“Mozart’s Coronation Mass is a mass of war and peace….Christophers was majestic one moment, militant the next; every movement had its own distinctive character.” – Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe
September 11, 2012 (Boston, MA) – Following the success of the Mozart Mass in C minor and Requiem releases, the Handel and Haydn Society is delighted to announce its third live recording on the CORO label on September 11. Soloists Teresa Wakim, Paula Murrihy, Thomas Cooley, Sumner Thompson joined Harry and the Society to record Mozart’s Coronation Mass live at Boston’s Symphony Hall earlier this year.
Mozart’s Mass in C major is one of his most popular and enduring works. Known as the Coronation Mass – a nickname it acquired following a performance conducted by Antonio Salieri in 1791 in Prague at the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia – it includes the beautifully tender Agnus Dei. The CD also features Mozart’s soprano solo Exsultate, jubilate,performed by Teresa Wakim, and Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 85,which was a favorite of Marie Antoinette, leading to the name La Reine, by which it is still known today.
Artistic Director Harry Christophers says, “On this live recording we present a programme devoted to monarchs and coronation. Nicknames pervade – Haydn’s extraordinarily vibrant Paris Symphony is called La Reine simply because Marie Antoinette claimed it was her favourite, Mozart’s Mass in C major acquired its nickname Coronation Mass a number of years after it was written – it was most likely performed at one of the coronation celebrations for either Leopold II or Franz I of Austria, or even both.” Harry Christophers was appointed Artistic Director of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society in 2008. Founded in 1815, H&H, a Grammy Award winner, is considered the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the U.S. and has given the American premieres of major works including Handel’s Messiah and Jephtha; Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; and works by Haydn, Mozart, and many others. H&H and CORO launched their first collaboration in 2010 with the release of Mozart’s Mass in C minor, followed in 2011 with an acclaimed new recording of Mozart’s Requiem. Future recording plans include a live recording of Haydn’s Creation and Handel’s Messiah. Executive Director and CEO Marie-Hélène Bernard adds, “The Handel and Haydn Society is thrilled to continue its partnership with CORO and complete its Mozart trilogy. This CD is a wonderful example of H&H's dedication to nurturing emerging artists and a testament to the talent in its own ranks. Teresa Wakim, Paula Murrihy and Sumner Thompson have each sung with the H&H chorus for some years. We are thrilled that their extraordinary careers took roots in Boston. With Thomas Cooley, they make a strong ensemble which brings freshness to Mozart’s Coronation Mass."
Since 2001 The Sixteen has been building its own record label, CORO, which in 2011 celebrated its 10th anniversary and released its 90th title. Recent recordings include the first in a series of discs devoted to the music of Palestrina; Victoria: Hail Mother of the Redeemer, which accompanied The Sixteen’s 11th Choral Pilgrimage in the UK; and Handel’s celebrated oratorio, Messiah, with an all-star soloist line-up which was awarded the prestigious MIDEM Classical Award 2009. In 2010 CORO released the BBC’s groundbreaking first series of Sacred Music on DVD and The Sixteen’s award-winning recording of Handel’s Coronation Anthems was nominated for a Grammy. The following year Ceremony and Devotion - Music for the Tudors was also nominated for a Grammy.
Harry Christophers enters his fourth season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2012-2013 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that began with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century music. In 2000, he instituted the “Choral Pilgrimage,” a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009 he received one of classical music’s highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award; The Sixteen also won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a 2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama and was awarded a CBE in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
A member of the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus since 2003, rising American soprano Teresa Wakim has garnered wide acclaim for her performances of opera, oratorio and chamber music. Praised for her “gorgeous, profoundly expressive instrument” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), and possessing a voice of “extraordinary suppleness and beauty” (The New York Times), she enjoys an internationally successful career performing and recording music from the Renaissance to the freshly-composed, and is perhaps best known as “a fine baroque stylist” (The Miami Herald). Wakim has performed as soloist under many of the world’s renowned ‘early music’ specialists, including Ton Koopman, Harry Christophers, Nicolas McGegan, Roger Norrington, Laurence Cummings, Martin Pearlman, Alex Weimann, Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs, and Jeannette Sorrell. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Boston University's College of Fine Arts, she recently won First Prize in the Internationaler Solistenwettbewerb für Alte Musik in Austria and was named Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow by Emmanuel Music. Noted engagements include Bach’s B Minor Mass and St. John Passion with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in the U.S. and Europe, Bach’s Wedding Cantata and Mendelssohn’s Hear My Prayer with The Cleveland Orchestra, Handel’s Messiah with the San Antonio Symphony, Pamina in The Magic Flute with Apollo’s Fire, and a title role in Handel's Acis and Galatea with the Boston Early Music Festival. Ms. Wakim can be heard as a featured soloist on four Grammy-nominated recordings with the Boston Early Music Festival and Seraphic Fire.
Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy returns to the Handel and Haydn Society after last appearing in Handel’s Messiah in 2008. Murrihy has appeared at London’s Royal Opera House, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Oper Frankfurt, Opera de Nice, Chicago Opera Theater, Wexford Festival Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Opera Boston in a range of roles including the title role in Handel’s Ariodante, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Annio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito, 2nd Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Cherubino in Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles, Tebaldo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Helene in Chabrier’s Une éducation manquée, and Ino in Handel’s Semele. She returned to the Royal Opera in 2010 as Mercedes in Carmen and recently joined Oper Frankfurt as a member of their ensemble, where her roles have included Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Medoro in Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, Baba in Stravinsky’s The Rake's Progress, and Scipio in Glanert’s Caligula. Plans this season in Frankfurt include L'etoile and Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and she makes her debut at Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito.
Murrihy recently performed Messiah with Huddersfield Choral Society, Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Utah Symphony, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse with the Gabrieli Consort, and Haydn’s Paukenmesse at Tanglewood and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, both with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She was alto soloist in Bach’s Mass in B Minor at the 2011 Annual Cartagena International Music Festival, Colombia. An accomplished recitalist, she has performed at the Aldeburgh Festival, UK; New York Festival of Song; Wexford Festival; and with the Irish Chamber Orchestra in the Shannon International Music Festival. She was also invited to participate in the Marilyn Horne Foundation Masterclass Series at Carnegie Hall, New York. In January 2012, she was the soloist in the world premiere of John Harbison’s Symphony No. 6 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Murrihy has been a Young Artist at the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Utah Opera, Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera, and Tanglewood Music Center. She holds a Master’s of Music from the New England Conservatory, where she was a recipient of the John Moriarty Presidential Scholarship and a Presser Award. She received her Bachelor’s of Music Performance from the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin, Ireland.
American tenor Thomas Cooley returns to the Handel and Haydn Society in Mozart Coronation after most recently performing in Mozart Mass in C Minor during the 2009–2010 Season. Cooley is establishing a worldwide reputation as a singer of versatility, expressiveness, and virtuosity. Equally at home on the concert stage and in the opera house, his repertoire ranges across more than four centuries.
Season highlights in 2010–11 include Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (Rizzi), Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Atlanta Symphony (Runnicles) and Cathedral Choral Society, Berlioz’ Requiem at Carnegie Hall (Spano), Haydn’s The Creation with the Indianapolis Symphony (Boyd) and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (McGegan), Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in Köln and Saarbrucken, Mozart’s Requiem (Christophers) and Honneger’s Le roi David (Shoenandt) in Amsterdam, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Alabama Symphony (Brown), the title role in Handel’s Jephtha and Saint-Saëns’ Requiem (Tritle) in New York, and Handel’s Messiah with the Minnesota Orchestra (Vanska) and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (Polochik).
Recent recital highlights include performances of works by Monteverdi and Schütz (Berkeley); Britten (Britten Festival, Aldeburgh); Haydn and Beethoven (Göttingen); and Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin with pianist Donald Sulzen. Cooley lived in Munich for ten years, four as a member of the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, singing featured roles in operas by Mozart and Rossini. Cooley’s recent recordings include Handel Samson (Göttingen Handel Festival Orchestra/McGegan, Carus); Vivaldi Dixit Dominus (Deutsche Grammophon); Mozart Requiem (Windsbacher Knabenchor, Sony) and Mozart Mass in C Minor (Handel and Haydn Society/Christophers, CORO).
American baritone Sumner Thompson returns to the Handel and Haydn Society after last performing in The Bach Experience in 2011. Described as possessing “power and passion” and “stylish elegance,” Thompson is in demand on concert and opera stages across North America and Europe.
He has appeared as a soloist with many leading ensembles, including the Britten-Pears Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Boston Early Music Festival, Apollo’s Fire, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Les Boréades de Montréal, Mercury Baroque, Les Voix Baroques, Boston Baroque, and Tafelmusik.
Upcoming engagements include Handel’s Messiah with the Handel and Haydn Society in December 2012, Bach’s St. John Passion with Orchestra Iowa and with Switzerland’s Gli Angeli Genève, a return to Early Music Vancouver’s summer festival with Les Voix Baroques, and Messiah with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Thompson can be heard on the Boston Early Music Festival’s Grammy-nominated recording of Lully’s Psyché on the CPO label, and also with Les Voix Baroques on Canticum Canticorum, Carissimi Oratorios, and Humori, all on the ATMA label.
ABOUT HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is considered the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (1879). Handel and Haydn today, under Artistic Director Harry Christophers’ leadership, is committed to its mission to perform Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence and to share that music with as large and diverse an audience as possible. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical New England and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. In September 2010, H&H released its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label, Mozart Mass in C Minor—the first in a series of live commercial recordings leading to H&H’s Bicentennial in 2015. The 2010–2011 Season marked the 25th anniversary of Handel and Haydn’s award-winning Karen S. and George D. Levy Educational Outreach Program, which brings music education, vocal training, and performance opportunities to 10,000 students annually throughout Greater Boston and beyond.
Handel and Haydn Society is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Title: Mozart: Coronation Mass
Artist: Harry Christophers, Handel and Haydn Society
Release Date: September 2012
Cat No.: COR16093
If you wish to receive a review copy of Mozart’s Coronation Mass please email Shira Gilbert at [email protected] or call 514 585 3868.
For information on Handel and Haydn Society and images please visit www.handelandhaydn.org, or contact Kerry Israel at [email protected] or 617 262 1815 or Nikki Scandalios at [email protected] or 704 340 4094.
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