Gioachino Rossini: Petite Messe Solenelle

March 20, 2011, 3:00 pm
Old South Church

645 Boylston Street
Boston MA 02116

Map • Phone: 617-267-7442

What Giochino Rossini affectionately called the last of his “sins of old age” is in fact a major work of great wit, musical creativity, and religious feeling. The Mass, completed just five years before his death, was Rossini’s last major work, after a period of over 30 years during which he published no new music except his Stabat Mater.  Like all of Rossini’s music, it is melodic, spirited, and irresistibly engaging – a deeply felt, serious religious work with the zest of the best comic opera. One early critic wrote that there was enough fire in the piece to melt a marble cathedral.  “Petite” only in instrumental accompaniment — two pianos and harmonium — and not overly solemn, the Mass includes exquisite writing for the four soloists and chorus that make it a fitting climax to the life of the man considered the greatest Italian composer of his time.

With Carole Haber, soprano; Hillary Nicholson, mezzo-soprano; William Hite, tenor; and Paul Guttry, bass.

Boston Musical Intelligencer: “Due to the unflagging diligence of both choir and conductor, the work was performed… with the vivid colors that brought it to life.”