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14.10.14

Classical Month in Washington (December 2014)

The concert schedule in December gets all gummed up with Nutcrackers, Messiahs, and Jingle Bell nonsense, but there are still a few good things to hear. Some of this belongs in the tinsel category, but only the things that should actually be worth hearing.

SYMPHONY:
Helmuth Rilling returns to the podium of the National Symphony Orchestra (December 4 to 6), leading an all-Bach program. The third orchestral suite and a concerto for oboe and violin (featuring two of the ensemble's principal musicians) set off two cantatas for Christmas Day, Unser Mund sei voll Lachens (BWV 110) and Christen, ätzet diesen Tag (BWV 63). Bach performed the latter work, composed around 1713, for his first Christmas as Thomaskantor in Leipzig.
[See review]

The University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and Wind Orchestra join forces for yet another intriguing program (December 5). Sibelius's sixth symphony is paired with Milhaud’s La Création du Monde and Stravinsky’s Octet, with conductor Michael Votta at the helm.

OPERA:
Francesca Zambello brings Rachel Portman's opera The Little Prince to Washington National Opera, with five performances in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (December 19 to 21). The work had a mixed reception at New York City Opera in 2005, but we are very much looking forward to forming our own opinion -- with Miss Ionarts in tow, of course.

Opera Bel Cantanti mounts a rare production of a classic Viennese operetta, Kálmán's Die Csárdásfürstin, at the Randolph Road Theater in Silver Spring (December 19 and 21). Take with several glasses of champagne and call the doctor in the morning.


CHAMBER MUSIC:
The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, performs a free concert at the Library of Congress (December 6). The program includes music by Monteverdi, Britten, Schoenberg, and Irving Fine, the last as part of that composer's centennial celebration at the Library.

The always charming Baltimore Consort performs a program of music from the Spanish Renaissance on the free concert series at the National Gallery of Art (December 14).

The Emerson String Quartet performs on its Smithsonian Associates series at the National Museum of Natural History (December 7), with excerpts of Bach's Art of Fugue, paired well with Beethoven's Große Fuge.
[See review]

The Ariel Quartet performs music by Israeli composers Paul Ben-Haim, Mark Kopytman, and Menachem Wiesenberg, in a concert sponsored by Pro Musica Hebraica (December 14) in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.
[See review]

We always enjoy the celebration of legendary violin maker Stradivari at the Library of Congress. This year the St. Lawrence String Quartet gets the honor of taking some of the Library's Strads for a spin (December 18). The program includes one of Mozart's glorious string quintets, with violist Hsin-Yun Huang.


available at Amazon
On Yoolis Night, Anonymous 4
(Harmonia Mundi, 1993)
HO-HO, NOT HO-HUM
Anonymous 4, who know how to give a good Christmas concert, will present their On Yoolis Night program of Christmas music from British sources at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (December 11).
[See review]

The other contender for the coveted Ionarts Sugar Plum Award, for the year's best Christmas concert, will likely be the Folger Consort's Renaissance Christmas program (December 16 to 23), in the lovely venue of the Folger Shakespeare Library's theater. This year the focus is on music of Flanders and Italy around the year 1500.

Miss Ionarts insists on attending at least one (preferably several) performances of The Nutcracker each December. The one we will definitely not miss this year is presented by Ballet West, last reviewed in 2012. The choreography by William Christensen (December 10 to 14) plays beautifully in the Kennedy Center Opera House.
[See review]

See the complete calendar after the jump.


COMPLETE CALENDAR:
Last month | Next month
Classical Month in Washington is a monthly feature. If there are concerts you would like to see included on our schedule, send your suggestions by e-mail (ionarts at gmail dot com). Happy listening!

