Helios Ensemble brings together classical music for the ages | Music


When he thought of the Helios’ setAt the summer concert, founder and conductor Benjamin Hansen had an idea: what if he took movements from masses composed throughout classical music – from the Renaissance to today – and braided them together in a glorious “mosaic mass”?

It began with the Kyrie from Flemish 16th century composer Orlando di Lasso’s “Missa super osculetur me” depicting the Renaissance era and ended it with the Agnus Dei from Stravinsky’s 20th century mass.

“I think it’s really fun. You get a lot of contrasting styles,” said Hansen, who will lead 37 Helios singers and a 28-member orchestra in a concert on Sunday, July 17, anchored by the “Mosaic Mass.”

Movements by di Lasso and Stravinsky complement the other movements of the traditional Mass: the Gloria (and more) from the Mass in B Minor by the Baroque composer Bach; Beethoven’s Creed from his Mass in C, representing the late Romantic/early Classical period; and the Sanctus et Benedictus from Poulenc’s Mass in G major, representing the modern era.

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Hansen said he chose to end the piece with Stravinsky, whose Agnus Dei calls for a larger orchestra with winds, trombones and English horn, creating a “serene and cool disposition to send you into the space”.

“It’s neoclassical and cool in the traditional 20th-century sense,” Hansen explained, calling Stravinsky’s movement “a plea for peace, filled with disillusionment, sadness and despair” that seemed “at the time in which we live”. ”

Sunday’s concert at Catalina United Methodist Church, 2700 E. Speedway, also includes solo works by Beethoven, Liszt and Thomas Weelkes, and works for full choir by Eric Whitacre, Martin Lauridsen and Emily Drum.

“I’m really excited about it,” Hansen said.

Helios, which Hansen launched in 2014, will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 at the door or $18 online via heliosensemble.org. Preferred seats are $40 and students with ID are free.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com. On Twitter @Starburch


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