Early Music Vancouver (EMV), in collaboration with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra (PBO) and the Vancouver Cantata Singers (VCS), presents Handel Coronation Anthems on April 14, 2019 at 3pm at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Esteemed conductor and organist Alexander Weimann leads the PBO, VCS, and four internationally renowned soloists in a spectacular large-scale performance of two Handel masterpieces: Coronation Anthems and Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne.
In one of his last undertakings before his death in 1727, King George I signed the ‘Act for the naturalizing of George Frideric Handel.' One of Handel’s first tasks as a naturalized British citizen was to write the music for the coronation of the new monarch King George II and his wife Queen Caroline that was to take place later that year. The forces he used were substantial for the period: an augmented Chapel Royal Choir of 47 vocalists and an orchestra that likely numbered more than 90 musicians.
The coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on October 11,1727. Though Maurice Greene, the recently appointed organist and composer to the Chapel Royal, should have been asked to provide the music for the occasion, King George, a German from the royal house of Hanover, insisted that his favourite German musician and current star of the London operatic scene, Handel, write the music instead. This decision created an understandable rift between the two composers. History, however, has proven the King made the right choice — Handel’s Coronation Anthems are among his most beloved and universally acknowledged masterpieces. Like his Messiah, these works are now permanently associated with Britain’s international brand, despite being written by a German.
Since their successful debut, Handel’s Coronation Anthems have remained at the heart of the favoured English Baroque repertoire. Handel's setting of Zadok the Priest, the first of the four anthems, has been included at every British coronation since 1727. The long instrumental opening of this work remains one of music history’s greatest examples of how to build anticipation and tension.
EMV’s programme will also include a performance of Handel’s festive Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne. This earlier work was written in 1713 and honours both Queen Anne’s birthday and the celebration of the Treaty of Utrecht that finally ended the War of Spanish succession in 1712. Scored for three solo voices, choir, and orchestra, it begins with one of Handel’s most beloved and famous solos Eternal Source of Light Divine, featuring the trumpet and the alto voice. Millions of people all over the world heard this piece during the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018.
In addition to sharing Handel’s magnificent works, EMV looks forward to announcing its captivating 2019–20 season at the beginning of the concert at the Chan Centre.
EMV presents Handel Coronation Anthems
Date: Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 3pm
(Pre-Concert Talk at 1:45pm with Matthew White, Alexander Weimann, and Christina Hutten)
Address: Chan Centre for the Performing Arts
6265 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Ticket Prices: From $18
Box Office: earlymusic.bc.ca or 604-822-2697
Photo by Jan Gates
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