“I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music.” – George Eliot

I’m with her!

There is much music to recommend this month, beginning this Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. with “Christmas at the Cathedral” at St. James Cathedral. Two Bach works, Concerto for Violin in A minor, BWV 189, and Magnificat, BMV 243, will be featured. The requested donation is $15.

It will provide beautiful music in a beautiful setting, and a lovely end to your day if you’re holiday shopping on Michigan Avenue.

Next, welcome the new year with one of Rush Hour 2007’s most dynamic groups, Third Coast Percussion Quartet. RH’s Fanfare group heard them again at its winter concert event at Loyola last week. They continue to amaze audiences with their pyrotechnics and interactive programs. TCP4 is performing at Sherwood Conservatory on Wednesday, January 9 at 7:00 p.m.

The program will range from the raucous to the meditative, featuring the premiere of Marcos Balter’s “Dark Rooms” written for TCP4, as well as music by Toru Takemitsu, John Cage, Peter Garland and Nico Muhly. Marimbist Matthew Coley will join Third Coast for Minoru Miki’s “Marimba Spiritual”. Admission is $15 for adults, $5 for students (Sherwood students attend free).

Finally, I have two books to recommend for those of you who may be looking for a music-oriented reading for yourself or others this holiday season:

Lexicon of Musical Invective by Nicolas Slonimsky (W.W. Norton) is an entertaining compilation of “critical assaults on composers since Beethoven’s time.” It seems that contemporary composers are not the first to be subject to a vitriolic pen!

The Ill Tempered String Quartet by Lester Chafetz (McFarland & Company) is billed as “a Vademecum for the Amateur Musician.” It is both humorous and practical, containing an interesting section of notes on the string quartet literature, as well as insights into the workings of an amateur string quartet.

May your holiday season be filled with warmth, great music, and good reading by cozy fireplaces!

The Season’s Warmest Wishes,

Deborah Sobol

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