December 2, 2014 (Tue)
12 noon
U.S. Marine Band Woodwind Quartet [FREE]
Lecture by Nicholas Alexander Brown
Library of Congress

December 2, 2014 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Noontime Cantata: Sehet, welch eine Liebe, BWV 64
Washington Bach Consort
Church of the Epiphany

December 2, 2014 (Tue)
8 pm
New Music at Maryland
Clarice Smith Center

December 3, 2014 (Wed)
7:30 pm
CUA Wind Ensemble
Catholic University, Hartke Theater

December 4, 2014 (Thu)
2 pm
Screening of Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch [FREE]
Library of Congress

December 4, 2014 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Helmuth Rilling, conductor
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Kariné Poghosyan, piano
Embassy Series
Embassy of Armenia

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Handel, Messiah
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Christmas Concert for Charity
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Handel, Messiah
Washington National Cathedral

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
Chiara String Quartet [FREE]
Library of Congress

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Helmuth Rilling, conductor
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
All Things West
Music by Haydn, Reich, Schumann
Atlas Center

December 5, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
UMd Symphony Orchestra
Sibelius, sixth symphony
Clarice Smith Center

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
3:30 pm
Empire Brass [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
4 pm
Handel, Messiah
Washington National Cathedral

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
7 pm
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge [FREE]
Library of Congress

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Smithsonian Chamber Music Society
Smithsonian Castle

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Cantate Chamber Singers
St. John’s Norwood Parish

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
7:30 pm
CUA Women's Chorus
Catholic University, St. Vincent de Paul Chapel

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
8 pm
Great Noise Ensemble
Atlas Center

December 6, 2014 (Sat)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Handel, Messiah
Music Center at Strathmore

December 7, 2014 (Sun)
3 pm
Washington Bach Consort
Christmas music
National Presbyterian Church

December 7, 2014 (Sun)
3 pm
Washington Piano Society
Cultural Arts Center (Silver Spring, Md.)

December 7, 2014 (Sun)
4 pm
Einav Yarden, piano
Phillips Collection

December 7, 2014 (Sun)
4 pm
Handel, Messiah
Washington National Cathedral

December 7, 2014 (Sun)
6 pm
Emerson String Quartet
Music by Bach (Art of Fugue), Beethoven
National Museum of Natural History

December 7, 2014 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Smithsonian Chamber Music Society
Smithsonian Castle

December 7, 2014 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Honors Chamber Recital
Clarice Smith Center

December 8, 2014 (Mon)
8 pm
UMd Percussion Ensemble
Clarice Smith Center

December 9, 2014 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Jua Kim (violin) and Soyoon Yim (piano)
Church of the Epiphany

December 9, 2014 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Stephen Waarts, violin
Young Concert Artists
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 10, 2014 (Wed)
7:30 pm
John Brancy, baritone
Vocal Arts D.C.
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 10, 2014 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Ballet West
Kennedy Center Opera House

December 11, 2014 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Anonymous 4: On Yoolis Night
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 11, 2014 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Ballet West
Kennedy Center Opera House

December 12, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Commemoration of Battle of the Bulge
Embassy Series
Embassy of Luxembourg

December 12, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Ballet West
Kennedy Center Opera House

December 12, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
Jan Vogler (cello), Mira Wang (violin), Antti Siirala (piano) [FREE]
Library of Congress

December 12, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
UMd Festival of Lessons and Carols
Clarice Smith Center

December 13, 2014 (Sat)
12 noon
Joy of Christmas, family matinee
Washington National Cathedral

December 13, 2014 (Sat)
1:30 and 7:30 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Ballet West
Kennedy Center Opera House

December 13, 2014 (Sat)
3:30 pm
Spanish Brass [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

December 13, 2014 (Sat)
4 pm
Cathedral Choral Society
Christmas music
Washington National Cathedral

December 13, 2014 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Commemoration of Battle of the Bulge
Embassy Series
Embassy of Luxembourg

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
1:30 and 7:30 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Ballet West
Kennedy Center Opera House

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
2 and 5 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
4 pm
Calidore String Quartet
Phillips Collection

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
4 pm
Cathedral Choral Society
Christmas music
Washington National Cathedral

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
4:30 pm
City Choir of Washington
Christmas music
National Presbyterian Church

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
4:30 pm
National Chamber Ensemble
Christmas music
Spectrum Theater (Arlington, Va.)

