A few words from the Missa's conductor, Jay Friedman
By Jay Friedman, Missa Solemnis Conductor and Music Director
Being the conductor of this upcoming performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis is a great honor and a great responsibility as well. Besides preparing the orchestra I have the responsibility of preparing the soloists. Luckily we have choral director Bruce Tammen and the wonderful Chicago Chorale as well as our own symphony chorus, Bill Chin, chorus master, to fulfill Beethoven's demanding choral writing. Beethoven's writing for voices has long been viewed as some of the most difficult in the repertory. He seems to have viewed the human voice as an orchestral type instrument, capable of the facility of a violin or flute. He seemed to have no reservations about writing long, high exhausting, passages for soprano and alto voices, as well as the men. The fugues in the Missa Solemnis are especially taxing and have long been thought to be the most difficult to sing. As fiercely difficult as many tutti passages are for the chorus there are moments of great beauty and expression. It's as if Beethoven had a vision of setting the Mass to music with no thought of sparing the performers any practical considerations toward that goal.