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Southwell Choral Society - Beethoven Mass in C

Southwell Minster, Church Street, Southwell, Nottinghamshire, NG25 0HD
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Southwell Choral Society - Beethoven Mass in C

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Saturday 28 March 2015   7.30pm

Tickets at: £15, £12.50 and £9.00

Beethoven's Mass in C, inspite of not receiving a rapturous welcome from Prince Nikolaus Esterházy II, the person who commissioned Beethoven to write the Mass in C and in whom's house the piece was first performed in 1807, is now considered by critics to be a masterpiece. Less frequently performed than the better known Missa Solemnis, critic Michael Moore " ... it has a directness and an emotional content that the latter work [Missa Solemnis] sometimes lacks." The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs (2004 edition) forthrightly calls the work a "long-underrated masterpiece."

Haydn - Te Deum No 2
This magnificent choral drama in three parts was a commission from Empress Marie Therese, the wife of Franz I of Austria. Permission from Prince Esterházy who was effectively Haydn's employer to take on the commision only came about after much persuasion the Empress. Its first recorded performance was in 1800 at Eisenstadt, the home of the Esterhazy family, to celebrate Lord Nelson's (and, inevitably, Lady Hamilton's) arrival there.
The Te Deum is a choral work throughout, without the solo sections that are heard in Haydn's masses and other sacred works. In this work two lengthy Allegro passages surround a central Adagio. The opening theme in the first Allegro, in the traditional festive key of C major, is sung by the chorus in unison. The Adagio at Te ergo quaesumus opens with a thunderous unison C and proceeds, mysteriously, in C minor with the harmonies moving chromatically to stunning, if brief, effect. The final Allegro returns to the same cheerful mood as the first passage, concluding with a stirring double fugue on the words In te Domine speravi. A coda-like section, distinguished by overlapping instrumental and choral phrases with syncopated rhythms, brings the piece to glorious close. 
(With thanks to Aylesbury Choral Society)

Beethoven Symphony No1
Written when Beethoven was only 25, the premiere took place on 2 April 1800. The influence of Haydn and Mozart are very plain in the melodies (especially in one that it could be argued he copied directly from Haydn), but there are a few hints of the greatness to come, the greatness that was Beethoven's alone. Two particular examples are the first movement starting in a different key to the rest of the symphony and the clattering accents audible throughout the symphony. The utilization of these startling innovations show Beethoven breaking the mould and herald the truly earth-shattering music.

(With thanks to Classic FM)

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