On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, the University of North Georgia Chorale and Men’s Ensemble, under the direction of Benjamin Schoening, will present a program of choral music at Grace Episcopal Church. As part of this performance, the UNG Choirs will join forces with the Grace Episcopal Parish Choir in a performance of Schubert’s timeless Mass No. 2 in G. This has been a collaborative effort between Dr. Schoening and Grace Choirmaster/Organist Dr. David Burton-Brown, who was central to the formation of this collaboration and will also be playing the organ for the performance.
Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was only 31 at the time of his death, but had already made waves in the musical world with over 600 vocal works, several symphonies, and numerous chamber works among the musical compositions to his credit. Schubert and Beethoven are viewed as transitional figures in the world of classical music, moving music from the strictness of the Classical Period to the freedom and expansion of the Romantic Period. While Beethoven is more known for his orchestral and piano works, Schubert is famously known as the father of German Lieder. He accomplished this feat at the age of 17, with the composition of Gretchen Am Spinnrade (Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel). Based on a poem from Goethe’s Faust, this work finally brought the piano and voice into equal partnership in vocal music. Schubert’s Mass No. 2 in G was composed during the same time period. However, while Gretchen Am Spinnrade is more certainly looking towards the expansion of Romanticism, Schubert’s “little mass” harkens back to the classicism of Mozart and Haydn.
The Mass No. 2 in G is the shortest of Schubert’s mass settings, taking 30 minutes to perform. It was originally scored for organ and strings. However, after Schubert’s death, additional scores were discovered with the inclusion of trumpet and timpani. While the work was first performed in Schubert’s home parish in 1815, the score was not published until 1845, about 17 years following his death.
The UNG Chorale, Men’s Ensemble, and Grace Episcopal Parish Choir will present this performance of Schubert’s Mass No. 2 with organ alone. While not strictly what was intended by Schubert, it is not uncommon to present works such as this with keyboard only settings. This is particularly true when working with such a magnificent instrument as the Casavant Frères organ at Grace Episcopal.
We sincerely hope you will come join us on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 PM for a wonderful evening of music.
Dr. Benjamin Schoening
Associate Professor of Music
Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Studies
University of North Georgia – Gainesville Campus