NEW PALTZ — On Sunday, December 9, at 3:00 PM, the College/Youth Symphony of the Hudson Valley, under the baton of Dr. Carole Cowan, presents a concert that includes works by Bach, Dvorák, and Rimsky-Korsakov. The Concert Choir and College-Community Chorale, led by Dr. Edward Lundergan, accompany the Symphony in a performance of Beethoven’s Mass in C.
The concert is held in the Julien J. Studley Theatre at SUNY New Paltz. Tickets may be purchased at the door to the theatre one hour prior to the concert. Prices are $5 for adults; $4 for senior citizens, faculty and staff; and $3 for students.
With over eighty musicians from SUNY New Paltz and several regional high-schools, the College/Youth Symphony of the Hudson Valley is the region’s premier young-peoples’ orchestra, regularly performing large-scale compositions to full houses at the Julien J. Studley Theatre at SUNY New Paltz. This year, the symphony joins the ninety voices of the combined Concert Choir and College-Community Chorale to perform Beethoven’s Mass in C, one of the most notable works for chorus and orchestra. Vocal soloists are Barbara Hardgrave, mezzo soprano, Charles Sokolowski, tenor, and Paul Frazer, bass.
Beethoven composed the Mass in C in 1807 to a commission from Prince Nikolaus Esterházy. Although by this time his status as a composer of instrumental works was assured, he was less experienced in sacred music and had never before set the words of the Mass. Nonetheless, the Mass in C reveals an intensely personal and vividly dramatic response to these central liturgical texts.
Beethoven’s composition is rife with religious undercurrents. The tripartite symbolism of the Trinity is reflected in the three-part text, three distinct musical sections and by placing the central “Christie” in a key a third higher. The broad diatonic harmonies and the stability of the choral writing in the “Gloria” give an impression of the unchanging, eternal strength of God. At the words “Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris” (You who sit at the Father’s right hand) in the “Gloria”, Beethoven reduces the voices from four-part harmony to octaves for the first time to depict the oneness of Christ with God. The resurrection and ascension are announced with suitable rising motives, and the movement concludes with a fugue on ‘et vitam venturi.’ (http://www.dorak.free-online.co.uk/massc.html)
The Symphony’s program also includes Antonin Dvorák’s Carnival Overture, part of a group of overtures originally called Nature, Life, Love, written in 1891. The pieces have since been separated and are now known individually as In Nature’s Realm, Carnival, and Othello. The Carnival Overture opens brilliantly with full orchestra and a series of themes illustrating Dvorák’s program:
A lonely, contemplative wanderer reaching at twilight a city where a carnival is in full sway. On every side is heard the clangor of instruments mingled with shouts of joy and unrestrained hilarity of the people giving vent to their feelings in songs and dance tunes. (From The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra)
Additional works to be performed include Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Polonaise” from the opera Christmas Eve and Prelude and Fugue in g minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.
For information on other upcoming arts events at SUNY New Paltz, visit www.newpaltz.edu/artsnews, or call 845-257-3872. Images of the College/Youth Symphony are available on the web at www.newpaltz.edu/news/images/youthsymphony.html
– 30 –