December 23, at the Manzoni Theater in Pistoia
Philharmonic Choir “R. Maghini” of Turin
Claudio Chiavazza director and choirmaster
Arianna Vendittelli soprano
Valentina Vanini mezzo-soprano
Valentino Buzza tenor
Mauro Borgioni baritone
Andrea Rebaudengo pianoforte
Antonio Valentino pianoforte
Matteo Cotti harmonium
Petite messe solennelle
for 4 soloists, mixed choir, 2 pianos and harmonium
«Dear Lord, here it is finished, this poor little mass. Have I just written sacred music (“musique sacrée”), or rather, sacrilegious music (“sacrée musique”)? I was born for opera buffa, as you well know. Not much technique, a little bit of heart, that's all. Blessings to you and grant me Paradise.» So Gioachino Rossini wrote on the autograph score of his Petite Messe Solennelle, the «last mortal sin» of his old age, as he called it, which came to light five years before his death during his golden exile in Passy, just outside Paris.
This 'small', highly original mass, not intended for liturgical use, was conceived for a chamber ensemble of 4 solo voices, 8 choristers, 2 pianos and a harmonium and performed in 1863 for a select few spectators in the home of the patron and friend, the banker Count Alexis Pillet-Will.
In 1867, the composition was then subjected by the composer himself to a fine work of orchestration, but at the Manzoni Theater we will be able to hear the evocative original version, with the chorus numerically enlarged to do justice to the acoustics of the large hall.