Cellist Colin Carr performs Elgar’s Cello Concerto
Providence Singers, soprano Mary Wilson and baritone Andrew Garland
share The VETS stage for Dona nobis pacem
The Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra welcomes back guest conductor Christopher Warren-Green for a classical concert that pays tribute to the Centennial of World War I. Armistice Centennial features the Providence Singers, soprano Mary Wilson and baritone Andrew Garland joining the Orchestra on stage at The VETS for Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem. In addition, the program includes Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No.3 and Elgar’s Cello Concerto with cellist Colin Carr.
“Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem is very close to my heart as he was the composer who inspired me to become a musician. The combination of Walt Whitman’s poems and his music is one of the most moving musical experiences. I am thrilled to be with this wonderful orchestra and very much looking forward to working with the chorus.”
— Christopher Warren-Green, Conductor
The TACO Classical Series concert is on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m.
The Open Rehearsal is on Friday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m.
***At A Glance ***
TACO Classical Series concert
Saturday, Nov. 17, 8 p.m.
The VETS, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence
Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
Colin Carr, cello
Mary Wilson, soprano
Andrew Garland, baritone
BEETHOVEN: Leonore Overture No.3
ELGAR: Cello Concerto
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS: Dona nobis pacem
Friday, Nov. 16, 5:30 p.m.
General Admission is $15.
About Christopher Warren-Green, conductor
Christopher Warren-Green makes a return engagement to the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout the last 30 years, Mr. Warren-Green has been personally invited to conduct for the British Royal Family on many occasions. In April 2005, he conducted the Service of Dedication and Prayer following the marriage of the Duke and the Duchess of Cornwall. He led the London Chamber Orchestra during the marriage ceremony of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. Other notable occasions have included The Queen’s 90th birthday concert, the Prince of Wales’ 60th birthday concert in Buckingham Palace and the recent wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Currently, he is the music director of the Charlotte Symphony, and the music director and principal conductor of the London Chamber Orchestra. Working extensively in the United States, his key North American engagements have included Philadelphia and Minnesota orchestras, and Detroit, St. Louis, Toronto, Milwaukee, National (Washington, D.C.), Seattle and Vancouver symphony orchestras.
Last season, Mr. Warren-Green accompanied the London Chamber Orchestra to the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest and made his debut with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra. Previous seasons have seen him at the helm of the Philharmonia, London and Royal Liverpool philharmonics, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique, Beethoven Orchester Bonn, and Nashville Symphony and Rochester Philharmonic orchestras. In the Far East, he has conducted the NHK, Singapore, Sapporo and KBS symphony orchestras.
Other collaborations include a tour of Japan with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, and concerts with Zürcher Kammerorchester and Iceland symphony orchestras. Mr. Warren-Green is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and has recorded extensively for Sony, Philips, Virgin EMI, Chandos, Decca and Deutsche Grammophon. He also records with the London Chamber Orchestra for Signum Classics.
About Colin Carr, cello: Carr has played with major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, the orchestras of Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, Montréal and all the major orchestras of Australia and New Zealand. He has been a regular guest at the BBC Proms and has twice toured Australia. With his duo partner Thomas Sauer, he has played recitals throughout the United States and Europe. In 2016, he performed a program of Benjamin Britten and Thomas Adès for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and of Philadelphia. Mr. Carr has played complete cycles of the Bach Solo Suites at the Wigmore Hall in London, Music Society of Lincoln Center, Gardner Museum in Boston, and in Montreal, Toronto, Ottowa and Vancouver.
Recent CD releases include the complete Bach Suites on the Wigmore Live label and the complete Beethoven Sonatas and Variations on the MSR Classics label with Mr. Sauer. Mr. Carr is the winner of many prestigious international awards, including first prize in the Naumburg Competition, Gregor Piatigorsky Memorial Award, second prize in the Rostropovich International Cello Competition and also winner of the Young Concert Artists competition. He first played the cello at the age of five. Three years later he went to the Yehudi Menuhin School, where he studied with Maurice Gendron and later William Pleeth.
In 1998, he became a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, after being a faculty member at Boston’s New England Conservatory for 16 years. In 1998, St. John’s College, Oxford, created the post of musician in residence for him. In September 2002, he became a professor at Stony Brook University, New York. Mr. Carr’s cello was made by Matteo Gofriller in Venice in 1730. He lives in a historic home outside of Oxford with his wife and three children.
About Mary Wilson, soprano: One of today’s most exciting and sought-after sopranos, Wilson has received consistent critical acclaim from coast to coast. “She proves why many in the opera world are heralding her as an emerging star. She is simply amazing, with a voice that induces goosebumps and a stage presence that is mesmerizing. She literally stole the spotlight.” A consummate concert artist, Ms. Wilson has appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras, University Musical Society, and Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati symphony orchestras. An especially exciting interpreter of Baroque repertoire, she has performed with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Boston Baroque, Musica Angelica, American Bach Soloists, Grand Rapids Bach Festival, Bach Society of St. Louis, Baltimore Handel Choir, Florida Bach Festival and Carmel Bach Festival. On the opera stage, she is especially noted for her portrayals of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos, Susannah in Le Nozze di Figaro and Gilda in Rigoletto.
