Monday, June 5, 2017


Paul McCreesh: Official Sites
Paul McCreesh Official Site: Paul McCreesh
Paul McCreesh Official Site: Gabrieli Consort & Players
Paul McCreesh: Deutsche Grammophon (Official)
Paul McCreesh: Gulbekian (Official)
Paul McCreesh: Paul McCreesh Twitter (Official)
Paul McCreesh: Gabrieli Consort & Players Facebook (Official)
Paul McCreesh: Gabrieli Consort & Players Facebook (Twitter)
Paul McCreesh: Winged Lion Records (Official)
Paul McCreesh: CD Haydn The Seasons 1801
Paul McCreesh: CD Haydn The Creation
Paul McCreesh: CD Mozart Great Mass in C Minor



1. Your newly released CD Album, Haydn The Seasons 1801, has reached #3 in the Specialist Classical Chart in few days. A magnificent reward for a long work by you, started in 2011, in particular with the accurate revision of the original «bad and unsingable» English libretto, and completed in 2016 for the album recording. Moreover, for this recording of The Seasons you have also prepared a new performing edition of Haydn’s score, which recreates the Viennese large-scale performances of Haydn’s own time, and so your recording of The Seasons can be considered de facto a world premiere for this Oratorio, since it’s the first recording featuring such spectacular (yet philological) large-scale forces. Can you tell us about the most crucial phases of preparation of the recording of The Seasons and about your most interesting decisions?
Yes, I suppose this project could be summed up as a «labour of love». I think if there is a top 10 of neglected masterpieces The Seasons is definitely up there towards the top; I consciously wanted to try to rehabilitate this work, which I think is every bit as great as The Creation.
Whilst Haydn performed with both pieces with large and small ensembles, certainly his best known performances took place in Vienna and used quite impressive forces. The standard ensemble included triple winds and double, or sometimes triple, brass as well as a large body of strings. There’s something particularly spectacular in hearing Haydn’s music with such large forces, and in a highly dramatic and pictorial work such as The Seasons, the added contrasts really help lift the music off the page. Whilst both Christopher Hogwood and I have recorded The Creation in this way, as you say, I think this is probably the first performance of The Seasons given in this style.
The Seasons was published in both German and English and although the German version is entirely passable the original English text is often comically inept, and I think this is a large part of the reason why The Seasons is rarely given outside of the German speaking world. Following my revisions on the similarly awkward text of The Creation, there seemed a golden opportunity to recreate a new English version of The Seasons which would hopefully win new friends to in the English speaking world. The text is entirely in 19th Century style, but it’s created specifically to match Haydn’s brilliant music and to present the singers and the audience with a version that brings them close to the world of Thomson’s original poem. I have revised this translation many times over the last 5 or 6 years; it’s really like an enormous crossword puzzle, but I have to say – if I’m allowed to – that I’m quite pleased with the final result.
Haydn, The Seasons 1801, Official Clip
2. In 2008 you recorded and released a new edition of Haydn’s The Creation (Archiv Produktion). In your opinion, what are the similarities and differences in the music treatment of these two great oratorios by Haydn? And what do you think are the differences between these two oratorios and the third early oratorio by Haydn, Il Ritorno di Tobia 1775 (revised in 1784 and again in 1808)? As is well known, both van Swieten and Haydn were admirers of Handel and Haydn’s The Creation and The Seasons, conceived after the two London Tours, were both written under the influence of Handel’s music. Moreover, in 1790s van Swieten, with the help of Mozart, managed to present a few masterpieces by Handel (i.e. MessiahSt. Cecilia) to the Viennese public in the famous new orchestration by Mozart. And this Viennese Handelianism exerted a great influence also on Beethoven.
They are of course brother and sister and one might almost view The Seasonsas a sequel to The Creation.
The differences are that The Seasons has more secular feel, in that it describes the day to day lives of people within the newly-created world; although The Seasons is framed by choruses which praise God it nevertheless has a much more humanistic touch.
In fact both works might be viewed through the prism of a turn-of-the-century nostalgia, Haydn bidding an almost Hardyesque farewell to a world which was rapidly changing.
The relationship with Swieten is crucial in the genesis of both these works, but it was Haydn himself who sought to emulate the world of the great Handel, having heard his performances in London in the 1790s.
Of course the early oratorio Il Ritorno di Tobia is a very different type of oratorio, much more Italianate and with extremely extended arias – quite a world apart.
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HANDEL CDs (Paul McCreesh)
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3. You have built a large discography for Deutsche Grammophon (ca. 43 albums). And, trough the years, you have recorded Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and then Berlioz, Mendelssohn up to Britten, Górecki, Ligeti and Pärt, creating thus a powerful trait d’union between the great Sacred Music tradition of Gabrieli and of the Venetian School and the Sacred Music of the contemporary composers of our days. What about your extraordinary musical journey?
The journey has been in two parts…
