The musical story of Easter
Händel’s La Resurrezione is an oratorio for Easter. It was first performed on Easter Sunday 1708 in Rome. The libretto was written by Carlo Sigismondo Capece. The events related in the story are those of the period between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, when Christ ‘descended into Hell’ to redeem the souls of the patriarchs and prophets who had prepared for His coming. The events in the underworld are set out in series of lively exchanges between an Angel and Lucifer. Meanwhile, the story as seen on earth is related through the conversations of three mortal characters, Mary Magdalene, Mary Cleophas and St John the Evangelist. The two planes of the drama are united when the Angel appears to the women at the sepulchre and announces the Resurrection to them.
COMBATTIMENTO CONSORT AMSTERDAM
As of January 2014, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam will seize to exist. Founder and artistic leader Jan Willem de Vriend has decided to give full focus to his conducting activities. The other members of the ensemble have decided to continue under the name Combattimento. More information about them is to be found at www.combattimento.nl
Founded in 1982 by violinist Jan Willem de Vriend, the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam developed into a close-knit ensemble specialising in music from 1600-1800.
The musicians' wish not to focus solely on the standard repertoire resulted in many interesting programmes featuring remarkable and little-known works, some of which were only available in manuscript. The performance of these compositions in conjunction with more familiar works proved to be refreshing and inspiring to listeners and performers alike.
Over the years the ensemble gave many memorable concerts and operatic performances including Handel’s Rodelinda, Alcina, also by Handel, and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, in collaboration with De Nationale Reisopera.
In September 2002 the ensemble made its debut at the Early Music Holland Festival in Utrecht, giving two performances of Rameau's opera Platée in a co-production with Onafhankelijk Toneel and the Nationale Reisopera.
In addition to numerous concerts in the Netherlands, the Combattimento Consort also appeared in various European countries and in venues outside of Europe. Successful tours in the United States, Japan and South America have always been attracting attention in national and international media.
Concerts often had solo performances by members of the ensemble, but the Combattimento Consort also worked with great performers such as Barbara Bonney, Andreas Scholl and Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Thomas Zehetmair and Sabine Meyer as well as joining forces with Collegium Vocale Gent and other groups.
Several recordings have won the highest praise of the Dutch music magazine 'Luister'. Over the years, the ensemble made numerous CD recordings, including Handels La Resurrezione. Another recent production is Der Stein der Weisen. This opera had its premiere in the Wielki Theatre in Lodz (Poland; 2003), and after that it toured in The Netherlands and Flanders. In 2004 the Combattimento Consort toured through Central Europe and The Netherlands with Handel’s opera Agrippina, the largest cultural project within the Netherlands Presidency of the European Union.
Jan Willem de Vriend
Jan Willem de Vriend is the artistic director of Combattimento Consort Amsterdam and since 2006 the chief conductor and artistic director of the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.
Combattimento Consort Amsterdam devotes itself to the music of about 1600 to 1830. Since its founding in 1982, it has performed virtually throughout the world as well as on many CDs, DVDs and television productions. For decades, Combattimento Consort Amsterdam has had its own concert series at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in which many entirely unknown – and mostly unpublished – pieces are performed alongside more familiar works, such as the yearly Matthaus Passion and Weihnachtsoratorium by Bach. Their 25th anniversary in 2007 was celebrated with the impressive project of Bibers Missa Salisburgensis, for the very first time in the original version with 4 organs and as many choirs.
In addition to having served as concertmaster with various ensembles, De Vriend developed a career as a conductor with several orchestras both in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy Germany, Sweden, as well as China and Australia. Opera conducting has come to play a significant role. He has led Combattimento Consort Amsterdam in unknown operas by Gassmann, Rameau, Heinchen and Haydn, among others, as well as familiar operas by such composers as Monteverdi, Handel, Rossini and Mozart. For the opera houses of Lucern, Strasbourg, Barcelona and Enschede, he has conducted operas by Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss and others.
He was invited by the Stanislavsky Theatre of Moscow to conduct an opera by Handel.
Since De Vriend was named chief conductor in 2006, the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra has become a notable phenomenon on the Netherlands’ musical scene. It has presented semi-scenic performances of works by Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss and Mendelssohn. There were premieres of works by Offenbach, Say and Mahler. And by substituting historical instruments in the brass section, it has developed its own distinctive sound in the 18th- and 19th-century repertoire. The orchestra performed music by Schumann at festivals in Spain and recorded Beethoven’s complete symphonies conducted by De Vriend. Its long Mahler tradition is being continued in recordings and tours.
De Vriend was awarded the Dutch Radio 4 Prize of the year 2012. The Radio 4 Prize is awarded to a musician (or ensemble or institution) who has distinguished himself in bringing classical music to a broad public.