November 27, 2017

Trinity Church Wall Street’s annual performances of Handel’s Messiah have long been a staple of the New York holiday season. This year, on December 15–17 at Trinity Church, the Grammy-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and Director of Music Julian Wachner give three sold-out accounts of the beloved oratorio in the historically informed, period-instrument rendition that the New York Times considers “revelatory.” Although no tickets remain, like so many of Trinity’s musical offerings, these will be professionally filmed, streamed live, and made available on demand, free of charge, granting home audiences around the world full access to “New York’s finest annual presentation of Handel’s Messiah” (Time Out New York). Click here to see one of Trinity’s 2016 Messiah performances.

Almost 250 years ago, Trinity Church Wall Street was instrumental in pioneering Handel’s oratorio in the Americas. Trinity Church not only hosted the second American performance in 1770, but also played a part in the American premiere just eight months earlier. Today, Wachner and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra rank among the foremost exponents of the perennial holiday favorite. Early music experts who play on period instruments and specialize in Baroque performance practice, they offer an authentic approach that, as the Wall Street Journal put it, “demonstrate[s] why historically informed performance makes a difference.” Click here to learn more about the history of Handel’s Messiah at Trinity Church Wall Street.

Trinity Church Wall Street and Julian Wachner: fall highlights

These holiday offerings crown a full fall season at Trinity Church Wall Street. As the first installment of a special two-year edition of its celebrated Time’s Arrow festival, Trinity launched 2017-18 with a concert series exploring the complete works of Austrian serialist Anton Webern. Through its signature mix of early and new music, Time’s Arrow juxtaposed the Second Viennese composer’s works with those of both the early contrapuntalists who inspired him, and the later composers he influenced. Anchored by Wachner and NOVUS NY, Trinity’s resident contemporary ensemble, this “Time’s Arrow Festival hit the mark,” declared the New York Classical Review. Indeed, the review concluded, thanks to the artists’ “commitment and assurance,” Webern’s compositions “impressed mightily with their inventive intensity and force of expression,” leaving audiences, “would you believe it, wishing for still more Webern.” Click here to see Trinity’s professionally filmed video of the opening Time’s Arrow concert.

Fall also brought the Boston world premiere of REV. 23, the second full-length opera by Julian Wachner. Composed in collaboration with librettist Cerise Jacobs, the opera is conceived as a comic addition to the Book of Revelation. “The End was at hand, and it was a devil of a good time,” reported La Scena Musicale, which found that, thanks in no small part to “the biting rhythms and quick changes of Wachner’s rambunctious score, … there’s something in REV. 23 to inflame and incense, entice, gratify and seduce just about everybody.” “Wachner’s protean score deftly employs a grab-bag of 20th-century operatic and musical-theater styles to hold a mirror to the libretto,” added the Boston Globe. “Wachner’s REV. 23 sounds as broad, interesting, and brightly colored as the characters and plot of Jacobs’ libretto,” agreed the Boston Musical Intelligencer. “Wachner often reveals deep emotional intelligence.” Small wonder that this “comedic romp through deadly serious matters … received an eager standing ovation from an ecstatic audience.” In the New Year, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street looks forward to pioneering another new opera, Michael Gordon’s Acquanetta, at the upcoming Prototype Festival (Jan 9–14). Meanwhile, Trinity offers a series of free online classes with Michael Battle, a priest and theologian on the full-time faculty of The General Theological Seminary whose videos, curriculum guide, and glossary address some of the questions raised by the Book of Revelation.

Finally, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street was one of four world-class choirs that took part in 150 Psalms, an ambitious transatlantic twelve-concert series spanning nearly a thousand years of music with choral settings of 150 psalms by 150 different composers. After launching in Norway and the Netherlands, the project traveled to New York for Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival, prompting WQXR to observe:

“It is so exciting to be hearing music that not only offers beauty, but illustrates the complex nature of humanity, leadership, and what it means to be alive. Every setting has managed to bring unexpected tension, but also release, which is as rewarding as it is captivating.”

As for the performances, Downtown Post marveled, “The Trinity Wall Street Choir is, itself, a finely tuned instrument. Under Wachner’s energetic and passionate direction, it produces intricate webs of sound.” As WQXR recognized: “Trinity Wall Street has become a living treasure of the New York music scene.” Click here to see Trinity’s professionally filmed videos from the festival.

About Trinity Church Wall Street

Trinity Church Wall Street is a growing Episcopal community that seeks to serve and heal the world by building sustainable communities, generations of faithful leaders, and neighborhoods that live Gospel truths. The mission is grounded in Trinity’s core values: faith, integrity, inclusiveness, compassion, social justice, and stewardship. Trinity is located in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District, where it has created a dynamic home for music. Serving as director of Trinity’s music program – as well as principal conductor of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, the period-instrument Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and contemporary-music ensemble-in-residence NOVUS NY – Julian Wachner also oversees all liturgical, professional and community music programming at Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel. Music at Trinity ranges from large-scale oratorios to chamber music, and from intimate a cappella singing to jazz improvisation. Many concerts at Trinity are professionally filmed and streamed live and available on-demand at http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/videos. The Rev. Dr. William Lupfer is Rector of Trinity Church Wall Street and the Rev. Phillip Jackson is Vicar of Trinity Church Wall Street.

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Trinity Church Wall Street presents Handel’s Messiah

Friday, Dec 15 at 7:30pm (sold out)

Saturday, Dec 16 at 7:30pm (sold out)

Sunday, Dec 17 at 3pm (sold out)

New York, NY

Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street

The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra; Julian Wachner, conductor

All three performances will be live streamed. After the final live stream, one performance will be available on-demand. To watch in real time, visit trinitywallstreet.org any time during the performance, and click the orange button that appears in the upper right-hand corner whenever a service or performance is being streamed live. To watch on-demand video after the live events have passed, visit the music video portal.

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© 21C Media Group, November 2017