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Petite Messe Solennelle

8pm, Saturday 9 July
Wellington Cathedral


At the end of his score of the Petite Messe Solennelle the 71-year-old Gioachino Rossini wrote, “Dear God, here it is, finished, my poor little Mass. Is this music sacred or damnable? I was born for opera buffa, as you well know. A little science, a little feeling, that's all. Be merciful then, and admit me to Paradise.”


The mass is not small—‘petite’ is a piece of genial irony. It is not, either, intended for liturgical use as a Mass. And the work is hardly ‘solemn’—at least not in the same sense as, say, Gounod’s various Messes Solennelles. It is anti-pompous. The scoring for harmonium and piano ensures that.


It is a wonderfully affectionate treatment of a sacred text, addressed (as the inscriptions on the autograph suggest) to a tolerant and good-humoured God. Described by Rossini as "the last of my péchés de vieillesse" (sins of old age), the music has an elegant, joyous quality. The Petite Messe is hugely enjoyable—and very moving.

With piano (Fiona McCabe) and harmonium accompaniment (Thomas Nikora) and soloists Georgia Jamieson Emms (soprano), Maaike Christie-Beekman (contralto), Patrick Geddes (tenor) and Simon Christie (bass).


Ticket available from Eventfinda

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