Chamber Music

Grand Handel

George Frideric Handel was a master of his trade: he developed musical power and majesty not only in his operas and oratorios, but also in the sacred occasional works that he wrote for the English court and for public performances. The Akademie für Alte Musik and the Collegium Vocale Gent conducted by Christian Curnyn will perform two choral works by the Baroque master: the Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline and the magnificent Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day. The soloists are the Swedish soprano Klara Ek and the British tenor Thomas Hobbs.

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

Christian Curnyn Direction

Klara Ek Soprano

Thomas Hobbs Tenor

Collegium Vocale Gent

George Frideric Handel

»The ways of Zion do mourn«, Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline HWV 264

Georg Frideric Handel

Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day HWV 76

Dates and Tickets

Programme

On the evening of 17 December 1737, the funeral of Queen Caroline (formerly Wilhelmine Karoline Princess of Brandenburg-Ansbach) took place in Westminster Abbey: “The great bell at St. Paul’s, and those of most of the Churches, tolled at intervals most of the day. Minute guns were fired in the Park, at the Tower, and on the banks of the Thames, from nine to ten o’clock.” (The Gentleman’s Magazine).

The performance of Handel’s Funeral Anthem for Queen Caroline did not adversely affect the ringing of bells and firing of cannons as the work, considered one of the most remarkable contributions to English church music, was heard after the funeral rites in reverent silence: more than 50 singers and ca. 90 instrumentalists of the court orchestra and opera had gathered in King Henry VII’s Chapel, where the tomb was to be found. The work is structured as a true full choral anthem without soloists, solely for choir and orchestra: an introductory symphony is followed by ten choral movements, in which carefully calculated alternations between expressive lament, solemn gravity, peaceful mourning and hopeful prospects in terms of a life consummated in God predominate.

After the performance of the Funeral Anthem, the Akademie für Alte Musik and the Collegium Vocale Gent conducted by Christian Curnyn will turn to the magnificent Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day, with which Handel revived the tradition of the Cecilia Festival honouring the patron saint of music; the soloists are the Swedish soprano Klara Ek and the British tenor Thomas Hobbs.

(c) Sussie Ahlburg