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Mozart's Requiem

This concert is now past.
Bernard Labadie
Location: Avery Fisher Hall (Directions)
Price Range: $30.00 - $145.00

Concert Duration

1 hour 45 minutes
Thu, Nov, 7, 2013
7:30 PM
Fri, Nov, 8, 2013
8:00 PM
Sat, Nov, 9, 2013
8:00 PM
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)


Cantata No. 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen!

Cantata No. 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen (Praise Ye God in All Nations), BWV 51 (1730)

One of J.S. Bach’s main duties as cantor of the renowned Thomaskirche in Leipzig was to compose an unending supply of liturgical music for church services. His output in the cantata genre alone encompasses five complete cycles for the liturgical year. Understandably drained from such rigorous toil, he was later able to reduce his church-related composing, focusing more on secular works and only providing cantatas for very special holidays. This radiant cantata was composed for the 15th Sunday after Trinity in the church year, though the composer indicated it might be used for any joyful occasions (“In ogni Tempo”). It is one of only 12 cantatas of Bach’s more than 300 (of which about 100 have been lost) that does not require chorus or additional voices. The work is technically challenging for both the soprano soloist and the obbligato trumpet, and questions remain about the identity of the original vocalist: a boy soprano at the Thomas School (a normal practice at the time), the castrato Giovanni Bindi, or soprano Faustina Bordoni, an acclaimed artist of the day. The trumpet part was probably composed with Bach’s friend, Gottfried Reiche, in mind. Beginning with a joyous exclamation for the featured artists, the work proceeds to expressions of faith and exhortations to be righteous. Soprano fireworks—with trumpet imitating the vocal line—proclaim a virtuosic “Alleluia” that brings this glorious piece to its conclusion. Miah Persson sings the plum soprano role (which includes a high C) and the Philharmonic’s Matthew Muckey provides the brilliant brass.


“Let the Bright Seraphim” from Samson

“Let the Bright Seraphim” from Samson (1741)

As though Messiah wasn’t enough of an achievement, barely one-and-a half months after Handel completed that iconic score he finished Samson, another oratorical runaway success, with seven performances in its first season, two years later in London. Handel’s inspiration came through a reading he heard of John Milton’s Samson Agonistes. The familiar story of Samson vs. the Philistines and the seductive Delilah (she of the barber shears) is taken from Chapter 16 of the Old Testament’s Book of Judges. Seeking only to be an instrument of God and filled with divine strength, Samson pulls down the temple of the idolaters, destroying them and sacrificing himself. And now the oratorio begins, for which Newburgh Hamilton provided the libretto, freely adapted from Milton. Neither the present aria, nor the concluding chorus, was included in the original score, but Handel’s theatrical instinct told him not to send the audience home with mourning music in their ears; and before the first performance in 1743 he added the soprano aria, “Let the bright Seraphim” and the triumphant concluding chorus, “Let their celestial concerts all unite.” An “Israelite woman” sings of Samson’s great deeds, calling upon the heavenly host to celebrate the hero. Trumpet and soprano take turns, perform in unison, or harmonize, perfectly underscoring the text—“Let the bright Seraphim in burning row their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow.”  It remains the most well-known excerpt from Samson. The oratorio suited not only Handel but also the Puritan public, which didn’t “approve” of opera (something that the composer had introduced to English audiences). Oratorios weren’t staged events, and they usually took sacred subjects as their texts; thus the immortal souls of the audience would not be placed in jeopardy.



