Concert will be “Absolute Heaven”

French romantic composers whose music explored the heavenly realm in the middle and late 19th century will be showcased by the La Cañada Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir and Orchestra in “Absolute Heaven,” a concert to be presented Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m. in the LCPC Sanctuary.

The featured work will be Charles Gounod’s “Messe solenelle de Sainte Cecile (Saint Cecilia Mass),” considered one of the greatest achievements in Western music.

“It is nearly flawless in its joyful awe for divine mysteries and promises for heaven,” said Jack Lantz, LCPC’s director of Music and Worship Arts, who will direct the program. Soprano Lori Stinson, tenor Matthew Thomas and baritone Gregory Geiger will be the featured soloists on the piece.

Other works will include Cesar Franck’s setting of Psalm 150; three movements from Gabriel Faure’s beloved “Requiem;” the meditation from the opera “Thais,” by Jules Massenet, with Leslie Woodbury providing the violin solo; Franck’s “Panis Angelicus (O Lord Most Holy),” with a solo by Stinson; and Camille Saint-Saens’ great “Organ” symphony, with church organist Kemp Smeal at the keyboard.

A choir and orchestra of a combined 100 performers “will take the audience as close to the ultimate paradise as one can get on Earth,” Lantz promised.

Tickets, which cost $15 general, $20 reserved, may be purchased in advance by calling Tina Tong at (818) 790-6708, ext. 251, or at the church office (626 Foothill Blvd.). They’ll also be available at the door.

Before the concert, Thomas, who holds a Ph.D. in historical musicology from USC and teaches at Pasadena City College, will present a free lecture about the music at 1 p.m. in the church’s Worship Arts Center.