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27.10.15

Classical Music Agenda (December 2015)

Ah, December -- 'tis the season for all my holiday concert and Messiah-boredom snark! The Christmas Concert-Messiah-Nutcracker-holiday children's opera business is the bread and butter of every working musician, so long may they reign. Those few such concerts in the Washington area that can actually make this Grinch's heart grow three sizes compete every year for the coveted Ionarts Sugar Plum Award. After a few choices that have nothing to do with holiday spirit follows a list of the leading Yuletide contenders.

HO HO NO:
The Yannick Nézet-Séguin era continues at the Philadelphia Orchestra, presented yet again by Washington Performing Arts, this time at Strathmore (December 7). Bizet's Carmen Suite and Stravinsky's Firebird seem ho-hum, but violinist Hilary Hahn will also be in tow to play Vieuxtemps's fourth violin concerto.

Compare the Philadelphia sound with the hometown band when Sarah Hicks makes her conducting debut with the National Symphony Orchestra (December 3 and 5), leading an unusual selection of music by Copland, Mason Bates, John Adams, and Creston. Organist Cameron Carpenter, who can be relied on for a show, joins for Barber's Toccata Festiva and some improvisations on the Kennedy Center Concert Hall organ.

It has been over a decade since we have reviewed cellist Mischa Maisky live in the area. We may have to make the trip to Charm City for his recital with daughter Lily Maisky at Shriver Hall (December 6).

Closer to home, there will be string quartets to keep our hearts warm: the Schumann Quartett (December 6) and the Escher Quartet (December 20) will perform on the wonderful Sunday series at the Phillips Collection. The seasonal joy of celebrating the Stradivari Anniversary will fall to the Borromeo Quartet (December 18) on the free series at the Library of Congress.


available at Amazon
David Lang, The Little Match Girl Passion (inter alia), Theater of Voices, Ars Nova Copenhagen, P. Hillier

(re-released on June 9, 2009)
Harmonia Mundi HMU 807496

[REVIEW]
CHRISTMAS, HOLD THE CHESTNUTS:
In general, the older you go with the Christmas music, the better. Put the appearance by the Tallis Scholars on the Fortas Chamber Music series at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater at the top of your list (December 3), with music by Renaissance composers John Sheppard and Thomas Tallis. Hopefully, the German chamber choir Calmus will sing something similarly old for their Christmas concert in the Barns at Wolf Trap (December 6).

The most unusual combination of holiday music goes to the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Singers, which will perform David Lang's extraordinary Little Match Girl Passion, interwoven with sections of Tchaikovsky's music for The Nutcracker (December 4).

Miss Ionarts will likely be quite busy taking in the various holiday operas for children this month. The In Series presents a new English version of Mozart's Bastien and Bastienne (December 5 to 13) at Source Theater, with a holiday sing-along grafted onto it. Cantate Chamber Singers perform Benjamin Britten's The Company of Heaven at the heart of an angel-centered program (December 5) at St. John’s Norwood Parish. Stagger your weekends to take in Opera Bel Cantanti's production of Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, at Bethesda's Concord-Saint Andrews United Methodist Church (December 5, 12, and 19). Last but not least, Washington National Opera returns to basics after two holiday opera flops in 2013 and 2014, with the evergreen Hansel and Gretel of Engelbert Humperdinck, presented at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater (December 12 to 20).

Start the month off with two free performances on December 1. The Washington Bach Consort performs Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied (BWV 190, composed for New Year's Day) on its Noontime Cantata Series at Church of the Epiphany. That evening the U.S. Air Force Band presents its Holiday Concert in the Music Center at Strathmore.

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 1, 2015 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Noontime Cantata [FREE]
Washington Bach Consort
Church of the Epiphany

December 1, 2015 (Tue)
8 pm
U.S. Air Force Band Holiday Concert [FREE]
Music Center at Strathmore

December 1, 2015 (Tue)
8 pm
New Music at Maryland [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

December 2, 2015 (Wed)
12:10 pm
St. Alban's and National Cathedral Schools Madrigal Singers [FREE]
St. John's, Lafayette Square

December 2, 2015 (Wed)
7 and 9 pm
American Opera Initiative
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 2, 2015 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Virgil Boutellis-Taft (violin) and Yoonie Han (piano)
Embassy of France

December 2, 2015 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Carmen Balthrop (soprano) and José Cáceres Danielsen (piano)
Mansion at Strathmore

December 3, 2015 (Thu)
1:30 pm
Bach Cantata Series [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

December 3, 2015 (Thu)
7 pm
Tallis Scholars
Fortas Chamber Music Series
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 3, 2015 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Cameron Carpenter, organ
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 3, 2015 (Thu)
8 pm
Orion Weiss, piano
Clarice Smith Center

December 4, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
UMD Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Singers
Lang, Little Match Girl Passion; Tchaikovsky, Nutcracker
Clarice Smith Center

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
2:30 pm
Mozart, Bastien and Bastienne (in English)
In Series
Source

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
4 pm
Handel, Messiah
Washington National Cathedral

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Cantate Chamber Singers
St. John’s Norwood Parish

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Menotti, Amahl and the Night Visitors
Opera Bel Cantanti
Concord-Saint Andrews United Methodist Church (Bethesda, Md.)

