Concerts also feature soloists Matthew Worth and Melody Moore
HARTFORD, CT November 3, 2015 – Let music warm your heart and lift your holiday spirit as the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-2016 Masterworks Series continues with Joyful Voices with the Hartford Chorale, Thursday, December 3 through Sunday, December 6 in the Belding Theater at The Bushnell in Hartford. The concerts will be conducted by HSO Music Director Carolyn Kuan, and will feature the Hartford Chorale led by Music Director Richard Coffey, as well as guest baritone Matthew Worth and guest soprano Melody Moore. The program includes Higdon’s blue cathedral, Fauré’s Requiem, and excerpts from Handel’s Messiah. The 2015-2016 Masterworks Series is sponsored by The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation. For tickets and information, visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.
Audiences at these concerts will have a chance to participate in the concert as well! The HSO is asking guests to download the Salvation Army’s free “Bell ringer” app on their smartphones – and they will have a chance to “chime in” with our musicians during Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral!
Of blue cathedral, composed in 1999 in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Curtis Institute of Music, Higdon wrote, “Blue — like the sky. Where all possibilities soar. Cathedrals — a place of thought, growth and spiritual expression, serving as a symbolic doorway into and out of this world. Blue represents all potential and the progression of journeys. Cathedrals represent a place of beginnings, endings, solitude, fellowship, contemplation, knowledge and growth. As I was writing this piece, I found myself imagining a journey through a glass cathedral in the sky. Because the walls would be transparent, I saw the image of clouds and blueness permeating this church. In my mind’s eye, the listener would enter from the back of the sanctuary, floating along the corridor amongst giant crystal pillars, moving in a contemplative stance. The stained glass windows’ figures would start moving with song, singing a heavenly music. The listener would float down the aisle, slowly moving upward at first and then progressing at a quicker pace, rising towards an immense ceiling which would open to the sky. As this journey progressed, the speed of the traveler would increase, rushing forward and upward. I wanted to create the sensation of contemplation and quiet peace at the beginning, moving towards the feeling of celebration and ecstatic expansion of the soul, all the while singing along with that heavenly music. This is a musical story that commemorates living and passing through places of knowledge and of sharing and of that song called life.”
Unlike the grand, dramatic, sometimes tumultuous settings of the Mass for the Dead by Berlioz and Verdi, Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 is intimate in scale and consoling in content. The composer himself wrote, “It has been said that my Requiem does not express the fear of death; someone has even called it a lullaby of death. But it is thus that I see death: as a happy deliverance, an aspiration toward happiness above….” In a letter of April 3, 1921 to René Fauchois, he further explained, “Everything I managed to entertain in the way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.” The grace, restraint and calm Hellenic beauty that characterize Fauré’s best music find their perfect realization in this work, about which the celebrated pedagogue Nadia Boulanger said, “Nothing purer or clearer in definition has been written. No external effect alters its sober and rather severe expression of grief, no restlessness troubles its deep meditation, no doubt stains its gentle confidence or its tender and tranquil expectancy.”
Upon completing the score of Messiah, Handel proclaimed, “I did think I did see Heaven before me and the great God Himself!” Messiah has remained one of the best-known and most widely performed of all musical works. It is the only important piece of Baroque music with an unbroken performance tradition from the time of its creation in the mid-1700s to our own day. It was heard in America as early as 1770. Today, there is probably not a major city in the Western world that does not hear Messiah at least once a year.
For all of its unparalleled popularity, Messiah is an aberration among Handel’s oratorios, the least typical of his two dozen works in the form: it is his only oratorio, except Israel in Egypt, whose entire text is drawn from the Bible; it is his only oratorio without a continuous dramatic plot; it is his only oratorio based on the New Testament; it is his only oratorio presented in a consecrated space during his lifetime, a reflection of the sacred rather than dramatic nature of its content (“I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wished to make them better,” he told one aristocratic admirer); it has more choruses than any of his oratorios except Israel; the soloists in Messiah are commentators on rather than participants or characters in the oratorio’s story. In the words of George P. Upton, the American musicologist and early-20th-century critic of the Chicago Tribune, “Other oratorios may be compared one with another; Messiah stands alone, a majestic monument to the memory of the composer, an imperishable record of the noblest sentiments of human nature and the highest aspirations of man.”
Celebrating its 44th season, the Hartford Chorale has become the primary symphonic chorus of central Connecticut, especially in its critically-acclaimed collaborations with The Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Other collaborations of note include performances with the New Haven, New Britain, and Hartt School Symphony Orchestras.
Established in 1972 by a group of choral musicians who had the desire to form a new, independent, and self-supported organization, and under the musical direction of Maestro Richard Coffey since 2005, the Chorale reaches out to, and inspires, the widest possible audience with exceptional performances of a broad range of choral literature, including renowned choral masterpieces.
The Hartford Chorale is composed of 160 men and women, mostly from central Connecticut, with others traveling from Massachusetts and Rhode Island for weekly rehearsals in West Hartford. The Chorale offers talented and experienced singers opportunities to study and perform at a professional level, while internship programs make it possible for gifted high school and college musicians to rehearse and perform with the Chorale and Connecticut orchestras. Led by a 22-member Board of Governors (most of whom are themselves performers), Chorale members sustain and manage their own organization through their volunteer service, fund-raising and dues payments. Professional section leaders provide vocal and musical leadership. Competitive auditions for new members are conducted annually.
