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6:04 AM Sun, Nov. 18th

Prescott Chorale performs missing musical masterpiece Oct. 15

Courtesy photo

The Prescott Chorale will perform an acclaimed baroque-style Mass in D-minor by 18th century German composer Johann Adolph Hasse on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 3 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church as a result of some 30 years of research into the musical masterpiece that disappeared in 1763.

The chorale will also perform a similar concert at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Cottonwood on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 4 p.m.

Scholar and conductor David Wilson from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California did the research that unearthed this “amazing work” and will share a pre-concert talk about Hasse and his Mass, and how he and his music were lost to the world.

Hasse, who was a close contemporary to classical composers Bach, Handel, Mozart and Haydn, completed his Mass in 1751. Some of his intervals and phrases in this Mass “sound very much like parts of Bach’s “B-minor Mass” and Mozart’s “Requiem.”

In 1763, Hasse’s home in Dresden was destroyed and he fled to Vienna, where he died 20 years later.

During World War II, Allied forces fire-bombed Dresden, essentially wiping out Hasse’s place in musical history, according to Wilson in a chorale news release.

Wilson’s research ended up with a rediscovery of Hasse’s work in the 20th century. His book, “The Dresden Manuscripts: Unearthing an 18th century Musical Genius” will be available for sale at both concerts.

“Thankfully, his music is now enjoying a renewed popularity, for he truly was a musical genius, one who could spin rapturous legato lines and hauntingly beautiful melodies,” Wilson said.

The choral concert will also include Brahms’ “Alto Rhapsody” featuring Mary Bowers, the alto soloist performing with the men’s chorus. A 30-piece orchestra drawn from Flagstaff, the Verde Valley, Prescott and Phoenix will accompany the chorale. The artistic Director is Dennis House and concert master is Bill Cummings.

Advanced tickets can be ordered online at prescottchorale.org for $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Students are $5 and children get in free.