Showing posts with label Handel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Handel. Show all posts

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Inspired and uplifting performance

Handel's Messiah
Tuesday 10 December 2019, Dunedin Town Hall

Handel's evergreen oratorio Messiah was given an inspired and uplifting performance in Dunedin Town Hall on Tuesday by City Choir Dunedin, four guest soloists, and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra -- all under David Burchell's unerring baton.

This work, composed in 1741, comprises a mammoth meditation on the Christian message, with dramatic interludes. Its many contrasts of texture, dynamics and scoring demand great sensitivity and flexibility from all those on stage, but smooth follow-throughs -- obviously resulting from much careful rehearsal -- always ensured a real sense of continuity and held the large audience's attention.

Soloists Rebecca Ryan (soprano), Tessa Romano (alto), Andrew Grenon (tenor) and Joel Amosa (bass) all gave sterling performances in their different ways, though Romano's dulcet tones often failed to carry in the large hall.

Especially impressive were Grenon's expressive ornaments in 'Comfort ye', Ryan's bright delivery of 'Rejoice greatly', and Amosa's stentorian 'The trumpet shall sound' coupled with Ralph Miller's silvery trumpet obbligato.

But it was the choir's part in this great work that brought it most to life for the audience -- they even burst into applause after the 'Hallelujah' chorus! If aggressiveness was needed (in 'He trusted in God'), the choir gave it; if florid counterpoint (in 'His yoke was easy' -- ironically, one of the hardest choruses to sing) was called for, they produced it. Best of all were three choruses sung from memory -- 'Glory to God', 'Lift up your heads' and 'Since by man came death'.

The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, led by Miranda Adams, added greatly to the performance's strength and seamlessness, with Burchell's well-chosen tempos for the set-pieces always firmly established.

And the continuo group -- cellist David Murray and organist Johnny Mottershead, with Burchell on harpsichord -- were always at the ready for the recitatives.

Not just a pre-Christmas treat, then, but a true treasure!

Reviewed by Donald Cullington, The Star, 12 December 2019.

Pre-Christmas tradition at town hall - hallelujah!

Handel's Messiah
Tuesday 10 December 2019, Dunedin Town Hall

On Tuesday evening, the Dunedin Town Hall resounded with music of one of the best-known oratorios. Messiah by George Frederik Handel.

In recent years Messiah has become a two-yearly Dunedin pre-Christmas event, performed by the Dunedin City Choir and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra.

The three-hour performance seems to have retained its popularity -- this year's good-sized supporting audience reacted with standing ovation, prolonged applause and "Bravos".

David Burchell conducted from the harpsichord, producing a brilliant overall performance. The choir of 120 achieved excellent standards in their big choruses, two of which ('Lift up your heads' and 'Since by man came death') were memorised, and exceptional balance and beauty of tone were achieved in 'And with his stripes we are healed'.

The tenors excelled in some of their scalic runs, and soprano top register notes were strong and true.

Following the overture, tenor Andrew Grenon opened Part One, achieving relaxed but strong and convincing recitativo with fluency in 'Comfort ye'.

Soprano soloist Rebecca Ryan generated a big, beautiful sound and delivered with melismatic precision and stunning ornamentation. A highlight was her 'I know that my redeemer liveth'. 

Tessa Romano was considerably "under-weight" in her alto solos despite fine melodic decoration and clarity of text.

However, a strong, authoritative style came from bass Joel Amosa, with well-paced scalic shaping and embellishments, not always easy for a bass voice, and I'm sure he wished Handel had not chosen a high E to climax 'The trumpet shall sound'.

The orchestra (led by Miranda Adams) was impressive, especially with string co-ordination of Baroque embellishments, and two trumpet players gilded everything superbly.

I followed the music on my well-worn 19th century family score, alongside a senior singing pupil who was enthralled by her first Messiah experience.

Review by Elizabeth Bouman, Otago Daily Times 12 December 2019.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The World's Most Loved Choral Work


Handel's Messiah - The World's Most Loved Choral Work

Tuesday 10 December 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall


DAVID BURCHELL, conductor
REBECCA RYAN soprano, TESSA ROMANO alto, ANDREW GRENON tenor, JOEL AMOSA bass
Presented by CITY CHOIR DUNEDIN
DUNEDIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


Handel’s Messiah is heard around the world during the Christmas season, being greatly appreciated, admired and enjoyed. City Choir Dunedin with soloists and the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Burchell, is pleased to again perform this oratorio to provide a fantastic opportunity for you to experience a world-class delivery of this dramatic and passionate work.