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
5 pm
Festival of Lessons and Carols
St. John's Episcopal, Georgetown Parish

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
6 pm
What Makes It Great?
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble, with lecture
National Museum of Natural History

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Baltimore Consort [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

December 14, 2014 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Ariel Quartet
Music of Israeli composers
Pro Musica Hebraica
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 15, 2014 (Mon)
7 pm
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Christmas music
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 16, 2014 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Choir of Church of the Epiphany
Church of the Epiphany

December 16, 2014 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 17, 2014 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 18, 2014 (Thu)
7 pm
Handel, Messiah
With Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 18, 2014 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 18, 2014 (Thu)
8 pm
St. Lawrence String Quartet [FREE]
Stradivari Anniversary Concert
Library of Congress

December 19, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Portman, The Little Prince
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 19, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Kalman, Die Csardasfurstin
Opera Bel Cantanti
Randolph Road Theater (Silver Spring, Md.)

December 19, 2014 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Lyric Opera of Baltimore

December 19, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 19, 2014 (Fri)
8 pm
Handel, Messiah
With Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
11 am and 4 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Lyric Opera of Baltimore

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
1 pm
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Family Christmas concert
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
2 and 7:30 pm
Portman, The Little Prince
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
3:30 pm
Thomas Circle Singers [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
4 pm
Amadeus Brass and Children’s Chorus of Washington
National City Christian Church

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
4 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
5 and 8 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
8 pm
Handel, Messiah
With Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
8 pm
Bach Sinfonia
Cultural Arts Center (Silver Spring, Md.)

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
8 pm
Vienna Boys Choir
Music for Christmas
GMU Center for the Arts

December 20, 2014 (Sat)
8 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Philharmonic
Music Center at Strathmore

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
1 pm
Handel, Messiah
With Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
2 and 5 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
2 and 7:30 pm
Portman, The Little Prince
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
3 pm
Kalman, Die Csardasfurstin
Opera Bel Cantanti
Randolph Road Theater (Silver Spring, Md.)

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
3 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Philharmonic
Music Center at Strathmore

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
3 pm
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Lyric Opera of Baltimore

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
4 pm
Amadeus Brass and Children’s Chorus of Washington
National City Christian Church

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
4 pm
Vienna Boys Choir
Music for Christmas
GMU Center for the Arts

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
7 pm
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Christmas music
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 21, 2014 (Sun)
7:30 pm
King's Singers
Christmas music
Washington National Cathedral

December 22, 2014 (Mon)
7 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 22, 2014 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 22, 2014 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Chorus
Music Center at Strathmore

December 23, 2014 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort: Renaissance Christmas
Folger Shakespeare Library

December 23, 2014 (Tue)
8 pm
Messiah Sing-along
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 24, 2014 (Wed)
1 pm
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Christmas music
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 28, 2014 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Ensemble Galilei [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

1 comment:

Gary said...

The singers were good, and the chorus was delightful, but otherwise the Rilling all-Bach concert was a disappointment. The orchestra was not crisp, or energetic, or disciplined. The brass (which is often the best part of baroque suites) seemed especially lackluster. Compared to superb recent baroque concerts by Akademie fur Alte Musik (Library of Congress) and Les Violons du Roy (Strathmore), the orchestra almost reminded me of a (conservatory) student orchestra. I kept thinking "Did they not have time to practice? Are they tired or sick or hung over? Is this the first time they have played baroque music?" Like Simone Dinerstein's Goldberg Variations at Strathmore,it made me think "oh, THAT'S why some people think Bach is boring." I even considered leaving at intermission (but did not). Note: I love Bach and even went to Bachfest Leipzig 2012.