‘An Evening with Beethoven’
Ryan Summerlin April 4, 2013
“An Evening with Beethoven” with the Sierra Nevada College Concert Choir, featuring the terrific “Missa Solemnis” — is coming to North Lake Tahoe.
“Missa Solemnis” is an exceptionally passionate and beautiful piece of music that is powerful and delicate at the same time. Beethoven himself called it his greatest and most successful work. Tickets for the concerts next week are $12 pre-sale, $15 at the door and $10 seniors and students, available at Potlatch, Handmade at the Lake (next to Wildflower Café) and the SNC bookstore, all in Incline Village; The Store in Tahoe City; from choir members; and at the door.
The Sierra Nevada College Concert choir provides the foundation for this beautiful music. Interwoven into the choral fabric is a series of solos by featured vocalists, Joy Strotz, Anna Helwing and Stuart Duke. Piano is played by Katie Lauder, and violins by Mickey Lufkin and Elizabeth Glattly.
This talented local choir continues its 28-year history of high quality musical productions to this community. Membership is drawn from Tahoe’s North Shore, Truckee and Sierra Nevada College. Donna Axton is the musical director and conductor.
Beethoven’s later works, including his late sonatas, his last symphony, and this piece specifically, have an insightful, deeply spiritual sense to them. In his hands, music’s meaning became personal and universal. Because he was could not physically hear, the music he listened to in his own head reached into the future. Strains of jazz and ragtime are even found in his work. He ushered in a new era of music.
“Missa Solemnis” was completed in 1823. That was just four years before Beethoven’s death, and close in time to his monumental 9th Choral Symphony. By this point in his life Beethoven was functionally deaf. However, 20 years previously, in his Heiligenstadt Testament, he proclaimed that, in spite of the cruel loss of his most cherished sense, “it seemed to me impossible to leave this world until I have produced everything I feel it has been granted me to achieve.”
Beethoven’s music describes the human experience in its most profound and changeable aspects. In his own life he knew great joy and great disappointment, but he always brought a sense of victory to the music that came from his pen. He saw himself as artist, not just a craftsman, and he held the outrageous idea that his personal expression had meaning for all humanity. Of course, he was right.
To learn more about Sierra Nevada College, visit www.sierranevada.edu.