by Daniel Hathaway
MUSIC ONLINE TODAY:
It’s Good Friday, the most solemn day in the Christian calendar, and there are several special musical observances to choose from.
Locally, Trinity Cathedral presents a pre-recorded concert of organ and vocal music at 7:00 pm featuring Todd Wilson and Nicole Keller, organ, Kristine Caswelch and Jackie Josten, sopranos, and Matthew Jones, John McElliot, and Bradley Upham, tenors, in Passion music by J.S Bach, Brahms, Dupré, and Langlais, along with chant and spirituals. (Photo: an earlier, in-person Good Friday performance).
And from England, in a performance recorded in the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford University, John Eliot Gardiner leads the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, while London’s Wigmore Hall presents Fretwork in a one-on-a-part performance of the St. Matthew Passion. Both debut early this morning, but remain available on-demand for three and 30 days, respectively.
In the early afternoon, the Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala in Milan present music by Arvo Pärt, Edward Elgar, and Maurice Duruflé (the Requiem in the version for cello, timpani and organ).
And jumping ahead a bit, Jane Glover leads the Houston Symphony in “A Bach Easter” featuring vocalists Yulia Van Doren and Oberlin grad Elisabeth DeShong.
It’s not on the streaming list, but if you’re looking for something special to listen to for Good Friday, try James MacMillan’s striking Seven Last Words, commissioned by BBC Television from the Scottish Roman Catholic composer and first screened in seven nightly episodes during Holy Week 1994. The composer conducts the work in this 2016 performance.
There’s more on the secular streaming menu today: DePauw University’s “Broadcast at the Crossroads” with composer Lisa Bielawa, the MET Opera’s Werther, improvisers Dana Jessen and Stephan Haluska (bassoon and harp) at the Bop Stop, and the Sphinx Virtuosi in a tribute to American Classical music, and the Seattle Symphony’s tribute to Louis Armstrong. Details in our Concert Listings.
Just one historical event to spotlight today: the founding of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1842, making the ensemble the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States (some sources report that the founding took place on April 5). The first concert was given in New York’s Apollo Rooms in lower Manhattan in December of that year with some 600 in attendance. (Photo: Gustav Mahler rehearsing the orchestra during his term as music director).
The organization’s complex history, including mergers with the New York Symphony, the New/National Symphony, and its summer seasons at Lewisohn Stadium is richly chronicled in a Performance History database that documents “all known concerts of all of these organizations, amounting to more than 20,000 performances. The New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives provides an additional interface for searching printed programs alongside other digitized items such as marked music scores, marked orchestral parts, business records, and photos.”
Start searching — or browsing — here.