While the Chorale performs most often in the Greater Hartford area, the ensemble has also been heard at Carnegie Hall as well as in several performance halls in the Northeast United States. The Chorale has toured internationally throughout Europe and Asia. In June 2008, members of the Chorale performed, by special invitation from the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Culture, in Beijing and Qingdao, China with the New York Choral Society in the Cultural Olympiad, a showcase of the arts preceding the Olympic Games. The two ensembles also performed in the opening ceremonies of the Olympiad and were the only American choirs invited to take part in this special and prestigious celebration. During the summer of 2014, the Chorale performed in magnificent churches in Paris and Chartres, France. This tour was highlighted by a performance of the Duruflé Requiem in the “Duruflé Church” – the beautiful Église Saint-Étienne-du-Mont – and an a capella concert in Notre Dame Cathedral in Chartres.
Learn more about the Hartford Chorale at www.hartfordchorale.org.
Matthew Worth is quickly becoming the baritone of choice for innovative productions and contemporary works on the operatic leading edge. This season he will lead the world premiere of David T. Little & Royce Vavrek’s JFK with Fort Worth Opera as John F. Kennedy. Also this season are his role debut with Opera Birmingham in Ricky Ian Gordon’s Green Sneakers, his debuts with both the Colorado Symphony and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and another work by David T. Little: the southeastern premiere of Soldier Songs in Matthew’s Atlanta Opera debut. Future seasons include Naga, a world premiere with Beth Morrison Projects, and returns to Atlanta Opera and Boston Lyric Opera. Highlights of recent seasons include the title role in Eugene Onegin with Chautauqua Opera, the world premiere of The Manchurian Candidate with Minnesota Opera, his European debut with Wexford Festival Opera in Silent Night, Moby Dick at Washington National Opera and Orphée with Pittsburgh Opera. Lauded for his work in the standard operatic repertoire, Matthew’s Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) was deemed “vocally impeccable…open and incisive” by the Boston Classical Review. matthewworthbaritone.com.
Soprano Melody Moore is one of America’s most exciting talents. She has appeared on many of the leading opera stages of the world including San Francisco Opera in the title role of Tosca, Susan Rescorla in Heart of a Soldier, Mimì in La bohème, and the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro; Houston Grand Opera as Julie in Show Boat, Marta in the American premiere of Weinberg’s The Passenger, the title role in Carmen, Dorabella in Così fan tutte, and as Freia in Das Rheingold; English National Opera as Mimi and as Marguerite in Faust; New York City Opera as Rita Clayton in the New York premiere of Stephen Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon and as Regine St. Laurent in Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna; Los Angeles Opera as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and in productions of Der Zwerg and Der Zerbrochene Krug; and at the Washington National Opera in the title role of Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas. Engagements of the 2015-16 season feature a debut at l’Opéra de Montréal in the title role of Madama Butterfly, a role debut as Lady Macbeth in a highly acclaimed production of Macbeth at the Glimmerglass Festival, and a return to Washington National Opera in Philip Glass’ Appomattox, in a new production by Tazewell Thompson and conducted by Dennis Russell-Davies, recognizing the 50 years since the Voting Rights Act and 150 years since the end of the Civil War.
JOYFUL VOICES with THE HARTFORD CHORALE
Thursday – Sunday, December 3-6, 2015
Belding Theater at The Bushnell
Thursday 7:30pm?Friday & Saturday 8pm?Sunday 3pm
Tickets starting at $35.00; $10.00 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Richard Coffey, music director
Matthew Worth baritone
Melody Moore soprano
Higdon blue cathedral
Fauré Requiem in D minor, Op. 48
Handel Excerpts from Messiah
Let joyous music warm your heart and lift your holiday spirit, as the masterful musicians of the HSO are joined by the magnificent voices of The Hartford Chorale. 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon describes the muse for her composition as being “blue like the sky, where all possibilities soar…and a cathedral, a place of thought, growth and spiritual expression.” Created almost certainly as a musical tribute to his father, Fauré’s Requiem is noted for its calm, serene and peaceful outlook. Handel’s oratorio Messiah is the most powerful telling of the Passion story – a soaring celebration of salvation and rebirth!
Masterworks Series Sponsor:
The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation
HSO programs are funded in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Upcoming HSO Concerts
Hartford Symphony Orchestra Pops! Series
HOLIDAY CIRQUE SPECTACULAR
Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 3 & 7:30 p.m.
Mortensen Hall at The Bushnell
Tickets starting at $23, $10 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org
Hartford’s holiday concert classic just keeps getting more “Cirque-tacular!” Bring the entire family to enjoy your favorite seasonal music, as Carolyn Kuan conducts the HSO, while Cirque de la Symphonie performs on and above the stage. Breathtaking aerialists, mind-boggling contortionists, and jaw-dropping jugglers will have you awestruck. Experience the magic of this ultimate holiday extravaganza!
Pops! Series Presenting Sponsor: United Technologies
Concert Sponsor: Prudential