Thursday, 25 September 2014

Christopher Hogwood - Requiescat in pace

So soon after the death of Frans Brüggen, the world has lost another of the great period instrument musicians, scholars and conductors, with the news today that Christoper Hogwood CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), founder and long standing director of the Academy of Ancient Music, has died aged 73 (see also hereherehere and here). Listen to a recent BBC interview with the Maestro. Most classical music CD collections will have a generous amount of Hogwood's recordings, many of them on the Decca L'Oiseau Lyre series. He regularly collaborated with the great cathedral and college choirs of England.  Here the AAM and the Westminster Cathedral Choir (under David Hill) perform Mozart's Regina Coeli KV 127.

His recording of the Mozart Requiem (also with Westminster Cathedral Choir) remains one of the finest.

Hogwood recorded the first full period instrument performance of Handel's Messiah (and also remains one of the finest), with the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford (in about 1978, with, I seem to recall, Simon Preston as the Choirmaster).  A few years later, an almost identical performance was broadcast on the BBC, though the choir had changed (Westminster Abbey Choir, filmed inside the Abbey - and I believe Simon Preston was now Master of the Choristers at the Abbey).  Also look out for a young Harry Christophers singing tenor.

Returning to Mozart, Hogwood recorded the complete Symphonies with the AAM. Here he gives a spirited performance of the final movement of the forty-first and final ("Jupiter") symphony in Japan. The final few bars are positively explosive!  And how nice to hear a "Bravo" from the Japanese audience (across the world this has largely been replaced by a generic form of hollering).

And here Hogwood conducts a memorable performance of Haydn's The Creation with the Choir of New College, Oxford (although I believe the venue is the stunning Gloucester Cathedral).

Thank you Maestro for many happy musical memories.