The early period when Gabrieli was largely focused on the earlier repertoire, and this appeared as part of a great relationship with Deutsche Grammophon.
More recent forays gave continuity in the field of later oratorio and a greater use of mixed repertoire programming on our choral CDs.
But there are still I think many threads of my musicianship that link all these projects.
But that’s for you to analyse!
4. What’s the story behind the name of your Orchestra: Gabrieli Consort & Players? And what’s the story behind your record label, Winged Lion, a clear homage to the Venetian School? As a conductor/entrepreneur and scholar, which new project will see yourforces involved in future? And what about your magnificent project Gabrieli Roar? What can you tell us about its origin, its vision, direction and structure?
No big story.
I just liked the music of the Gabrielis… and the opulence of Venetian repertoire seemed to match the ambition.
As for Winged Lion… It seemed an obvious marketing link.
I certainly answer to the description of conductor and entrepreneur – I certainly like to make projects happen!
I’ve never really regarded myself as a scholar beyond a generic interest to get under the skin of the music I conduct, which of course requires an engagement with the world of musicology and research.
My relationship with Worclaw, Wratslavia Cantans and the new National Forum of Music (NFM) has been one of the most important relationships in my life, and continues to develop with the NFM Choir, NFM Orchestra and Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra.
I’m certainly keen to continue this relationship and create more projects.
As I get older I’m spending more time trying to do at least a little bit to redress the poverty of cultural educational opportunities for too many young people. Or to put it in another way, to broaden access to choral music and singing which is too often an activity of those form either private schools or upper social classes.
Roar is an exciting educational initiative which helps develop young choirs and encourages them to take part in performances alongside our professional artists; in particular I am passionate that the young people get the chance to connect with real core culture.
We don’t create special music for young people but we ask them to engage with the great choral repertoire of the last five centuries.
Too many people will tell you that classical music is irrelevant to young people; Roar proves this statement to be patronising nonsense.
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GABRIELI ROAR: Meet the Choirs (Paul McCreesh)
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The Choirs involved in the project Gabrieli Roar.
Gabrieli Roar works with various partner youth choirs from across the UK, pairing each choir with a dedicated mentor who will visit them regularly to provide vocal training, assistance and support in other areas as required.
5. Your favourite work by Mozart and your favourite work by J. Haydn.
Mozart – I never tire of the last 3 symphonies, and likewise with Haydn the last two great oratorios are a constant source of delight and amazement.
4. Which neglected composer of the 18th century may arouse your interest for possible future projects?
I’m not sure obscure 18th century music is so much of a priority for me, but I certainly still have a great interest in English 17th century composers from Humfrey Locke, Blow et alii.
Likewise I wish the commercial world would let the ensemble do more work in Schütz and the great German early 17th century sacred music.
7. Mozart and Haydn have written many beautiful Vocal Works, which, unfortunately, are still rarely performed today and which are even almost unknown, which one arouses your interest?
I’ve loved the late Haydn masses, but also the earlier St. Cecilia mass – which I’ve never done – looks to be an extremely interesting work.
With Mozart I’ve often felt the sacred music, finely crafted though it is, rarely reaches anywhere near the level of inspiration of the great operas.
The truth is that making recordings in the current market is a huge loss-making activity however much critical success the recordings may enjoy.
So to be realistic there is very little chance of recording obscure repertoire.
8. Have you read a particular book on Mozart Era you consider important for the comprehension of the music of this period?
The vast Haydn volumes of Robbins Landon still remain a wonderful resource.
One might often argue about the analysis but there is still a wealth of very interesting background information.
9. For your concerts and your recordings, you have visited many different places with a great history and you have had so the special opportunity to work in such splendid locations. Which places and which occasions left the most enduring impressions on you, as a conductor and as an artist?
Too many to mention…
We’ve been honoured to play Bach in St. Thomas Leipzig, Gabrieli in San Rocco, Monteverdi in San Marco, Mendelssohn in Leipzig, Purcell in Stationer’s Hall.
But for the sheer thrill of rolling back the centuries I will always remember arriving in the timeless little town of Lerma in Castille in 2001 with a van load of new old music for the court there.
It was amazing to recreate the world of Spanish alternatim music in the glorious Collegiate church of San Pedro, with singers, wind band, string band and the church’s two magnificent c17 organs.
10. Do you think there’s a special place to be visited that proved crucial to the evolution of the 18th century music?
No one particular place although it is always of great interest to wander round historical buildings.
A visit to the great Haydn Eszterháza Palace is a must for any Haydn lover.
Thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!
Thank you!

