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Beethoven: Sunny Side Up

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Westwood Presbyterian Church’s Music at Westwood will present Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Mass in C Major, Op. 86” on Sunday, June 25th at 5:00 pm, in the sanctuary.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and are available at the door or online at music-at-westwood.eventbrite.com. Parking is free and located adjacent to the church.


Beethoven here writes a sunny and joyful work, choosing the key of C Major, known to some as “the happiest of all keys.”  One hears little of the “Stürm und Drang” (“storm and stress”) for which he later became famous. The writer and critic E.T.A. Hoffman reviewed this beautiful work as “expressing a child-like optimism that by its very purity devoutly trusts in God’s Grace.”

By contrast, “My dear Beethoven, what have you written there?” was the sarcastic comment from Beethoven’s employer, Prince Esterhazy, who had commissioned the young Beethoven to write a mass in honor of his wife’s birthday. Previously, Beethoven’s teacher, the esteemed Joseph Haydn, had composed works for the occasion.  But when only one of the five altos showed up for rehearsal, the performance was less than a success. Beethoven, in response to the Prince, displayed his own rash nature by resigning his position the very same day.

Under the direction of conductor Maria Newman, featured vocal soloists soprano Christina Borgioli, mezzo soprano Nandani Maria Sinha, tenors Larry Duplechan and Scott Noonan, and baritone Matthew Lewis will join the Westwood Master Choir and Chamber Symphony in performing the Mass.