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April 15, 2004



Chorale rehearsing
The Bi-Co Chorale at rehearsal

The Haverford-Bryn Mawr Chorale will perform two Beethoven works, the Choral Fantasy and Mass in C Major, at its annual spring concert in Haverford's Marshall Auditorium on Friday, April 23, at 8 p.m. The Chorale, an oratorio choir of 150 singers accompanied by an orchestra, is conducted this spring by Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Thomas Hong. Members include bi-college students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends from the surrounding community.  The orchestra is usually made up of advanced bi-college musicians supplemented by music students from the Curtis School of Music and Temple University. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Choral Fantasy, which includes a long piano solo that Beethoven wrote for himself, was composed in 1808 as the finale of a long concert that also featured the premieres of Beethoven's fifth and sixth symphonies. He wrote the work just days before the performance; in fact, scholars believe that most of the piano solo was improvised during the performance. Listeners have often noted the similarity between the main choral theme and the famous "Ode to Joy" melody of the Ninth Symphony.

The Mass in C Major, also composed in 1808, was Beethoven's first setting of the Mass. Scholars have noted its debt to Haydn, Beethoven's teacher, whose work would have been a model for the composer's first attempt at the genre. The work is written for four soloists, chorus, organ and small orchestra.

Haverford's Ruth Marshall Magill Professor of Music Curt Cacioppo will perform the Choral Fantasy's piano solo. Featured vocal soloists are sopranos Katherine Gentry Haverford '05, Victoria Semenyuk '04 and Margaret Folcarelli '07; altos Melissa Burdick, Haverford '04, and Emily Townsend, Haverford '05; tenors Matthew Cockey, Haverford '03, and Steve Van Name, Haverford '03; baritone Ben Leftwich, Haverford '06; and bass Matthew Lewis, Haverford '04.

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