Creatively Speaking
12:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Glorious Sacred Music from Opera Master Rossini

The early 19th-century Italian composer Giochino Rossini composed nearly 40 operas before he turned 40.  Later in life, he turned to other forms. And near the end of his life, he wrote  a solemn mass for the dedication of a private chapel.  As two local ensembles prepare performances, WRTI’s Susan Lewis explores Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle.

Lewis:  In some ways, the work summarizes Rossini’s entire art, says Matthew Glandorf, artistic director of Choral Arts Philadelphia.

Glandorf : You get these beautiful, lovely, soaring, natural melodies that you would know from his operas, but you also see somebody who has an absolute mastery of interesting harmonies.

Lewis:  Glandorf says you can see that Rossini  was studying the music of his contemporaries.

Glandorf: Or shall we even say possibly the next generation.  You really find that he's saying, hey look, I can also compose a fugue like the best of them....

Lewis:  Choral Arts will perform the work on Saturday, February 9th and is engaging soloists who specialize in period vocal performance, among them Julianne Baird. 

Lewis:  Another interpretation will be offered  later this month by the Philadelphia Singers, which Glandorf welcomes.

Glandorf: I’m hoping that that might open up a dialogue to say there are infinite number of possibilities to approach the interpretation of music, and actually that its radical to approach music differently. 

Choral Arts Philadelphia performs Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle on Saturday, February 9 at 7 pm, at  St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Center City, Philadelphia. 

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society presents the Philadelphia Singers performing the work on Monday, February 18th at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater.

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