It has been several months since the MSO’s last concert at the Basilica, but I am excited for our upcoming concerts there on April 12 and 13. In the second program of our Basilica Series, we approach music that asks questions and by its very nature allows us time to contemplate their meanings. After your enthusiastic feedback on our November concerts, our amazing Creative Services Manager, Terry Lutz, once again created a vibrant program book to accompany your concert experience. What makes it stand out from your standard program notes is that it includes plenty of graphics and quotes from the composers that immediately put the music in context. I have also once again written a narrative called “Conductor’s Insight” that ties the different works on the program together and explains my own personal thoughts on their relation to each other.

Each Basilica program this season includes a work that rarely is heard in the concert hall. Our November program had a world premiere and on our final program on May 17-18, we will present the U.S. Premiere of Weinberg’s Second Symphony. For this program, however, we went all the way back to Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross. Nearly an hour-long over the course of nine movements, it is one of the composer’s most ambitious undertakings and a work that he cherished above all others. Today, it is frequently heard in its string quartet version and occasionally as an oratorio with chorus. It is interesting to note that Haydn was minimally involved in the “arranging” of those works. The original, and mostly forgotten version, that the MSO is performing was written for a standard classical orchestra and designed to be performed in a church setting. Therefore, not only are these concerts are a rare opportunity to hear this masterpiece in its original form, but you will also experience it as Haydn intended: in the grandeur of the Basilica. The Haydn will be followed by two more searching works in Ives’ The Unanswered Question and the ever popular Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde.

I hope you will be able to join the MSO and myself next weekend as we engage in a musical discussion about life, happiness, love, death, and everything that falls in between!


About Francesco Lecce-Chong

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