Requiem (1791)

The mystery-shrouded story of how Mozart’s last composition came about is by now well-known. In the summer of 1791 “a mysterious stranger cloaked in gray” presented a generous commission on behalf of an anonymous patron—who turned out to be Count Franz von Walsegg (1763-1827)—for a Requiem Mass to commemorate his recently deceased young wife. The Count was in the habit of making such commissions, which he would then claim to be his own. At the time Mozart had other irons in the fire, and work on the commission was interrupted and delayed. In mid-November, exhausted and suffering his final illness, he might have felt that the Requiem might be for him. Mozart died near 1 a.m. on December 5, leaving the Mass unfinished. The composer’s wife Constanze hired two other composers to complete it, so that she could collect the balance of the payment, but it was Mozart’s assistant Franz Xaver Süssmayer who finally carried out the job. Mozart finished only eight bars of the Lacrymosa, and left the other movements in various states of completion. Count Walsegg had the Requiem performed in 1793, with his name on the score, but years later, Constanze asked him to acknowledge that Mozart was the real  author of the work—a request to which he acquiesced. Mozart’s “swan song,” as he himself called it, is a work of transcendent beauty that encompasses at once a harking back to the Baroque influences of Bach and Handel, a darkly rich orchestration, a boldness of expression, at times operatic theatricality, great joy alternating with despair, and strains of otherworldly radiance. It is fitting that our conductor Bernard Labadie should have programmed two other vocal works on this concert by J.S. Bach and George Frideric Handel, whose music Mozart was delving into in his later years.



Bernard Labadie by Luc Delisle Entiere

Bernard Labadie is a noted specialist in Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both of which he founded and continues to lead as music director. With these two ensembles he regularly tours Canada, the United States, and Europe, having made appearances at Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Kennedy Center, London’s Barbican, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and the Salzburg Festival. Highlights of Mr. Labadie’s 2013–14 season include re-engagements with the New York and Malaysian Philharmonic orchestras; Kansas City, St. Louis, New World, Chicago, Melbourne, Swedish Radio, and Bavarian Radio symphony orchestras; and the Auckland Philharmonia, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, NDR Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, as well as a European tour with Les Violons du Roy. He made his Minnesota Orchestra debut in 1999, and regularly appears with North American orchestras including the Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Houston, Montreal, St. Louis, San Francisco, Toronto, Utah, and Vancouver symphony orchestras; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; Handel & Haydn Society; and Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic orchestras. Internationally Mr. Labadie has conducted the Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Brussels Philharmonic, Hamburger Symphony, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Collegium Vocale Ghent, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, and Zurich Chamber Orchestra. Mr. Labadie has served as artistic director of L’Opéra de Québec and L’Opéra de Montréal. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2009–10 season with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, which he also led at the Cincinnati Opera in 2011. He has also conducted Handel’s Orlando with Glimmerglass Opera, Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Mozart’s Lucio Silla with Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Labadie’s extensive discography includes recordings on the Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including Handel’s Apollo e Dafne and a collaborative recording of Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec (both of which received Canada’s Juno Award). The Canadian government has honored him as Officer of the Order of Canada, and his home province named him Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec. Bernard Labadie made his Philharmonic debut in December 2006 leading works by J.S. Bach, Corelli, and Handel. He last appeared with the Philharmonic in March 2013 during The Bach Variations: A Philharmonic Festival, when he led Bach’s Orchestral Suites Nos. 3 and 4 and Bach’s Violin Concertos in E major and A minor, with Isabelle Faust as soloist.

Learn more about Bernard Labadie



Matthew Muckey Matthew Muckey joined the Philharmonic in June 2006. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor’s degree in music, studying with Charles Geyer and Barbara Butler. A native of Sacramento, California, he has appeared as soloist with the Omaha Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, California Wind Orchestra, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, and on NPR’s program, From the Top. He has also played with the Boston Pops Orchestra, New World Symphony, and Chicago Civic Orchestra.

Mr. Muckey was a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center during the summers of 2003 to 2005, and was the recipient of the Roger Voisin Award in 2004 and 2005.

