Showing posts with label mozart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mozart. 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.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Strong performance displays city's talent

Mozart's Mass in C demands large forces - a double choir formed by City Choir Dunedin and the Southern Youth Choir; two sopranos, Emma Fraser and Anna Leese; tenor Benjamin Madden, bass Joel Amosa, organist Simon Mace and the Southern Sinfonia orchestra.

Southern Sinfonia, City Choir Dunedin 
Dunedin Town Hall 
Saturday, September 21 

It is a source of great pride that all of this performance's considerable talents originated or received significant formative training in Dunedin. Under the direction of Englishman Simon Over, the combined musicality and technical prowess created a hugely successful evening.

Fraser's bright and vibrant soprano and Leese's mellow wealth complement each other very well. Both took scintillating advantage of the many opportunities for virtuosic and melodic display.

However, it was Fraser's solo with bassoon played by Julie Link, oboe by Nick Cornish and flute by Aimee Gallardo that held the audience's breath. Madden's tenor voice and Amosa's bass voices are also fine and deserve works less infatuated by the soprano sound.

The combined choirs were also a force to reckon with, producing a triumphant, glorious wall of sound sufficient to forgive the occasional muddied overwritten lines, sparse high entries and choirmaster Burchell's ability to lead from behind.

Again, the Southern Sinfonia shows itself able and willing to produce excellent results for such a truly admirable conductor as Simon Over.

A bashful Philippa Harris, the Sinfonia's manager for 20 years, was deservedly praised by Over as a ''legend'' and a ''miracle-worker''.

After such joyful noises, Dvorak's 6th Symphony could not help but be something of a letdown, resurrected only by the energetic Scherzo and sweet Finale and the woodwind and brass sections' excellent work.

Overall, this was a powerful performance, exceedingly well received. It celebrates not only City Choir Dunedin's enduring reincarnations over 150 years but the wealth of amateur and professional talent that this city creates, nurtures and exports.

Review by Marian Poole, ODT Monday 23 September 2013


Comments from members of the audience:


"The performance was very good and some movements sublime, in particular the Kyrie, Gloria and Osanna. After the Osanna I saw Jim sitting next to me nodding his head in approval. Praise indeed. Thank you all very much and I do wish I had been able to join you in singing."
Jennifer Bradshaw

"Fabulous concert last night. Felt very proud. That “Suscipe”made my hair stand on end!"
Di Wales

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Journey to Central Europe

Saturday 21 September 2013, 8:00 pm 
Town Hall at the Dunedin Centre
Presented by Southern Sinfonia

Vienna, Salzburg and Prague feature prominently in the early history of this performance. Mozart's Mass in C Minor - The Great Mass, composed in Vienna in 1782 but premièred in Salzburg in 1783, has been described as having "dark-toned and solemn, forthright and vigorous choruses, sumptuous solo arias, and ensembles of ornate, operatic radiance." With our four soloists (all trained in Dunedin) and Southern Youth Choir, we celebrate City Choir Dunedin's 150th anniversary year.

London-based Simon Over will also conduct Dvořák's Symphony No. 6. The work perfectly balances Czech folk sentiment and the classical symphony structure, and some consider it Dvořák's orchestral masterpiece.

Soloists: Anna Leese, Emma Fraser, Benjamin Madden and Joel Amosa

Tickets are now on sale!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mozart Requiem: Sanctus and Benedictus

Mozart Requiem: Sanctus and Benedictus
John Eliot Gardiner conducts the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir. This performance was filmed at the Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona in Dec. 1991.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

From the archives: Lacrimosa

'Lacrimosa' from Mozart's Requiem

Conductor: Ryusuke Numajiri

City of Dunedin Choir and Auckland Choral Society combined choirs, with the Southern Sinfonia.
1 October 2005, Dunedin Town Hall, New Zealand



Browse our Youtube Channel for more examples of our big sound!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Feathered Queen of the Night

What would Mozart have thought of this performance!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Proms preview

In June 2006 City of Dunedin Choir performed the beautiful "Vesperae Solennes de Confessore" by Mozart. At this year's Last Night of the Proms concerts presented by Southern Sinfonia on 25 and 26 February, we'll be singing the 'Laudate Dominum' from this work again.

We are looking forward to performing this movement with soprano Anna Leese!



Enjoy the "preview"...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Remembering Mozart Requiem

Listening to Mozart's Requiem on my computer while I work, reminded me of the awesome concert in 2005 where City of Dunedin Choir, Auckland Choral Society and Southern Sinfonia combined forces to lift the rafters in the Dunedin Town Hall. Now you know why the Town Hall will be closed next year for 12 months for an upgrade!

As part of a concert presented by the Southern Sinfonia, the conductor was Ryusuke Numajiri; Soloists Madeleine Pierard, Kate Spence, Kenneth Cornish, David Griffiths.

Here is a wee taste - there is more of this delightful music on Youtube if you don't have the CD.



John Eliot Gardiner conducts the English Baroque Soloists and the Monteverdi Choir. This performance was filmed at the Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona in Dec. 1991.

A Requiem Mass in the Roman Catholic tradition is a service designed to pray for the souls of the departed. The parts of the liturgy that are meant to be sung are what constitute all Requiem Mass compositions, including Mozart's.

The structure is as follows:
1. Introit
2. Kyrie
3. Sequence: a. Dies irae b. Tuba mirum c. Rex tremendae d. Recordare e. Confutatis f. Lacrimosa
4. Offertory: a. Domine Jesu Christe b. Hostias
5. Sanctus
6. Benedictus
7. Agnus Dei
8. Lux Aeterna

Mozart died before finishing the Requiem Mass, and his wife Constanze gave the task of finishing the work to a pupil of Mozart's named Süssmayr. From the Sanctus onward, the Requiem is the creation of Süssmayr, though he did use portions of the Introit and Kyrie for the Lux Aeterna.

Despite, or maybe partially because of, the controversy surrounding this Requiem Mass, it is widely regarded as Mozart's greatest masterpiece.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bach bites Wolf, Wolf bites DOG, DOG takes Beet, Beet kills all...

I'll let you all in on a not-so-little secret: This isn't the only blogging I do.

I actually keep a few other blogs around the net, and participate in a few forums. Now, I'm not about to bore you with the off-topic discussions that I get involved with, so you don't have to worry about that. But I thought some of you might find my recent posts relevant to Mr Bach of interest.

I didn't think they were suitable for this blog - that is why they ended up on my own site. But I will post links to them here, as some of you might find them amusing. (Clicking on the links will open them up in a new window for you.)



If you're a Bach fangirl/fanguy, you might find the first two posts not so much to your liking. At this juncture, I should probably explain that I actually quite like Bach and am enjoying the current work we're doing (sometimes for the wrong reasons), but he just doesn't get me the spinal shivers that really great music should deal me.

So if you're looking for something to read, click on the above links. And if you disagree with me, please feel free to state your side of the case - disagreement is the spice of life, after all!