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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Hallelujah Alternative

A look at upcoming holiday concerts in New York.
Image from the film Hallelujah © 1929 MGM Pictures.
I know it's been a while since we've done a calendar post on this blog--the work that went into them was not equalling the amount of page views and clicks every month. However, as the holidays approach we would like to take a look around our fair city and offer up some alternatives to holiday merriment in various local music merriment. 

Do not fear, New Yorkers: there are plenty of performances of Handel's Messiah scheduled in the two-week run-up to Christmas.

The famed oratorio returns to the New York Philharmonic this season with a strong cast of singers and the New York Choral Artists. 
Dec. 18-22 at Avery Fisher Hall

It will also be heard at St. Thomas' Church (Dec. 11, 13) Avery Fisher Hall (Dec. 12 with the Trinity Choir, Dec. 17 with the National Choral Council Messiah Sing-In) Carnegie Hall (Dec. 20, with two performances Dec. 23 at 2pm and 7:30pm) and elsewhere. 

But this year, we're moving beyond Messiah to explore some alternative holiday concerts that offer other composers' equally profound takes on the reason for the season. 

Here's five recommendations:

The New York Pops with Pink Martini
Carnegie Hall presents this Portland, OR based "little orchestra" that specializes in international stylistic mash-ups between Schubert, lounge jazz and occasional Brazilian samba.
Dec. 14 and 15 at Carnegie Hall. Ticket availability is very limited.

Collegium Vocale Ghent: Bach Christmas Oratorio
Music lovers maintain that it is Bach's joyous holiday work that carries the true spirit of faith in the holiday season. Of course the audience doesn't get to sing along, but rather hear the oratorio interpreted by this brilliant Belgian ensemble.
Dec. 15 at Alice Tully Hall.

New York Choral Society: L'Enfance du Christ
Berlioz' oratorio tells the story of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt. It will be prefaced with O Magnum Mysterium  by contemporary Philadelphia-based composer Jennifer Higgindon. With baritone Alan Held. 
Dec. 18 at Carnegie Hall

Comfort Ye...A Concert to Benefit the Homeless
Opera star Lauren Flanigan leads this annual performance at Symphony Space. All proceeds go directly to The West Side Campaign Against Hunger, New York Cares and the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing.
Dec. 18 at Symphony Space

Orchestra of St. Luke's: The Creation
Go Old Testament with the New York Virtuoso Singers and the Orchestra of St. Luke's in this performance of Haydn's oratorio. Out of chaos came...the classical style. 
Dec 21 at Carnegie Hall. 

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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.