Friday, March 17, 2006

Caritas performs 'Missa Choralis' at St. Thomas

Express Staff Writer

Caritas Chorale presents Franz Liszt's "Missa Choralis" at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Sun Valley at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, and at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 20. Featuring 110 valley-based singers, Caritas' performance will be conducted by founder Dick Brown.

Franz Liszt, the famed Hungarian composer, was renowned for his transcendental piano technique. Among his many innovations for symphony and piano, was his invention of the symphonic poem as a single-movement form. Previous to this all musical forms were organized and structured into several movements, each with varying tempos and themes, that complimented each other, yet all were interrupted by a pause. Liszt abolished this restraint by devising a single, sweeping movement that carried the listener from beginning to end, without the dead pauses.

Born in 1811, he performed for audiences while still a child. When he was 9 he won an award to study in Vienna, prompting his family to move there. By age 33, he was regarded as the world's greatest pianist, but a mere three years later he retired from professional piano playing.

However, Liszt continued to compose, conduct and play for private audiences such as for the Pope.

He was a good friend of George Sand and Chopin, and his daughter Cosima Liszt von Bulow was Richard Wagner's second wife.

Written in 1865, "Missa Choralis" was created to make the piano sound like an orchestra with a richer scope. Liszt had returned to the church after spending many years as an international superstar of sorts—at the time a quintessential romantic leading man, who fathered children out of wedlock and engaged in infamous affairs.

He composed "Missa Choralis" in the hopes of performing in honor of Pope Pius IX in the Sistine Chapel, something that never came to pass.

Today it is performed with a full chorus, choral soloists and organ.

Caritas Chorale was formed by Brown seven years ago to present great classical and traditional choral music to the valley. Previous performances have included Brahms' "Requiem," Hadyn's "The Creation" Dvorak's "Stabat Mater," as well as the commissioned piece honoring the Lewis and Clark bicentennial "Immence Ranges of High Mountains."

All Caritas Chorale concerts are free to the public, but donations are welcome.

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