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Hastings Philharmonic Choir performing a choral work accompanied by Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra in April (photo: Peter Mould).

Hastings choir to perform Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis

On Saturday 11 November the Hastings Philharmonic Choir,  accompanied by the Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform Beethoven’s glorious masterpiece, the Missa Solemnis. Press officer Gareth Simpson explains the background to the work.

It is perhaps fitting that we should perform this work, with the poignant sounds of war that Beethoven added to his prayer for divine peace (Dona nobis pacem), on what will be the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

The Missa Solemnis in D major, Opus 123, is a solemn mass composed by Beethoven from 1819 to 1823. Written around the same time as his Ninth Symphony, it is Beethoven’s second setting of the Mass, his first being the Mass in C major, Opus 86, written in 1807.

The work was first performed on 7 April 1824 in Saint Petersburg under the auspices of Beethoven’s patron Prince Nikolai Galitzin. It was written for the enthronement of his foremost patron and great friend Archduke Rudolf of Austria (Archbishop of Olmütz), and dedicated to him.

Beethoven was not a religious man – there is no anecdotal evidence of him ever having chosen to attend a church service – but in his final years he did become deeply spiritual. The copy of the manuscript presented to Rudolf was inscribed “Von Herzen – Möge es wieder – Zu Herzen gehn!” (“From the heart – may it return to the heart!”). It is clearly a deeply personal expression of Beethoven’s spirituality.

The concert will be conducted by HPC’s highly respected  musical director Marcio da Silva, with organist Cornelis Takaema. The soloists are all leading singers: Helen May, soprano; Marta Fontanals-Simmons, contralto; Leonel Pinheiro, tenor; and Edwin Kaye, bass.


Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis Hastings Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra: Saturday 11 November, 7pm, St John the Evangelist church, Brittany Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0RD. Tickets on sale via the choir’s website, by phone on 01424 437554 or at The Bookkeeper, 1A Kings Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6EA. Admission costs £22/£17. Students, under 18s, jobseekers and universal credit recipients £5/free.

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Posted 15:58 Thursday, Nov 2, 2023 In: Music & Sound

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