“... the traditional Buddhist text the Heart Sutra, with the Providence Singers. This piece ends in a glorious burst of musical joy.”



 






Reviews


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  |  Requiem

The Providence Singers began its 45th season as guests of the Rhode Island Philharmonic. Guest conductor Bramwell Tovey led the Singers, soloists, and orchestra in two performances of the Mozart Requiem.

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Providence Journal: “While the piece is not all Mozart, it’s still thrilling to hear it live with forces as fine as the Philharmonic and the Singers, who made all the riveting counterpoint sizzle.”


Ludwig van Beethoven  |  Symphony No. 9

The Ninth Symphony has marked so many historic events that the United Nations added Beethoven’s autograph to its Memory of the World Programme Heritage list, the first musical composition so honored. This performance occurred on the 192nd anniversary of the work’s premiere.

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Providence Journal: “The orchestra was joined by the Providence Singers for the last movement, the so-called ‘Ode to Joy,’ which was one of the more moving moments in the Philharmonic’s season. The Singers sounded terrific.”


Carl Orff  |  Carmina Burana

The Providence Singers and Rhode Island Philharmonic took a sold-out house for a few turns on Fortune’s wheel: Riding high like the King and Queen of Everything, then plunging to the bottom of the pile. The audience responded enthusiastically, even outside The Vets as people were making their way home.

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Providence Journal: “The Orff drove a packed house wild, in part because of a sizzling performance …”



Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler  |  Symphony No. 2 ("The Resurrection")

Symphony No. 2, the “Resurrection Symphony,” was, with Symphony No. 8, among Mahler’s most popular and successful works during his lifetime. Preoccupied by visions of his own death and by larger philosophical questions about the purpose of life, Mahler pondered a kind of immortality through artistic achievement. Mahler himself wrote much of the text in the final movement.

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Providence Journal: “The Providence Singers ... opening entrance in the final movement was breathtaking”


Sistine Chapel
Franz Joseph Haydn  |  The Creation

Haydn had many choral successes late in his life, none greater than The Creation. In a work first heard 215 years ago this spring, Haydn recounts the creation of the world with wit, humor, great elegance, and a child-like simplicity. (A pivotal moment — “And there was light!” — may be the greatest C-major chord in Western music. It brought down the house at the premiere.) The texts come from the Bible and John Milton’s Paradise Lost; the freshness and sense of wonderment are pure Papa Haydn.

4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, at Temple Emanu-El in Providence
Monday, Feb. 11 2013, at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford
More about the concert

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South Coast Today: “A spectacular performance of a truly timeless masterpiece”


Brahms
Johannes Brahms  |  Ein deutsches Requiem

There is no fiery, threatening Dies Irae in this requiem, no sorrowful tone or extended grieving. Johannes Brahms set out to provide comfort, consolation, and beauty for the living — and succeeded magnificently. This is a beautiful and profoundly moving requiem, the largest work Brahms ever composed. The Providence Singers performed Ein deutsches Requiem as guest artists with the Rhode Island Philharmonic.

8 p.m. Saturday, May 5, Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Providence

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Providence Journal: “A seamless blending of chorus and orchestra”


Benjamin Britten | War Requiem  —   War, Pity of War, Pacifism
Benjamin Britten

The 1930s in Britain was not an easy time or place for a committed pacifist. Germany was arming; peace seemed an unlikely proposition. Yet Benjamin Britten’s abhorrence of violence was deeply seated and of long standing. He sought conscientious objector status in 1942, then continued “the work I’m most qualified to do” — composing, performing, and, at war’s end, mounting concerts with Yehudi Menuhin at the liberated Bergen–Belsen concentration camp. As England’s premier composer, Britten was commissioned to write a requiem for the Coventry Cathedral reconsecration in May 1962. His treatment of war, tempered by the poetry of Wilfred Owen, two world wars, and the Cold War gloom of nuclear arms, was not celebratory. “When you hear Britten’s music — if you really hear it, not just listen to it superficially,” said Leonard Bernstein, “you become aware of something very dark. There are gears that are grinding and not quite meshing. And they make a great pain. It was a difficult and lonely time.”

8 p.m. Saturday, March 3, 2012, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston
3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 4, 2012, Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, Providence
About the concert  |  The texts  |  Notes on the poems  |  ‘Of War and Music’

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Boston Globe: “Philharmonic joins voices in stirring War Requiem
Providence Journal: “Britten’s War Requiem glorious, memorable event”
Musical Intelligencer: “New England Philharmonic’s Impressive War Requiem
The Arts Fuse: “An Inspirational War Requiem