by Michael Caruso
Artistic director Paul Rardin will conduct the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia in its annual “A Feast of Carols” Christmas concert Saturday, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m. in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill. The 100-plus member choir will be joined by the Mendelssohn Brass, organist Michael Stairs and pianist Matthew Brower.
Rardin, a former West Mt. Airy resident and K-12 graduate of Germantown Friends School, will lead a broadly based program that spans the repertoire from the medieval Gregorian chant “Hodie Christus natus est” (This day Christ is born), through Michael Praetorius’ early Renaissance “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,” excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach’s set of six cantatas known as the “Christmas Oratorio,” Grayston Ives’ “A child is born in Bethlehem,” Robert MacGimsey’s “Sweet little Jesus boy” and traditional Christmas carols during which the audience can join in and sing along with the Mendelssohn Club.
Tickets are $32 for general admission, $42 for preferred and $20 for students in advance and $35, $45 and $25 at the door. For reservations visit www.mcchorus.org.
Fresh off their performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” the Vox Renaissance Consort of Vox Ama Deus will perform a “Renaissance Noel” Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Chestnut Hill.
“As we have for many years now,” explained Ama Deus founder and artistic director Valentin Radu, “Vox Ama Deus invites our friends in the Chestnut Hill area to enjoy a Christmas musical experience that is perfect for all ages. ‘Renaissance Noel’ is a joyous musical journey through centuries-old European folk songs, carols, madrigals and motets, many of which are still regularly sung and revered today.
“Our audience will travel back in time to enjoy hauntingly beautiful Christmas classics like ‘O Come Emmanuel’ and ‘There Is No Rose,’ as well as glorious music of the season by renowned composers such as Michael Praetorius, Orlando di Lasso and Johann Pachelbel. The concert is also a feast for the eyes: the professional musicians of the Vox Renaissance Consort are bedecked in beautiful High Renaissance attire!”
Tickets are $30 for general admission, $25 for seniors and $10 for students and children, with a discount for advance sales. Call 610-688-2800 or visit www.VoxAmaDeus.org.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul, located at 18th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will host a Christmas concert Sunday, Dec. 11, 3 p.m. Charlene Angelini, newly installed director of music for the Cathedral Basilica and entire Archdiocese of Philadelphia, will conduct choristers from the Cathedral Basilica’s own choir, the Archdiocesan Choir, and the Girls and Boys Choirs of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
The program will include “Dixit Maria” by Hans Leo Hassler, “Glory to God in the Highest” by Randall Thompson, “Laudamus Te”/”Domine Fili Unigenite” from Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” “Christmas Day” by Gustav Holst, “O Magnum Mysterium” by Morten Lauridsen, “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” by Paul Manz, “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day” by John Gardner, and “A Child Is Born” by Leo Nestor.
Tickets are priced from $24.50 to $43.50. For more information visit www.cathedralphilaconcerts.org.
THE CROSSING @ CHRISTMAS
Donald Nally will conduct the annual “The Crossing @ Christmas” concert Friday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. John Grecia will accompany at the organ.
Founder and artistic director Nally explained that “The Crossing @ Christmas” has become an annual tradition for “hundreds of members of The Crossing’s family, and this year we hope to see that family expand greatly as we are being presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, for the first time moving from our home church, the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, to the Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square.
“We have previously performed the music of both Kile Smith and David Lang at Holy Trinity Church, and we really love the beautiful space and warm acoustics. Plus it’s fun to walk out onto Rittenhouse Square all decorated for the season over the weekend before Christmas.
“As The Crossing only sings new music, the traditional repertoire of Christmas concerts is replaced with the music of today. In our programming, we observe history in the making, in fact, sometimes making it ourselves. The concert is a welcome reflective moment in a crazy month, a program of contemplation, an evening of gratitude and a gathering to ponder transitions: rebirth and passing — the passing of the year and of friends who have passed during the year and, of course, hope.”
The concert’s centerpiece is Kevin Puts’ “To Touch the Sky.” The Peabody Conservatory of Music faculty member’s opera, “Silent Night,” was a huge success for Opera Philadelphia in the Academy of Music several seasons ago. It had previously won the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
“This 25-minute choral cantata for unaccompanied voices imagines Mary as the stepping point for the historical voices of women reflecting on their relationship to the world and to God. Kevin’s musical language is so engaging and immediate that it causes wonderful responses from both performers and audiences.”
You can contact NOTEWORTHY at Michaelfirstname.lastname@example.org.