Händel – Celebration (BBC Proms 2007)

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra (Freiburger Barockorchester) and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment perform George Frideric Handel’s Celebration Marchs during the BBC Proms 2007. Soloists: Kate Royal (soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor). Conductors: Gottfried von der Goltz and Rachel Podger.

Programme

With the starting times in the video:

  1. 02:34 – Music for the Royal Fireworks (1)
  2. 24:28 – Eternal source of light divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne) (2)
  3. 28:12 – Love Sounds th’alarm (Acis and Galatea) (3)
  4. 34:52 – Concerto a due cori in F major, HWV 333 (4)
  5. 52:38 – As steals the morn upon the night (5)
  6. 59:20 – Happy we! (6)

Kate Royal

Kate Royal
Kate Royal. Photo: askonasholt.co.uk

Kate Royal (born 1979) is an English lyric soprano. She is the daughter of Steve Royal, a singer and songwriter for television, and of Carolyn Royal, a former model and dancer.

Royal was born in London and attended Talbot Heath School in Bournemouth, Dorset. Her teachers as a youth included Jon Andrew. She later studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and then the National Opera Studio, graduating in the summer of 2004. In that same year, she won the Kathleen Ferrier Award.

Royal began to attract wider notice as an understudy for the role of Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2004, when she replaced the lead soprano at one performance. With Glyndebourne on Tour, she has sung the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro. She has performed in recital with the pianists Graham Johnson and Roger Vignoles. In 2006 with Glyndebourne on Tour, she sang The Governess in Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. Later the same year, she signed a recording contract with EMI Classics, and her first disc of songs and arias was released in September 2007. She dedicates 5 months per year to song recitals.

Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge
Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge CBE (born 25 December 1964) is an English tenor, well known for his performances as an opera and lieder singer.

Bostridge only began singing professionally at age 27 nd made his Wigmore Hall debut in 1993; his Purcell Room debut (an acclaimed Winterreise) and his Aldeburgh Festival debut in 1994; in 1995 he gave his first solo recital in the Wigmore Hall (winning the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Debut Award); in 1996 he gave recitals in Lyon, Cologne, London and at the Aldeburgh, Cheltenham and Edinburgh Festivals, and in 1997 at the Alte Oper, Frankfurt.

On the concert platform he has appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis and Mstislav Rostropovich, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Sir Charles Mackerras, and the City of Birmingham Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle.

His first solo-featured recording was for Hyperion Records, a Britten song recital, The Red Cockatoo with Graham Johnson. His subsequent recording of Die schöne Müllerin in Hyperion’s Franz Schubert Edition won the Gramophone’s Solo Vocal Award for 1996; he won the prize again in 1998 for a recording of Robert Schumann Lieder with his regular collaborator, the pianist Julius Drake; and in 2003 for Schumann’s Myrthen and duets with Dorothea Röschmann and Graham Johnson, as part of the Hyperion Schumann edition. An EMI Classics exclusive artist since 1996, he is a fourteen-time Grammy Award nominee. His CDs have won all of the major record prizes including Grammy, Edison, Japanese Recording Academy, Brit, South Bank Show Award, Diapason d’Or de l’Année, Choc de l’Année, Echo Klassik and Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. His recording of Schubert’s “Die Forelle” with Julius Drake forms part of the soundtrack of the 2011 film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Bostridge made his operatic debut in 1994, aged 29, as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Opera Australia at the Edinburgh Festival, directed by Baz Luhrmann. In 1996 made his debut with the English National Opera, singing his first Tamino (The Magic Flute). In 1997 he sang Quint in Deborah Warner’s new production of The Turn of the Screw under Sir Colin Davis for the Royal Opera. He has recorded Flute (Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) with Sir Colin Davis for Philips Classics; Belmonte (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) with William Christie for Erato; Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress) under John Eliot Gardiner for Deutsche Grammophon (Grammy Award); and Captain Vere (Billy Budd) (Grammy Award) with Daniel Harding. In 2007 he appeared at the ENO in the role of Aschenbach in Britten’s Death in Venice, in a production by Deborah Warner.

In 1997 he made a film of Schubert’s Winterreise for Channel 4 directed by David Alden; he has been the subject of a South Bank Show profile documentary on ITV and presented the BBC 4 film The Diary of One Who Disappeared about Czech composer Leoš Janáček. He has written on music for The New York Review of Books, The Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, Opernwelt, BBC Music Magazine, Opera Now and The Independent.

