Following the success of the Mozart Mass in C minor and Requiem releases, the Handel and Haydn Society is has announced its third live recording on the CORO label on September 11. Soloists Teresa Wakim, Paula Murrihy, Thomas Cooley, Sumner Thompson joined Harry and the Society to record Mozart's Coronation Mass live at Boston's Symphony Hall earlier this year.
Mozart's Mass in C major is one of his most popular and enduring works. Known as the Coronation Mass – a nickname it acquired following a performance conducted by Antonio Salieri in 1791 in Prague at the coronation of Leopold II as King of Bohemia – it includes the beautifully tender Agnus Dei. The CD also features Mozart's soprano solo Exsultate, jubilate, performed by Teresa Wakim, and Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 85, which was a favorite of Marie Antoinette, leading to the name La Reine, by which it is still known today.
Artistic Director Harry Christophers says, "On this live recording we present a programme devoted to monarchs and coronation. Nicknames pervade – Haydn's extraordinarily vibrant Paris Symphony is called La Reine simply because Marie Antoinette claimed it was her favourite, Mozart's Mass in C major acquired its nickname Coronation Mass a number of years after it was written – it was most likely performed at one of the coronation celebrations for either Leopold II or Franz I of Austria, or even both." Harry Christophers was appointed Artistic Director of Boston's Handel and Haydn Society in 2008. Founded in 1815, H&H, a Grammy Award winner, is considered the oldest continuouslyperforming arts organization in the U.S. and has given the American premieres of major works including Handel's Messiah and Jephtha; Bach's St. Matthew Passion; and works by Haydn, Mozart, and many others. H&H and CORO launched their first collaboration in 2010 with the release of Mozart's Mass in C minor, followed in 2011 with an acclaimed new recording of Mozart's Requiem. Future recording plans include a live recording of Haydn's Creation and Handel's Messiah. Executive Director and CEOMarie-Hélène Bernard adds, "The Handel and Haydn Society is thrilled to continue its partnership with CORO and complete its Mozart trilogy. This CD is a wonderful example of H&H's dedication to nurturing emerging artists and a testament to the talent in its own ranks. Teresa Wakim, Paula Murrihy and Sumner Thompson have each sung with the H&H chorus for some years. We are thrilled that their extraordinary careers took roots in Boston. With Thomas Cooley, they make astrong ensemble which brings freshness to Mozart's Coronation Mass."
Since 2001 The Sixteen has been building its own record label, CORO, which in 2011 celebrated its 10th anniversary and released its 90th title. Recent recordings include the first in a series of discs devoted to the music of Palestrina; Victoria:Hail Mother of the Redeemer, which accompanied The Sixteen's 11th Choral Pilgrimage in the UK; and Handel's celebrated oratorio, Messiah, with an all-star soloist line-up which was awarded the prestigious MIDEM Classical Award 2009. In 2010 CORO released the BBC's groundbreaking first series of Sacred Music on DVD and The Sixteen's award-winning recording of Handel's Coronation Anthems was nominated for a Grammy. The following year Ceremony and Devotion - Music for the Tudors was also nominated for a Grammy.
Harry Christophers enters his fourth season as Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society with the 2012-2013 Season. Appointed in 2008, he began his tenure with the 2009–2010 Season and has conducted Handel and Haydn each season since September 2006, when he led a sold-out performance in the Esterházy Palace at the Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. Christophers and H&H have since embarked on an ambitious artistic journey that began with the 2010–2011 Season with a showcase of works premiered in the United States by the Handel and Haydn Society over the last 195 years, and the release of the first of a series of recordings on CORO leading to the 2015 Bicentennial. Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of the UK-based choir and period instrument ensemble The Sixteen. He has directed The Sixteen throughout Europe, America, and the Far East, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque, and 20th century music. In2000, he instituted the "Choral Pilgrimage," a tour of British cathedrals from York to Canterbury. He has recorded close to 100 titles for which he has won numerous awards, including a Grand Prix du Disque for Handel Messiah, numerous Preise der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Record Critics Awards), the coveted Gramophone Award for Early Music, and the prestigious Classical Brit Award (2005) for his disc entitled Renaissance. In 2009 he received one of classical music's highest accolades, the Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year Award; The Sixteen also won the Baroque Vocal Award for Handel Coronation Anthems, a CD that also received a2010 Grammy Award nomination. Harry Christophers is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Granada Symphony Orchestra and a regular guest conductor with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. In October 2008, Christophers was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music from the University of Leicester. He is an Honorary Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and also of the Royal Welsh Academy for Music and Drama and was awarded a CBE in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours.
A member of the Handel and Haydn Society Chorus since 2003, rising American soprano Teresa Wakim has garnered wide acclaim for her performances of opera, oratorio and chamber music. Praised for her "gorgeous, profoundly expressive instrument" (Cleveland Plain Dealer), and possessing a voice of "extraordinary suppleness and beauty" (The New York Times), she enjoys an internationally successful career performing and recording music from the Renaissance to the freshly-composed, and is perhaps best known as "a fine baroque stylist" (The Miami Herald). Wakim has performed as soloist under many of the world's renowned 'early music' specialists, including Ton Koopman, Harry Christophers, Nicolas McGegan, Roger Norrington, Laurence Cummings, Martin Pearlman, Alex Weimann, Paul O'Dette, Stephen Stubbs, and Jeannette Sorrell. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Boston University's College of Fine Arts, she recently won First Prize in the Internationaler Solistenwettbewerb für Alte Musik in Austria and was named Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Fellow by Emmanuel Music. Noted engagements include Bach's B Minor Mass and St. John Passion with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra in the U.S. and Europe, Bach's Wedding Cantata and Mendelssohn's Hear My Prayer with The Cleveland Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with the San Antonio Symphony, Pamina in The Magic Flute with Apollo's Fire, and a title role in Handel's Acis and Galatea with the Boston Early Music Festival. Ms. Wakim can be heard as a featured soloist on four Grammy-nominated recordings with the Boston Early Music Festival and Seraphic Fire.
Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy returns to the Handel and Haydn Society after last appearing in Handel's Messiah in 2008. Murrihy has appeared at London's Royal Opera House, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Oper Frankfurt, Opera de Nice, Chicago Opera Theater, Wexford Festival Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Opera Boston in a range of roles including the title role in Handel's Ariodante, Dido in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, Annio in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, 2nd Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Cherubino in Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles, Tebaldo in Verdi's Don Carlo, Helene in Chabrier's Une éducation manquée, and Ino in Handel's Semele. She returned to the Royal Opera in 2010 as Mercedes in Carmen and recently joined Oper Frankfurt as a member of their ensemble, where her roles have included Dorabella in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Medoro in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Baba in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, and Scipio in Glanert's Caligula. Plans this season in Frankfurt include L'etoile and Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and she makes her debut at Théâtre du Capitole, Toulouse as Annio in La Clemenza di Tito.