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Fri, May 10


Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA

Back Bay Chorale | Fragile Freedoms

Soloist, Haydn's "Missa in Angustiis"

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Back Bay Chorale | Fragile Freedoms
Back Bay Chorale | Fragile Freedoms

Time & Location

May 10, 2024, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA, 45 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

About the event

Lang The National Anthems (2014) Esmail When the Violin (2018) Haydn  Missa in Angustiis (Nelson Mass) Hob. XXII/11 (1798)

Back Bay Chorale & Orchestra Caron Daley conducting

Three very different pieces ask a similar question, “How do we move through, and past, uncertain times?” We have all experienced the uncertainties of the pandemic, amid many other cultural and political turbulences. The music on this program doesn’t seek to offer answers to the above question, but rather explores the liminal spaces that exist between turmoil and resilience, and in voices of various traditions and narratives.

In the national anthems (2014), David Lang investigates how countries identify their national myths through their anthems. In composing the piece, he sought to distill common themes among the anthems, but found the results to be surprising. Rather than revealing confidence and courage, the lyrics often revealed a sense of fragility. Lang’s music exudes hope as the words of these anthems unfold in a minimalistic and mesmerizing fashion. The result is an extraordinarily beautiful tapestry of sound and lyrics that is powerful and evocative.

Reena Esmail’s When the Violin  (2018) explores a hopeful response to suffering through the beautiful 14th-century poetry of Hafiz. Hafiz likens the human spirit to a violin, which can only sing its fullest song when it forgives the wounds of the past. Esmail’s extraordinary music bridges Western and Indian musical traditions by weaving a Hindustani raag into a rich polyphonic choral texture.

Franz Josef Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis  Hob. XXII/11 (1798), or “Mass in Troubled Times” (also known as the Nelson Mass), is a stark and striking statement of faith, composed amid significant tumult in Europe. This is the third of Haydn’s six late masses, and has been described by H. C. Robbins Landon as “arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition.”

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