Copyright © 2017 MozartCircle. All rights reserved.MozartCircle exclusive property. 
Iconography is in public domain or in fair use

CD Spotlight May 2017: Vanhal: 6 Quartette Concertante






6 Quartette Concertante

Chamber Music by Vanhal.
6 Quartette for Oboe & String
Trio Op. 7 (1771).Vanhal was a friend of Mozart
& Mozart used his Symphonies,
Concertos & Chamber Music
as Style reference.Sarah Francis
Tagore String Trio

Hyperion

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Interview April 2017: 10 Questions with D. McCaldin


Denis McCaldin: Official Sites
Denis McCaldin Official Site: Haydn Society of Great Britain
Denis McCaldin Official Site: Lancaster University
Denis McCaldin: Denis McCaldin LinkedIn (Official)
Denis McCaldin: Haydn Society Official Yahoo Group
Denis McCaldin: Haydn Society of Great Britain Twitter (Official)
Denis McCaldin: Haydn Society of Great Britain Facebook (Official)
Denis McCaldin: CD Haydn Nelson Mass
Denis McCaldin: CD Haydn Notturni & Scherzandi
Denis McCaldin: CD Haydn Little Organ Mass



1. On 24 March 2017 we are going to celebrate the second anniversary of a real historic moment: the unveiling of the first ever London Haydn Blue Plaque dedicated to the great composer J. Haydn in 2015. The relation between Haydn and London is of such fundamental importance for the history of music, however, as strange it may sound, it has been really difficult to reach such an achievement. And thanks to your brilliant leadership, this tribute of London to Haydn and his music has been made finally possible. What can you tell us about the long path that led to the unveiling of Haydn Blue Plaque in 2015? What’s the story behind the Blue Plaque Campaign?

The Society began modestly enough when a few performers and fellow music-lovers got together to review the likely celebrations in the UK of the 250th anniversary in 1982 of the composer’s birth. Finding no obvious point of co-ordination, they decided to form a Society to assist the celebrations and «with the principal aim of promoting a wider knowledge and understanding of the music of Joseph Haydn and his contemporaries». The group initially included the Delme String Quartet, Denis McCaldin (the present Director), Stephen Plaistow (BBC Radio 3), the composer Robert Simpson, and Erik Smith (record producer).

To sustain interest in the coming celebrations, the Society organised a Haydn Festival of Chamber Music in the summer of 1980 at Wigmore Hall in London. From July 1st – 10th, ten concerts, consisting entirely of works by the composer were given on consecutive evenings by the Pro Arte and Delme String Quartets, the Esterhazy Baryton Trio and individual guest soloists. A subsequent review in The Strad by Tim Alps raised the wider question of Haydn’s commercial appeal that still applies today:
«If it were not for the dedicated and enterprising Haydn Society of Great Britain it seems unlikely that an event such as the Haydn Festival of Chamber Music, which monopolised the Wigmore Hall for the first ten days of July would ever get off the ground. For despite Haydn’s unassailable position amongst the most venerable greats the fact remains, and it was borne out by the attendance at the concerts I sampled, that at the box office Haydn cannot compete with Mozart or Beethoven.»

