Masterworks opens season with music composed during World War II

News-DemocratOctober 9, 2013 

The Masterworks Chorale and Children's Choruses will kick off their 40th concert season with "A Mass in Time of War: Kodaly's Missa Brevis" and other selections at 3 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Belleville.

Composed in war-torn Budapest in 1944-45 by Hungary's Zoltan Kodaly, "Missa Brevis" was first performed in a makeshift bomb shelter in the Budapest Opera House. Meanwhile, outside the battle for control of the city raged between German and Soviet forces.

Images of war-torn Europe will be shown during the music to enhance the interactive experience.

Also on the program are two anthems by the Englishman Herbert Howell, composed during the London Blitz in 1941, and sacred music written by Francis Paulenc in 1941, during the Nazi occupation in France. The music is a beautiful, moving and uplifting expression o the indomitable, optimistic human spirit that transcends the tragedy of war.

The chorale and choruses are conducted by Dr. Stephen Mager. The concert also will feature organist Dr. Barbara Raedeke and soprano soloist Stella Markou.

Tickets are available in advance ($15 adults; $5 students) by calling 618-236-0182, or at the door ($20 adults; $10 students). Group rates are available.

Other performances in the 2013-14 season are:

* A Masterworks Christmas at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, at St. Clare Church in O'Fallon. It features Part One of Handel's "Messiah," perhaps the most famous of all choral masterworks. The program will also include favorite carols, a candlelight procession and an audience sing-along.

* The spring Broadway Pops at 7:30 p.m. March 1 at The Hett at McKendree University in Lebanon.

* Two performances of Durufle's Requiem and other French masterworks May 3 at Christ Church Cathedral and May 4 at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Belleville.

* The Children's Chorus and Youth Chorale will join the adult chorale for the annual Christmas and Broadway concerts. They will also present their own fall concert, "Leaving Soon on the Noon Balloon: Music for Young Voices," at 3 p.m., Oct. 27 at St. Paul's UCC. The program includes music composed expressly for treble voices by Handel and Purcell, selections from folk traditions and works by contemporary composers. The program also marks the Masterworks debut of pianist Dr. Catherine Burge.

* The spring concert, "Voices of Spring," will be at 3 p.m. April 6 at St. Paul's UCC.

Season tickets are $50 each and include reserved seating at each concert. Individual concert ticket prices are $15 in advance and $20 at the door for adults; $5 in advance and $10 at the door for students. Tickets are available from chorus members, by mail or by phone (618-236-0182). Groups of 10 or more receive a 20 percent discount on tickets ordered in advance.

Auditions for both the Masterworks Chorale and Children's Choruses are by appointment only. Contact Christa Jenkins at 618-628-9989 or for a Chorale audition (adults older than 18) or Stephanie Schanot at 618-830-8185 or for a Children's Choruses audition (students in grades 3-12).

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