JOY AND SORROW UNMASKED
Georg Friedrich Händel, Giovanni Battista Ferrandini
Giuseppe Torelli, Johann Sebastian Bach
Euroopa Liidu barokkorkester
Lars Ulrik Mortensen (kunstiline juht, klavessiin)
Maria Keohane, sopraano
Sebastian Philpott, trompet
DVD released in January 2013.
|EUBO on tour: a short introduction|
|G F Handel||Cantata Ah! Che troppo ineguali HWV 230|
|G F Handel||Concerto Grosso in F major, Op 6 No 2 HWV 320|
|G B Ferrandini||Cantata Il Pianto di Maria HWV 234|
|G Torelli||Sonata in D major for trumpet, strings & basso continuo|
|J S Bach||Brandenburg Concerto No 3 in G major BWV 1048|
|J S Bach||Cantata Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen BWV 51|
|G F Handel||Aria Tu del Ciel ministro eletto from Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno HWV 46a|
Concerto grosso in F major, Allegro, 2 min 28 sec, mp3, 160 Kbps
Aria Tu del Ciel ministro eletto, fragm, 3 min 42 sec, mp3, 160 Kbps
Performed by European Union Baroque Orchestra, Lars Ulrik Mortensen (director & harpsichord), Maria Keohane (soprano), Sebastian Philpott (trumpet), Huw Daniel (concertmaster)
Cameramen − Ralf Klingelhöfer, Sandro Lattanzi
Camera technical support − Oliver Prasnikar
Assistant cameraman − Thomas Bünger
Sound recording, mixing and mastering by Carl Schuurbiers / Studio 4
Editing by Anette Fleming
Video director − Stefan Zednik
Liner notes by Lars Ulrik Mortensen
Booklet compiled by Noora Heiskanen
Booklet edited by Inna Kivi and Tiina Jokinen
Photos by fz film, Paul James, Anna Thorbjoernsson, Tim Mintiens, and from the archives of EUBO
Design by Mart Kivisild
Executive producers Peeter Vähi and Paul James
© fz film, EUBO, ERP
The title Joy and Sorrow Unmasked refers primarily to the vocal pieces we perform in this programme, featuring Swedish soprano Maria Keohane, with whom EUBO has worked with great pleasure on a number of occasions. This programme was prepared in November 2011 in Collegio Ghislieri in Pavia, where the orchestra has one of its much-valued “residencies”. After performances in Italy, in Pavia, Brescia and Monza, EUBO flew to Poland for concerts in Warsaw and Poznan; the next stop on the tour was one of EUBO’s favourite destinations, Casa da Música in Porto, and from there to the orchestra’s “home” in Echternach in Luxembourg, where the concert was recorded and filmed for this DVD. The tour ended with a final performance in Darmstadt in Germany, where EUBO has long enjoyed a happy relationship with Philharmonie Merck.
The concert begins with music by Handel; the combination of Handel and Bach is always interesting because the audience is able to hear not only the similarities between the two composers, born in the same year, but also the differences. Handel’s vocal piece Ah! che troppo ineguali speaks of sorrow; composed during his time in Italy at the beginning of the 18th century it is a work of intense psychological depth for a young man of just 22 years old – a similar age to many of our EUBO musicians. The soul is personalized by the figure of Maria who prays for forgiveness. Unlike Bach, whose work looks to man’s release from sorrow, Handel composes sorrow itself very strongly. Here is the catholic world of Handel versus the protestant world of Bach – the two are very different.
An instrumental interlude follows: a concerto grosso by Handel from his London opus 6 set of 1739. Handel’s concerti grossi have for a long time been “standard issue” with EUBO, music which the orchestra has always enjoyed playing. The second concerto of the set shows us the joyful and exuberant side of Handel.
The first half of the concert concludes with a cantata long misattributed to Handel (HWV 234) but which was actually composed by Giovanni Battista Ferrandini in 1739 (written in the same year as the Op 6 No 2). Like Handel’s Ah! che troppo ineguali, it is a Marian hymn Il Pianto di Maria, also known as Giunta l’ora fatal. Mary is tormented with grief at witnessing the crucifixion of her son, which is dramatically reflected in the intense twisting chromatic lines of the music, and she brings the cantata to a literally earth-trembling conclusion as she recalls the three earthquakes ordained by God. Ferrandini’s inspiration must surely have been the sequence of three earthquakes of great magnitude that occurred in central Italy in 1703 which killed more than 10,000 people. History repeated itself during the production of this DVD, with a series of devastating earthquakes in May 2012.
“Joy” in the concert title refers to the cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, which is a song of praise to God. It is a spectacular piece, one of Bach’s most extrovert compositions with a wonderful obbligato trumpet duetting with the soprano. Through a series of recitatives and arias it shows Bach at his most joyful, positive and optimistic. The cantata is preceded by one of Bach’s most dazzling and famous concertos, his Brandenburg Concerto No 3, which has been a favourite of the orchestra for many years and which is as demanding as it is exciting. And to give our trumpet player a chance to warm up before he has to tackle the Bach cantata, we play a sonata for strings with trumpet obbligato by another of Handel’s Italian contemporaries, Giuseppe Torelli.