Among the Society’s early supporters were Reginald Barrett-Ayres, Antal Dorati, Karl Geiringer, Antony van Hoboken and H.C. Robbins Landon, all of whom served on the initial Committee of Honour.
In 1992 the Newsletter was upgraded to a Journal, and in this format that we have since published papers by a number of distinguished colleagues including Colin Lawson, Crispian Steele-Perkins, Emmanuel Hurwitz, Otto Biba and Richard Wigmore.

The bicentenary of Haydn’s death in 2009 prompted celebrations of his music world-wide.
In particular, the Society became more closely associated with the Haydn Festspiele Eisenstadt through the invitation of its director Dr. Walter Reicher.

In partnership with the British Library, the Society also mounted a two-day international conference in London entitled Joseph Haydn and the Business of Music. A collection of the papers given at the time has since been published as a book entitled The Land of Opportunity – Joseph Haydn and Britain (The British Library Publishing Division, 2013).


As well as concerts and conferences the Society has also released several recordings on Meridian and Divine Art.

The Society’s most recent initiative has been to campaign for a memorial plaque in London. As long ago as 2002, negotiations began with Westminster City Council to site a plaque in Bury Street, where the composer resided during his second visit to London in 1794-1795.

More recently exploration and negotiation in Soho has led to agreement for a plaque to be established at 18, Great Pulteney Street. The plaque was unveiled there as a memorial to Haydn by Sir Neville Marriner on 24th March 2015. A video record of the event can be seen on the Haydn Society website at www.haydnsocietyofgb.co.uk.


It is good that such a memorial should be in London, a city where Haydn was admired and loved, and where he himself spent some of his happiest years.


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THE HAYDN BLUE PLAQUE UNVEILING – 24 MARCH 2015
LONDON – 18, GREAT PULTENEY STREET
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Video of the plaque unveiling, produced by The Haydn Society of Great Britain. Additional footage courtesy of Christopher Foster-Hicklin. Audio courtesy of the BBC. Photographs by Iona Wolff. The complete gallery is available at www.haydnsocietyofgb.co.uk.









2. Many people supported your initiative and campaign for the London Haydn Blue Plaque and your work has been also supported by many friends and collaborators. Do you want to remember someone in particular and especially for the commitment to the Haydn Blue Plaque Campaign?

Rather as in Bach’s day, when musical skills were passed down through the generations, my daughter Clare and her partner Cheyney Kent contributed the most in terms of energy and commitment. (see McCaldin Arts.com and her project Haydn’s London Ladies).




3. Thanks to your activity as director, the Haydn Society of Great Britain has always promoted the diffusion of the music by Joseph Haydn, also through events and media (BBC Radio 3), since 1982, as you have previously indicated, and, recently, also through a constant web presence. And what about your future plans?

Amongst other projects, we have been invited to collaborate with King’s College, London University to design an innovative course for music students using IT to explore aspects of Haydn’s life in England.


 
4. As Haydn Society of Great Britain, you have also conducted an interesting survey among scholars, Haydn advocates and enthusiasts and people in general about the attractiveness of Haydn’s music and the possible reasons for its comparative neglect. What are the conclusions of your survey so far?

We have discovered that the accessibility of Haydn’s music can be deceptive.
In schools, the apparent simplicity of some of the music and the programmatic stories attached, as in the Clock, and Surprise symphonies, means that the music is often treated as an introduction to classical music, rather than on the same level as other great works of the period.
The idea of Papa Haydn dies hard, and once established in a child’s memory, there is tendency for thoughts about both the man and his music to be permanently associated with immaturity and pre-adult life.

  
5. After the death of her husband, Constanze Mozart somehow acted as the high priestess of the cult of Mozart and, in this way, preserved Mozart’s legacy and promoted his myth. Do you think that the difficult marriage and the famous terribilis wife of Haydn must have played some role in the partial neglect, into which most of his music production fell during the 19th and the 20th century?

