The Creemore Choral Festival presents the earliest works of one the world’s most precocious musical minds, Mozart, beside his final compositions and the mature masterworks of his older friend and mentor, Franz Josef Haydn.
Join us on June 4th as we trace the astounding musical development of the young Mozart from his bold first symphony, written when he was only eight years old, through to his last choral work, the serene “Ave Verum”, completed months before his death. Our programme concludes with Haydn’s “Nelson Mass”, for choir, soloists and orchestra; a work which bears all the musical hallmarks of a mature composer enjoying the fruits of a long and successful career as the most celebrated composer in Europe.
In 1763 the seven-year-old Mozart and his older sister were taken a grand European tour by their parents. While visiting London their father became ill, and it was during the enforced six month lull in their itinerary that Mozart wrote his first symphony and his choral motet “God is Our Refuge”. The sophistication displayed in these early works is astounding, and continues through the lovely selections from his Vespers, including the deservedly famous “Laudate Dominum”. As Mozart developed as a composer he drew from a variety of musical styles, including the music of Bach and his predecessors. His last completed choral work, “Ave Verum”, was written at the same time as the “Magic Flute”, and less than six months before his early death. Despite the simplicity and brevity of the motet (only forty six bars), it contains some of his most beautiful and nostalgic music.
Haydn’s “Nelson Mass” is more properly titled “Missa in Angustiis” or “Mass is troubled times”. It was written after the invading armies of Napoleon Bonaparte had crossed the Alps and threatened to encircle Vienna. The impending fear experienced by the whole Austrian nation is reflected in the martial music of the “Nelson Mass”. Haydn’s chief biographer, H. C. Robbins Landon, has written that this mass “is arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”. The music highlights the virtuosity of the soloists and chorus while still allowing the orchestra to play a prominent role.
What Haydn did not know was that on the day of the first performance Napoleon was defeated by Nelson in the battle of the Nile. The final movement of the renamed “Nelson Mass” is a setting of the words “give us peace”. What a fitting conclusion to a masterpiece. We hope you will join us, as our professional orchestra, talented young soloists and wonderful choir lead us through a fascinating musical journey.
Programme for June 4th
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)
- Symphony 1 in E flat K.16 first movement
- God is Our Refuge K.20 for choir
- Scanda Coeli Limina K.34 for soprano soloist and choir
- Vesperae Solenne de Confessore K.330
- Dixit Dominus
- Laudate Dominum
- Magnificat K.339
- Ave Verum K.618
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 – 1809)
- Nelson Mass