By Cathy Fuller
Harry Christophers leads the Handel & Haydn Society in its bicentennial season opening concert, featuring Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks.
To hear the concert, click on "Listen" above.
Harry Christophers conducts the Handel and Haydn Society on Oct. 10, 2014
(photo by James Doyle, courtesy of H+H)
When the crowd at Symphony Hall jumped to its feet to sing along with the Handel and Haydn Society’s chorus and orchestra, it was a collective goosebump moment at a birthday party that was already full of them. The Society had been looking forward to October 10, 2014 for a long time, counting down to the moment when the trumpets in the balconies would unleash the festivities. Even our microphones had a fabulous time at this party! They caught the fireworks on stage, and the excitement in the audience.
H+H Artistic Director Harry Christophers can pull a phrase of music through time like taffy. And his body can coil and uncoil with upbeats of infinite variety. You’ll hear it in the beginnings of every line in the two Handel Coronation Anthems that were offered.
When the chorus finally exploded in the anthem Zadok the Priest, critic David Wright of the Boston Classical Review thought that it must have loosened the Symphony Hall plaster! In Bach’s intricately woven motet Sing unto the Lord a new song, all of the warmly worked detail came through not just clearly, but with a glow.
Aisslinn Nosky and the Handel and Haydn Society in concert, Oct. 10, 2014
Intimate nuance and crackling fireworks were built into the design of the evening. In the wildness of Vivaldi’s violin concerto “Summer,” the extremes happen so close together that the whole thing comes off as downright hallucinatory.
Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky roused the audience to near frenzy with her solos. They even applauded her when she was simply taking her place back in the orchestra!
There’s so much to consider when you’re hearing this concert. Sir John Stevenson’s They play’d, in air the trembling music floats was done by the men’s chorus with organ to amazing effect. It had been performed on the Society’s very first concert in 1815.
When, at the end, Harry Christophers turned to the crowd and signaled for them to rise and sing Handel’s “Hallelujah” from Messiah, there were many who knew by heart every detail of the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass parts. What a joyful sound!
It reminds us that Boston has a tremendous history of amateur singers coming together to create deeply meaningful music. It’s a history thanks in large part to the Handel and Haydn Society.
To hear the entire H+H bicentennial season opening concert, click on "Listen" above.
HEAR THE CONCERT
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