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2024 Masterworks Concert

June 2 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Berkshire Lyric is presenting their annual Masterworks Concert on Sunday June 2nd at 3 pm at Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood. The 95 voice chorus, accompanied by a full orchestra, will perform three great masterpieces of the choral literature, all of them addressing loss and turmoil. The central work on the program is the dramatic Bruckner Mass in f minor. The F minor Mass is the monumental, life-affirming music which Bruckner composed (against the advice of his doctors) in the year following his three-month-long recuperation at a sanatorium. Scored for a quartet of vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, it is music which takes on symphonic dimensions. We get a glimpse of the awesome power and mysticism of the Bruckner symphonies to come. The instrumental voices of the orchestra and the choral lines enter into a divine musical conversation. The concert will also include Brahms Nänie , one of his last compositions for mixed chorus and orchestra, a miracle of serenity and Brahmsian beauty: meltingly lovely music that will delight fans of Brahms who are unacquainted with this work. Friedrich Schiller’s text muses on the transitory nature of beauty, life, love and glory. Biographer Hugh MacDonald calls it “possibly the most radiant thing he ever wrote.”

The concert will open with Arvo Pärt’s Da Pacem Dominum, a brief a cappella prayer for peace composed in 2004. This is the second work of Arvo Pärt performed by Lyric at Ozawa Hall, having paired his Salve Regina with the Mozart Requiem in 2016. A sense of mysticism and timelessness pervades the music of the Estonian composer. Emerging from the currents of twentieth century minimalism, it is music which inhabits the quiet, meditative space of Gregorian chant and early polyphony. “The complex and many-faceted only confuses me, and I must search for unity,” said Pärt, who turned away from writing twelve-tone music in the 1960s. Unity came in the form of pure sound and the elemental power of the human voice as “everything that is unimportant falls away.”

The vocal soloists are soprano Lily Lothrop of Pittsfield, mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala of New Haven, Joshua Sanders of Madison, Wisconsin and a new resident of Great Barrington, Doug Williams. Ms. Lothrop is making her debut at Ozawa Hall with Lyric after having grown up with organization as a young singer while attending Taconic High School. She now teaches at the Emma Willard School in Troy. The other soloists have enjoyed  substantial national and international careers. The 60 piece orchestra is comprised of professional musicians from the Berkshires, as well as members of the Albany and Hartford Symphonies.

Under the leadership of artistic director Jack Brown, Berkshire Lyric returns to Ozawa Hall for this annual Masterworks Concert, having sung the Brahms German Requiem there last year, and major works by Beethoven, Haydn, Schubert and Mozart over the last decade. Since emerging form COVID’s shutdown of choral music, the chorus has sung the Charpentier Christmas Mass, the Faure Requiem, the Vivaldi Magnificat, the Mozart Requiem and the Brahms Schicksalslied as well as several Christmas and popular concerts. In addition to the Berkshire Lyric Chorus, Berkshire Lyric has four other choral ensembles; The Lyric Chamber Chorus, the Lyric Children’s Chorus ages 6 to 14, Melodious Accord for high school girls, and Ubi Caritas, select mixed a cappella group for singers ages 16-26.  Lyric’s wide range of music education programs include The Lyric Choral Scholar’s Program, and the Annual Summer Choral Camp in Pittsfield. Lyric’s 50 singers under the age of 26 are all supported by a full scholarship. The appearance at Ozawa Hall with orchestra is supported by chorus members and local friends of Berkshire Lyric’s mission. Tickets are $35 with children 6-18 and under admitted free. Children under 6 are not admitted. The concert will be recorded for later broadcast over WMHT-FM.



June 2
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Berkshire Lyric
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Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood
297 West Street
Lenox, MA 01240 United States
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