The Grammy-nominated early music ensemble Ars Lyrica Houston joins forces with Dallas-based Orpheus Chamber Singers for performances of J.S. Bach's Magnificat tonight, November 10, 2012 in Houston and November 11 in Dallas. The program includes ceremonial works by Gabrieli and Handel's Coronation Anthems.
This is the second collaboration between these two premiere music ensembles. Their performance of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers in 2010 was named a "top ten classical music performance of the year" by the Dallas Morning News; critic Scott Cantrell wrote that Orpheus and Ars Lyrica's performance of that early baroque masterpiece "sounded as daring and vivid as any brand-new composition."
J.S. Bach's luminous and intimate Magnificat is set for five soloists, a five-part choir and orchestra. Composed for Christmas in 1723 and then revised in 1733 (BWV 243) for the feast of the Visitation, its Latin text is the canticle of Mary, mother of Jesus, as told in the Gospel of Luke.
Ars Lyrica Artistic Director Matthew Dirst is "delighted to be collaborating once again with Orpheus on some magnificent music from favorite Baroque composers. The two Handel coronation anthems on this program (including "Zadok the Priest") are both grand ceremonial works, and like the Bach Magnificat feature choir and Baroque orchestra, complete with trumpets and timpani. We're also putting a Telemann's "Ouverture" on the program to show off the band."
Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, Ars Lyrica Houston offers world-class performances of music from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments. The ensemble's distinctive programming favors little-known Baroque dramatic and chamber works that merit revival, and its Zilkha Hall series "sets the agenda for imaginative period-instrument programming in Houston," according to the Houston Chronicle. Ars Lyrica's numerous premières include the first American performance of Handel's Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verità and Houston premières of Jacopo Peri's Euridice, John Blow's Venus and Adonis, Handel's Flavio, and Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610, among other works. These pioneering efforts have begun to attract international attention: the ensemble's world première recording of Johann Adolf Hasse's Marc'Antonio e Cleopatra (on the Sono Luminus label) features rising opera stars Jamie Barton and Ava Pine and was nominated for a Grammy Award® for Best Opera 2011. This CD was also hailed recently by Early Music America as "a thrilling performance that glows in its quieter moments and sparkles with vitality," Ars Lyrica's latest Sono Luminus recording, of Domenico Scarlatti's comic intermezzo La Dirindina and his chamber cantata Pur nel sonno, has just been released and is available anywhere CDs are sold. Visit us at www.arslyricahouston.org.
The Orpheus Chamber Singers, under the direction of Artistic Director Donald Krehbiel, was founded in 1995 with the goal to enrich, inspire, and educate North Texas audiences through exceptional performances of chamber choral music from the past six centuries. The critically acclaimed choir is an ensemble of 24 of the finest singers, many of them recognized soloists, blending into a richly satisfying group capable of mastering music of every period. For more information, visit www.orpheuschambersingers.org.