"Can you smell carrots?"
One snowman to another.
Welcome! A suitably festive, soul-warming programme awaits you today. Afterwards, some mulled wine waits to warm the rest of you. If this is your first time at a De Swaen concert and it looks and sounds a little new, you can read about our decisions in historically informed/inspired performance (HIP) on our website. Here it is: the first and last December HIPhip - what’s hip & what’s puppy fat on the muffin tops of Early Music.
A poll was held last April, in which you, our valued audience, voted for which pieces from the previous nine seasons you would most like to hear again. Today’s audience choice is Zelenka’s O Magnum Mysterium, a short setting in E major for alto, two traversi, strings and basso continuo. This piece was only one vote behind the winner, Sylvan Loher’s Durch Kahle Birken, commissioned for our Premieres season, which received its second Amsterdam performance in October. On the subject of great mysteries, there was one in our results from April’s poll, possibly related to the computer voting: We’re still a bit puzzled about "George W Bush", which, although even not on the list of nominations, still received more than a million votes.
Els has chosen the rest of the all-Latin programme for today: Zelenka’s Missa Nativitatis Domini, ZWV 8 and Bach’s Gloria in Excelsis Deo, BWV 191. For her "surprise present". (Oops! That’s ruined it!), she has kindly offered to grace the after-concert apero with some Balkonmusik: a Telemann concerto for flute & strings. Shhhh!
One of our performance decisions today concerns the complex subject of pronunciation when performing music with a Latin text by German-speaking composers. Although there is evidence of regional variations - and even an argument for using local uitspraak, for clarity’s sake, hier in Aemsjterd’m - the presence and cultural influence of Italians were strong throughout Europe in those times. As with the rest of the Holy Roman Empire, good contact was kept between the Vatican and the court at Dresden, home of Augustus, Elector of Saxony, whose domain included Leipzig. Many of the singers performing for Zelenka in Dresden were Italian, or had been trained in Italy, and would have sung the lingua franca accordingly. We have chosen this option for this performance.
Please remember that we depend directly on your support for each of our concerts. Opportunities for external subsidies are growing ever fewer but with an average donation of 28 Euros per seat, per concert, we wouldn’t need it anyway! Today’s special offer: Your recommend minimum donation is only 10 Euros each and more if you can afford it.
Thank you and Happy New Year, peace and prosperity.