J. Deak, The Passion of Scrooge, or A Christmas Carol, W. Sharp, 20th Century Consort (2000)
The competition for the "coveted" Holiday Concert Award here at Ionarts gets stronger each year. I have listened to many Christmas concerts over the years, and most of them fall into the dreaded chestnut category. There is obviously a market for that kind of program -- a few pieces of historical interest, a couple of obvious choices, and a carol singalong -- but we are not that market. The winners of our little contest have been concerts that favor the unfamiliar and thereby jolt the listener and shake up his jaded assumptions. A leading contender this year was the modern Christmas Carol by Jon Deak offered by the 21st Century Consort, heard on Saturday evening at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Unbeknownst to me, this was a revival of the work, brought back by popular demand.
Joan Reinthaler, Between romanticism and realism of Civil War, 21st Century Consort finds safe, scenic path (Washington Post, December 3)
The next concert from the 21st Century Consort will pair Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire with music by Bruce Maccombie and Stephen Albert (February 23, 5 pm).