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.”