Saturday 25th June, 7.30pm
Tickets on the door (cash)
£12 | £5 students | Under 16s free
Sheffield-based Viva Voce Chamber Choir, freshly rebooted, cordially invite you to join our summer’s evening party of celebratory, thought-provoking, and dramatic musical fireworks - with moments of solemnity and intimacy – Viva Voce’s first major post-pandemic outing, figuring some very welcome bright and shiny young new choral talent - raising our game, keeping us on point.
We return, in collaboration with members of Hallam Sinfonia, with a programme Prologue - Max Richter’s hauntingly meditative minimalist On the Nature of Daylight (Entropy) for Strings, performed in memory of Sheffield violinist Paul Schatzberger, a linchpin of Hallam Sinfonia and also on occasions when he accompanied Viva Voce. With added vocalise, and Hallam Sinfonia’s ‘harmonie’ wind band, we pay tribute and provide reflective repose.
Talking of younger talent…
Q (fresh fast-tracked postgrad. to an apparently washed-up 007):
‘Age is no guarantee of efficiency’
James Bond (decidedly peeved with the spotty upstart):
‘And youth is no guarantee of innovation’
What’s that all about? (I hear you ask). Well - Our programme presents two works from opposite ends of Mozart and Haydn’s respective careers – one the work of an adolescent 17-year-old (over half of his already lived), the other from a seasoned 70-year-old.
Yet, with Mozart and Haydn, there’s no one upmanship here. Both demonstrated a healthy competitive, progressive, and nurturing mutual respect, having gained their hard-won cosmopolitan celebrity status’ borne of their tireless imaginative creative graft and applying their prodigious talents.
Both composers had a wickedly marked sense of humour and youthful outlook on life and work - as illustrated in the rounded characters of their operas (yes, Haydn penned 17) – keen insights into human psychology and relationships in all their subtleties.
So, we’ll banish the reductive trope of Mozart as the crass immature, wunderkind man-child of Peter Schaffer’s Amadeus (the film version that brought this evening’s programmed Symphony No.25 into the popularist classical commercial fold) and the equally simplistic view of Haydn as the wiser elder with a mature dry, wry, sometimes sardonic yet always sophisticated tongue-in-cheek wit.
Our interpretations delve deep to show that both men used this gamut of humour, to say nothing of their entertaining and consummate handling seria and buffa timing.
Symphony No.25 in G minor can read as an inventive essay taking its lead from Haydn’s ‘Sturm und Drang’ minor key Symphonies: 26 Lamentatione D minor, 39 La tempesta di Mare G minor, 44 Trauer E minor, 45 Farewell F# minor and 49 La Passione F minor. It’s certainly a storming triumph for Mozart – a rewarding workout of a piece with some repose and rustic entertainment in the inner movements.
We’ll follow this with a luxurious birthday commission celebrating the name day of one Princess Maria Josepha Hermenegild, wife of Prince Esterhazy, the last major work from an ailing celebrity Haydn, lauded following his commercial tours with his ‘London’ Symphonies. We’ll aim to replicate the spectacle presented at Eisenstadt with a Wind Band headlining in Papa-Haydn’s enthralling Missa No.14 in B-flat major that Prince Esterhazy’s musicians and Kapelle dubbed ‘Harmonie’messe – a nickname that has stuck.
‘Riens de plus beau et de mieux execute’
‘ Nothing more beautiful and better executed’
Diary entry of Count Starhemberg, London ambassador
- present at the first performance.
This is our aspiration (and challenge) where the vocal character soloists and ensemble semi-chorus vignettes are drawn from within the Viva Voce troupe. Beguiling ‘harmonie’ interplay and demanding concertato string writing from Hallam Sinfonia will liberate the notes clear of the honed scores - all infectiously joyous and celebratory. Just the ticket.