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Masterworks of the Choral Tradition

6-Session Afternoon Course

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 1:30 p.m. ET
Upcoming Session:
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2159
Select Your Tickets
$95 - Member
$105 - Non-Member

The Washington Chorus performs at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 2015 (Photo: Margot Schulman)

Choral music is a glorious musical genre in which the sound of a multitude of voices reach out to embrace an audience. Opera and classical music expert Saul Lilienstein leads an in-depth consideration of the great choral works and the composers who wrote them from the Renaissance through the 20th century. 

Emphasis is placed on the most enduring and beloved masterpieces, with special attention given to chain of influence, compositional technique, polyphonic nature, and the relationship in specific works between the secular and the sacred. Lectures are highlighted by visual and CD recordings

OCT 12  Into the Modern Era

The polyphonic style of the early masters is a paradigm for all that follows. Hear excerpts from works by Josquin de Pres, Palestrina, de Lassus, Monteverdi and William Byrd.

OCT 19  The Oratorios of George Frederic Handel

Voices and instruments join in glorious ensembles, and choral music achieves a dramatic quality in Handel’s Israel and Egypt, Messiah, and other masterworks of the early 18th century.

OCT 26  The Choral Works of J.S. Bach

The composer’s approach to choral composition in excerpts from his Mass in B Minor and St. Matthew Passion, and from his most beloved cantatas.

NOV 2  The Classical Period

The rich fusion of Baroque profundity with melodic clarity is heard in Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Requiem. Hadyn’s fresh creative voice is reflected in his oratorios The Creation and The Seasons. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis brings this tradition to its climax.

NOV 9  The Romantic Century: Berlioz, Brahms and Verdi

Compare the divergent styles and languages in the Latin Requiems of Hector Berlioz and Guiseppe Verdi with Johannes Brahms’ German Requiem.

NOV 16  The 20th Century

Modern-era masterworks include Igor Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, Penderecki’s Dies Irae, and the new choral vision of Arvo Pärt.

6 sessions

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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.