Saturday, December 18, 2021, 7:30 PM EDT
Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester and Online
Sinfonia Pastorella Bernhard Hupfeld (1717-1796)
Allegro molto presto • Larghetto
Minuetto • Presto
Cantilana pro Adventu, H.V. XXIIId:3* Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Die musikalische Schlittenfahrt, ILM 20 (The Musical Sleigh Ride) Leopold Mozart (1719-1787)
Intrada • Presto • Sleigh Ride • The jingling horse
Allegro • The woman shivering and cackling with cold
Kehraus (farewell dance) • Sleigh Ride
Pastorella in G Major, H.V. XXIIId: G1 Joseph Haydn
Christmas Pastorella Gregor Joseph Werner (1693-1766)
Andante ma non troppo • Largo • Allegro assai
Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1759-1791)
Jessica Petrus, soprano
Suzanne Stumpf and Rachel Carpentier, flutes
Sarah Darling and Jesse Irons, violins
Marcia Cassidy, viola; Daniel Ryan, cello Wesley Hall, organ, percussion; Vincent Canciello, percussion
This concert is supported, in part, by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
Special thanks to Trinity Lutheran Church for hosting this concert.
This program presents Classical-era music for the Christmas season from regions that are now part of Germany and Austria. The spirit of the season is captured in two contrasting styles: works that evoke the rustic, pastoral nature of both the Christmas story and of winter pastimes, and in a sublime vocal setting of a liturgical text.
Bernhard Hupfeld was a violinist and composer of instrumental music active in some of the smaller courts of Germany including Barleburg and Waldeck. He was director of music at the University of Marburg from 1775 until his death in 1796. His orchestral compositions show the influence of the Mannheim School in their use of dramatic effects such as long crescendos and frequent dynamic contrasts. These “Mannheim crescendos” are a prominent feature of the richly symphonic outer fast movements of his Sinfonia Pastorella, while the Larghetto and trio of the Minuet display the rustic pastorella style in their imitation of the drones of shepherds’ bagpipes.
The rustic Pastorella style was also incorporated into vocal music of the period, heard especially during Midnight Mass church services. These vocal pastorellas served an extra-liturgical function and were quite popular until the Enlightenment and the reforms of Joseph II. Joseph Haydn composed several of these aria types, including the two heard on this program. Their texts and vocal melodies evoke the down-to-earth character of Austrian folksong and, in the case of his Cantilana pro Adventu, the text is in Austrian dialect.
Although chiefly remembered as the father and educator of W. A. Mozart, Leopold Mozart was a respected composer (especially of church music), author of an influential violin treatise, and deputy Kappelmeister to the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. The Musical Sleigh Ride included in this concert is one of at least two such works that are attributed to him. It is among several colorful character pieces he composed, including the Peasant Wedding and the Toy Symphony, all of which were probably written for specific occasions. This particular “sleigh ride” adventure has a very elaborate musical depiction of someone shivering in the cold. It also makes use of multiple sleighbells that in one movement evoke a pair of rather precocious horses.
Gregor Joseph Werner was an organist and composer who served as Kapellmeister of the Esterházy court when the young Joseph Haydn was hired in 1761. Although relations between the two were strained during that time, Haydn paid homage to the older composer in 1804 by arranging some of his fugues for string quartet. Though principally a composer of church music and oratorios, Werner also composed instrumental works, including several rustic Pastorales for the Christmas season. In Austria and central Europe, Christmas musical traditions were infused with rustic, folkloric styles. Werner’s Pastorale contains generous doses of florid melodies in thirds accompanied by droning pedal points that colorfully depict a boisterous, rustic peasant band. It also features conversational dialogue between the solo flute and obbligato organ.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate was written in January 1773 during Mozart’s third visit to Italy. It was written for the castrato Venanzio Rauzzini and first performed at the Theatins’ Church in Milan. The piece is in the genre of the Italian sacred solo motet, and similarly structured works by Hasse, Sacchini, and Jomelli may have served as models for Mozart. A later manuscript of this work, partially in the hand of Leopold Mozart, was discovered in 1978. This version was composed for inclusion in a mass at Holy Trinity Church in Salzburg in 1779. There are numerous differences between this and the Milan version. The Salzburg manuscript uses flutes instead of oboes and includes alternate texts relating to the Trinity and to the Nativity, making the motet appropriate for use during those feast days. These changes make this work a welcome addition to the Christmas repertoire.
—Suzanne Stumpf and Daniel Ryan