Later engagements included recitals in Paris, Stockholm, Lisbon, Brussels, Amsterdam and the Vienna Konzerthaus. In North America he appeared in recitals in New York City at the Frick Collection in 1998 and Alice Tully Hall in 1999 and made his Carnegie Hall debut under Sir Neville Marriner. Also in 1998 he sang Vasek in a new production of The Bartered Bride under Bernard Haitink for the Royal Opera and made his debut at the Munich Festival as Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and in recital (Winterreise at the Cuvilliés Theatre). In 1999 he made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Roger Norrington. He works regularly with the pianists Julius Drake, Graham Johnson, Mitsuko Uchida, composer Thomas Ades and Covent Garden music director Antonio Pappano. Other partners at the piano have included Leif Ove Andsnes, Havard Gimse and Lars Vogt.

In the summer of 2000 Bostridge gave the fifth annual Edinburgh University Festival Lecture entitled “Music and Magic”.

In 2004 Bostridge was made CBE for his services to music. He is an Hon RAM, honorary fellow of Corpus Christi College and of St John’s College, Oxford, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of St Andrews in 2003. He is Humanitas Professor of Classical Music and Education at the University of Oxford, 2014-15. He will be a visiting professor at UC Berkeley in 2015. He gave the inaugural Nicholas Breakspear lecture, “Classical Attitudes: Latin and music through the ages” at the University of Trondheim in 2015; and the annual BIRTHA lecture, “Humanity in Song: Schubert’s Winter Journey” at the University of Bristol in the same year.

Bostridge had his own year-long Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall in 2005/6, and a twelve-month residency at the Barbican in 2008, “Homeward Bound”. He has had a Carte Blanche season at the Concertgebouw and further artistic residencies in Luxembourg, Hamburg, the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and the Wigmore Hall.

On 11 November 2009 Bostridge sang Agnus Dei from Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, at the Armistice Day service in Westminster Abbey. This uses the words of war poet Wilfred Owen’s “At a Calvary near the Ancre”. The service marked the loss of the WWI generation, whose last members died earlier the same year.

In 2013 he performed as part of the Barbican Britten centenary festival in London, and released a new recording of the composer’s War Requiem.

Bostridge was for a time the music columnist for Standpoint magazine, the monthly publication launched in 2008 “to celebrate Western civilisation”; he continues to serve on the magazine’s advisory board. He is a Youth Music Ambassador, a patron of the Music Libraries Trust and of the Macmillan Cancer Support Guards Chapel Carol Concert.

His book Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession was published by Faber and Faber in the UK and by Knopf in the US in January 2015. It will be published in German, Finnish, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Swedish, Polish, Chinese and Spanish editions. It won the Duff Cooper Prize for non-fiction for 2015.

Freiburger Barockorchester

Freiburger Barockorchester
Freiburger Barockorchester. Photo: dubrovnik-festival.hr

The Freiburger Barockorchester (Freiburg Baroque Orchestra) is a German orchestra founded in 1987, with the mission statement: “to enliven the world of Baroque music with new sounds”.

The orchestra is based in Freiburg im Breisgau. In addition to Baroque music, it has performed works by composers such as Beethoven, Schubert and Weber, and contemporary music.

The orchestra gave its first concert in 1987 and began touring abroad with a performance in Amsterdam in 1989. The first tour to America in 1995. Violinists Gottfried von der Goltz and Petra Müllejans from among their own numbers are the regular musical directors. The orchestra performs a quarter of its concerts with guest conductors such as Ivor Bolton, René Jacobs, Philippe Herreweghe and Trevor Pinnock.

The Freiburger Barockorchester was awarded the Echo Klassik 2012 as “Ensemble of the Year (Historical Instruments)”.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Photo: wikipedia

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) is a British period instrument orchestra. The OAE is a resident orchestra of the Southbank Centre, London, associate orchestra at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and has its headquarters at Kings Place. The leadership is rotated between four musicians, Alison Bury, Matthew Truscott, Kati Debretzeni and Margaret Faultless.

The Ethos of the Orchestra is based on democracy; with the idea that the players are not simply technicians but also actively guide the artistic direction of the orchestra. When it began anyone who wanted to could become a member of the orchestra, although they wouldn’t necessarily be asked to play. Responsibility for concert planning is given to an Artistic Direction Committee which is elected annually by the members. An early mission statement stated that the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was to:

“Avoid the dangers implicit in:

    • playing as a matter of routine,
    • pursuing exclusively commercial creative options,
    • under-rehearsal,
    • undue emphasis as imposed by a single musical director,
    • recording objectives being more important than creative objectives.”

The OAE’s first concerts, in June 1986, were booked at Oxford’s Town Hall and London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Conducted by Sigiswald Kuijken, their first programme consisted of an Overture Suite by Telemann, Rameau’s Suite from Dardanus, a symphony by Gossec and Haydn’s Symphony “La Poule”.

