top of page

Spectacular Music by Mozart and Vivaldi: An Early Music Celebration with Saint Paul's

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.