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Celebrate Easter with the sounds of Bach and Mozart

Celebrate Easter with the sounds of Bach and Mozart

Celebrate Easter with the sounds of Bach and Mozart

Join Sydney Philharmonia Choirs on Easter Saturday, as they fill the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall with the gloriously uplifting sounds of Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s ‘Great Mass in C minor’.

The highlight of the Choirs’ much-loved annual Easter performance will be the premiere of a new work from Sydney composer, Antony Pitts, who takes his inspiration from Bach’s Mente cordis sui: In the imagination of their hearts.

For this grand concert, the company’s premier choirs, the Symphony Chorus and Chamber Singers, will be joined by special guests from Capella St. Crucis, Hannover, under the direction of acclaimed early music specialist Florian Lohmann; together with celebrated Australian soloists Sara Macliver, Anna Dowsley, Nicholas TolputtNicholas Jones and David Greco; and the Sydney Philharmonia Orchestra.

At the heart of the Easter Saturday program is Johann Sebastian Bach and his brilliant Magnificat. Voices ring out – ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord!’ – and the music resounds with trumpets and drums in a spirit of festive celebration. Five soloists bring their dazzling virtuosity and expressive powers to a text that ranges between sheer elation and a profound expression of humility as Mary responds to the news that she will be the mother of Christ.

Framing the Magnificat are two works that, each in their own way, look to Bach for inspiration.

A new commission from Antony Pitts, artistic director of The Song Company, takes the explosive harmonies from Bach’s setting of the words ‘In the imagination of their hearts’ as his starting point. Pitt’s Mente cordis sui is “a motet for 40 or more voices where the moment of collective madness captured by Bach is frozen in a kind of anachronistic bullet time and scattered to the four winds and back to Bach”, he says.

The concert concludes with a Mozart’s grand mass for choir and orchestra, a piece he created when just recently married, which would have its debut performance in Salzburg, on the occasion of the couple’s first visit to his disapproving father. For this piece Mozart found fresh inspiration in the Baroque techniques of Bach and Handel, combining their complex weaving of voices with the elegance and drama of the Classical style. But he didn’t finish – no one’s entirely sure why – and so it remains ‘half a mass’, tantalising but magnificent.

Easter Saturday, April 20, Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

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