Notes

1. Music for the Royal Fireworks

The Music for the Royal Fireworks (HWV 351) is a wind band suite composed by George Frideric Handel in 1749 under contract of George II of Great Britain for the fireworks in London’s Green Park on 27 April 1749. It was to celebrate the end of the War of the Austrian Succession and the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

The work is in five movements:

      1. Ouverture: Adagio, Allegro, Lentement, Allegro
      2. Bourrée
      3. La Paix: Largo alla siciliana
      4. La Réjouissance: Allegro
      5. Menuets I and II

2. Eternal source of light divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne)

Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne (HWV 74) is a secular cantata composed by George Frideric Handel to a libretto by Ambrose Philips, of which the first line, “Eternal source of light divine”, provides an alternative title for the work. It was probably composed during January 1713 for a performance on 6 February 1713, although there is no record of the performance having actually taken place.

The cantata celebrates Queen Anne’s birthday, and the accomplishment of the Treaty of Utrecht (negotiated by the Tory ministry of Anne in 1712) to end the War of the Spanish Succession. Queen Anne was said by the Duke of Manchester to be “too careless or too busy to listen to her own band, and had no thought of hearing and paying new players however great their genius or vast their skill.” Nevertheless, and whether or not she ever heard this ode for her birthday, she granted Handel a “pension” (subsidy for living expenses) of two hundred pounds a year, for life.

Each of the stanzas of the ode concludes with the following words sung by the chorus:

The day that gave great Anna birth,
Who fix’d a lasting peace on Earth.

      1. (Alto solo with solo trumpet over sustained strings)
        Eternal source of light divine
        With double warmth thy beams display
        And with distinguish’d glory shine
        To add a lustre to this day.
      2. (Alto solo, then chorus with orchestra)
        The day that gave great Anna birth
        Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.
      3. (Soprano solo, then chorus with orchestra)
        Let all the winged race with joy
        Their wonted homage sweetly pay
        Whilst towr’ing in the azure sky
        They celebrate this happy day.
        The day that gave great Anna birth
        Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.
      4. (Alto solo, then alto and solo with chorus and orchestra)
        Let flocks and herds their fear forget
        Lions and wolves refuse their prey
        And all in friendly consort meet
        Made glad by this propitious day.
        The day that gave great Anna birth
        Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.
      5. (Bass and alto duet, then chorus with orchestra. The ground bass of this movement with octave leaps was reused by Handel in his “Concerto a due cori”.)
        Let rolling streams their gladness show
        With gentle murmurs whilst they play
        And in their wild meanders flow
        Rejoicing in this blessed day.
        The day that gave great Anna birth
        Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.
      6. (Soprano and alto duet with solo oboe and orchestra)
        Kind Health descends on downy wings
        Angels conduct her on the way.
        T’our glorious Queen new life she brings
        And swells our joys upon this day.
      7. (Alto and soprano, then chorus with orchestra)
        The day that gave great Anna birth
        Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.
      8. (Bass solo, then chorus with orchestra)
        Let envy then conceal her head
        And blasted faction glide away.
        No more her hissing tongues we’ll dread
        Secure in this auspicious day.
        The day that gave great Anna birth
        Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.
      9. (Alto solo then chorus with echo effects,solo trumpet and orchestra)
        United nations shall combine
        To distant climes their sound convey
        That Anna’s actions are divine
        And this the most important day!
        The day that gave great Anna birth
        Who fix’d a lasting peace on earth.

3. Love Sounds th’alarm

An aria from act 2 of Acis and Galatea (HWV 49), a musical work by George Frideric Handel with an English text by John Gay (30 June 1685 – 4 December 1732), the English poet and dramatist.

Text

Love sounds th’alarm,
And fear is a-flying!
When beauty’s the prize,
What mortal fears dying?
In defence of my treasure,
I’d bleed at each vein;
Without her no pleasure,
For life is a pain.
Love sounds… da capo

4. Concerto a due cori in F major, HWV 333

The concerto was probably written in the first few months of 1748, or possibly the final days of 1747, and was first played to the public at Covent Garden on March 23, 1748 as part of a rich musical evening whose centerpiece was the brand new English oratorio Alexander Balus.

5. As Steals The Morn Upon The Night

This song appears on L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (“The Cheerful, the Thoughtful, and the Moderate Man”; HWV 55), a pastoral ode by George Frideric Handel based on the poetry of John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674, the English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell). Handel composed the work over the period of 19 January to 4 February 1740, and the work was premiered on 27 February 1740 at the Royal Theatre of Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The popular concluding aria and chorus, “As Steals the Morn” is adapted from William Shakespeare’s Tempest, V.i.65–68.

Text

As steals the morn upon the night
And melts the shades away:
So Truth does Fancy’s charm dissolve
And rising Reason puts to flight
The fumes that did the mind involve
Restoring intellectual day

6. Happy we!

From the Act 1 of Acis and Galatea. The act closes with a duet by the young lovers, “Happy we”, which is echoed by a chorus

Text

Happy we!
What joys I feel!
What charms I see
Of all youths/nymphs thou dearest boy/brightest fair!
Thou all my bliss, thou all my joy!
Happy… da capo

Sources

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