Handel began composing Messiah on 22 August 1741 and completed it twenty-four days later. But, however hasty the composition, the power of the musical imagination, the wealth of ideas, the depth of inspiration, and the sheer variety of invention continue to astonish.

Messiah is unique among Handel's oratorios in its New Testament subject and reflective treatment. It has been described as a 'collection' taken from the Bible and the Prayer Book Psalter, and is a mixture of narrative and commentary. This freed Handel from some of the more restrictive opera conventions and permitted greater use of the chorus than is generally the case in his other oratorios. Messiah is probably Handel's most famous work and its ubiquity has outreached anything Handel could ever have envisaged.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Vibrant, dedicated and enthusiastic musical triumph

Standing ovation for Messiah 2017. Photo credit Ian Thomson
Handel's Messiah
Tuesday 12 December 2017
Dunedin Town Hall

Although originally written as pre-Easter music, it has become traditional for the approach of Christmas to be heralded worldwide by performances of Handel’s majestic oratorio Messiah, writes Elizabeth Bouman. City Choir Dunedin, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and their guest soloists with musical direction from David Burchell, thrilled last evening with a full performance of the English-language Baroque oratorio which was first performed in Dublin in 1742 and has now become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.

Dunedin’s performance last evening was a triumph, vibrant and well-paced, full of enthusiasm and dedication to delivering text and score.

The choir’s big choruses, (some performed without reading the score) such as Glory to God in the Highest, And the Glory and, of course, the Hallelujah achieved excellent balance of harmony and articulation, and the dynamic contrast in Since by Man Came Death was outstanding.

Madeleine Pierard (currently home from London) filled the hall with soprano strength and confidence for all her solo work.

Mezzo-soprano Claire Barton (Dunedin) possesses strong alto timbre, and her performance of He Was Despised, interpreted with passion and solemnity, was superb.

Tenor Ian Tetley (UK) achieved smooth almost counter-tenor-like tone in his upper register at times, especially in Comfort Ye, and his neat ornamentation also impressed.

Bass Jared Holt (Wellington) has a deep rich vibrato and like many with his voice type, had difficulty in clarity of definition in many of the melismatic passages Handel wrote for this part.

The orchestra showed precision and good articulation throughout, responding to Burchell’s command from his seat at the harpsichord.

It really was a magnificent occasion, rewarded by a very well-deserved standing ovation.

Review by Elizabeth Bouman, ODT 13 December 2017

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Messiah - The World's Most Loved Choral Work

Handel's Messiah

Tue 12 December 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall


DAVID BURCHELL, conductor
CITY CHOIR DUNEDIN
DUNEDIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

SOLOISTS: soprano Madeleine Pierard, alto Claire Barton, tenor Iain Tetley, bass Jared Holt
Messiah is heard around the world during the Christmas season, being greatly appreciated, admired and enjoyed. City Choir Dunedin with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Burchell, is pleased to again perform this oratorio. Together with our soloists, soprano Madeleine Pierard, alto Claire Barton, tenor Iain Tetley and bass Jared Holt, we will provide a fantastic opportunity for you to experience a world-class delivery of this dramatic and passionate work.

Handel began composing Messiah on August 22, 1741, and completed it twenty-four days later. The scholar Clifford Bartlett writes, “such speed was not unusual, nor was the time of year. Not much happened in London during the summer, so it was a good time to get ahead with the preparation for the next season . . . Bach could produce a cantata, organizing the copying of parts, and rehearse and perform it every week: Three weeks to compose an oratorio without the immediate responsibility for organizing the performance was, therefore, ample. But, however hasty the composition, the power of the musical imagination, the wealth of ideas, the depth of inspiration, and the sheer variety of invention continue to astonish.”

Messiah is unique among Handel's oratorios in its New Testament subject and reflective treatment. It has been described as a 'collection' taken from the Bible and the Prayer Book Psalter, and is a mixture of narrative and commentary. This freed Handel from some of the more restrictive opera conventions and permitted greater use of the chorus than is generally the case in his other oratorios. Messiah is probably Handel's most famous work and its ubiquity has outreached anything Handel could ever have envisaged.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Handel's Messiah

Tuesday 8 December 2015, 7:30 pm
Dunedin Town Hall

Conductor: David Burchell

Emma Fraser soprano, Wendy Dawn Thompson mezzo-soprano
David Hamilton tenor, Martin Snell bass
City Choir Dunedin
Southern Sinfonia

Messiah is heard around the world during the Christmas season, being greatly appreciated, admired and enjoyed. City Choir Dunedin with the Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, is pleased to again perform this oratorio. We welcome home soprano Emma Fraser and together with mezzo Wendy Dawn Thompson, tenor David Hamilton and bass Martin Snell, we will provide a fantastic opportunity for you to experience a world-class delivery of this dramatic and passionate work.

