Houston Chamber Choir Opens 18th Season with MUSICA DIVINA Concert Today

Houston Chamber Choir opens its 18th Season with a concert entitled Musica DiviNa today, September 15 at 4 pm at Holy Rosary Catholic Church (1416 George Street, Rosenberg, Texas 77471), presented by Imperial Arts, and Tuesday, September 17 at 7:30 pm at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart (1111 St. Joseph Parkway, Houston, Texas 77002.) The concert is inspired by the recent historic election of Pope Francis as head of the Roman Catholic Church and features works associated with the papacy.

Central to the program is Palestrina's Pope Marcellus Mass. Palestrina composed the mass in 1562 in honor of Pope Marcellus II. For some, Palestrina is credited with "saving" church music after the Catholic Church's Council of Trent attacked the elaborately composed polyphonic masses, common of Renaissance composers, fearing the words of the mass were getting lost. In Pope Marcellus Mass, Palestrina created a style that allows the words to remain comprehensible. Because of this - according to the story - composers were allowed to continue to write polyphonic music for the Catholic Church.

Also on the program are the Four Prayers of St. Francis of Assisi for men's voices by Francis Poulenc. Poulenc composed the music in 1948, after his return to the Catholic faith following the tragic death of a friend. 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the French composer's death. The program also includes settings of Tu es Petrus (Thou Art the Rock), for organ by French organist and composer Henri Mulet, performed by Bruce Power on the Co-Cathedral's grand Opus 19 organ. Father Lawrence W. Jozwiak of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart describes the concert experience, "The beauty of the human voice, pipe organ and space come together with the Houston Chamber Choir's opening concert of Musica Divina here at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. The audience will be lifted up, experiencing the majestic music associated with the papacy of the Catholic Church throughout history." The Rosenberg concert, held in the gothic Holy Rosary Catholic Church Sanctuary, will include the pieces for organ performed on Holy Rosary's 3-manual pipe organ.

Tickets to the Houston performance are $40, $36 for seniors (65+), and $10 for students (with a valid student ID.) Single tickets go on sale August 1. Subscription options are also available. For more information on the Houston Chamber Choir, or for ticket sales and season subscriptions, visit the Choir website at www.houstonchamberchoir.org or call (713) 224-5566. For tickets to the performance in Rosenberg visit the Imperial Arts website at www.theimperial.org or call (281) 277-7444.

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