Beethoven's Missa Solemnis


Beethoven Missa solemnis

Sir Andrew Davis conductor
Emily Birsan soprano
Michèle Losier mezzo-soprano
Andrew Staples tenor
Christian van Horn bass-baritone
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus

The late, great German maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch took many years before he conducted Beethoven’s monumental Missa solemnis. ‘I haven’t found the right key to open it,’ he said. It has also taken MSO Chief Conductor Sir Andrew Davis a long time to unlock the dramatic and technical complexities of Beethoven’s greatest and most technically challenging choral work. Sir Andrew, with a lifetime of music behind him, finally comes to the Missa solemnis for the first time with forces fit to do it justice: the MSO at full strength, four international soloists — soprano Emily Birsan, mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier, tenor Andrew Staples, and bass-baritone Christian van Horn — and the might of the marvellous MSO Chorus, whose extended role, almost as another instrument, is truly demanding. It is said that Beethoven laboured harder on the Missa solemnis than any other work in his career; for him, it was carving the music from granite. Performances of it are all too rare.

Read Sir Andrew Davis’ reflection on the Missa solemnis, Beethoven’s most visionary and spiritual work, and the complexities behind it.

Pre-Concert Talk
26 and 27 August at 7pm, Stalls Foyer, Hamer Hall
MSO Director of Artistic Planning Ronald Vermeulen will present a talk on the artists and works featured in the program.

Duration: 1 hour and 25 minutes with no interval

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