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A.V. MASTER CHORALE TO PERFORM BEETHOVEN'S `MISSA SOLEMNIS' : THE FACTS.

Byline: Charles F. Bostwick Daily News Staff Writer

Ludwig von Beethoven took four years to write his ``Missa Solemnis'' - so long that the investiture of the Moravian archbishop for which it was intended was over for three years by the time the piece was finished.

Setting to music word for word the Roman Catholic Mass in Latin, the piece runs 80 minutes - substantially longer than the religious service it copies.

``Beethoven considered it his greatest work,'' Antelope Valley College music Professor David Newby said. ``It was written near the end of his life, around the same time as the Ninth Symphony. It's got lots of the same sound in it. Except for one opera, it's his longest composition.''

The Antelope Valley Master Chorale and Master Chorale Orchestra, under Newby's direction, will give the work its Antelope Valley premiere at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd.

College and community choirs rarely perform the piece, which is widely acknowledged as one of the most demanding choral works ever written, Newby said.

Performers must contend with extremes of register, tempo and dynamics, long passages that require great breath control, and innovative and complex harmonic ideas, Newby said.

The 80-voice Master Chorale has been practicing since January, he said.

The chorus will be joined by soloists soprano Sylvia Wen, mezzo-soprano Martha Jane Weaver, tenor Thomas Oberjat and bass Philip Larson.

Wen has appeared at the Beijing Opera and on Chinese national television.

Weaver performs throughout the Western United States, and locally with such groups as the Pacific Chorale, the William Hall Chorale and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.

Oberjat has performed with the William Hall Chorale and at the Crystal Cathedral. He is a tenor soloist for the La Jolla Presbyterian Church and Temple Beth Israel in San Diego.

Larson teaches voice at the University of California, San Diego, and has appeared with the Handel and Hayden Society and the Bach Aria Group.

``Missa Solemnis'' - ``Solemn Mass'' - was first performed in 1823, four years before Beethoven's death. It premiered at the same concert as the Ninth Symphony - the famous performance at which the composer, stone deaf, had to be turned around to see the audience's applause.

Translations of the text will be available for the audience at Saturday's performance.

WHAT: Ludwig von Beethoven's ``Missa Solemnis.''

WHO: Antelope Valley Master Chorale and Master Chorale Orchestra.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday. Antelope Valley College music instructor Lynn Ennis will present a preconcert discussion on Beethoven and his music at 7:15 p.m.

WHERE: Lancaster Performing Arts Center, 750 W. Lancaster Blvd.

TICKETS: $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $6 for those under 18. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at (805) 723-5950.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 16, 1997
Words:458
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