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.