Handel began composing Messiah on August 22, 1741, and completed it twenty-four days later. The scholar Clifford Bartlett writes that “such speed was not unusual, nor was the time of year. Not much happened in London during the summer, so it was a good time to get ahead with the preparation for the next season . . . Bach could produce a cantata, organizing the copying of parts, and rehearse and perform it every week: Three weeks to compose an oratorio without the immediate responsibility for organizing the performance was, therefore, ample. But, however hasty the composition, the power of the musical imagination, the wealth of ideas, the depth of inspiration, and the sheer variety of invention continue to astonish.” 

Messiah is unique among Handel's oratorios in its New Testament subject and reflective treatment. It has been described as a 'collection' taken from the Bible and the Prayer Book Psalter, and is a mixture of narrative and commentary. This freed Handel from some of the more restrictive opera conventions and permitted greater use of the chorus than is generally the case in his other oratorios. Messiah is probably Handel's most famous work and its ubiquity has outreached anything Handel could ever have envisaged.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Choir and orchestra impressive

Tuesday evening's performance in the Dunedin Town Hall of Handel's Messiah was one of the best I have heard in Dunedin.

City Choir Dunedin with its recent 150th anniversary events and Southern Sinfonia's trip to Japan has seen both these groups step up to impressive new levels in performance.

Musical Director David Burchell conducted an unabridged version from the harpsichord, and the standing ovation and long applause from a large audience confirm my sentiment.

Sinfonia's strings maintained a particularly united tone throughout - tight and free from "loose ends", and trumpet solos were excellent.

Clarity and pulse were seldom compromised and the orchestral "solo" Pastoral Symphony was a beautifully articulated cantabile highlight. Good dynamics and choral blend in Glory to God in the Highest and a brilliant delivery of And with His Stripes we are Healed were choral highlights.

Soloists on this occasion were Lois Johnston, whose pure-toned quality soprano range excelled throughout, with artistic florid embellishment and melismatic passages, several at virtuosic tempi.

Alto Amanda Cole has fine tone and projection in the upper register, which added lustre to decorated cadence points, but there was a lack of strength in the lower voice where many of the solo lines sat, and despite her passion and sincerity the sound failed to dominate, becoming lost in the string blend.

Tenor David Hamilton delivered his text with rapport and strength - such a convincing soloist with mellifluous tone. His commanding narrative in Comfort Ye set a standard for all that followed.

The bass soloist was Jonathan Lemalu, whose voice I find is changing from the youthful clear-toned bass which many locals watched develop. The unique wonderful richness in the timbre remains as does his professional delivery and countenance, but at times heavy vibrato muddies intonation definition in the lower scalic passages.

A triumphant performance overall to herald the festive season.

Review by Elizabeth Bouman for the Otago Daily Times, 12 December 2013.

Feedback received from the audience


From Melissa:
Was so Absolutely Fantastic!! Loved the Choir and the Musicians were Brilliant. Wonderful production.

From Catherine:
I think this was the best performance you've done - congratulations to everyone involved!

From Rosalind:
A sparkling performance from start to finish! The tone clear and bright throughout, beautifully light and dancing in the fast numbers (All We Like Sheep, His Yoke is Easy, He Shall Purify etc) a full-bodied and thrilling sound in the big choruses but never ponderous or heavy. My niece who had just arrived from UK where she has heard many Messiah performances pronounced it "Storming!"

From Jane:
As you may know, I was ushering last night, not singing. I thought I would pass on to you a comment I overheard as patrons were leaving. One old gentleman (probably around 80) said: "It's the best Messiah I've heard for years!" Judging by his age and the fact that I've seen him at many many classical music concerts over the years, I believe it to have been a heartfelt comment.

From Anne:
Friends thought it was the best performance they had heard. And I really liked this from another friend of mine: “One of the best parts of that Messiah last night was the altos! You all were so smooth and strong.”

