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BACH AND MOZART:

In the Imagination of their Hearts


Between the solemnity of Good Friday and the joy of resurrection on Easter Morning, Easter Saturday might be the ‘deadest day of the church calendar’, but in 2019 you can spend Saturday afternoon with us at the Sydney Opera House for a musical expression of faith that will lift your soul.


At the heart of the program is Johann

Sebastian Bach and his brilliant Magnificat. Voices ring out – ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord!’ – and the music resounds with trumpets and drums in a spirit of festive celebration. Five soloists bring their dazzling virtuosity and expressive powers to a text that ranges between sheer elation and a profound expression of humility as Mary responds to the news that she will be the mother of Christ.


Framing the Magnificat are two works that, each in their own way, look to Bach for inspiration. We’ve commissioned a new motet for 50 voices from The Song Company’s artistic director Antony Pitts, who takes the explosive harmonies from Bach’s setting of the words ‘In the imagination of their hearts’ as his starting point. As he describes it, Bach’s moment of collective madness is frozen in a kind of anachronistic bullet time and scattered to the four winds and back to Bach.


After interval you can eavesdrop on the newly married Mozart, embarking on a grand mass for choir and orchestra, to be performed in Salzburg when the couple make their first visit to his disapproving father. He’s found fresh inspiration in the Baroque techniques of Bach and Handel, combining their complex weaving of voices with the elegance and drama of the Classical style. But he didn’t finish – no one’s entirely sure why – and so it remains ‘half a mass’, tantalising but magnificent.


We’ve invited the Capella St Crucis of Hannover and its conductor Florian Lohmann to join the Sydney Philharmonia Chamber Singers and Symphony Chorus as we continue our much-loved tradition of Easter concerts.