Learn more about Matthew Muckey



Swedish soprano Miah Persson’s 2012–13 season included the roles of Pamina in Mozart’s The Magic Flute on a concert tour of Europe with the Academy for Ancient Music Berlin, conducted by Rene Jacobs, and the Countess in concerts of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro with the Budapest Festival Orchestra; Brahms’s A German Requiem with the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Grieg’s Peer Gynt at the Grafenegg Festival and with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Other concert engagements included Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra and Gustavo Dudamel in Salzburg and for the Proms in London (televised and broadcast by the BBC); and recitals at London’s Wigmore Hall, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, and Zurich’s Tonhalle. She also performed Haydn’s The Seasons for the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Mahler’s Second Symphony with the New York Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Philharmonia Orchestra; Bach’s B-minor Mass at Teatro La Fenice; Mahler’s Second and Fourth Symphonies with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Persson has appeared in many of the world’s leading opera houses, including as Sophie in R. Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, and Mozart roles at The Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Salzburg Festival, Vienna Staatsoper, Glundebourne Festival, and Theatre des Champs-Elysees, as well as Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress at the Glyndebourne Festival. She has also appeared at the Aix en Provence Festival, Paris Opéra, Frankfurt Opera, and New National Theatre Tokyo. Miah Persson made her Philharmonic debut in September 2011 during A Concert for New York, performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, with Alan Gilbert conducting.



Stephanie Blythe

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe has appeared at The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Paris Opéra. She has performed the title roles in Bizet’s Carmen, Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Dalilah, Offenbach’s La Grande Duchesse, Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, and Handel’s Julius Caesar in Egypt. Her other roles have included Isabella in Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in Puccini’s The Triptych; Fricka in Wagner’s Das Rheingold and Die Walküre; and the Verdi roles of Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera, and Mistress Quickly in Falstaff.

An accomplished concert singer, Ms. Blythe has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Met Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, as well as at the Tanglewood, Mostly Mozart, and Ravinia festivals and the BBC Proms. She has been presented in recital at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, 92nd Street Y, Town Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vocal Arts Society in Washington, D.C., Cleveland Art Song Festival, University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Shriver Hall in Baltimore. Ms. Blythe starred in The Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts of Orpheus and Eurydice, The Triptych, Handel’s Rodelinda, and Wagner’s complete Ring Cycle. Her recordings of works by Mahler, Brahms, and Wagner and of arias by Handel and Bach are available on the Virgin Classics label.

This season, Ms. Blythe returns to The Metropolitan Opera for the new production of Un ballo in maschera, Il Trovatore, and the complete Ring Cycle, and she tours the U.S. with two of her highly acclaimed programs — We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith and an all-American song program — culminating in a recital in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium.



Tenor Frédéric Antoun studied voice at The Curtis Institute of Music. The Quebec native’s repertoire extends from Rameau to Stravinsky, with a preference for French Opera (Delibes’s Lakmé, Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers), Mozart (Così fan tutte, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and The Magic Flute), and belcanto (Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment). Mr. Antoun has been heard internationally at New York City Opera (Massenet’s Cendrillon), Lincoln Center (Lalo’s Le Roi d’Ys), Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company (The Magic Flute, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites), Charleston Festival (Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette), Montréal Opera House (Delibes’s Lakmé, The Barber of Seville), Florida Grand Opera (La Cenerentola, The Barber of Seville), La Monnaie in Brussels (Cendrillon), Amsterdam Opera (Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide), Theater an der Wien (Thomas’s Hamlet), and on French stages such as Théâtre du Châtelet (The Magic Flute), Opéra Comique (Grétry’s L’Amant Jaloux), in Toulouse (The Abduction from the Seraglio, Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie), Montpellier (The Magic Flute, Lakmé), and Nice (Dialogues des Carmélites). In concert, he performs J.S. Bach’s Magnificat and passions, the Mozart and Berlioz Requiems, Handel’s Messiah, and Orff’s Carmina burana. Recently he could be heard in Thomas Adès’s The Tempest at Quebec Festival, Lakmé in Montpellier, Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri in Marseilles, Ravel’s l’Heure espagnole with the Orchestre National de Lyon, and Lully’s Armide in Amsterdam. During the coming seasons, he will sing Lakmé and Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus in Paris, Così fan tutte in Marseille, Falstaff in Toronto, and he will make his debut at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment, and return for Thomas Adès’s new opera Exterminating Angel. This performance marks Frédéric Antoun’s New York Philharmonic debut.

