2006 sees the Oslo International Church Music Festival launching a unique project focusing on G. F. Händel’s sacred oratorios. The Messiah is widely known and loved, but not as many are familiar with all his 18 other English sacred oratorios, every one of them deserving to figure as masterpieces. The Church Music Festival intends to produce as many as these as possible in the years to come – an extraordinary venture in a Norwegian as well as in an international context. The Festival has joined forces with leading interpreter of Händel’s oratorios Laurence Cummings and his London Handel Orchestra, who will play an important part in the project. The Festival sees this long-term collaboration as a great privilege and a major contribution to the Norwegian music scene. An important objective for this project is to bring together Norwegian and international musicians in ensemble playing and collaboration.
The Church Music Festival’s major Händel project gives the festival a unique opportunity to present an educational programme with one of the world’s leading specialists on the father of the English Oratorio. Conductor Laurence Cummings is known as an excellent teacher, and will in this seminar for conductors and other that are interested, focus particularly on Händels musical language, his expressivity and sensitivity to text. In the course of three days the seminar will go into various aspects of performance practice and interpretation of baroque music, with particular attention to ensemble work. The participants will be given the opportunity to observe Cummings’ work with choir, orchestra and solists during the rehearsals of the opening concert, the Oratorio Samson, and also the rehearsals of The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and the Barokkanerne ensemble for the concert The Mass in B Minor in our time.
On the occasion of the 250-year anniversary of the birth of Mozart, the festival presents for the first time in Norway a brand new completion of his Mass in C minor, composed by the Mozart scholar Robert Levin. This will be performed at the Festival’s Festive concert by the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Norwegian National Opera's Choir with Norwegian soloists and conductor.
The diverse festival programme also offers an encounter with the celebrated boys' choir of St. George´s Chapel, Windsor, the London Handel Orchestra, and the German male vocal ensemble Amarcord that has its roots in Bach's St. Thomas Choir. Swedish organist Hans Fagius a renowned interpreter of the French organ repertoire. Finland is represented by the saxophonist Jukka Perko, who will present beautiful hymns from the Nordic tradition together with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the Latvian conductor Vytautas Lukocius. This thread is taken up through several concerts where hymns are explored by some of the leading Norwegian musicians. Kåre Nordstoga and Sinikka Langeland perform religious traditional songs and ancient hymns, balanced against Bach. Terje Rypdal and Iver Kleive offer their own material and arrangements in a concert full of atmosphere of crossover-hymns. Edvard Hoem and Henning Sommerro have through many years composed an impressive amount of hymns and songs. These have lead to a recording that is being made these days, and in the final concert of this year's Festival they will perform some of its highlights. In addition, the Festival offers Norwegian choirs, orchestras, organists, conductors, writers, hymn poets, composers, jazz- and traditional musicians.
The Oslo International Church Music Festival 2006 runs from 17 to 26 March 2006. sd
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