Beethoven’s birthday celebrated with masterpiece Missa Solemnis performance


Exeter Philharmonic Choir and the English Chamber Orchestra are perform Beethoven’s masterpiece Missa Solemnis to mark 250 years since the composer’s birth.

Beethoven’s magnificent Missa Solemnis, widely considered to be his greatest choral work yet rarely performed in the South West, will be brought to life this March through the combined talent of Exeter Philharmonic Choir, the renowned English Chamber Orchestra and four international soloists. The event takes place on Saturday, March 14 at Exeter Cathedral.

The one-night performance of this theatrical, yet spiritual work celebrates Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Exeter Philharmonic Choir is the city’s longest-established choral group, soon to mark a major milestone of its own – its 175th anniversary.

Exeter Philharmonic Choir performing in Exeter Cathedral

Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis or Solemn Mass will be conducted by Exeter Philharmonic Choir’s musical director, Howard Ionascu, in Exeter Cathedral on the evening of Saturday March 14 for the Choir’s annual Lord Mayor’s Concert. It’s a rare opportunity for concertgoers from Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset to enjoy a performance by artists who regularly frequent the international stage.

As a composer, Beethoven penned arguably the four most recognisable notes in musical history, opening his Fifth Symphony with that unforgettable sequence da-da-da-dum! He wrote comparatively little choral music. His most famous composition for the choir is his Ode to Joy, the finale of his Ninth Symphony.

Missa Solemnis, composed for his great friend and pupil Archduke Rudolph’s enthronement as Archbishop of Olmütz, broke new ground by combining the devotion of church music with the theatricality and power of concert music. The result is an enduring work of radiance and spirituality as well as strength, passion and compassion.

Along with demanding solo and choral parts, it contains a beautiful solo violin in the Benedictus as well as expressive brass and timpani in the Dona section. Exeter Philharmonic Choir is delighted to be joined by world-class soloists, Alice Gribbin, Soprano, Marta Fontanals-Simmons, Mezzo-soprano, David Webb, Tenor ( a former Exeter Head Chorister) and Robert Davies, Bass.

Tickets cost £28, £22, £14 and are available at www.exephil.org.uk or at Exeter Visitor Information Centre and Tickets, Dix’s Field, 01392 665885.





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