HANDWASHERS’ NEWSLETTER 2nd May 2021
In 2019 CCS performed a programme of Classical repertoire, the main item on the menu being Haydn’s Paukenmesse. The first half of the concert featured lesser known works by Salieri and JC Bach – the remaining item being Mozart’s Regina Coeli (K 108), which I would like to share with you now.
This festive piece, the first of two settings of this text, was composed by the 15 year old Mozart in Salzburg in 1771. The work bears the influence of Neapolitan church music and has four movements. The two outer movements feature mainly homophonic choral writing against rich orchestral writing, whilst the central movements are scored primarily for the soprano soloist. The solo writing is often florid and could easily have come out of one of Mozart’s operas! The orchestra includes oboes, horns and trumpets as well as the ‘rauschenden Violinen’ (‘burbling violins’), a feature of Salzburg sacred music at the time.
Mozart statue in Salzburg
The text of the ‘Regina Coeli’ is traditionally associated with Easter so this bright, sunny music seems entirely appropriate for the season. I hope you enjoy it! https://youtu.be/AFcEuD6Fy5k
STARTING THE DAY with Diana Boulton:
I’m sure I’m not the only member of Cirencester Choral Society who starts weekdays with Petroc on Radio 3! It is a family joke that my first hours are spent in bed in his company with a cup of tea!
There are so many excellent radio programmes, now also available on BBC Sounds if you miss first hearing, but ‘Breakfast’ from 6.30 to 9am is one of my favourites. Every day is a wonderfully rich mix of music ranging from the well-known to the rarely heard and of all periods and styles. Petroc must have a whole team of researchers who find associations and links through music with people, places, dates and performances. The music played is a rich tapestry celebrating the diversity of life and expression.
The highlight for me has to be ‘Bach before 7’! It is usually the music of JS Bach but not always as you would expect. Last Tuesday it was an arrangement of Trio in d minor BWV 583 for Koto Trio.
(A koto, if you don’t happen to know, as I didn’t, is a traditional Japanese half-tube zither.) Another day may be more familiar Bach but always an inspiring start to the day!
If you don’t already start the day with Petroc I suggest you try – you won’t be disappointed!
(Here is the Trio in D minor played on Kotos: https://youtu.be/NyfZIOn2KDU?list=RDNyfZIOn2KDU
Or, if you prefer, as Bach intended it: https://youtu.be/7aDqPN2ylY4 Ed.)
HAYDN’S SYMPHONY No 96 ‘THE MIRACLE’ Tim confesses to being a late riser:
But I do listen to Petroc’s later presentations including his recent mention of this story:
Aged 62, Haydn was on his second visit to London when, in 1795, he directed from the keyboard, the premier of his Symphony 96 at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket.
As Haydn took his place the audience left its seats and crowded forward, the better to see the famous man. It was probably the resulting vibration which caused a chandelier to crash down on the now vacated seats, so nobody was killed or injured. As soon as the first moment of fright was over, loud cries of ‘Miracle! Miracle!’ broke out. Haydn himself was deeply moved and thanked the merciful Providence that had allowed him in a certain way to be the cause of or the means of saving the lives of at least thirty people. So, it should come as no surprise that the symphony performed that evening should have acquired the subtitle The Miracle.
Haydn in 1795
Or was it THAT symphony performed that evening? It is now thought that it may have been Symphony No 102 and not No 96 which was performed the evening when the chandelier fell, but it’s a good story so let’s enjoy both ‘miraculous’ works:
No. 96 The Miracle: https://youtu.be/DzxM3Je93IQ?t=18
No. 102 The Other One: https://youtu.be/F8HYoAr4B3o?t=21
AND FINALLY . . .
here’s a totally different chandelier story: https://youtu.be/LFuYIi5-igc