Dear friends, Welcome to Chamber Music Amarillo’s 22nd season! This is a momentous season as we celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Beethoven with the Missa Solemnis Alliance. We chose our title, Celebrating the Heroic Journey of Life because of the Missa Solemnis. We are excited to share this work with you, as well as several other pieces throughout the year that we feel reflect the extraordinary effort put forth by composers and musicians. All of these pieces reflect the effort of humanity to seek knowledge, equality, compassion, love, respect, and all the many aspects that make up the experience of life. We start our season with a celebration of women composers and an acknowledgement and appreciation of the need for equality, not only for women, but for all mankind. Later in the season, you will hear the heart-wrenching second movement of the Beethoven, 4th Piano Concerto, which is based on the loves lost tragedy Orpheus and Eurydice, as performed by Diego Caetano. Rossitza Goza and I will present the brooding and passionate Brahms, 3rd Violin Sonata, which is a most humanizing work, while Manny Lopez and Jim Rauscher perform Viola da Gamba sonatas of Bach; perhaps approaching a certain balance and perfection of human expression. Hornist Guli Manfredi will present us with the heroic 1st Horn Concerto of Strauss, while organist Rick Land of Friends of Aeolian Skinner performs Handel Organ Concerti on this region’s magnificent Aeolian Skinner Op. 24 organ, in the glorious St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. Also on that concert will be a new premiere Toward the South Plains, commissioned by Chamber Music Amarillo featuring composer Harlan Hodges. This extraordinary work focuses on the tragic murder of the father of his dear friend and the impact that has on the human experience. We are thrilled to have the Harrington String Quartet join us again this year, performing the heart-warming work, Introduction and Allegro by British composer, Edward Elgar joined on stage by the Amarillo Virtuosi and conductor Mark Bartley. We look forward to celebrating new generations of amazing talent as we present the premiere of our new Fazioli concert series with artist Ashley Tauhert. As I mentioned above, the main work of this year’s theme is the Beethoven, Missa Solemnis. The Missa Solemnis Alliance is made up of an impressive group of organizations in our community that are joining forces for this special celebration as we present this incredible work, which Beethoven described as, “the greatest music I have ever written.” This is a most unusual opportunity for Chamber Music Amarillo, as the many artistic forces needed for such an effort are great. Four years ago, I was evaluating how we could celebrate such an important anniversary. When I concluded that a performance of the Missa Solemnis was the answer, I was profoundly moved by the thought of combining forces with many in our community to make this happen, as I feel that effort strongly reflects Beethoven’s intent in composing the Missa Solemnis. The Missa Solemnis, which means “High Mass” or “Sung Mass,” is a work in which Beethoven humanizes the music, meaning the text is presented to the listener as an expression from humanity instead of humanity attempting to present this sacred text through a sort of Godly expression that we often see in other examples of this kind of music. This work is also known to be perhaps the hardest music for chorus, with the possible exception of the Brahms, Requiem. This is true in part because of the length of this work, 81 minutes in which the chorus sings most of the time; which is effectively the polar opposite of his 9th Symphony. There is also the issue of what Beethoven wanted to hear as opposed to what the human voice is capable of producing. As a result, this work is not often done, and when it is performed, it is usually performed by choruses in major cities. This is also part of the reason I wanted our community to present this work to the people of the Panhandle. It strikes me that this work is an extraordinary artistic example of the Panhandle Spirit; the tenacity and determination that the people of the Panhandle have to celebrate who we are as a people. Beethoven writes on the first page of the musical score, “From the heart to the heart.” I chose this work to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday not only for religious or secular reasons, but to celebrate our existence and for who we are as the people of the Texas Panhandle. I am eternally grateful to our partners in the Missa Solemnis Alliance: Panhandle PBS, Amarillo College, Amarillo Master Chorale, the Amarillo Symphony, West Texas A&M University, First Baptist Church of Amarillo, Chamber Music Amarillo, and those partners who are committing substantial underwriting support for this massive project. I am grateful to this project’s conductor Michael Palmer, who had the opportunity to study this work with this country’s greatest choral director, Robert Shaw, during my father’s tenure with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as Associate Conductor. During his 50 plus years conducting, my father has performed this work and brings a substantial knowledge in partnership with directors, Nathan Fryml of the Amarillo Master Chorale and Dan Baker, Minister of Music at First Baptist Church Amarillo. We will feature extraordinary soloists, including Soprano Katie Van Kooten, reigning Marshallien in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus at the Metropolitan Opera; Amarillo’s own internationally-renowned Tenor Eric Barry; and others. The extraordinary commitment from all of these team members is the reason we are able to present this incredible work to the people of the Panhandle. May 30, 2020 will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community, as we celebrate the Heroic Journey of Life. I look forward to seeing you throughout the season and gratefully thank you for your support and partnership in Chamber Music Amarillo! With best regards from the bench – David Palmer

Mailing address

P.O. Box 4170

Amarillo, TX 79116

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