From Marguerite:
I was walking down Moray Place after the concert and I met two women whom I didn't know from Adam who said, "What a wonderful performance, it was great"!

From Judy:
The Messiah was the best performance I've ever heard from the choir. It was their combined total enthusiasm.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Handel's Messiah on Tuesday 10 December 2013

Tuesday 10 December 7:30pm

Town Hall at the Dunedin Centre


150 years ago, Messiah was the first oratorio to be performed in Dunedin, on Christmas Eve 1863, so Handel’s masterpiece provides a fitting finale to City Choir’s 150th anniversary year. Performed around the world during the Christmas season, Messiah is the most-performed major choral work of all time. It is greatly appreciated, admired and enjoyed. 

City Choir Dunedin with the Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, is pleased to perform this oratorio again this year. We are delighted to welcome home Jonathan Lemalu (bass) for this performance and together with Lois Johnston (soprano), Amanda Cole (mezzo), and David Hamilton (tenor), we will provide a fantastic opportunity for you to experience a world-class live delivery of this dramatic and passionate work. This will be a performance to inspire, uplift and enrich the soul.

Conducted from the harpsichord by David Burchell
Soloists: Lois Johnston (soprano), Amanda Cole (mezzo-soprano), David Hamilton (tenor) and Jonathan Lemalu (bass)
Orchestral accompaniment by the Southern Sinfonia

Monday, October 15, 2012

Messiah Sing-along

Sing-along
Tuesday 11 December, 7:30pm Knox Church 

Conductor: Peter Adams
Organist: David Burchell 

Everyone is welcome to join the City of Dunedin Choir to sing Messiah
Bring your own score or purchase our booklet at $10.

 All welcome at the rehearsal: 7:30pm, Monday 10 December, Knox Church

Performance Admission: $20 waged; $15 unwaged; $10 students with ID; Accompanied school children free
Tickets at Beggs MusicWorks, Lower Stuart St;
or Knox Church Office; or phone Clare (03) 476 2426

         

Friday, March 23, 2012

Utrecht Te Deum a Hymn of Praise

Handel wrote the Utrecht Te Deum in early 1713, and it was performed together with his Utrecht Jubilate at the Thanksgiving service for the Peace of Utrecht in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on 7 July. It was his first composition for a state celebration, and helped to establish his reputation as a composer in London.



Handel's Utrecht Te Deum is the opening work in City of Dunedin Choir's concert "Beauty of Baroque" on Friday 30 March, 7:30 pm in Knox Church, George Street, Dunedin

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pearls of Baroque

Our Beauty of Baroque concert on March 30 includes some of the most sublime pearls from an era rich in choral glory.

Baroque music was written from about 1600 to approximately 1750, and coincided with a great growth of wealth and trade in Europe. The growth of trade led to an unprecedented sharing of ideas in science and the arts. As a result, music flourished, particularly in the great cathedrals and with a new wealthy audience of traders and tradesmen.

This era saw the birth of the industrial revolution and the chaotic growth of city states. Perhaps in reaction to the grime, ugliness and poverty of life in the burgeoning cities, the art and music of the Baroque era is of exaggerated beauty compared with the stark beauty of early Renaissance music.

The term Baroque is thought to have originated from a Portuguese word meaning an irregular shaped pearl. The new music forms were certainly radically different from earlier forms – with so much more artifice and decoration, each phrase perfumed with ornate turns and curlicues.

The term Baroque initially implied strangeness and extravagance in art. It was only applied to music of that era in the 20th century.

Opera and the orchestra were both creations of the era as were many musical forms which shaped all the European music which followed – particularly polyphonic (many voiced) forms such as the fugue and canon. Baroque music was considered as much an intellectual challenge as it was an artistic and spiritual feat.

Bach’s Magnificat (BWV 243), written in 1733, is an intellectual masterpiece, for sure, but it also a musical gem of breathtaking beauty. Handel’s Utrecht Te Deum (1713) was his first major choral work in English, and his first commission for the English Royal family, which established his career in London. And Charpentier was a prolific French composer of the late 1600s, often associated with the author Moliere, but now less well known outside France than Bach and Handel.

By Scott Blackwell

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Standing ovation for 'Messiah'

What is it I wonder, that makes people sit for two and a-half hours, listening so intently to Handel's most famous oratorio Messiah, written in just three weeks in 1741.

