Handel and Haydn Society Further Embraces the Holiday Season
with A Bach Christmas
Festive 17th- and 18th-century all-German program, performed by the acclaimed
Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus, features J.S. Bach’s Cantata 62,
Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland as its centerpiece.
Concert marks the Handel and Haydn Society conducting debut of Scott Metcalfe.
Performances are Thursday, December 19, 8 pm and Sunday, December 22, 3 pm
at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall.
December 4, 2013 (Boston, MA) — The Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) continues its celebration of the holidays with A Bach Christmas, an intimate Baroque program of vocal and instrumental works. In what has become an H&H tradition, this year’s Bach Christmas showcases J.S. Bach’s stirring Advent cantata Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 62), alongside unfamiliar musical gems by Bach’s lesser known cousins, Johann Christoph Bach, Johann Ludwig Bach, and Johann Bernard Bach. Earlier 17th-century Christmas music by Samuel Scheidt and Praetorius completes this joyous, all-German program.
“With German music, there can be this innate seriousness and conscientious attention to craft but also great fun,” says the concert’s programmer and guest conductor, Scott Metcalfe.
The concert’s first half celebrates Advent, the four-week period in the liturgical calendar preceding Christmas, with the familiar Martin Luther chorale Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Now come, Savior of the heathens) as the focus. This signature Advent hymn will be followed by Michael Praetorius’ arrangements of the same chorale and J.S. Bach’s Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BWV 62). Composed for the first Sunday of Advent in December 1724, this emotive cantata will feature 14 players from the Period Instrument Orchestra, the 12-singer Chorus, and solo arias for tenor and bass.
Metcalfe will be making his H&H conducting debut with A Bach Christmas. Now in his 15th season as the artistic director of the Cambridge-based early music vocal ensemble Blue Heron, Metcalfe is an accomplished violinist as well as conductor. Praised by The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Donald Rosenberg as “a model of supple phrasing and keen rhythmic impulses, finding subtle nuances in diverse materials,” Metcalfe will be doing double-duty for A Bach Christmas—conducting and playing first violin for the orchestral pieces on the program.
“We are very excited to welcome Scott to lead the Handel and Haydn Society,” says H&H Executive Director Marie-Hélène Bernard. “Scott has proven himself to be a conductor of great technical command and musicality with creative ideas in programming. This should be an outstanding concert.”
A Bach Christmas
December 19, 2013, 8pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall
December 22, 2013, 3pm at NEC’s Jordan Hall
Scott Metcalfe, conductor
Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus
Martin Luther: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
Michael Praetorius: Three Settings of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
J.S. Bach: Cantata 62, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
J.C. Bach: Lieber Herr Gott, wecke uns auf
J.L. Bach: Overture from Suite in G Major
J.B. Bach: Suite No. 2 in G Major
Samuel Scheidt: Duo seraphim
Scheidt: Puer natus in Bethlehem
Scheidt: Gelobet seystu, Jesu Christ
Praetorius: Puer natus in Bethlehem
Praetorius: In dulci jubilo
Praetoirus: Singet und klinget
Tickets from $20. See below for purchasing information.
Tickets are available through Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) Box Office: by phone at 617 266 3605; online at handelandhaydn.org; or in person at the Handel and Haydn Society offices, Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston (M–F, 10am–6pm). Student rush is available starting 90 minutes before the performance: $15 cash only with valid ID, best available seats subject to availability. Groups of 10 or more receive a 20% discount.
Scott Metcalfe makes his Handel and Haydn Society debut with A Bach Christmas. Metcalfe has gained wide recognition as one of North America’s leading specialists in music from the 15th through 17th centuries and beyond. Musical and artistic director of Blue Heron since its founding in 1999, he is also music director of New York City’s Green Mountain Project.
Metcalfe also enjoys a career as a Baroque violinist and currently plays with ensembles in Boston, Montreal, and elsewhere. He teaches vocal ensemble repertoire and performance practice at Boston University and is co-director of BU’s new Center for Early Music Studies.. A resident of Watertown, Metcalfe received a bachelor’s degree in 1985 from Brown University, where he majored in biology, and in 2005 he completed a master’s degree in historical performance practice at Harvard.
Handel and Haydn Society
Handel and Haydn Society is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internationally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instruments and techniques of the composer’s time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is considered the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to excellence and innovation: it gave the American premieres of Handel’s Messiah (1818), Haydn’s The Creation (1819), Verdi’s Requiem (1878), and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion(1879). H&H will celebrate its 200th anniversary with the 2014–2015 Season.
Handel and Haydn today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Harry Christophers, is committed to its mission to enrich life and influence culture by performing Baroque and Classical music at the highest levels of artistic excellence, and by providing engaging, accessible, and broadly inclusive music education and training activities. H&H is widely known through its local subscription series, tours, concert broadcasts on WGBH/99.5 Classical New England and National Public Radio, and recordings. Its recording of Sir John Tavener’s Lamentations and Praises won a 2003 Grammy Award and two of its recordings, All is Bright and Peace, appeared simultaneously in the top ten on Billboard Magazine’s classical music chart. Since the release of its first collaboration with Harry Christophers on the CORO label in September 2010, it has made available three live commercial recordings of works by Mozart – Mass in C Minor (2010), Requiem (2011), and Coronation Mass(2012) as well as Haydn, Vol. 1 (September 2013) and An American Christmas(October 2013).
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PR and Communications Manager, Handel and Haydn Society