Given that this Hungarian maestro died nearly 140 years ago, it seems extraordinary that St. Louis has yet to hear one of Franz Liszt’s major works for choir, but on February 18th the Chamber Chorus will present the regional premiere of his Missa Choralis. The opulent grandeur of The Shrine of St. Joseph downtown provides the ideal setting for this work, composed at the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is this geographical area that the Chorus ‘visits’ next, as part of its ‘Choral Atlas’ season, so listeners can expect to enjoy motets by Liszt’s contemporaries, Anton Bruckner and Johann Strauss, II, together with music by earlier artists like Michael Haydn and Mozart. Two other rarities also feature: a choral arrangement of a Gustav Mahler song from 1901, and a second regional premiere, “Prayer” by Agnes Tyrrell. A child prodigy, she was born to an English father but raised in Moravia, where she garnered much praise for her performing and then composition. However, her early death (at age 36) in 1883 cut short her fame, and it is only now that her manuscripts are being edited and her musical achievement appreciated.
Our next concert, then, testifies to our mission, “not only to entertain, but to educate and inspire.” When and where else will you hear such music, and in surroundings rich both acoustically and visually?