Tuesday 26 January.

It is the ideal time now for patrons to join our Friends of the Choir group, to take advantage of a free ticket to each of the two concerts presented by City Choir this year, and to support the Choir's activities. Read more about the Friends of the Choir and note that your donation is tax deductible. We look forward to hearing from you. We sincerely appreciate your support!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Moving rendition of Handel masterpiece

Handel's Messiah

8 December 2015
Dunedin Town Hall

A sizeable audience at the Dunedin Town Hall attended the 2015 City Choir Dunedin performance of Handel's beloved Messiah, directed by David Burchell and accompanied by the Southern Sinfonia.

The work began gracefully in its overture, followed by the lilting "Comfort Ye" sung by tenor David Hamilton. The ensuing opening choruses were sung with bravado and confidence, although occasionally stuttering in rhythmic precision.

The subsequent arias, bold and evocative by bass Martin Snell, declamatory and impassioned by mezzo Wendy Dawn Thompson, heralded the incarnation texts admirably. Brooding majesty was conveyed in Snell's rendition of "For Behold", while the chorus "For Unto Us", sung thereafter, exhibited choral electricity and fervour. Soprano Emma Fraser's introduction to this performance brimmed with radiancy, preparing the audience for the denouement to an engaging Part One.

Part Two, focusing on Christ's self-examination, persecution and exaltation, began in restrained and sobering fashion; the mezzo aria "He Was Despised", while emotive, could have been sung with more powerful delivery.

The ensuing choruses, in particular "All We Like Sheep", were performed with panache, and with a particularly crisp sense of articulation noticeable in the soprano line.

The subsequent tenor solos, parted by the invigorating "He Trusted in God", were moments of real magnificence. Thereafter, the transformation from crucifixion to resurrection, conveyed by Emma Fraser, heralded bright and well-structured singing of the "Ascensiontide" and "Pentecost" choruses. Following Hamilton's ire-laden dashing of the potter's vessel, the famous "Hallelujah" evoked the fulfillment of God's triumph in its text.

Part Three began with Fraser's ornate, occasionally insecure, singing of "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth". The following "Since By Man Came Death" successfully rendered the great contrasts within its text, while Snell's telling of the great mystery and sounding of the trumpets supplied thoroughly invigorating drama.

The closing choruses of Messiah were performed with steady pomp, building in regal intensity, and concluding with a bright and resolute "Amen". Crisply accompanied by the Southern Sinfonia, Burchell's direction of the performance fashioned an emotive, elegant and well-crafted concert.

Reviewed for the Otago Daily Times by George Chittenden, 10 December 2015.