This maybe the case, but the deification of Mozart as a tragic artist was a strong element, as was the influence of the Romantic movement in general.



6. And a particularly interesting fact, on that process of deification of Mozart that you were talking about, is that, after 1791, in his letters, even Haydn himself began calling Mozart our immortal Mozart, and always received Constanze Mozart among his closest friends. In 1790s Haydn even actually actively promoted the purchasing and the publication of Mozart’s manuscripts and unpublished works… So, in conclusion, Haydn himself accepted that particular treatment of Mozart, supported Constanze Mozart’s activity and was among Mozart promoters! Certainly an important token of their long friendship, from such a generous and constructive man as Haydn!
                                                                    __________
You are also a conductor and you have also released a series of CD albums featuring Haydn’s music. As a conductor, what’s your personal approach to Haydn and to his music?

My main concern is to be loyal to the spirit of the music, and to project the essence of each movement in performances I direct.

This is often more difficult than it appears.

When we look at a Haydn score, the instrumentation can sometimes seem quite sparse, as though it lacks substance.

But any attempt on the part of the conductor to interpret the music, in an effort to compensate for this apparent deficiency, I find is generally counter-productive.


  
7. You have published also a series of important editions of Haydn’s sacred music, as an editor, through the Oxford University Press. Your Nelson Mass edition has been critically acclaimed. What have been your impressions and emotions, while directly working on the music by such a great Master of the History of Music. In your edition of Haydn’s Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo you included also the elongated Gloria by his brother Michael Haydn. What do you think of the music by Joseph and Michael Haydn, when considered in comparison? What the differences?
Because I was able to work from the composer’s autograph score, the physical sight and contact with the Haydn’s handwriting – including his erasures and revisions – was very moving.
The hand-written manuscript was beautifully neat and clear.
                                                                    __________
Like many music lovers, I’m not as familiar with Michael Haydn’s works as I would like to be.
However, those which I have heard, such as his Requiem in C minor, strike me to be as fine as those of his brother.




8. What’s your favourite work by J. Haydn? And, thanks to your long experience, what’s, in general, the favourite work by J. Haydn, in people’s opinion?

This is a very difficult question to answer. It’s often the work I’m studying at the time. If I had to choose, it would be The Creation.
                                                                    __________
The Trumpet Concerto in E flat!

From lists of top choices in classical music that I have seen, the Trumpet Concerto by Haydn is always the first of Haydn’s works to be selected.




9. Beside Joseph and Michael Haydn, do you have in mind the name of some other neglected composer of the 18th century you’d like to see re-evaluated?

One is Wilhelm Herschel (1738-1822), a British contemporary of Haydn’s, a major astronomer, and a member of the Royal Society.

Another is the Italian Gaetano Brunetti (1744–1798), some of whose symphonies have been edited by Newell Jenkins.

  
10. Next 5-10 September 2017 you are organizing a wonderful journey to the places where Haydn worked, as lecturer with Martin Randall Travel. It will be possible to visit all the venues associated with Haydn, from Eisenstadt to Rohrau, Eszterháza and Vienna and to attend important concerts with internationally acclaimed orchestras and musicians, and in the very places, where Haydn himself worked, composed and performed his music. In your opinion, how important is to have a direct experience with the original places, to achieve a better comprehension of the music of such great composer.

Personally, I always like to visit the places where a composer lived and worked to explore their particular atmosphere and physical proportions.

In Haydn’s case, for example, the acoustics of the Haydnsaal in the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt are unusually attractive, and this is rather surprising until it emerges that the composer insisted that the marble floor be covered in wood to achieve the acoustic he wanted for his orchestral concerts.

Finally, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your admirable publication.
I have enjoyed the chance to think about some of the reasons that I admire Haydn and his music.

Indeed, if I was offered one wish outside the present, it would be to spend an evening having dinner together.




Thank you very much for your invitation, we accept with great pleasure! And it’s sure our main dishes will be the Haydnian Esterházy Roast Beef and the Mozartian Chocolate & Marzipan Cake. Thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions!

Thank you!

 


Copyright © 2017 MozartCircle. All rights reserved.MozartCircle exclusive property. 
Iconography is in public domain or in fair use.