The Age of Elegance and Enlightenment: CSB/SJU Chamber Choir, SJU Men’s Chorus, and Amadeus Chamber Symphony

The Age of Elegance and Enlightenment: CSB/SJU Chamber Choir, SJU Men’s Chorus, and Amadeus Chamber Symphony

October 18, 2019 at 8:00 PM
Great Hall, SJU

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Axel Theimer, Conductor

Marcie Givens, Soprano

The Age of Elegance and Enlightenment

FRIDAY, October 18, 2019
8:00 p.m.
Saint John’s University, Collegeville


        Leopold Mozart                Symphony  in B-flat major

         Carl Abel                           Symphony in E-flat major

         Johann Christian Bach        Magnificat in C

         Wolfgang A. Mozart          Regina Coeli, K 276

                                                Wolfgang A. Mozart          Laudate Dominum                                          

Join us, as we begin our New Season!

The Age of Elegance and Enlightenment

Plagiarism? ‘Stealing’ someone else’s music? Imitation?

There was a time when it was considered an honor if a composer used and incorporated someone else’s motives in his/her composition. Almost unthinkable today without having to get permission to avoid any kind of copyright infringements and subsequent penalties and lawsuits. Sometimes it seems that even sounding somewhat like someone else’s music, can get a person in real trouble with the law and publishers.

You will hear some phrases and motives today which were used by many – even though one composer always comes to mind when we hear for example ‘the’ famous “Alleluia” theme. Who was first? Was it Handel, was it Mozart or was it some other lesser known (maybe today completely forgotten) composer who wrote it first?

All the selections on the upcoming program represent the style of music from what we know as the ‘Classical’ period, historically also known as The Age of Elegance and Enlightenment. For the somewhat initiated it seems easy to recognize music from this period. A ‘typical’ (these days almost predictable) harmonic language, the overall form of compositions. Even the instrumentation seems to follow certain rules and expectations. Some people consider it to be clearer/cleaner than the complexities of the late Baroque, more predictable concerning the length of phrases and melodies, with clear tonal centers and familiar sounding cadences and endings.

Tonight’s symphonies were for a long time considered to have been written by the young W.A. Mozart. After having performed his 1st symphony last year and some of his ‘later’ earlier symphonies on other programs, I was always a little surprised by the maturity of the 2nd and 3rd symphony and then the ‘much simpler’ style of # 4. For many years both the #2 and #3 were ‘attributed’ to W.A. – and #3 even exists as manuscript in young Mozart’s handwriting. We now know this symphony was actually composed by Carl Abel (his 6th symphony) and Mozart copied the music for study purposes, as was often the way young musicians learned: by copying other master’s music! This was possibly also the case with Mozart’s 2nd Symphony – attributed to him, but, as has now been established, actually composed by his father Leopold, who, most likely, had instructed Wolfgang to copy it for learning purposes.

All in the family… and maybe a little confusing?

London seemed to have been such a magnet and destination for many of the most famous composers/musicians of that time. Carl Abel (who studied with J.S. Bach in Leipzig) came to London (1759), and he and J.C. Bach, (J.S. Bach’s 11th son, also called the “London Bach”, who arrived in London in 1762) became close friends – establishing the Bach-Abel concerts, England’s first subscription concerts where many of Haydn’s compositions received their first London performances. Mozart met Bach and Abel when he visited London (that’s also where he wrote his 1st Symphony).

In addition to these ‘attributed’ works – and a Magnificat by J.C. Bach (very much in the ‘classical style’ we will have witnessed already in the symphonies), we will actually include some ‘original’ W.A. Mozart (but, after reading all of this… who knows???!!!): his delightful Regina Coeli – maybe one of his most popular choral works – as well as one movement (Laudate Dominum) from his Solemn Vespers. Dr. Marcie Givens will be soprano soloist for the Laudate Dominum.

Come and enjoy a delightful evening of Classical masterpieces in the beautiful Great Hall on the campus of Saint John’s University, performed by the CSB/SJU Chamber Choir, SJU Men’s Chorus and ‘our’ (Central Minnesota’s) Amadeus Chamber Symphony.