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New York Choral Society: Beethovenís Missa Solemnis
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New York Choral Society: Beethovenís Missa Solemnis

- Classical and Cultural Connections

New York Choral Society:
Beethovenís Missa Solemnis

(NY Choral Society Website)
John Daly Goodwin, Music Director
Robert DeCormier, Music Director, Emeritus
Elizabeth W. Scott, Assistant Conductor
David Ralph, Accompanist

John Daly Goodwin, Conductor
Eglise Gutierrez, Soprano
Maria Zifchak, Mezzo-soprano
Yeghishe Manucharyan, Tenor
Burak Bilgili, Bass
Suzanne Ornstein, Solo Violin
New York Choral Society Orchestra

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Missa Solemnis
Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei

At Carnegie Hall

Raechel Alexander, Manager, Public Affairs

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 20, 2005

This was a concert of highs and lows, not only of vocal depth and soaring strings, but also of contrasts of performance, choral and orchestral. The chorus of New York Choral Society (perhaps almost 200 members by my count of names from the program) has well-blended and elegant qualities, but there seems something missing from its level of sophistication, such as no mention in the program of the dates of Beethovenís masterpiece (Apparently 1819-1822, according to my research), no mention of the size of the chorus, and the distracting and consistent atonal problems of the Choral Societyís orchestra, mainly in the wind section. In spite of these annoyances (which did not seem to bother the chorus-friendly audience, seemingly friends and relatives of the performers), the actual singing was superb.

Soloists, Eglise Gutierrez, Maria Zifchak, Yeghishe Manucharyan, and Burak Bilgili projected fine tones and professional affect. Now and then, they seemed a bit casual in timing and volume, but their solos were rich and resonant. The chorus itself was well blended, lovely to hear, and capable of instantaneous harmonies, tone shifts, and collaborative final notes. The Kyrie was somber and spiritual, while the Gloria included staccato effects, titanic horns, and deep passages from the menís section.

The Credo presented a waterfall of vocalization, brooding contrasts, and billowing winds. The Sanctus showcased the soloistsí virtuosic skills, while the Agnus Dei brought forth a foreboding bass solo, as the chorus repeatedly sang, ďPacem!Ē There was a brilliant tenor solo passage, as well. The violin solo exuded professionalism and poignancy, and the soprano and mezzo-soprano each sang with strength, confidence, and lyrical beauty.

John Daly Goodwin is obviously a well-seasoned conductor and musical director. It would have been wise to replace the specific, unrehearsed musicians in advance, or to add a few orchestral rehearsals to his busy schedule. Carnegie Hall seems to rent its space generously in the spring and perhaps needs to be more in control of the quality of its regional guests. This page has reviewed an abundance of regional and rental performances at Carnegie Hall, and almost all have been surprisingly engaging and professional in demeanor. I look forward to reviewing New York Choral Society at a more rehearsed event.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at