‘The time is now,’ says Maine Music Society Director

LEWISTON — The magnificence of Mozart’s “Mass in C” will fill the Franco Center concert hall Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30.

The program features the 75 voices of the Androscoggin Chorale, accompanied by the Maine Music Society Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of John Corrie.
“This is exceedingly difficult choral music,” Corrie said. “Given the exceptional talents and professional level of our Androscoggin Chorale,” Corrie said the challenges are well within the competence of the singers and instrumentalists.
Soloists featured in the Androscoggin Chorale performance are Elisabeth Marshall, soprano; Sarah Bailey, soprano; Martin Lescault, tenor; and Carl Steidel, bass. This Marshall’s first appearance as a soloist with the Androscoggin Chorale.
The Androscoggin Chorale is accompanied by the Maine Music Society Chamber Orchestra’s trumpets, flutes, oboes, string ensemble, organ and timpani.
Corrie said he has owned a conductor’s score of Mozart’s “Mass in C” for 11 or 12 years.
“I always wanted to get to it,” he said, “and the time is right.”
Corrie commented on some of the unusual circumstances related to this famous work which Mozart composed in the early 1780s. That was well after his years of fame as a child prodigy, and about 10 years before his death. It was said to be written as a thanks offering after his marriage to Constanze Weber, and she was a soloist in its premiere. For unknown reasons, the “Mass in C” was never completed.
Corrie said, “Mozart’s opera interests got revved up.” Some sketches of unfinished parts were found, and numerous composers tried to fill in the missing final movements with varying degrees of success.
With its magnificent and mighty choruses, sensuous and ornate solos, large orchestral and solo instrumental segments, this work was unlike any church music of its time, according to Internet sources.
Mozart’s “Mass in C” embodies the pomp and solemnity that’s associated with the Salzburg traditions of the time. It is said that this work shows the influence of Bach and Handel, whose music Mozart was studying at this time.
The Kyrie (Lord, have mercy), which is the first movement of the Mass, begins with solemn depth, using the full force of the orchestra to lead to a soaring soprano solo.
The counterpoint and incessant textures of the soprano duet in “Domine Deus” (and later in the trio in “Quoniam tu solus Sanctus”) expertly reflect Handel’s influence yet magically transform into Mozart’s own musical language, scholars have said.
A description of the music in “Qui tollis,” which comes in the Gloria (the second movement) says, “dotted rhythms and a repetitive bass line portray the tension of a heart caught up in life’s trials, pleading for mercy.”
Concluding the Gloria movement, “cum sancto spiritu” repeats “masterful fugal action, accompanied by exuberant string passages.”
Corrie said Maine Music Society’s presentation of the Great “Mass in C” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will run just over an hour.
The Androscoggin Chorale began in 1972 when a group of singers, several from Bates College, approached Marion Anderson, a music professor at Bates, to form a community chorus. The Maine Music Society (MMS) was formed in 1991 as an umbrella organization for the Androscoggin Chorale and the Maine Chamber Ensemble. The Maine Music Society welcomed Corrie, music instructor at Bates College, as artistic director in the spring of 2006. The Chorale has nearly doubled in size under his leadership.
Performances of Mozart’s “Mass in C” are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30.
For tickets, call L/A Arts at 782-7228 or purchase online at www.mainemusicsociety.org. Prices are $20 adult; $18 senior; $10 student; and children under 12 are free.
The Franco Center is at Cedar and Oxford Streets, Lewiston.
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