November 11, 2019: For Immediate Release
Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra performs Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Coronation Mass in January at Hertz Hall led by Maestro Ming Luke.
The Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra, BCCO, returns to the classics with two beloved masses: Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass and Mozart’s Coronation Mass. The three performances are Friday, January 10 (8 pm), Saturday, January 11 (3 pm), and Sunday, January 12 (3 pm) at Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus. The concerts are free, donations gratefully accepted.
The two composers wrote these works at vastly different stages of their lives. The personal fortunes of the two couldn’t be more different. After a fruitless 18 month job search, the 23-year-old Mozart returned to Salzburg to work for the Archbishop as organist and concertmaster, where he wrote the Coronation Mass in 1779. In contrast, Haydn at age 66 was a mature and highly successful composer when he wrote the Lord Nelson Mass in 1798. Despite differing historical and personal circumstances, as noted by maestro Ming Luke, “both pieces are timeless works of incredible craft, each deeply connected to its era. We're excited to explore these two works and present them in January.”
The shorter, festive Mozart Coronation Mass is considered the best of his Salzburg masses. It is one of 17 missa breves, short so the music will not detract from the liturgy as required by his new employer, the Archbishop. Concise and original in composition, the instruments double the alto, tenor, and bass parts. The soloists’ voices are used throughout in pairs, quartets, or solo lines interwoven among the lines sung by the chorus. The origins of the name Coronation Mass are unclear. It may have been performed at imperial coronations in Prague between 1790-1792. Mozart composed a delightful work of grand scale, using soloists, chorus, and orchestra written in C major.
The Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, written in 1798, was written in a time of fear and uncertainty in Austria. The only mass by Haydn in a minor key, it was composed just after Napoleon won four major battles against the Austrian Army and was threatening British shipping routes in Egypt. The sense of foreboding and dread during the genesis of this masterpiece may seem familiar to us today. Count Esterhazy, Haydn’s great patron and employer, had dismissed the wind players from his orchestra, leaving Haydn with tympani and brass instrumentalists which gave a darker color to the score. News of Lord Nelson’s victory over Napoleon in the battle of the Nile came after the initial performance of the mass. The piece was performed for Lord Nelson when he visited the Esterhazy estate in 1800 and thereafter the mass was associated with Lord Nelson’s name.
Soloists YoonGeong Lee, soprano, Anne Maguire, mezzo soprano, Andrew Turner, tenor, and Edward Vogel, bass, are winners of BCCO’s Vocal Soloist Competition. Come hear these gifted young singers join BCCO’s 200-plus-member chorus and full orchestra perform these two great classics, the dramatic Lord Nelson Mass and the celebratory Coronation Mass.