The final performance of the season is at Church of the Heavenly Rest, Fifth Avenue at 90th Street, New York City, at 4:00 pm, May 20, 2018, and will feature Antonín Dvořák's Mass in D Major and a collection of choral and organ Works with organ soloist Alistair Reid. Buy tickets from Smarttix.


Mass in D Major

By Antonín Dvořák

Our final performance of the season features Antonín Dvořák’s Mass in D Major, also called The Luzany Mass, which was composed at the behest of Josef Hlávka a prominent architect and patron of the arts.  Hlávka, a friend of Dvořák’s who later founded the Czech Academy of Sciences, had a chapel built at his summer residence, in the town of Luzany in Western Bohemia. He approached Dvořák to compose a new mass for the chapel’s consecration in 1868, and the resulting composition was completed within three months.

The consecration of the chapel, during which the mass was performed for the first time, took place on 11 September 1887. Dvořák conducted the work himself, the soprano part was sung by Hlávka's wife Zdenka, and the alto part was performed by the composer’s wife Anna. The first public performance of the mass was held at the Municipal Theatre in Plzen on 15 April 1888, also conducted by Dvořák. Our organ soloist will be Alistair Reid.

Letter from Antonín Dvořák to Josef Hlávka :

I am pleased to announce that I have finished the work and that I am supremely pleased with the result. I think it will be a work that will fully suit its purpose. It could be called: faith, hope and love for God Almighty, and an expression of thanks for this great gift, for having been given the opportunity successfully to complete a work in praise of the Highest, and in honour of our art. Do not be surprised that I am so devout, but an artist who is not cannot achieve anything like this. Take the examples of Beethoven, Bach, Raphael and many others. I would also like to thank you for giving me the impulse to write a work of this genre, it would hardly have occurred to me otherwise; until now I had only written similar works of larger proportions with considerable means at my disposal.

Selections of Royal British Choral Music

By Herbert Howells, C. Hubert H. Parry, William Mathias, John Rutter, William Walton 

Dvořák’s exquisite Mass, rich in melodic and harmonic imagery, will be partnered with some of the greatest choral-organ works from the Anglican tradition, in honor of the next royal wedding in England (May 19). These grand works were all performed at coronations and royal weddings in England during the last 100 years, and represent some of the greatest compositions from British choral composers. Join us to hear the glory of Dvořák’s choral writing, inspired by Bach and Beethoven, and the royal splendor of British choral music like Parry’s I Was Glad, Howells’ s Like As the Hart, and Mathias’s Let All the People.  This concert will feature the 137-rank Austin Organ with more than 8000 pipes and a 5-manual console rebuilt by Guilbault-Theiren of Quebec.

In addition to our organ soloist, Alistair Reid, featured vocal soloists are

Sopranos:   Hannah Spierman, Laura Jobin-Acosta

Alto:  Valerie Vollmer

Tenor:  Ethan Fran

Bass: Ralph Braun