The Harvard Glee Club and Radcliffe Choral Society will participate this afternoon and tomorrow night with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis." These performances figure not only in Mr. Kousscvitsky's plan to celebrate his fifteenth anniversary here with a sort of strung out Beethoven festival, but also in his desire to secure a good recording of the work after last year's failure.
Success should be more likely this time, thanks mainly to a reduced and more experienced chorus. The sopranos do remarkably well with their high B's, and the chorus as a whole lacks that unwieldiness which nearly brought disaster last year. On the debit side thus far must be listed Mr. Burgin's violin solo in the "Benedictus" and the performance of the women soloists. Miss Vreeland, the soprano, has the unfortunate habit of stealing upon notes, while the contralto, Miss Kaskas is too sugary. It is to be hoped that at the actual concerts these flaws will disappear.
For this performance of the Mass is probably the finest that can ever be produced with human forces and consequent human imperfections. To play and sing the music must be a tremendous task; even to hear it is a harrowing experience. The vastness of the work removes it from ordinary life. Beethoven's method of worshipping God transcends all formal limits; to him the capability of his players and the capacity of his audience are both unimportant. Hence all the more honor is due the Glee Club, the Choral Society, and the Orchestra for reaching a new peak in their joint career.