Saint Michael & All Angels Church, 4 p.m.
Kendra Colton, soprano
Joseph Mathieu, countertenor
Jonathan Mack, tenor
Christopher Lindbloom, baritone
Festival Chorus & Orchestra
Burton Karson, conductor
Vespero di Santa Cecilia
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices
in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden
For behold, henceforth all generations will call
me blessed: for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him from generation
to generation. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered
the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and
the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance
of this mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his
posterity for ever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the
Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
Soprano II is sung by Rebecca Caballero.
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Ode for Saint
From harmony, from heav’nly harmony
Recitative (tenor), accompanied
When Nature underneath a heap of jarring atoms lay
From harmony, from heav’nly harmony
What passion cannot Music raise and quell?
Air (tenor) and chorus
The trumpet’s loud clangour excites us to arms
The soft complaining flute
Sharp violins proclaim their jealous pangs
Air (soprano) with organ obbligato
But oh! what art can teach
Orpheus could lead the savage race
But bright Cecilia rais’d the wonder high’r
Solo (soprano) & chorus
As from the power of sacred lays; the dead shall live,
the living die, and music shall untune the sky
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Duet (tenor & bass) & chorus
Kommt, eilet und laufet...
Come, hasten and run,
ye nimble feet, to reach the cavern
which shelters Jesus. Laughter and gladness
fills our hearts,
for our Savior has been awakened.
(alto:) O kalter Männer Sinn!...
O frigid mind of men!
Where has the love gone which
you owe to the Saviour?
(soprano:) Ein schwaches Weib muss euch beschämen!
To be put to shame by
a frail woman!
(tenor:) Ach! Ein betrübtes Grämen
Ah! A sorrowful grieving
(bass:) und banges Herzeleid
and distressful heartache.
(tenor & bass:) hat mit gesalz’nen Tränen...
with salty tears and woeful
was intended as a balm for Him.
(soprano and alto:) die ihr wie wir umsonst gemacht.
which you and we prepared
Seele, deine Spezereien...
Soul, for your fragrance
myrrh will do no longer.
For only the glory of a laurel wreath
can quiet your
(tenor:) Hier ist die Gruft,
Here is the tomb,
(bass:) und hier der Stein...
and here the stone which
covered it; but where could
my Saviour be?
(alto:) Er ist vom Tode auferweckt!...
He is awakened from death!
We encountered an angel
who made this known to us.
(tenor:) Hier seh’ ich mit Vergnügen...
With joy I see lying here
the unwound headcloth.
Sanft soll mein Todeskummer nur ein Schlummer...
The pain of my death be
but a gentle slumber, Jesus,
because of your headcloth. Yet, it will
refresh me there,
and the tears of my pain it will wipe
from my cheeks.
Recitative (soprano & alto)
Indessen seufzen wir...
Meanwhile, we sigh with
burning eagerness —
Arioso (soprano & alto)
Ach! könnt’ es doch...
Ah, if it might only happen
soon, to see the
Sagest, sagest mir geschwinde...
Tell, tell me, quickly,
tell me where I may find Jesus
whom my soul adores. Come, oh come, embrace
for without You my heart is sorely orphaned
Wir sind erfreut...
We are happy that our
Jesus lives again, and our hearts
which first had been flowing over with
forgotten their pain and dwell on songs
of joy, for our
Preis und Dank...
Praise and thanks shall
be, Lord, your song of glory.
Hell and Satan are vanquished, their
gates are destroyed;
rejoice, ye delivered
tongues, that it may be heard in Heaven.
Eröffnet, ihr Himmel, die prächtigen Bogen...
Open, ye Heavens, the
magnificent arches; the Lion of
Judah comes marching victorious!
The first half of our 25th Festival Finale
is inspired by Saint Cecilia, a very early Christian martyr who,
since the 16th century, has been acknowledged (without any historical
justification) as the patroness of music. For her appointed saint’s
day in November, musicians through the centuries on the Continent
and especially in England have composed and performed vocal and
instrumental pieces in her honor and for their own musical pleasure.
Scarlatti, father of Domenico, the famous composer of harpsichord
sonatas, was born in Sicily and spent his active years in Rome and
Naples. His output includes about 80 operas, dozens of masses, motets,
oratorios and other sacred works, and over 600 secular cantatas
mostly on the subject of love. Magnificat, the Song of Mary
found in Luke 1, is essential to Evening Prayer or Vespers, and
composers throughout the centuries have lavished great efforts on
settings of this poignant canticle. Here Scarlatti employs the stile
concertato to splendid effect, writing dramatic contrasts among
the five soloists and between the soloists and the five-part choir.
The changes in meter and tempo give musical expression to the words,
and the overall drama of the piece reflects the Roman celebration
of Saint Cecilia’s Day 1720, for which Scarlatti composed
and conducted it.
An edition of this Magnificat was prepared from a microfilm
of the never-published handwritten score and performed for the first
time in America on the final concert of our 1992 Festival. After
great demand, it was repeated here in 1994, and today receives another
performance from a new edition. BACK
like Purcell before him, seems to have been quite taken with the
English festivities for Saint Cecilia’s Day for which he composed
two odes: Alexander’s Feast of 1736 (performed in our Festivals
of 1985 and 1998) and the Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day
of 1739 (performed here in 1983), both to texts by John Dryden.
This Saint Cecilia ode was produced by Handel himself at Lincoln’s
Inn Fields on 17 November 1739 and, because it was a financially
successful crowd-pleaser, was repeated several activities times
that same season. A benefit performance the next year was for the
Fund for Decayed Musicians!
Various colorful solos and choruses describe the place of musical
instruments in the grand scenario of life and human most exalted
use of instruments, thanks to Saint Cecilia who often was pictured
holding a portative, is that for the organ in praise of the Creator
(hear it especially in the soprano aria, “But oh! what art
can teach, what human voice can reach the sacred organ’s praise?”).
Following the soloist’s glorious final phrase, “The
trumpet shall be heard on high,” the trumpet sounds judgment
day when, as the chorus tells us, “the dead shall live, the
living die, and music shall untune the sky.” BACK
great Easter Oratorio has no narration of events in time,
the dramatic solo and solo ensemble recitatives, melodic arias and
splendid choruses being set to non-biblical texts. First performed
as a cantata for Easter of 1725 in Leipzig, it later was extended
into the Oratorium Festo Paschali for four soloists and choir, supported
by an orchestra of three trumpets, timpani, recorders, oboes, strings
and basso continuo (low strings, bassoon and organ). Bach, as was
his habit when hurried, borrowed some of the music from his secular
Shepherd Cantata, written earlier the same year for the birthday
of Duke Christian of Saxe-Weissenfels.
The oratorio designation hinges on the characters represented by
the soloists: Mary, the mother of James, who wiped the feet of Jesus
with her hair after anointing them with oil; Mary Magdalene; and
Peter and John. The chorus represents no historical crowds, but
rather the Christian community that exults in the joy of the Resurrection.
Notes by Burton Karson