The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra Closes Out Season 21 with the Sublime Amadeus at Vespers

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Experience Mozart's solemn Vespers setting in its original context (written for the Salzburg Cathedral in 1780) on May 2 &3, 2013. The brief Latin prayer service is wrapped neatly with the opening and closing music from the 1984 film — Amadeus.

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“Understanding the context for which Mozart originally wrote his liturgical music is our goal with this presentation." — KSO Music Director James Cassidy

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra winds down its 21st season with reflection and introspection as it performs the music of Mozart in two area Cathedrals separated by less than two miles and the Ohio River. Programming and presentation are what distinguish KSO performances from traditional classical concerts. This season finale offers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s music in two unique contexts — Vespers (prayer service) and selections used in the 1984 film Amadeus.

    Vespers, along with matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, none and compline, is one of the liturgy of the hours within the Roman Catholic Church day. It is nominally celebrated today in the late afternoon to early evening as a brief prayer service incorporating several Psalms and liturgy that are chanted or sung. Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore will be presented in its quasi-original 1780 prayer service context with celebrant Fr. Jon-Paul Bevak presiding at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. The presentation at the Cathedral Basilica in Covington will consist of music only without the service.

    The KSO Chorale and the Voices of the Commonwealth (a new choir in its first season) together with vocal soloists from the Choir of St. Peter in Chains Cathedral will join the KSO to perform this setting of five Psalms and the Magnificat.

    In 1984 Milos Forman’s cinematic adaption of the Peter Schaffer’s stage play Amadeus, catapulted Mozart’s music into universal awareness and favor. To frame the Vespers service/opus, the KSO will perform the Symphony No. 25 in g minor, which opens the film, and the movie’s closing scene music — “Lacrimosa” from the Requiem and the “Romanze” from Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor with Steven Hinnenkamp as soloist.
    At some point after 1779, when Mozart returned to Salzburg, he was asked to write a solemn vespers setting for the Salzburg Cathedral to accompany a feast for a Saint, who until recent scholarly writings had not been identified. Through the research of J. Frank Henderson, it appears that Mozart’s K. 339 vespers was written for the evening prior to the feast of St. Rupert (the patron saint of Salzburg), and was probably premiered on September 24, 1780.  Rupert, bishop of Worms came to Salzburg as a traveling missionary around 700 at the invitation of the Duke of Barvaria. The cathedral in Salzburg (Austria), was built by St. Virgil, who interred Rupert’s bones in a crypt there on the occasion of the cathedral’s consecration in 774.

    “Understanding the context for which composers originally wrote their liturgical music is our goal with this presentation on May 2” said KSO Music Director/Founder James Cassidy. We are most appreciative to have Fr. Jon-Paul Bevak in residence at Old St. Mary’s, and St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Music Director Anthony DiCello assisting the KSO in the exploration and understanding of the original setting and meaning of the Vespers service, for which Mozart wrote such inspired music. In the end both participants and audience will learn about and find the spirit through such collaborative efforts.”

    Postlude and prelude selections will be performed without some of the customary repeats. The program, presented without intermission, will therefore last approximately 65 minutes. The total liturgical content outside of Mozart’s music represents about 10 minutes (St. Peter in Chains presentation only).

    Join the KSO and Chorale, with Voices of the Commonwealth, pianist Steven Hinnenkamp and Father Jon-Paul Bevak for Amadeus at Vespers 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 2 at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral (Plum & 8th Street Cincinnati, OH). Tickets for this special program are $19, $27, $35 (children 6-18 are 50% off) and are available on-line, by phone or at the door.

    Friday’s May 3, 7:30 p.m. performance at St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption is a concert only without liturgy or celebrant (Madison & 12th Streets) — pre-sale on-line or phone purchases only. You may view and select your seats for either Cathedral on-line. For more information and tickets call the KSO at (859) 431-6216 or visit

About the KSO:
The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra takes the “phony” out of symphony and reaches 31,000 people annually through live thematic concerts that culturally enrich, educate and entertain the residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. Current Music Director, James R. Cassidy founded the group in 1992 with an ambitious purpose – to create a new, broader audience for symphonic music. Through unique and innovative presentations, classical and other genres of music can be made attractive, accessible and affordable without compromising quality and integrity. The KSO, with offices in Newport, KY, can be found throughout Northern Kentucky (the Commonwealth’s second largest population center) performing three series of concerts in churches, schools and parks. For more information visit

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