RED BANK – Joseph Haydn’s famous “Missa in Angustiis” (“Mass for Troubled Times”) will be presented by the Oratorio Choir at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank, also know as the Tower Hill Church, at 255 Harding Road.
The choir, which includes singers from Central New Jersey churches and community choruses, will be conducted by Adam Peithmann, the church’s director of music ministries.
The Mass, a fiery piece composed late in Haydn’s life, is one of several major works he wrote for churches. Many scholars believe it was given its nickname of “Lord Nelson” Mass after Horatio Nelson’s victory over the French, and indeed it creates the sense of a great battle’s taking place. Trumpets, strings, choir, and soloists unite to form a masterful work filled with drama and conflict – and ultimately redemption and joy, a major theme in Haydn’s music.
“Whenever I think of God, I can only conceive of Him as a Being infinitely great and infinitely good,” the composer said. “This last quality of the divine nature inspires me with such confidence and joy…”
The Tower Hill Church has presented a major classical work annually for nearly 40 years. The choir has included singers from the community for the last 25 years.
Peithmann leads a music program that includes two traditional worship services and a contemporary service; an adult choir; graded children’s choirs; five choirs of English handbells, and the Tower Hill Concert series. He earned a bachelor of music degree in organ performance from Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y., and a master of music in organ performance from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. He was awarded a Fulbright grant for organ study in Germany in 2007-2008, and has received numerous awards for organ performance.
The concert is part of the Tower Hill Concert Series and is presented free of charge. A voluntary offering for this concert benefits the church’s local and international mission programs, including ongoing storm recovery assistance.
The church is handicapped-accessible.