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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, April 30, 1947, Image 10

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1947-04-30/ed-1/seq-10/

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Choral Society Adds to Laurels
In Presenting 'Missa Solemnis'
By Alice Evcrsman
The Washington Choral Society
idded new laurels to the many it has
ilready acquired by the presentation
ast night of Beethoven's "Missa
Solemnis" in Constitution Hall·:
It was a performance that should
have been heard by as many as the
hall would accommodate, a tribute
always paid the more familiar
choral works tfte society hag given.
The excellent soloists, Agnes Davis,
soprano; Lydia Summers, contralto;
Irwin Dillon, tenor, and Burton
Corn well, basso, lifted the presenta
tion to a high plane by their sure
and musicianly singing of music
that taxes the performer to the
utmost.
It was remarkably accurate sing
ing that the group of some 200 sing
ers did throughout under the direc
tion of Louis A. Potter. The often
tricky entries, the several difficult
fugues and the sudden wide spacing
of the vocal range were all cleanly
encompassed and with good intona
tion. "the latter was particularly
commendable among the sopranos,
where tiring repetitions of high Β
flats -and long measures set in an
uncomfortable register might have
worn down the correct pitch. The
entire performance was an accom
plishment that showed the splen
did caliber of the group and the
musical nrocress it has marie under
Mr. Potter's skilled direction.
For a work of the magnitude of
the "Missa Solemnis," the various
sections of the chorus do not bal
ance each other sufflcently in the
matter of sonority. In passages
such as the choral portions of the
"Qui tollis" in the "Gloria," the
"Pro nobis" of the "Credo'' and the
greatly devised "Et vitam venturi,"
this lack was felt, the sopranos
dominating the ensemble both by
reason of their more ample volume
and the extremely high tessitura
of the music. The darker voices
of the group are rich in timber but
not sonorous enough last night to
define the harmonic structure of
the different ensembles.
Miss Davis sang the difficult solo
music with lovely tonal quality
throughout and Mr. Dillon's tenor
is a splendid medium for the many
important passages assigned to that
voice. The very fresh and vibrant
color of Miss Summers' contralto
and the noble richness of Mr.
cornweu s bass neiped to form with
the others a beautifully blended
quartet and, in individual meas
ures, to disclosed gifted vocalists.
Mr. Potter was especially fortunate
in having such artists, excellent
musicians of style and fine natural
vocal gifts, for soloists and their
performance was not only polished
but deeply imbued with dignity
and feeling.
The most striking portions of the
"Missa" are the tremendous "Amens"
of the "Gloria" and the "Credo" and
the ."Dona nobis pacem" oi the
"Angus Dei" which, unlike the con
clusion of the other sections, ends
on a quiet note. For sheer beauty,
the "Benedictus" is unequaled with
its violin solo introduction, played
last night with fine effect by Raul
de Costa, and the lovely quartet
following the alto and bass duet.
Ii Is matched by the "Et incarnatus"
where the solo voices are woven
together in some of the most mov
ing music of the Mass.
However, although the "Missa
Solemnis" is never given as part
of 9 church service, It needs the
attachment to the ritual to bring
out Its full glory. To hear It in a
I I *
concert performance is to have It
stripped, in a way, of the reason
for its divisions and standing thus
alone, it is a great work with a
weakness here and there and with
only half of its potency evident.
Not all of the music is of the same
inspiration or the same excellence.
It rises to it* greatest heights when
the master composer is enthralled
with his own problems. It is less
flowing, strangely enough, when
the moment requires profound
emotional feeling. There are echoes
of earlier great masses in it but
in scope and grandeur it is
thoroughly Beethoven at his sub
limest.
Noy that the Choral Society has
this great work in its repertoire, it
should be repeated. The public
could bear a second hearing, since
this was certainly the first per
formance of it here in many years
and it would gain in finish when
put aside and taken up again. The
accompaniment was furnished last
night by & good-sized orchestra as
sisted by Lyman McCrary at the
organ. The orchestra required more
rehearsing than was possible for
this presentation. It was a task
of some magnitude to get the dif
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IMPORTANT NOTICE
Fire, Ambulance and Police
Emergency Telephone Calls
φ
Due to the telephone strike, operators may not he available to assist on calls
for fire, ambulance and police. The public is requested to remember these
directions in event of emergency:
To Report a Fire .... DIAL HObart 1616
WASHINGTON To Call the Police .... DIAL NAtional 3313
To Call the Park Police . . . DIAL District 1400
t
To Call an Ambulance . . . DIAL HObart 3322
FIRE—AMBULANCE—OR POLICE
Braçlley-Oli ver-Wisconsin . . DIAL OLiver 3205
MARYLAND Hyattsville-Union-Warfield . . DIAL UNion 1122
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Rockville DIAL ROckville 2345
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ALL NON-DIAL (MANUAL) TELEPHONE SUBSCRIBERS
Flash Your Receiver Hook Up and Down Slowly and Report the Emergency.
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ferent elements amalgamated and
the Washington Choral Society and
Its conductor, Mr. Potter, can be
proud of their achievement.
Student Singers to Appear
In Contest Finals Tonight
The outstanding vocalist among
District high school students will
be chosen tonight at finals of the
talent search which has been cm
ducted for the* past three months
by the Army Air Forces Band.
The eight finalists will appear
with the Army Air Forces Forces
Symphony Orchestra in the Interior
Department Auditorium at 8:30 p.m.
The winner will appear as soloist
with the band on one of Its coast
to-coast broadcasts and at one of its :
Capitol steps concerts this summer, ι
it was announced.
Winners in the elimination con
tests and the high schools they rep
resent are: Helen Louise Potts. Cen
tral;' June Mover, Anacostia; Mar
ian Kiatta, Eastern; Paul Ruble,
Roosevelt; Joyce Marmelstein, Cal
vin Coolidge; Barbara Stiarpless,
Woodrow Wilson; Marie Chanaka,
«Mon, and Helen Johnson. Uc
Kinley.
Judge* eve Mary, Howe, president
of the National Federation of Music
Clubs; Charles Dana Baeschler, di
rector of the Hew York Avenu· Civic
Symphony, and Henrietta Bagger
Plum, voice teacher. Quest speaker
at the contest will be Norman J.
Nelson, associate superintendent of
schools.
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