Orchestra, Choir, Choral Union Combining to Perform Mozart’s Vespers




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 20, 2012 – The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra will combine with the University Choir and Choral Union to present the great choral and orchestral work, “Vespers,” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Dec. 4 at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

Also on the program will be the majestic “Reformation Symphony” by the celebrated Romantic composer, Felix Mendelssohn. The concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall.

The concert will open with the monumental “Reformation Symphony” by Felix Mendelssohn. This symphony was written in commemoration of the anniversary of the establishment of the Lutheran Church. Martin Luther famously posted his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, thus starting the Reformation movement; in 1530, a gathering of German nobles and theologians officially accepted the Augsburg Confession, which marked the establishment of the Lutheran Church. Mendelssohn composed this large-scale, majestic work in 1830, inspired by the 300th anniversary celebrations of the Augsburg Confession and of the official beginnings of the Lutheran Church.

The “Reformation Symphony” comprises four movements: the outer two movements are especially massive and exuberant. The symphony starts with a slow introduction, including a quotation from the “Dresden Amen,” a familiar motive found in German hymns. The following lengthy section, “Allegro con fuoco,” with its dense counterpoint, use of fugal subjects, and enormous rhythmic energy, is reminiscent of the great Baroque composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. The middle two movements are more serene and light-hearted, while the massive concluding movement is based on Martin Luther’s great chorale tune, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” The entire symphony is permeated with incredible energy and majesty as it celebrates the establishment of the Lutheran Church in Germany.

On the second half of the concert, the University Choir and Choral Union, along with soloists Lori Shaffer, soprano, Leslie Jones, contralto, Christopher Goeke, tenor, and Timothy Schmidt, bass-baritone, will join the Southeast Missouri Symphony in a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s sublime “Vespers Solenne.” This large-scale choral work was written by Mozart in 1779 in Salzburg for a special vespers (evening) service for his patron, the Archbishop of Salzburg. The texts for the composition come from a series of Psalms (109, 110, 111, 112, and 116), as well as the glorious Magnificat, taken from the gospel of St. Luke. The energetic orchestral writing, beautiful vocal solos, and full-voiced choir combine to make this one of Mozart’s most beloved choral and orchestral compositions.

In the words of musicologist and program annotator Jeffrey Noonan, “Mozart and Mendelssohn spoke different musical languages, one looking outward to wider society while the other’s gaze seems resolutely personal. Their compositional motivations differed, tooᾰMozart writing for his patron and his pay while Mendelssohn appears to have composed for posterity. Despite these and other differences, these two titans of Western Art Music shared a view of the world which recognized the significance of religion and faith and the role music plays in both. As we enter another hectic holiday season, the Department of Music offers this final gala concert as a momentary respite from the shopping, the wrapping, the traveling, the cooking, and everything else that calls for your attention. Take a breath, take your seat and let the glorious and powerful music wash over you and perhaps inspire you over the course of the next few weeks.”

Tickets are on Sale Now.

Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also may be purchased at RiverCampusEvents.com.