. Interchanging Idioms: Tenet Honors St. Cecilia’s Day with Music of Henry Purcell at Trinity Wall Street on Nov 22

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tenet Honors St. Cecilia’s Day with Music of Henry Purcell at Trinity Wall Street on Nov 22

On November 22, Trinity Wall Street presents “Odes”, a concert celebrating St. Cecilia’s Day to be given by Tenet, one of New York’s preeminent vocal ensembles (Trinity Church: Broadway at Wall Street). Led by artistic director Jolle Greenleaf, Tenet welcomes violinist and conductor Scott Metcalfe as guest music director for the program. Metcalfe will conduct a stellar ensemble that includes sopranos Jolle Greenleaf and Molly Quinn, countertenors Geoffrey Williams and Ryland Angel, tenors Sumner Thompson and Scott Mello, and basses Jesse Blumberg and Mischa Bouvier. Their program features music by celebrated English composer Henry Purcell, alongside music for Baroque trumpet performed by Kris Kwapis. A preview performance of “Odes” will be given the preceding day, on Monday, November 21, in Trinity Wall Street’s St. Paul’s Chapel (Broadway at Fulton Street).

The program, an invigorating mix of odes, arias, and trumpet-based instrumental works, showcases the range of Henry Purcell’s work, produced in a brilliant career cut short at the age of 36. The earliest recorded musical celebrations of St. Cecilia’s Day took place in London on November 22, 1683, but the tradition may be older still. The English celebrations were established by a band of musicians called the Musical Society, whose revels included a specially commissioned “Ode to St. Cecilia” by Purcell that was performed by the combined choirs of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Chapel Royal. That ode, “Hail! Bright Cecilia,” will be performed on November 22, as will other of the composer’s Cecilian odes: “Raise, raise the voice” and “Welcome to all the pleasures.”

A prolific composer of odes and welcome songs, Purcell also wrote a variety of music for the London stage, including interludes, incidental pieces, and operas, masques, and semi-operas: works with lavish staging, spoken dialogue, and elaborate musical set-pieces. The “Odes” program at Trinity Wall Street offers selected examples of these, among them the Sonata for trumpet and strings, music from The Fairy-Queen, and the overture from the masque in Timon of Athens. It is songs, however, that form the evening’s centerpiece, sung one voice to a part by Tenet’s distinguished soloists and supported by its seven instrumentalists. Purcell’s first welcome song for King James II, celebrating his return from summer vacation and titled “Why are all the muses mute?”, is notable for its unconventional opening, fine arias, and moving closing chorus.

Trinity Wall Street presents Tenet
Tuesday, November 22 at 7pm
Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall Street)

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