"Christmas just wouldn't be the same without attending a performance of Messiah," one patron told me.
City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia shifted their two-yearly performance of Messiah to the Regent Theatre this year, and the very well-filled venue created a different view and atmosphere, but the familiar choruses and arias certainly rang out loud and true last evening, as Christ's life on earth was outlined in music, and the final Amens were followed by tumultuous applause and standing ovation.

David Burchell conducted magnificently from the harpsichord, with a wise choice of tempi. The 29-member baroque orchestra excelled in their response. The choir's performance, with several choruses from memory, was very impressive and disciplined, despite a little under-weight in the tenor section.

Strong soprano tone reached their pinnacle in the Hallelujah Chorus, and exciting strength and verve from all sections was accorded the big choruses such as Lift Up Your Head.

The three choruses in the "Agony of the Cross" section were delivered with clarity and particularly fine nuance.
Soprano Anna Leese, now well entrenched in a successful international career, was home to perform. The voice is noticeably maturing and rich and all her arias were exquisite with the finest legato tone. Come Unto Him was stunningly performed - so liquid and pure through subtly embellished phrases.

Mezzo Wendy Doyle (Wellington) was successful in a convincing delivery from a particularly low timbre register, and young tenor Cameron Barclay (Auckland) brought clear diction and sincerity to his solos.
Bass Chalium Poppy (Tauranga) performed with confidence and strength although was not always technically secure.

By Elizabeth Bouman, Otago Daily Times 14 December 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Flash Mob Video

Thanks to Steve Ting for filming City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia players at our "flash mob" event on Saturday 10 December at Wall Street mall. Enjoy!





Listen to the Channel 9 interviews with Philippa and Deborah at the flash mob event on the Channel 9 website... 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Flash mob!

Members of City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia surprised shoppers in Dunedin's Wall Street Mall at 12:30pm today with a "flash mob" rendition of two choruses from Handel's Messiah - "Glory to God" and "Hallelujah!". (We hope to bring you a video in a couple of days.)

While the players performed the recitatif leading up to the "Glory" the singers magically appeared on the walkway and staircase, and then we let rip! The photos were taken just before we started singing. It was very exciting, and at the end of it all there was a most appreciative round of applause from the shoppers - yay!!!

Don't miss the concert on Tuesday, 7:30pm in the Regent Theatre!
Thanks to Lynda Jackson's husband for providing these lovely photos!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chorus for the King of glory

Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:7-10

Another uplifting chorus from Handel's sacred oratorio Messiah (HWV 56) performed by City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, on 11 December 2007 in the Dunedin Town Hall. Hear this chorus again on 13 December in the Regent Theatre - tickets are on sale now!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chorus for good tidings

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
get thee up into the high mountain.
O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up
thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid;
say unto the cities of Judah, behold your God!
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion,
arise, shine, for thy light is come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
Isaiah 40:9; 60:1

Another uplifting chorus from Handel's sacred oratorio Messiah (HWV 56) performed by City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, on 11 December 2007 in the Dunedin Town Hall. Hear this chorus again on 13 December in the Regent Theatre - tickets are on sale now!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chorus to make all alive

Since by man came death, by man came also the
resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Another beautiful chorus from Handel's sacred oratorio Messiah (HWV 56) performed by City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, on 11 December 2007 in the Dunedin Town Hall.




Hear this chorus again on 13 December in the Regent Theatre - tickets are on sale now!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chorus will break their bonds

Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away
their yokes from us.
Psalm 2:3

Another chorus from Handel's sacred oratorio Messiah (HWV 56) performed by City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, on 11 December 2007 in the Dunedin Town Hall.



Hear this chorus again on 13 December in the Regent Theatre - tickets are on sale now!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chorus to delight

He trusted in God that He would deliver Him:
Let Him deliver Him, if He delight in Him.
Psalm 22:8

Another chorus from Handel's sacred oratorio Messiah (HWV 56) performed by City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, on 11 December 2007 in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hallelujah! Dunedin

Hallelujah! Dunedinites, you have another great opportunity to hear Handel's glorious oratorio, Messiah on Tuesday 13 December, 7:30 pm, in the Regent Theatre.

Extra, extra! Dunedin's beloved Anna Leese will sing the soprano solo role. Get your tickets now from TicketDirect online or at the Regent.

Here is the Hallelujah! chorus from Handel's sacred oratorio Messiah (HWV 56) performed by City of Dunedin Choir and Southern Sinfonia, conducted by David Burchell, on 11 December 2007 in the Dunedin Town Hall.