Sunday 31 March 19:30
Tickets sold by section A/B NOK 475 C/D NOK 375
Duration: 2 hours
J. S. BACH: MASS IN B MINOR, BWV 232
JOHN BUTT, CONDUCTOR
The festival rounds off with a masterpiece from church music history, Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B minor, BWV 232, performed by the Scottish Dunedin Consort under the direction of Bach expert John Butt. The Mass is performed with a small group that closely reflects what Bach would have had available, with a choir of 10 vocalists, of which five are also soloists, and a small instrumental ensemble.
In the last years of his life, Bach set out to compose and collect a series of ground-breaking compositions that would come to represent a summary of his life's work in a variety of genres. The works were not written for any particular occasion, which was relatively unusual, but serve as a heartfelt testimony from a truly unique composer and his outstanding insight into the special world of music. The B minor Mass is one of Bach's final compositions, and it was not performed in its entirety until 1859 – 109 years after the composer's death. The work houses the five Latin liturgical elements Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei, and is written for choir, orchestra and five soloists. Parts of the Mass are inspired by older music from the Renaissance, while others are in a more modern style for their time, with more solo instruments. In keeping with Renaissance ideals and Baroque practices, Bach reused large sections of music in the Mass from earlier cantatas and vocal music, but with careful and structural changes in both text and harmonies. The various parts of the Mass were composed over a period of more than 20 years with the Credo movement, or Symbolum Nicenum, the last, composed in 1748–1749. No one knows why Bach, a dedicated Lutheran, wanted to write a Catholic Mass. A possible explanation may be a desire to express himself in a musical form with many hundred years of tradition that had challenged generations of composers whom Bach respected highly. In this way he would become part of this tradition. Regardless, today we can be deeply grateful for Bach's decision and enjoy one of the most powerful and beautiful musical expressions ever created.
Dunedin Consort was founded in 1995 and is named after Din Eidyn, the ancient Celtic name for Edinburgh Castle. Under the direction of John Butt the ensemble has established itself as the leading Scottish Baroque ensemble and appears regularly at Great Britain's major festivals and in Canada, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Israel and France. In addition to performing music from the Baroque and Classical periods, the ensemble has commissioned and premiered works by contemporary composers, including William Sweeney, Errollyn Wallen, Peter Nelson and Sally Beamish. Dunedin Consort has made a number of critically-acclaimed recordings and has won two Gramophone Awards. The ensemble appeared at the Church Music Festival with John Butt in 2017 where it performed W. A. Mozart's Requiem with great success.
John Butt is a music professor, conductor, organist, harpsichordist and author. He is a renowned musicologist who has worked for many years with historical musical material by returning to the sources to reconstruct original world premieres. Butt has researched and written books about J. S. Bach, and has toured in Germany, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and many other countries, as organist and conductor of, among others, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and The Irish Baroque Orchestra. John Butt is currently Gardiner Professor of Music at Glasgow University and musical director of the Dunedin Consort in Edinburgh.
Julia Doyle is an English soprano who studied political science in parallel with a singing scholarship at Cambridge. She specialises in the Baroque repertoire and is today one of the most sought-after sopranos in this field. Doyle has worked with conductors such as John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Hereweghe, Richard Tognetti, Alfredo Bernadini, Robert King, Roger Norrington and Trevor Pinnock. She has also performed with several leading orchestras and ensembles such as The English Concert, The King's Consort, Le Concert Lorrain, Bayerischer Rundfunk and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Photo: Louise O'Dwyer
Rachel Redmond was born in Glasgow and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She started her vocalist career under the direction of legendary conductor William Christie at his renowned vocal academy Jardin des Voix. She debuted at Opéra Comique in Paris and since then has collaborated regularly with Jordi Savall, William Christie and John Butt. Redmond's recent opera performances include a role in Dido and Aeneas at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and in Figaro's Wedding on tour in England.
Andrew Tortise was a choral scholar at Wells Cathedral and graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge. He studied singing first with Ashley Stafford and then with Iris dell’Acqua. Concert plans this season and beyond include tenor soloist for Handel Messiah and Bach St John Passion with the Orchestra of the 18th Century and Daniel Reuss; and Horatio in Berlioz Lélio with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Andrew’s regular Bach appearances include Mass in B Minor and Magnificat with the SCO and Richard Egarr; St Matthew Passion on a European tour with Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Mark Padmore; Evangelist St Matthew Passion in Lisbon; St Matthew Passion (arias) with the Residentie Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Gabrieli Consort and Players and The Monteverdi Choir; Christmas Oratorio with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Cantatas with Les Violons du Roy and Jonathan Cohen; and Evangelist and arias in Bach St John Passion with Sir John Eliot Gardner, and with the Dunedin Consort at the 2017 BBC Proms.
Felix Schwandtke studied at the conservatory in Dresden and has quickly become a much sought-after bass. He performs regularly with renowned ensembles throughout Europe such as De Nederlandse Bachvereniging (conductor Jos van Veldhoven), Collegium 1704 (conductor Václav Luks), and Concerto Copenhagen (conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen). In addition, he has collaborated for many years with the German master conductor Hans-Christoph Rademan. Schwandtke has a broad repertoire, spanning from early music to contemporary works.