Harpenden Choral Society presents
Dvořák’s Te Deum and The Spectre’s Bride
Conducted by John Andrews, with the King’s Sinfonietta
Saturday 22nd March 2014 at 7:30pm
Harpenden High Street Methodist Church AL5 2RU
With Sarah Redgwick, soprano; Stuart Haycock, tenor;
and Simon Thorpe, baritone.
After a memorable performance of his Stabat Mater in 2010, Harpenden Choral Society returns to Dvořák to sing two of his most stirring and dramatic sacred and secular works. Dvořák’s Te Deum, a beautiful devotional cantata scored on a more intimate scale than the Stabat Mater, features exquisite solos for soprano and baritone. Originally composed as a commission to mark the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America, the Te Deum was conducted at its first performance by Dvořák himself before taking up his post as the new director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. While it marked the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with the United States, the Te Deum, like The Spectre’s Bride, retains a distinctly Bohemian flavour.
The Spectre’s Bride tells the chilling story of a young girl’s seduction, abduction and a midnight run to a marriage with Death, disguised as the ghost of her lover. Fleeing into the night on the promise of future happiness as the bride of her beloved, it is only the intervention of the Virgin Mother that reveals Death’s deception at the cemetery gates and saves the maiden from her grave. Dvořák based his libretto for The Spectre’s Bride on ‘A Garland of Folk Tales’, a collection of traditional Bohemian stories and legends by Karel Jaromír Erben. With its rich and evocative orchestration, passionate solos, and thrillingly atmospheric choral narration, The Spectre’s Bride ranked amongst Dvořák’s most popular works with audiences of his day, and continues to captivate modern audiences with its dark Gothic charm.
Tickets: Ł15 adults; Ł5 students and children.