Billboard Classical chart-topping choir and baroque ensemble performs Mozart and Vivaldi masterworks in Harvard Square
McGRATHPR.com – The acclaimed Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys presents “Songs of Springtime”, a triumphant classical music concert on Sunday, May 15, 3 pm at St. Paul’s Parish, 29 Mount Auburn Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge. The performance is conducted by Saint Paul’s Choir School (SPCS) Director of Music and Choirmaster James Kennerley. Joining the performance are members of Melius Ensemble, a period-instrument orchestra founded by Kennerley in 2019, featuring instrumentalists from Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and other fine early musicians from across the United States.
Now an annual tradition, the hope-inspiring “Songs of Springtime” concert features the Billboard Classical chart-topping Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys, angelic voices performing a thrilling program in Saint Paul’s Church’s sublime acoustic setting. This season the performance offers works of two of the most enduring classical composers of all time – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Vivaldi. Repertoire includes Mozart’s elegant and uplifting “Sparrow Mass” (Missa brevis in C), the sublime “Laudate Dominum”, and Vivaldi’s famous “Gloria”.
Likely composed for Easter at Salzburg Cathedral, around 1776, Mozart’s “Spatzenmesse” (Sparrow Mass) is derived from the opening of the “Hosanna in excelsis”, featuring a violin figure resembling a chirping bird. The work achieves a sense of uplifting grandeur through its use of trumpets and timpani, highlighting exuberant sections of text. One of Mozart’s most distinctive and famous melodies, the “Laudete Dominum” is drawn from a larger work composed in 1780 for the evening service of Vespers, featuring a highly melismatic solo soprano melody, gently accompanied by the orchestra and the choir.
“The sound of the boys’ voices is unique and quite unlike the sound of, say, professional female vocalists that perform the vast majority of early music performances,” shares Kennerley. “It’s the sound that composers such as Mozart, Bach, and Handel would have known. We are thrilled to give what may be the first historically informed performance of the Mozart works in the area. Ironically, the Vivaldi was written for female voices, although it has a long performance history with boys’ treble voices.”
“Guided by institutions such as the Boston Early Music Festival, the Cambridge and Boston region has long served as a global center for the performance of early music. Historically informed instrumentalists take great pains to play instruments that are constructed in traditional manner, and singers likewise aim to replicate the sounds and style of musicians from the time that the music was composed.” Melius Ensemble features period instrumentalists renowned for their expert interpretations of 17th and 18th-century repertoire. “I’m excited to have them collaborate with our renowned Saint Paul’s Choir. The Vivaldi and Mozart pieces form a thrilling showcase for both choir and orchestra,” Kennerley comments.
Vivaldi’s “Gloria”, the composer’s most famed work, offers a brilliant and colorful setting of text from the Ordinary of the Mass (Glory to God in the highest) which commemorates the words the angels sang to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus. Each section of the text receives its own musical treatment, from the energetic opening and closing movements, the nimble vocal duet, “Laudamus te”, and the lilting “Domine Deus”.
Tickets for “Songs of Springtime” are $35 general admission, $50 reserved seating and $70 for premium seating. To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit saintpaulschoirschool.us/songsofspringtime. tickets , visit saintpaulschoirschool.us/songsofspringtime.
Songs of Springtime program:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791): Missa brevis in C, K. 220 “Sparrow Mass”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Laudate Dominum from Solemn Vespers for a Confessor, K. 339
Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741): Gloria, RVW 589
About Saint Paul’s Choir School
Founded in 1963 by Dr. Theodore Marier, Saint Paul’s Choir School (SPCS) is the only private all-boys Catholic choir day school in the United States. SPCS prepares boys in grades 3 through 8 to succeed in the strongest secondary schools, becoming confident and virtuous leaders, to grow into compassionate adults. SPCS unites a rigorous academic and musical curriculum rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition. Within this community of faith, friendship and high expectations, students build the habits of mind and heart to rise to all of life’s demands and thrive.
Saint Paul’s Choir School’s world-class music program trains students in choral music appreciation, theory and practice, enabling them to grow as thoughtful students, disciplined performers and virtuous young men. Students sing music ranging from Gregorian chant to contemporary choir commissions to choral masterworks. The choir provides beautiful liturgical music at daily and Sunday services at Saint Paul’s Church and have released professional recordings, including “Ave Maria” and “Christmas in Harvard Square” by Aim Higher Recordings (available at saintpaulschoirschool.us). The ensemble tours internationally and has performed alongside renowned groups such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Uniquely integrated with music study, the school’s vigorous academic program provides an outstanding classical preparation in the liberal arts, which prepare boys well for the most competitive high schools. The positive influence derived from the study of music on other academics is clearly evident. Often families are unaware that their child is a capable singer upon entry. Students receive incomparable academic benefits through SPCS’s frequent choral practice, regular performances, and academic study of music theory. Classes are small and motivation is high among both students and teachers, making for a lively, energetic and creative classroom environment.
To learn more about enrollment, curriculum, programs and performances, visit saintpaulschoirschool.us, call 617-868-8658, email [email protected], or follow Saint Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.