St. Matthew’s Music Guild closes its 2018 – 2019 season at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 7 with a concert featuring The Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s and the Choir and Soloists of St. Matthew’s Parish under the direction of Dwayne S. Milburn.

The choir and orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Mass in C, composed in 1807, during an incredibly productive period that produced the Fifth and Sixth symphonies, the Emperor piano concerto and many other masterpieces of the “Heroic” period. Beethoven used as his model the late masses of Franz Joseph Haydn and the work was commissioned by Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, a member of the family who had been Haydn’s patron for decades. Beethoven, a student of Haydn during his first years in Vienna, premiered the Mass at the Esterházy palace near Vienna and conducted portions of it in a concert that also featured the Fifth and Sixth symphonies in December, 1808.

Charles Ives’s ethereal tone-poem, The Unanswered Question, was composed in 1908 and paired with Central Park in the Dark as “Two Contemplations.” In it, quiet strings represent “The Silence of the Druids” while a solo trumpet poses “The Perennial Question of Existence” to which a quartet of woodwinds represent the “Fighting Answerers.” The “Answerers” try to answer the perennial question but grow increasingly frustrated and dissonant until they ultimately give up.

Los Angeles composer Diana Woolner’s Your Voice Wanders in my Heart (for orchestra and chamber choir) was commissioned by St. Matthew’s Music Guild and will receive its world premiere performance. Woolner took inspiration from the Hindustani music of Northern India. The text, written by the renowned Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, consists of twelve poems from his set of short poems, Stray Bird. The poems, reminiscent of haikus, were chosen and specifically ordered by Woolner to support the narrative of the work. Your Voice Wanders in my Heart is a musical expression of a particularly challenging personal experience for the composer: grieving the death of her brother while simultaneously celebrating a new life within, her first daughter. The twelve singers, via the text, strive to console both composer and audience, as well as aid comprehension of birth and death as they relate to one’s life.

Music Guild concerts take place at the architecturally stunning and acoustically opulent St. Matthew’s Church, 1031 Bienveneda Ave., Pacific Palisades. For tickets ($35) and more information, visit MusicGuildOnline.org or call (310) 573-7422.

Submitted by Thomas Neenan, President, St. Matthew’s Music Guild

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