The first American presentation of Frank Martin's "Le Mystere de la Nativite" will be performed in Sanders Theatre next Friday and Saturday Dec. 14 and 15 by the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Choral Society, and the Orchestra. Henry Swoboda, director of the Orchestra, will conduct.
The concerts are previews of the American premiere of the piece, which Swoboda and the Harvard-Radcliffe musicians will present at Carnegie Hall Dec. 16.
Over $11,000 is invested in the production, and the three Harvard-Radcliffe groups will need full houses in Cambridge and New York to break even. Members of the glee clubs have each contributed $5 toward meeting the expenses.
Swoboda, who will conduct both the Carnegie Hall and the Sanders performances, joined the Harvard faculty this fall as Lecturer on Music. He is well known for his recordings with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the orchestra of the Vienna Stadtoper. He has toured widely as a guest conductor, directing performances in many of the capitals of Europe and South America.
"Le Mystere de la Nativite" is Martin's most recent major composition. First conducted by Ernest Ansermet in 1959, the work was selected to open the Salzburg Festival Hall in 1960.
The Swiss composer's work has been well received in the United States, and is even more popular in Europe.