Learn more about Frédéric Antoun



Andrew Foster Williams

Bass-baritone Andrew Foster-Williams studied at and is now a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in London. His regular appearances at Washington National Opera include singing Leone in Handel’s Tamerlano and Albert in Massenet’s Werther, and he opened his 2012–13 season as Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Future engagements include Telramund in Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Lanaudière Festival, Hidraot in Gluck’s Armide with Ivor Bolton and the Netherlands Opera, Golaud in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande with Paul Daniel at the Bolshoi Theatre, and Deborah Warner’s staging of Handel’s Messiah for Opéra de Lyon and English National Opera.

Concert performances this season and beyond for Mr. Foster-Williams include J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra, Haydn’s Creation with Ádám Fischer and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Epaphus in Lully’s Phaëton on tour with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques (a performance that will also be recorded), Beethoven’s Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony, and Verdi’s Requiem with Mr. Nézet-Séguin and the Orchestre Métropolitain. He also gives a recital at Wigmore Hall with pianist Simon Lepper. Among his numerous past concert engagements are Haydn’s The Seasons with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (recorded for LSO Live) and Handel’s Messiah with Bernard Labadie and the New York Philharmonic.

Andrew Foster-Williams’s opera appearances have included Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress for Opéra National de Lorraine; Fenice in Handel’s Deidamia for the Netherlands Opera; Borée in Rameau’s Les Bréades with Emmanuelle Haïm at Opéra National du Rhin; Count Almaviva in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at the Beaune Festival; Alidoro in Rossini’s La cenerentola for Welsh National Opera and Glyndebourne Touring Opera; the four villains in Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann in Moscow; and Don Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio for Opera North, for which he has also sung Leporello, Colline in Puccini’s La bohème, Plutone in Monteverdi’s Orfeo, and a dramatized version of Schubert’s Winterreise. At the Göttingen International Handel Festival his roles have included Garibaldo in Rodelinda, Melisso in Alcina, and Argante in Rinaldo.

Learn more about Andrew Foster-Williams



New York Choral Artists, a professional chorus founded and directed by Joseph Flummerfelt, has been heard with the New York Philharmonic in recent seasons performing repertoire ranging from Tippett’s A Child of Our Time to Mozart’s Requiem. The chorus opened the Philharmonic’s 2002–03 subscription season performing the World Premiere of John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls, commissioned by the Philharmonic with Lincoln Center’s Great Performers. Other highlights of the group’s history include the 1995 Philharmonic concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, and a televised performance of the 1986 Statue of Liberty Concert in Central Park. The chorus performed Britten’s War Requiem and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 during Lorin Maazel’s final weeks as Music Director, and has more recently collaborated with Music Director Alan Gilbert on Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection, Bach’s B-minor Mass, and Britten’s Spring Symphony in the concerts celebrating the British composer’s centennial.

Learn more about New York Choral Artists



Joseph Flummerfelt

For more than 40 seasons Joseph Flummerfelt has been preparing choral performances for the New York Philharmonic. Named Conductor of the Year in 2004 by Musical America, he is founder and musical director of the New York Choral Artists and an artistic director of Spoleto Festival U.S.A. He was conductor of the Westminster Choir for 33 years. He has collaborated with such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Chailly, Sir Colin Davis, Alan Gilbert, Carlo Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Robert Shaw, and William Steinberg. His choirs have been featured on 45 recordings, including Grammy Award–winning versions of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with Bernstein, Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, and John Adams’s On the Transmigration of Souls. He has also received two Grammy nominations, and his Delos recording of Brahms’s choral works, Singing for Pleasure, with the Westminster Choir, was chosen by The New York Times as a favorite among Brahms recordings. Mr. Flummerfelt’s honors include Le Prix du Président de la République from L’Académie du Disque Français and four honorary doctoral degrees. He is sought out as a guest conductor and master teacher of choral conducting in New York and throughout the United States.

Learn more about Joseph Flummerfelt

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Special Thanks

Bernard Labadie's appearance is made possible through the Daisy and Paul Soros Endowment Fund.

Photo of Bernard Labadie: Luc Delisle Entiere


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