Handel and Haydn Society Explore Ties Between Handel and Slave Trade

(Boston) The Handel and Haydn Society will explore the connections between Handel and the creation of the American Spiritual in Crossing the Deep, June 1 and 4, 2023 at Smith Hall at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 

Crossing the Deep will feature the Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra and Chorus performing movements from Handel’s Chandos Anthems and a selection of traditional spirituals including “In This Lan’,” “I will Trust in the Lord,” “When I am Dead” and others. 

Created by H+H Resident Conductor Dr. Anthony Trecek-King and H+H Programming Consultant Reginald Mobley, Crossing the Deep uses imagery, music and spoken word to tell a story of hope, despair, triumph, tribulation and the common humanity that connects us all. The music was inspired by the same texts and created at roughly the same time on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Spoken word performances by Regie Gibson will bridge the gap between works, highlighting the common theme of the music to inspire hope and strength and express sorrow and pain.

“This project was born out of the discovery that Handel had been paid in shares in a company that profited off the transatlantic slave trade. As artists, we wanted to explore the issue through music, and hopefully educate our audience in the process,” said Dr. Anthony Trecek-King. “On the surface, spirituals seem to be simple to perform, but the emotional depth behind the music makes it incredibly difficult to do them justice.”

This program is supported in part by Cambridge Trust and the Robert N. Shapiro Fund for Imagination and Creativity.

The Handel and Haydn Society recently announced the 2023-24 season, the 209th in the organization’s history and the first full season for Artistic Director Jonathan Cohen. 

The 2023-24 Season

Israel in Egypt                               October 6 + 8                      Symphony Hall

Luks Leads Beethoven                 October 27 + 29                  Symphony Hall

Handel’s Messiah                         November 24 + 25 + 26      Symphony Hall

Baroque Christmas                       December 14 + 17              NEC’s Jordan Hall

The British Masters                      February 2 + 4                     NEC’s Jordan Hall

Harry, Haydn + Mozart                 February 23 + 25                 Symphony Hall

Beethoven 9                                 March 15 + 16                     Symphony Hall

Bach + Telemann                          March 22 + 24                     NEC’s Jordan Hall

Bach B Minor Mass                      April 5 + 7                            Symphony Hall

Brahms Requiem                          April 19 + 21                        Symphony Hall

Brandenburg Concertos               May 2 + 3 + 4                      Sanders Theatre
                                                                                                        NEC’s Jordan Hall

Subscription packages are available and may be purchased by calling 617-262-1815 or visiting handelandhaydn.org. 

About the Handel and Haydn Society

Boston’s Grammy-winning Handel and Haydn Society is dedicated to performing Baroque and Classical music with a freshness, a vitality, and a creativity that inspires all ages. H+H has been captivating audiences for 208 consecutive seasons (the most of any performing arts organization in the United States). Today, H+H’s Orchestra and Chorus delight more than 50,000 listeners annually with a nine-week subscription series at Boston Symphony Hall and other leading venues. Through the Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program, H+H supports seven youth choirs of singers in grades 2-12 and provides thousands of complimentary tickets to students and communities throughout Boston, ensuring the joy of music is accessible to all. H+H’s numerous free community concerts include an annual commemoration of the original 1863 Emancipation Proclamation concert on December 31. H+H has released 16 CDs on the Coro label and has toured nationally and internationally. In all these ways, H+H fulfills its mission to inspire the intellect, touch the heart, elevate the soul, and connect us with our shared humanity through transformative experiences with Baroque and Classical music.

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