December is always frenetic. This year is no exception. It may, perhaps, break all previous records. My tried and true antidotes to this “non-stop/never-have-enough time” condition are to give into the early darkness and chill – no, cold – in the air, to sit back and listen: to good friends and colleagues in conversation, to great music, to words of fine minds. This month, I’m sharing a bit of all three of these with you, in hopes that it will slow down your frenetic pace (in the way Rush Hour does during the long summer days). One additional tip: a glass of sherry or Grand Marnier alongside for extra inner warmth!
My favorite music to revisit each December is Concentus Musicus Wien’s recording of Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” which features the beatific voices of the Vienna Boys Choir, all under the superb direction of Nikolaus Harnoncourt. It’s not December in my household unless this glorious music is filling every room!
There are many old favorite books to recommend at this time of year. This year, however, I find myself enthralled in Alice Waters’ wonderful volume, “The Art of Simple Food.” Since a good 50% of Rush Hour each week is devoted to food and epicurean themes, I feel it’s a valid entry here!
And now, to my concert recommendations:
Saturday, December 13 – 7:00 p.m.
St. James Cathedral
Christmas at the Cathedral
Corelli, Christmas Concerto
Handel, Messiah (Part 1)
The Cathedral Choir, Soloists and Chamber Orchestra of St. James
Bruce J. Barber II, conductor
$20 requested donation
Sunday, December 21 – 3:00 p.m. and Monday, December 22 – 7:00 p.m.
Civic Opera House
33rd Annual Bank of America Do-It-Yourself Messiah, sponsored by the International Music Foundation
Complimentary tickets available
Sunday, December 7 – 3:00 p.m. (Evanston) and Monday, December 8 – 7:30 p.m. (Merit School of Music)
Rembrandt Chamber Players
Vivaldi: Selections from The Four Seasons
Brahms: Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano
Bach: Aria from Cantata No. 182
Mozart: Quintet for Clarinet and Strings
Tickets: $30 (adult) / $10 (student)
Happy and safe holidays, everyone!
– Deborah Sobol