When we were planning this DVD we had overlooked the inclusion of an “encore”. When Maria Keohane first began working with EUBO in 2009 I asked her to suggest a crowd-pleaser to send an audience off home suitably contented. Instead of a fast and furious rollercoaster of an aria, she merely proposed Bellezza’s aria Tu del Ciel ministro eletto which concludes Handel’s first oratorio Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno (The triumph of Time and Truth). From the first rehearsal play-through with Maria and concertmaster Huw Daniel, we knew we had something very special − and we have brought nearly every EUBO concert to a close since then with this quietly astonishing and unexpected final aria: written by a 22 year old genius far from home.
You will find this, I trust, to be a varied programme with lots of light and shadow, joy and sorrow.
The European Union Baroque Orchestra, Cultural Ambassador for the European Union, is like no other orchestra: EUBO auditions and selects completely new personnel every year. EUBO’s ephemeral existence makes its concerts special: live performances enjoying all the technical accomplishment of the best young Baroque musicians in Europe, allied to an infectious undimmed sense of discovery and enjoyment.
Members of EUBO come from all over the EU to gain experience, working together for a six-month season with Music Director Lars Ulrik Mortensen and some of the world’s leading guest directors, including Enrico Onofri, Roy Goodman, Alexis Kossenko, Ton Koopman, Christina Pluhar, Margaret Faultless, Riccardo Minasi, Paul Agnew and Gottfried von der Goltz. Tours take them to all corners of Europe – from celebrated city concert halls, to seaside summer festivals, to monasteries nestling in autumnal forests, and to winter celebrations in beautiful churches. And at the centre of these great arcs of European travelling EUBO has established residencies in several cities, most notably as “orchestra-in-residence” in Echternach, Luxembourg, where, with the support of its local partners, it is creating a centre of excellence for baroque music.
EUBO’s activities are supported with a grant from the European Commission’s programme “cultural ambassadors”. Flying the flag for Europe, “EUBO is”, as President José Manuel Barroso says, “a perfect symbol of the power of integration, a subtle and potent instrument of harmonisation between people and nations”.
When Lars Ulrik Mortensen began studying musicology at university, he came across a book about English music for the virginal – he was fascinated, and it led him to the harpsichord. He studied first in Copenhagen and then in London, becoming harpsichordist with London Baroque and Collegium Musicum 90. In 2004, after a long association with the European Union Baroque Orchestra as harpsichord tutor and guest director, Lars Ulrik Mortensen became its Music Director. A Financial Times reviewer, writing after a EUBO concert, said “Mortensen is exceptional not just for his scholarship and virtuosity at the keyboard, but also because he makes music with his entire body and soul.” In his home country Lars Ulrik is the artistic director of Concerto Copenhagen, whose opera productions at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen have helped to build a profile for the group nationally and internationally. In addition to his work with his “own” orchestras, Lars Ulrik also performs extensively as guest director, soloist and chamber musician in Europe, the USA, Japan and Australia, with distinguished colleagues including Emma Kirkby, Susanne Rydén, Maria Keohane, John Holloway and Jaap ter Linden. Lars Ulrik Mortensen has received a number of prizes, among them Denmark’s most prestigious music award, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2007. Lars Ulrik Mortensen’s many CD recordings have reaped major awards. Directing Concerto Copenhagen, his recent recordings include the complete harpsichord concertos by J S Bach, Haydn piano concertos, as well as symphonies by Danish composers Hartmann, Kunzen and Gerson.
Maria Keohane is a Swedish soprano whose repertoire spans a wide spectrum of music styles from Baroque to contemporary, including chamber music, opera and oratorio. She started her training as a singer while she was still working in the veterinary field and when she is not performing somewhere in the world, she lives on a farm in rural Sweden, combining her love of the country life and the glamour of her performing career. Maria finished her studies at the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen in June 2003 and has since performed worldwide with some of the best early music directors and soloists. Recently she performed with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra in San Francisco and with Concerto Copenhagen at Wiener Konzerthaus. While she has performed in many operas, for instance at the Drottningholm Royal Theatre in Stockholm or the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, she is now increasingly in demand as an oratorio singer, working with directors such as Martin Gester, Roy Goodman, Jakob Lindberg, Andrew Manze, Nicholas McGegan, Andrew Parrott and Lars Ulrik Mortensen. Maria has recorded several CDs and has also participated in many television and radio productions, including a film about Bach’s cantata Weichet nur with the European Union Baroque Orchestra in 2009. She has been awarded the Reumert Prize, one of Denmark’s most prestigious theatre prizes, for her role as Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo in 2005 and has been honoured several times by The Royal Swedish Academy.
Sebastian Philpott studied the trumpet at the Royal College of Music in London, graduating with First Class Honours, the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna, and has undertaken a Master of Art degree from the Royal Academy of Music, supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust. He has played with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, European Camerata, London Contemporary Orchestra and the Britten-Pears Orchestra. He is in demand throughout Europe as a natural trumpet player, and has performed with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Sixteen, European Union Baroque Orchestra, and New Century Baroque, of which he is a founder member. Alongside his orchestral commitments, he is a member of the Mercury Brass Quintet, the ten-piece London Chamber Brass, among other brass ensembles. Sebastian has performed for the pop band The Hoosiers in several full-production tours, and major music festivals in the UK, Europe and Japan, as well as live television and radio performances and studio recordings. He recorded on the Comic Relief 2009 single – (Barry) Islands In The Stream by Gavin & Stacey, with Tom Jones, and has performed with Eliza Doolittle on the Graham Norton Show.