What can you tell me about the Puccini Messa Di Gloria?

Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca in the Tuscany region in 1858 – the sixth of nine children. The Puccini family was firmly established in the region as a church musical dynasty, started by Puccini's great-great-grandfather.  Puccini was studying music and planned to follow this multi-generational family tradition to be a church musician. As a graduation exercise for his music school in 1880, Puccini set a mass and almost half of the work is the “Gloria” – hence the work’s common name: Messa di Gloria.  Puccini conducted the work’s premiere and it was was quite successful and reviewed well.  However, his heart did not result in a career composing church music.  With the exception of a few liturgical solos, Puccini was never to write another note of sacred music, throwing all his energies thereafter into mostly operatic and occasionally symphonic works.  What happened?

Four years before Puccini composed the Messa, he discovered his true calling.  In 1876, he and one of his brothers walked nearly 20 miles to the nearby city of Pisa to attend a production of Verdi's Aida. The experience planted in Puccini the seeds of what would become his long and lucrative career in opera.

So, Puccini left the Messa in a drawer.  However, it is clear Puccini thought highly of his mass as he re-used some of its themes in other works, such as the “Agnus Dei” in his opera Manon Lescaut and the “Kyrie” in Edgar. Seventy five years later in 1951, a priest (who as a child had known Puccini!) arranged for the work to be published.

In this work you will hear traditional imitative polyphony inspired by Palestrina combined with Wagner-style orchestral passages, Bach-like fugues, Venetian gondola barcarolles, Strauss-like waltzes, Neapolitan folk-tunes, and, above all, opera-like melodies, and choral singing.

What can you tell me about the Mendelssohn Tu Es Petrus?

Mendelssohn composed Tu Es Petrus in 1827 at the tender age of 18.  Using a Latin text from Matthew 16:18 (You are Peter and on this rock, I will build my church), it echoes his recent period of study of Palestrina’s music.  Mendelssohn considered the work a "most successful piece."  Tu Es Petrus uses an artful contrapuntal development of the motif.  The fugue is not based just in the choral parts.  Unusually, it extends independently into the orchestral parts.  Mendelssohn gave his sister the motet as a birthday present. 

What can you tell me about the Mendelssohn Psalm 42?

Surprisingly little attention has been paid to Mendelssohn's smaller sacred works, on texts associated with the Anglican, Catholic and Lutheran traditions. They include a series of choral cantatas, inspired equally by Mendelssohn's admiration for the music of Bach (whose St Matthew Passion he famously revived in Berlin in 1829 at the age of 20!) and by his love of Martin Luther's hymns. Over the course of his career, Mendelssohn devoted nineteen entire compositions to the setting psalm texts.

Mendelssohn wrote his 42nd Psalm in the spring of 1837 while he and his bride Cecile were on their honeymoon near Freiburg. Usually a severe self-critic, Mendelssohn's enthusiasm for this work was exceptional and long lasting. In numerous correspondences with friends, his sister Fanny and publishers, he often described it as his "very best sacred composition."  Schumann opined that Mendelssohn’s version of Psalm 42 was the "highest point that he [Mendelssohn] reached as a composer for the church. Indeed, the highest point recent church music has reached at all.”

How long will the concert last?

The concert will last approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.  This includes a 15-minute intermission.

What are the ticket prices?

Adult is $25 in advance and $30 at the door.  Senior Citizen (fixed income or 65 and above; whichever applies) is $20 in advance and $25 at the door.  College and High School Students are $5 in advance and $10 at the door.  Children under high school age are admitted free.

Is there a discount for groups?

Unfortunately no.  With dwindling governmental and corporate support for the arts, the choir does not have the fiscal ability to offer group discounts for the concert.

How do I get advanced ticket sales?

If you want to order tickets online, click here.  If you want to order tickets without giving your credit card information, please e-mail the choir at Info@TheChoristers.org providing your name and telephone number.  The choir's Treasurer will contact you.  Another option is to call 215-542-7871.

Is there any reserved seating?

No.  Seating is general admission.  

Is the performance space handicapped accessible?

Yes.  There are no steps between the parking area and the sanctuary of Trinity Lutheran Church.  If wheelchair seating is needed, please contact the choir at Info@TheChoristers.org so it can be arranged.  Parts of the sanctuary have moveable chairs.  The choir will create the space for wheelchair seating.

Will there be refreshments available during intermission?

Yes.  There will be baked goods (cookies, etc.) and water for purchase.


For directions to Trinity Lutheran Church in Lansdale, click here.