Showing posts with label Schubert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Schubert. Show all posts

Monday, March 30, 2015

Schubert and Mozart glorious with Sinfonia and vocalists

Mozart Requiem

Saturday 28 March 2015
Knox Church

Soloists: soprano Lois Johnston, mezzo-soprano Claire Barton, tenor Matthew Wilson and baritone Robert Tucker

City Choir Dunedin, Southern Sinfonia
Conductor David Burchell

City Choir Dunedin, Southern Sinfonia invited soloists and organist Simon Mace presented two choral masterworks in Knox Church on Saturday evening, conducted by David Burchell.

The choir of more than 100 voices was in excellent form, with reasonable numbers in bass and tenor, and a noticeable presence of younger singers in all sections, promising a healthy future for this city choir.

In 1816 Franz Schubert wrote an oratorio in 12 short movements, focusing on the anguish of Mary, the Mother of Christ. Stabat Mater (D. 383) is a beautiful assemblage of Schubert minor keys, and the performance achieved tragic tones where appropriate to match the German text, with some striking contrasts and impressive dynamics.

Woodwind passages were particularly sensitive, often in tandem with a vocalist, as in Ach, was hatten wir empfunden for oboe and tenor. Soloists were Robert Tucker (baritone), Matthew Wilson (tenor) and Lois Johnston (soprano) whose delivery achieved fitting dominance in solo passages, such as "... together at the Last Judgement", where her final phrase rose triumphantly to soar above choir and instrumentalists.

Mozart's health was failing as he embarked on composing a requiem Mass.

History records interesting "facts and fiction" surrounding the work's editing and completion by others, and it survives as the great Requiem Mass in D minor K. 626. Saturday night's performance was a celebration of the legacy of beautiful music left to the world by Mozart.

Claire Barton (mezzo-soprano) joined the soloists, and quartet passages achieved good balance generally, with text conveying conviction and empathy.

Burchell drew inspirational dynamics with impressive contrasts from his choir and musicians. Passionate shading for Lacrymosa and massive jubilant tone for Sanctus were indeed highlights, filling the packed church venue with glorious sound.

Review by Elizabeth Bouman for the ODT, Monday 30 March 2015.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mozart Requiem in March


Saturday 28 March, 7:30 pm
Knox Church

Conductor: David Burchell
Soloists: Lois Johnston, Claire Barton, Matthew Wilson, Robert Tucker
City Choir Dunedin
Southern Sinfonia

Schubert’s Stabat Mater (D.383)

The Stabat Mater is an ancient Latin hymn which meditates on the suffering of Christ’s mother Mary at his crucifixion. Schubert’s setting, in German translation, is relatively little-known; it has never been performed by City Choir Dunedin, and as far as is known, it has never been performed in Dunedin.

Schubert’s Stabat Mater was completed on 22 February 1816, a significant milestone in the composer’s maturation. In the period of 1815-1816, a time of serious introspection for Schubert, his songs first confronted death as subject matter. The “true” Schubert – with his mastery of orchestral colour and great gift for melody – is much apparent. A work of striking contrasts, the “Stabat Mater” begins with a portentously slow orchestral and choral movement that sets an appropriately tragic tone for the expected subject matter. Thereafter, every subsequent movement holds a musical or textural surprise and the generally upbeat movements towards the end portray a collective optimism that would seem to be at odds with their serious subject.

Mozart’s Requiem

The Requiem is a Mass for the dead, offered for the repose of the soul. Mozart’s setting, left unfinished at his death, was not the result of any known commission, in an age where composition without specific purpose was unusual. This circumstance sparked the romantic myth that it foreshadowed his own death; an idea which has enhanced its popularity, further fuelled and popularised by the film Amadeus. Many attempts have been made to complete the work; the version used by City Choir Dunedin in this concert was completed by Mozart’s pupil Süssmayr in 1791. Myths aside, its own merits ensure that Mozart’s Requiem continues to be one of the most frequently performed works in the classical choral repertoire.

Together these two works form an exquisite interpretation of the events which culminate in the Easter story. While the subject matter is tragic, both composers succeed in providing an uplifting experience ending in optimism and the peace of perfect consolation.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Schubert in May 2008

Accolades for orchestra, choir

"Despite the holiday weekend and sport on TV, an extremely good-sized audience attended the town hall on Saturday evening to hear the Dunedin Youth Orchestra and the City of Dunedin Choir, conducted by David Burchell.

It was a great performance and accolades flowed, particularly for the DYO... The length and difficulty of the programme was a huge ask for these young players, who achieved an extremely commendable standard overall.
The choir, of well over 130 singers, was in good form, delivering a beautiful interpretation, despite there appearing to be insufficient male voices for a satisfactory blend. High register soprano clarity and intonation were particularly commendable.

Soloists... Lois Johnson.. Claire Barton... Andrew Grenon... Chris Bruerton... their frequent harmonic passages were perfectly balanced, refreshingly light and appealing."

(Extract from the review by Elizabeth Bouman in the Otago Daily Times of 1 June 2008.)

Performance: Franz Schubert's Mass No. 5 in A Flat, Dunedin Town Hall, 31 May 2008