About Andrew Garland, baritone: American baritone Garland has been praised for his “coloratura [which] bordered on the phenomenal as he dashed through the music’s intricacies with his warm baritone, offering plenty of elegance and glamour in his smooth acting.” His latest recording, Andrew Garland: American Portraits (2013), debuted at No.1 on Amazon.com. Recent highlights include his Carnegie Hall recital with Warren Jones, and performances with Seattle and Atlanta operas as Schaunard in La Bohème, Boston Lyric Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute, Cincinnati Opera as Galileo in Galileo Galilei (Philip Glass), Mercurio in La Calisto (Cavalli) and Arizona Opera as Ping in Turandot. He sang the title role in Don Giovanni with Opera New Jersey, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Knoxville Opera and Dayton Opera and Dandini in La Cenerentola with Opera Company of Philadelphia and Fort Worth Opera. Concert highlights include performances with the Atlanta Symphony, National Philharmonic, Boston Baroque, New York Festival of Song, New York City Opera, Washington Chorale at the Kennedy Center, DCINY at Lincoln Center and Cleveland Art Song Festival with Warren Jones. In addition to sustaining a busy performance schedule, he also recently joined the voice faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
About the Providence Singers: Founded in 1971, the Providence Singers, under the direction of Artistic Director Christine Noel, celebrates choral art through concerts of masterworks and contemporary works, creative collaborations, recordings of American choral treasures, new music commissions and education programs. In addition to an annual concert series, the singers has made frequent guest appearances throughout the region, including annual concerts with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. The Singers performed with Kronos Quartet at FirstWorks, Dave Brubeck Quartet at Lincoln Center and Newport Jazz Festival, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, New Haven Philharmonic, Aurea Ensemble, Brown University Chorus and New Bedford Symphony. It released four CD recordings of contemporary choral compositions and presented a choral festival of American masterpieces underwritten by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Singers commissions new choral works through its Wachner Fund for New Music; recognizes national leaders in the choral profession through its New Rhythmus Award; and fosters community education and participation through vocal workshops, concert discussions and community sings. The chorus supports emerging talent through its Fassett Fellowships for young adult singers and the Junior Providence Singers and Young Men’s Choral Festival. It was awarded the Jabez Gorham Award from the Arts and Business Council of Rhode Island in 2008 for “unwavering commitment to excellence, significant impact on the community, and success in organizational development.”
Stories behind the music
Leonore Overture No.3, Op.72b
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Many revisions: The compositional struggles, revisions and re-writes that Ludwig van Beethoven endured are well known to us. Undoubtedly, the most extreme example was his solitary opera, Leonore.
Critical acclaim: Donald Tovey has written, “Leonore No.2 is an eminently successful dramatic introduction, while Leonore No.3 is a great concert-piece . . . the operatic prelude and the perfect tone-poem.”
Listen for this: Leonore No.3 begins with a compact Adagio introduction, soon reaching its highpoint, as the woodwinds quote Florestan’s touching aria from the opening of Act II.
Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op.85
EDWARD ELGAR (1857-1934)
Disturbed by war: No one who lived through World War I was the same after it ended. The world looked different. People had aged, and many prewar values now seemed irrelevant. Edward Elgar found himself in just such a state in 1919, the year in which he composed the Cello Concerto, his last major work.
Frame of mind: Biographer Michael Kennedy describes Elgar then: “He was an autumnal figure now, and his surroundings suited his frame of mind. He occupied himself chopping wood, making hoops for barrels and building bonfires.”
Listen for this: A brief cello solo furtively introduces the second movement’s main theme. The cello’s busy but very precise part is highlighted throughout.
Dona nobis pacem
RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
Insecure future: In the year 1936, England was feeling strong, having fully recovered from the end of World War I. Yet, the future of Europe was unsure. Few pundits could predict what Germany’s leader, Adolph Hitler, was planning, and England distrusted his gestures of peace.
Harbinger of war: Many sensed the coming of another horrific war, among them composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Vaughan Williams was then at the height of his creative powers, and as a commission for the centennial celebration of the Huddersfield Choral Society that year, he composed the cantata Dona nobis pacem. The texts were a mixture of reactions to war and pleas for peace. They carried an implicit warning of a coming war. Their sources were varied: the Latin Mass, the Bible, poems by Walt Whitman and a speech made in the House of Commons.
Listen for this: The first movement (soprano and orchestra) is a setting of the last sentence of the Latin Mass’s Agnus Dei: Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem (“Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.”) The movement and the cantata end with a touching epilogue that reprises the opening Latin words: Dona nobis pacem.
Tickets start at $15 (including all fees), and can be purchased online at tickets.riphil.org, in person from the RI Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office in East Providence, or by phone 401.248.7000 (Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 12). On day of concerts only, tickets are also available at The VETS Box Office (Friday, 3:30 p.m.–showtime; Saturday, 4 p.m.-showtime). Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.