Showing posts with label Haydn. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Haydn. Show all posts

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fine show; Ryan, Barton standouts

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

Two 18th-century choral works performed on Sunday afternoon by City Choir Dunedin under the direction of David Burchell with the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra gave the 85-strong group and four soloists a unique opportunity to shine.

The first half of the programme, C.P.E. Bach's Magnificat in D Major, is a slightly dated work, albeit one that the composer always regarded highly.

Tenor James Adams and bass Matthew Landreth seemed slightly tentative in this work; not so soprano Rebecca Ryan, substituting for Lois Johnston, who was unwell. Ryan turned in such a polished performance that it was difficult to believe that she had been called only a day earlier.

The pick of the soloists, though, was alto Claire Barton, whose duo with Adam seemed to lift his game, and her solo Suscepit Israel was a first-half highlight.

After the interval came Franz Joseph Haydn's Mass No. 12, Theresienmesse, the better of the two works. In it, the soloists work in unison with the choir rather than delivering long solos. This is an attractive technique, which has contributed to the popularity of the work since its debut in 1799.

Possibly because of this interweaving, the soloists all seemed more comfortable than in the Bach, with Ryan and Barton especially pleasing.

Throughout Theresienmesse, the choir gave a sterling performance, the hours of rehearsal showing in polished delivery.

The big disappointment was the thin attendance. The Dunedin Town Hall's acoustics work best with a larger audience and the concert would have been even better had more people made the effort to attend.

Review by Gillian Vine, The Star 7 July 2016.

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.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Divine performance, thunderous applause

Haydn's The Creation, NZSO and City Choir Dunedin, 3 September 2014, Dunedin Town Hall

Haydn’s The Creation presents a journey through a fantastic wonderland where man presides over an infinitely bountiful natural world, where love and luxury prevail equitably. It celebrates a miraculous creation devoid of lurking snakes and leaves the listener replete with unworldly exaltation.

In the Dunedin Town Hall, it was divinely performed to a full house by the NZSO, the City Choir Dunedin and soloists soprano Madeleine Pierard, tenor Robin Tritschler and bass Jonathan Lemalu under the inspired direction of Nicholas McGegan.

Although the choir’s part-singing sounded a little muddied at times when concentration was required, overall their sound was cohesive, dedicated and articulate with strong entries.

The solo voices melded beautifully together. All showed tremendous strength in softer passages with Lemalu’s tender tones being particularly pleasing.

Pierard was also notable for her delicacy and agility throughout her range. Their duet as Adam and Eve became as tender a love song as an oratorio can properly allow, enriched with the best of human quality. Tritschler’s tenor was clear with rich finesse.

The work rises gracefully, yet with great moment, out of silence. It relates the creation of life which, banishing gloom, evolves over the mythical seven days, divided into two parts, with a third devoted to Adam and Eve in Eden, to bloom with the simple rapture, joyful bliss, that the natural world inspires.

The playful word painting of water, birds, roaring lions and sinuous tigers were mostly successful.

While Lemalu’s depiction of lowly insects drew a laugh from the audience, the farmyard sounds of chickens and cattle failed to make their wit resound.

Although this long work sometimes tests the audience’s power of concentration, this performance was rewarded with thunderous stamping and prolonged applause. Contemporary cynicism was banished for the night.


Reviewed for the Otago Daily Times by Marian Poole, 4 September 2014.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Review of Nelson Mass

Elizabeth Bouman wrote a very favourable review of the Nelson Mass performance, in the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday 12 September, by City of Dunedin Choir, Southern Sinfonia, soloists and conductor Simon Over. (See ODT, Monday 14 September 2009). Marian Poole reviewed the same concert for the Listener.

The Glory of Haydn, Otago Daily Times Saturday 12 September 2009, reviewed by Elizabeth Bouman:

Southern Sinfonia and City of Dunedin Choir, British conductor Simon Over and four of New Zealand's top young soloists celebrated the 200th anniversary of Haydn's death in a Glory of Haydn Concert in the Dunedin Town Hall last Saturday evening. The concert was well supported and the audience was full of praise for the Haydn work.

...Missa in Angustii (Lord Nelson Mass) is one of Haydn's grandest works, and Over certainly had the orchestra and particularly the hundred-voice choir fired up to deliver a magnificently vibrant 45-minute performance.

The choir, under musical director David Burchell, was on a decidedly homogeneous high.

The performance was gilded by clear top soprano intonation and excellent attention to dynamic shaping, with vowels which swell noticeably, not just occasionally but throughout.

Soprano Rebecca Ryan, an Otago graduate, has returned from working as a singer in Europe.

The beauty in her voice was particularly apparent in the Benedictus, and intelligence and passion in text interpretation shone throughout, with exquisitely refined shaping in long phrases

Baritone Jared Holt, although lacking weight at his lowest register, displayed extraordinary breath capacity in negotiating the long melismatic phrases which challenge soloists in this work.

Mezzo-soprano soloist Claire Barton and tenor James Rodgers also delivered with well-defined phrasing and articulation.

Equal balance of soloists also contributed to the outstanding success of this Haydn celebration.

Glory be, New Zealand Listener September 26-October 2 2009 Vol 220 No 3620, reviewed by Marian Poole:

Missa in Angustii roused the house at Dunedin Town Hall in Glory of Haydn, the Southern Sinfonia's final performance of the season. Otherwise known as the Lord Nelson and the Imperial, Haydn's mass, written in the same year Nelson routed Napoleon's fleet, is a call to "bring it on". Right from the stirring rendition of Kyrie Eleison, the City of Dunedin Choir, under the baton of Simon Over, were well on their way to winning. Fugues and offset entries in Quoniam tu Solis, the wordy Credo and Dona nobis pacem were executed with clarity and conviction, notably in the upper registers. Choir director David Burchell can be commended for their well-honed performance.

New Zealand-born soloists Rebecca Ryan (soprano), Claire Barton (alto), James Rodgers (tenor) and Jared Holt (bass) were equally well-versed, but their performance was marred by an imbalance between them and the Sinfonia. Most disadvantaged were Barton and Holt, whereas the higher voices of Ryan and Rodgers cut through successfully.

However, the glorious blend of female voices in Agnus Dei, male voices in Gloria and the brief but significantly catchy melodies and harmonies of Domine Deus overcame these shortcomings...