Updated: Oct 24, 2022
A concert celebrating spring with spectacular music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Vivaldi featuring the acclaimed, Billboard Classical chart-topping Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys.
A small selection of the choristers singing in Saint Paul's Church Harvard Square. Photo credit: Julia Monaco
Join the acclaimed, Billboard Classical chart-topping Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys for this spectacular concert of music featuring two of the most enduring and beloved composers of all time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Vivaldi, including Mozart’s elegant and uplifting “Sparrow” Mass, the sublime Laudate Dominum, and Vivaldi’s famous Gloria. The choir will be joined by members of Melius Ensemble, a period-instrument orchestra founded by James Kennerley in 2019, and made up of the players from the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and many of the finest early musicians from around the country.
“Guided by institutions such as the Boston Early Music Festival, the Cambridge and Boston area has long been one of the global centers for the performance of early music. Historically informed instrumentalists take great pains to play on instruments that are constructed in traditional manner, and singers likewise aim to replicate the sounds and style of musicians from the time that the music was composed. Melius Ensemble features period instrumentalists renowned for their expert interpretations of 17th- and 18th-century repertoire, and I cannot wait for them to collaborate with the renowned Saint Paul’s Choir. The Vivaldi and Mozart pieces will form a thrilling showcase for both the choir and orchestra.” comments James Kennerley.
“The sound of the boys’ voices is unique and quite unlike the sound of, say, professional female vocalists that perform the vast majority of early music performances. It’s the sound that composers such as Mozart, Bach, and Handel would have known and for which such masterpieces as the Requiem, St Matthew Passion, and Messiah. We are thrilled to give what may be the first historically informed performance of the Mozart works in the area. Ironically, the Vivaldi was written for female voices, although it has a long performance history with boys’ treble voices.”
"There is no rose of such virtue" by Elizabeth Maconchy, performed at 2021's Spring Concert by the Choir of Men and Boys of Saint Paul's Church. Video credit: Julia Monaco
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) probably composed the Mass in C major for use on Easter Day at Salzburg Cathedral around 1776. Scored for choir, vocal soloists, and orchestral, its nickname, Spatzenmesse (“Sparrow Mass”) is derived from the opening figure of the “Hosanna in excelsis” sections that feature a violin figure resembling a chirping bird. Filled with Mozart’s characteristically uplifting and elegant vocal writing, the work achieves a sense of grandeur with the use of trumpets and timpani to highlight the more exuberant parts of the text. The Laudate Dominum features one of Mozart’s most distinctive and famous melodies. Drawn from a larger work composed in 1780 for the evening service of Vespers, (“Solemn Vespers for a Confessor”), the text consists of the Latin translation of Psalm 117: “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” This form of praise is not in the style of a grand fanfare or declamation; instead, the words inspire a suave and highly melismatic solo soprano melody, gently accompanied by the orchestra and the choir.
The boys of Saint Paul's Choir School outside of Mozart's birthplace in Salzburg, Austria during their 2020 tour of Bavaria. Photo credit: Julia Monaco.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was born and raised in Venice. In addition to becoming renowned throughout Europe for his virtuosic and revolutionary instrumental concertos, he was famous during his lifetime for his violin playing. He was also ordained a priest in 1703, and would later become known as Il Prete Rosso, "The Red Priest". That same year, Vivaldi became maestro di violin at the Pio Ospedale della Pietà (“Devout Hospital of Mercy”), a Venetian orphanage for girls and women. Over the next thirty years he composed the majority of his major works while working at the Ospedale, where the inhabitants played and sang his compositions. Arguably the most famous of these is the Gloria, a brilliant and colorful setting of text from the Ordinary of the Mass ("Glory to God in the highest") which commemorates the words the angels sang to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus. Each section of the text receives its own musical treatment, from the energetic opening and closing movements, the nimble vocal duet, “Laudamus te”, and the lilting “Domine Deus”.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791): Missa brevis in C, K. 220 “Sparrow Mass”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Laudate Dominum from Solemn Vespers for a Confessor, K. 339
Antonio Vivaldi (1678–1741): Gloria, RVW 589
Encore (not listed): Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Ave Verum Corpus, K. 618
Sunday, May 15, 3 PM
Saint Paul’s Church, Harvard Square
The Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys
James Kennerley, director
About the Choir of Men and Boys of Saint Paul's
Founded in 1963 by Dr. Theodore Marier, Saint Paul’s Choir School is a Catholic day school that prepares boys in grades 3 through 8 to succeed in the strongest secondary schools, becoming confident and virtuous leaders, to grow into compassionate adults. SPCS unites a rigorous academic and musical curriculum rooted in the Roman Catholic tradition. Within this community of faith, friendship and high expectations, students build the habits of mind and heart to rise to all of life’s demands and thrive.
Saint Paul’s Choir School’s world-class music program trains students in choral music appreciation, theory and practice, enabling them to grow as thoughtful students, disciplined performers and virtuous young men. Students sing music ranging from Gregorian chant to contemporary choir commissions to choral masterworks. The choir provides beautiful liturgical music at daily and Sunday services at Saint Paul’s Church and have released professional recordings, including Ave Maria and Christmas in Harvard Square by Aim Higher Recordings (available at saintpaulschoirschool.us). The ensemble tours internationally and has performed alongside renowned groups such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
About Saint Paul's Choir School
Saint Paul’s Choir School (SPCS) is the only private all-boys Catholic Choir School in the United States, serving students in grades 3 through 8. It is a vital facet of Saint Paul’s Parish in Harvard Square, Cambridge, led by Father William Kelly, Pastor, an alumnus of the school.
Photo credit: Julia Monaco
Uniquely integrated with music study, the school’s vigorous academic program provides an outstanding classical preparation in the liberal arts, which prepares boys well for the most competitive high schools. The positive influence derived from the study of music on other academics is clearly evident. Often families are unaware that their child is a capable singer upon entry. Students receive incomparable academic benefits through SPCS’s frequent choral practice, regular performances, and academic study of music theory. Classes are small and motivation is high among both students and teachers, making for a lively, energetic, and creative classroom environment.
To learn more about enrollment, curriculum, programs and performances, visit saintpaulschoirschool.us, our Virtual Open House hub page, call 617-868-8658, email email@example.com, or follow Saint Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.