A rare performance of Philip Hayes’ The Judgment of Hermes (1783)
Clothworkers Consort of Leeds and Skipton Building Society Camerata are joining forces to give the first modern-day performance of Philip Hayes’ oratorio The Judgment of Hermes. The music is in the galant style and full of engaging lyrical melody supported by a varied instrumental palette. The text features Hermes and the muses Melpomene (the muse of song), Calliope (the muse of epic poetry) and Terpsichore (the muse of dance) who undertake an Enlightenment exploration of the pains and pleasures of life. Hayes (1738-1797), a member of the Chapel Royal and Professor of Music at Oxford, was one of the most important English composers of his day. In 1791 he welcomed Joseph Haydn to Oxford to receive an honorary doctorate. Haydn’s Symphony in G, no. 92 was performed at the Sheldonian Theatre during this visit, after which it became known as ‘The Oxford Symphony’. Haydn’s brilliant symphony will be paired with Hayes’ oratorio, the first performance of this delightful work (as far as we know) since its composition in 1783.
With the support of a Higher Education Innovation Funding grant, a research team led by Bryan White has developed a performing edition of the work. Recently completed Leeds PhD student Chris Roberts transcribed the new edition from the two surviving copies: the autograph (held in the Library of Congress), and a direct copy of it made by the nineteenth-century Sheffield music collector W.T. Freeman and now in the Brotherton Library at Leeds. Another recent Leeds PhD graduate Fiona Smith is advising on the relationship between score and parts in Hayes’ works, and her research will be reflected in the performance. The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society has given generous funding to support the performance. Two Leeds BMus alumni, Clare Eccles and Bethany Seymour, will sing the parts Terpsichore and Melpomene. Soprano Peyee Chen takes the part of Calliope. Julian Alexander Smith sings the role of Hermes
The performance will take place at Christ Church, Skipton (Cross Street, BD23 2AH), at 7.30pm on 25 April, directed by Ben Crick, founder and artistic director of the Camerata. Bryan White will give a pre-concert talk about Hayes and his music at the church at 6.15. Tickets, £10-£17 are available online (http://skiptoncamerata.com) and on the door.
For Ticket Booking: skiptoncamerata.com/concerts/2015/04/27/the-judgement-of-hermes