Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 20, 2002 -- The Southeast Missouri State University Choral Union, the area's largest and most renowned community choir, will begin its spring rehearsal schedule Jan. 21 for a May 6 concert, "Viennese Classics."

Regular rehearsals will be held on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. in Brandt Music Hall Room 205.

The Choral Union is a non-auditioned choir that draws singers from the area-wide community. The 100-plus voice choir specializes in major choral/orchestral works and performances of such highly acclaimed works as Orff's "Carmina Burana" and Handel's "Messiah." Most recently, Thompson's "Frostiana" and Hanson's "Song of Democracy" have attracted huge crowds. Dr. John Egbert, director of choral activities at the University, directs the group.

Anyone interested in singing in the Choral Union or wanting additional information is encouraged to contact Egbert at (573) 651-2342.

"It's quite simple," Egbert said. "We are interested in anyone who wants to sing, and although we are always interested in recruiting additional men, we also want to recruit more women."

There is no fee and no audition for membership.

"Viennese Classics" features Franz Schubert's "Mass in G" and Ludwig von Beethoven's "Gloria" (from the "Mass in C Major"). Vienna was one of the Crown Jewels for the Arts, attracting artists and musicians from all over Europe. While Schubert was born and raised in Vienna, Beethoven and many of his contemporaries, went to Vienna to study and immerse themselves in that musical and cultural environment.

Schubert's "Mass in G" is straightforward, simple and unusually tuneful. Though it is a fairly small-scaled work for chorus and soloists, accompanied only by strings and organ, it greatly pleased his teacher, Antonio Salieri, the Emperor's music director. It was written in just six days--when Schubert was 17 years old.

In 1807, Beethoven was commissioned to provide the annual Mass for Prince Nikolaus Esterházy of Vienna. Although some of the dramatic touches and dynamic extremes that would be so important in Beethoven's later music are somewhat restrained here, the Mass in C is no less a masterpiece.

In the "Gloria," the opening and closing sections are powerful and exuberant, while the central portion is a more reflective mood for soloists echoed by the chorus. Though the Mass in C is Classical in style, one readily hears premonitions of what is to come with Beethoven.

Donald Grout, noted musical historian writes, "… he is neither Classic nor Romantic; his is Beethoven, and his figure towers like a colossus astride the two centuries."

Egbert said, "'Viennese Classics' is another outstanding installment in our journey through the vast sea of musical style. One of our prime concerns is avoiding the trap of presenting the same familiar literature over and over again. For all of us--performers and audiences alike--to grow, we must continually expand our horizons. That includes such standard fare as "Messiah" or the "Mass in G," but it must also include works that are unfamiliar to us, because only through the discovery of new literature do we expand our musical horizons."


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For more information contact the Director of the News Bureau, Ann Hayes, (573) 651-2552.