CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
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Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Arts Center Relations
Kantorei will sing Rossini's 'Little Solemn Mass' in May 9 concert
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Kantorei will perform the "Petite
messe solennelle" ("Little solemn mass") of Gioachinno Rossini
in its final concert of the spring semester at 8 p.m. Friday, May 9 in Clapp
Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The premiere vocal ensemble of the UI School of Music, Kantorei will be directed
on this program by its assistant conductor, Dirk Garner.
Composed in 1863, the "Petite Messe Solennelle" was Rossini's last
major work, written long after he had retired from active composing. The name
was perhaps chosen ironically, since the mass is long enough to fill an entire
concert. Many critics have considered it the crowning achievement of the opera
Because of its operatic style -- essentially the same as Rossini's popular
stage works -- the mass has sometimes been considered inappropriate for church
performance, although the sincerity of the composer's expression is not in
question. In his dedication, Rossini referred to the score as "the last
mortal sin of my old age," and petitioned God to admit him to heaven:
"Is it really sacred music that I have composed, or is it simply damned
music? I was born for opera buffa, as Thou well knowest," he wrote. "Little
skill, a little bit of heart, and that is all. So be Thou blessed, and admit
me to Paradise."
For the May 9 concert the mass will be performed in its original scoring
for four soloists, chorus, two pianos and harmonium (reed organ). Soloists
will be Jennifer White, soprano; Marie von Behren, mezzo-soprano; Ezechial
Thurman, tenor, and J.S. Endres, bass. Shawn Kirchner and Matthew Faerber
will be pianists, and Stephen Cook will be the organist.
Garner is completing his first year as a doctoral student in choral conducting
at the UI. Before coming to Iowa he served one year as interim director of
choral activities at Albertson College in Idaho and two years as director
of choral activities at High Point University in High Point, N.C. He has a
master's degree in choral conducting from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory
of Music and an undergraduate degree in vocal performance from Illinois Wesleyan
For more information, call (319) 335-1667.