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Smithsonian Chamber Players
Music of J.S. and C.P.E. Bach
Smithsonian Castle

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
8 pm
Great Noise Ensemble
Atlas Center

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Cameron Carpenter, organ
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 5, 2015 (Sat)
8 pm
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
GMU Center for the Arts

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
1 pm
Washington Piano Society [FREE]
Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
2:30 pm
Mozart, Bastien and Bastienne (in English)
In Series
Source

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Schumann Quartett
Phillips Collection

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Handel, Messiah
Washington National Cathedral

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
UMD Wind Orchestra and Wind Ensemble
Clarice Smith Center

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras
Music Center at Strathmore

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Fairlington UMC Choir
Amadeus Concerts
Fairlington United Methodist Church (Alexandria, Va.)

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
5:30 pm
Mischa Maisky (cello) and Lily Maisky (piano)
Shriver Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
7 pm
Musica Pacifica
Dumbarton Oaks

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Smithsonian Chamber Players
Music of J.S. and C.P.E. Bach
National Museum of American History

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Calmus: Christmas Concert
Barns at Wolf Trap

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Trio Solisti and Richard O’Neill, viola
JCCGW (Rockville, Md.)

December 6, 2015 (Sun)
7:30 pm
UMD Honors Chamber Music Recital [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

December 7, 2015 (Mon)
8 pm
Philadelphia Orchestra
With Hilary Hahn, violin
Washington Performing Arts
Music Center at Strathmore

December 7, 2015 (Mon)
8 pm
Musica Pacifica
Dumbarton Oaks

December 7, 2015 (Mon)
8 pm
UMD Percussion Ensemble [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

December 8, 2015 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Nick Fichter (tenor) and Todd Fickley (piano) [FREE]
Schubert, Winterreise
Church of the Epiphany

December 8, 2015 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Cathedra, Diderot Quartet, and Bjarte Eike (violin)
Washington National Cathedral

December 11, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Eric Ruske (horn), Jennifer Frautschi (violin), and Gloria Chien (piano) [FREE]
Library of Congress

December 11, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Festival of Lessons and Carols
UMD School of Music
Clarice Smith Center

December 11, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Left Bank String Quartet
Clarice Smith Center

December 12, 2015 (Sat)
12 noon
Cathedral Choral Society: Family Christmas Concert
Washington National Cathedral

December 12, 2015 (Sat)
2 and 7 pm
Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 12, 2015 (Sat)
2:30 pm
Mozart, Bastien and Bastienne (in English)
In Series
Source

December 12, 2015 (Sat)
4 pm
Cathedral Choral Society
Washington National Cathedral

December 12, 2015 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Menotti, Amahl and the Night Visitors
Opera Bel Cantanti
Concord-Saint Andrews United Methodist Church (Bethesda, Md.)

December 12, 2015 (Sat)
7:30 pm
National Chamber Ensemble
Rosslyn Spectrum Theater

December 12, 2015 (Sat)
8 pm
Jazz at Lincoln Center
With Wynton Marsalis, trumpet
Washington Performing Arts
Music Center at Strathmore

December 13, 2015 (Sun)
2 and 7 pm
Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 13, 2015 (Sun)
2 pm
Family Christmas Concert
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 13, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Shai Wosner, piano
Phillips Collection

December 13, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Cathedral Choral Society
Washington National Cathedral

December 13, 2015 (Sun)
4:30 pm
City Choir of Washington
National Presbyterian Church

December 13, 2015 (Sun)
5 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 13, 2015 (Sun)
7 pm
Mozart, Bastien and Bastienne (in English)
In Series
Source

December 14, 2015 (Mon)
7 pm
Choral Arts Christmas Concert
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 15, 2015 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Christmas Concert [FREE]
Church of the Epiphany

December 17, 2015 (Thu)
7 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Symphony Orchestra
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 18, 2015 (Fri)
7 pm
Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 18, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Borromeo Quartet, Stradivari Anniversary [FREE]
Library of Congress

December 18, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Music Center at Strathmore

December 18, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Folger Consort
With Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Church of the Reformation

December 18, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Symphony Orchestra
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 18, 2015 (Fri)
8 pm
Vienna Boys Choir
GMU Center for the Arts

December 19, 2015 (Sat)
2 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 19, 2015 (Sat)
2 and 7 pm
Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 19, 2015 (Sat)
5 and 8 pm
Folger Consort
With Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Church of the Reformation

December 19, 2015 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Menotti, Amahl and the Night Visitors
Opera Bel Cantanti
Concord-Saint Andrews United Methodist Church (Bethesda, Md.)

December 19, 2015 (Sat)
8 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Symphony Orchestra
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 19, 2015 (Sat)
8 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Philharmonic
Music Center at Strathmore

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
1:30 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Symphony Orchestra
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
2 pm
Humperdinck, Hansel and Gretel
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
3 and 7 pm
Folger Consort
With Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Church of the Reformation

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
3 pm
Washington Bach Consort
National Presbyterian Church

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
3 pm
Handel, Messiah
National Philharmonic
Music Center at Strathmore

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
3:30 and 7:30 pm
Family Christmas Concert
Washington National Cathedral

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Escher Quartet
Phillips Collection

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
4 pm
Amadeus Brass with Children's Chorus of Washington
Lisner Auditorium

December 20, 2015 (Sun)
8 pm
Choral Arts Christmas Concert
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 21, 2015 (Mon)
7 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 21, 2015 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort
With Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Church of the Reformation

December 22, 2015 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort
With Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Church of the Reformation

December 22, 2015 (Tue)
8 pm
Washington Chorus: Candlelight Christmas
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

December 23, 2015 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Folger Consort
With Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano
Church of the Reformation

December 24, 2015 (Thu)
2 pm
Choral Arts Christmas Concert
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

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