Works by legendary composers Handel, Vivaldi and Bach are presented Friday, Jan. 8, when the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance presents the second installment of the 2009-10 Tucson Symphony Orchestra MasterWorks Concert Series at Canyon del Oro High School in Oro Valley.

The performance begins at 8 p.m., performed by the TSO with music director and conductor George Hanson, and the TSO Chorus with Bruce Chamberlain directing.

Friday's program includes Handel's "Royal Fireworks Music," Vivaldi's "Gloria" and Bach's "Magnificat."

"Gloria" and "Magnificat" are classic choral works from the Baroque period. "Gloria" features soloists Erika Burkhardt, soprano; Perla Villa, sopranos; and Robyn Rocklein, mezzo-soprano. They are joined for "Magnificat" by soloists Christopher Hutchinson, tenor, and Philip Moody, bass.

Individual tickets for the Jan. 8 performance at CDO start at $33 and are available by phone 797-3959 or online at The performance takes place in the CDO Fine Arts Auditorium, 25 W. Calle Concordia. A pre-concert chat with Conductor George Hanson begins at 7 p.m.

More about the works

A three-hour traffic jam on the London Bridge in April 1749 resulted from the 12,000 half-crown-paying rehearsal attendees headed for Vauxhall Gardens. Handel's Music for the Royal Fireworks, ordered by King George II, was part of a celebration to mark the Peace of Aix-la-Chappelle (1748) and was a great success. Not so the fireworks, some refusing to light, and the great scaffolding on which the display was mounted caught fire.

The five movement suite opens with a grandiose theme leading to joyous and festive movements. The final minuet suggests the scene created by the fireworks, including the bass drum and crashing cymbals resounding as a cannon and the exploding fireworks.

Vivaldi's Gloria is an example of the other side of this renowned composer of concertos. Vivaldi was a prolific composer of vocal music. This 12 contrasting-movement setting of the Gloria provides swift changes of mood and vocal coloring and offers solos, duets and four-part harmonies. Sometimes lyrical and declamatory, Vivaldi concludes with the "Cum Sancto Spiriti," a vigorous and affirmative finale, well suiting the strong-voiced Tucson Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Magnificat as set by J.S. Bach in 1723 and revised around 1730 is a profound example of Bach's matching music and words. The chorus is in five parts, rather than the usual four, adding divided sopranos. Bach's inventiveness is repeatedly demonstrated: The voices enter one after another on the same note conjuring up the picture of a pressing crowd, emphatic and virtuosic vocal runs, patterns of contrasts rise and fall.

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