Sunday, March 8, 2009

Webber Requiem, Schubert Mass, and Marsalis Sax

For its third concert of the 2008-09 season, The Metropolitan Chorus (TMC) performed Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem and excerpts from Franz Schubert’s Mass No 6 in E-Flat Major. TMC was joined by The Heritage Signature Chorale and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO). Also on the program was guest artist Branford Marsalis, who will be performing an aria from Johann Sebastian Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, Jacques Ibert’s Concertino da Camera, and Vocalise for Branford with saxophone quartet and strings written by ASO's music director Kim Kluge. (YouTube clips of Branford Marsalis playing Concertino da Camera can be found here - part 1, part 2)

Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948-) is an English composer of musical theatre. Having started composing at age 6 and published his first piece at age 9, he has composed some 13 musicals, a song cycle, a set of variations, and two film scores. His Requiem mass was written in 1984 in memory of his father, William Lloyd Webber, who died in 1982. This was the popular composer’s first and only full classical work. Requiem received a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition in 1985, and Pie Jesu, the 8th movement and best-known segment of the piece, has received much popularity and been recorded frequently.

Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828) was an Austrian composer, writing some 600 lieder (songs), 9 symphonies, liturgical music, operas, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music. He is particularly noted for his original melodic and harmonic writing. Written in 1828, Mass No 6 in E-Flat Major (D950) was among Schubert’s most admired creations, hardly what one would expect of an ailing composer in his final year. Yet this great mass for five vocal soloists, choir, and orchestra is a bold and innovative work, inspired in its expansive form and abundant counterpoint by Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.

The concert was presented on Sunday March 8 at 3 pm at the Rachel M Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center in Alexandria, Virginia.