As it has every Christmas season since 1951, the Bach Society of St. Louis presented its "Candlelight Concert" last night. It's a local tradition grounded in fine musicianship and intelligent programming, and marred only by the fact that it lasts but one night.
What with El Niño, global warming, and the relentless drumbeat of hate and fear from the rightward end of the political spectrum, it hasn't felt much like Christmas lately for me. But walking into a bright, wreath-bedecked Powell Hall Friday night for the first of the St. Louis Symphony's Macy's Holiday Celebration concerts changed all that. I'm starting to feel like a right jolly old elf.
As I noted in one of my symphony preview posts a few days ago, it's far from clear exactly what set of historical accidents turned George Frederick Handel's 1741 oratorio "The Messiah" into a Christmas tradition here in the USA. But traditional it is, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the direction of early music specialist Bernard Labadie, are observing it in fine style this weekend.
In a recent post I looked at the way Handel's "Messiah" got moved from Easter to Christmas. This time I'd like to take a look at an even more puzzling question: Why does everyone stand during the "Hallelujah" chorus that concludes Part 2?
The Christmas season in upon us. For those of us keeping track of the entertainment scene, that means an inevitable encounter with at least one performance of all of the following: a stage adaptation of Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" (probably with music), Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker," and Handel's "Messiah". The latter is coming our way this weekend, in fact, from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of early music specialist Bernard Labadie.
The Bach Society of St. Louis Christmas Candlelight Concert has been a St. Louis tradition since 1951 and, as this year's sold-out edition proved tonight, that tradition is grounded in fine musicianship and intelligent programming.
When you think of holiday-music makers, you probably don't think of indie-rock band Los Campesinos! The Cardiff, Wales group wants to change that with a new Christmas EP this year and the irresistably melodic and quintessentially Campesino-esque track "When Christmas Comes."
The Macy's Holiday Celebration concerts with the St. Louis Symphony have, of late, fallen into a pattern that's as familiar and cozy as a bulky red woolen sweater. This year, I'm happy to report, is no exception.
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will be delivering Christmas presents for St. Louis audiences throughout the month of December. Let's sneak downstairs and take a peek under the wrapping, shall we?