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Master Chorale Presents: The Reason for the Season!
December 7 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Come celebrate the holiday season with a special program of Christmas classics and new winter favorites in the Buffalo Master Chorale’s annual *Winter Concert*. Our program begins with Morten Laudrisen’s evocative O Magnum Mysterium before leaping into Handel’s rousing anthem, For Unto Us a Child is Born from Messiah. A pair of contrasting Ave Maria settings by romantic composers Anton Bruckner and Clara Schumann will be heard alongside a Shakespeare setting by John Rutter, plus the contemporary Hanukkah classic, Ocho Kandeliakas, and carols of the season. Make your holiday complete with the BMC!
Thank you for celebrating the holiday season with us!
The Reason for the Season begins with two contrasting classics of the Christmas repertoire: contemporary composer, Morten Lauridsen’s lush and haunting 1994 setting of the Christmas Matins chant, O magnum mysterium; and For unto us a child is born, the concluding chorus of Part I, Scene 3 of G.F. Handel’s 1741 masterwork, Messiah. These contrast of wonderment and elation, of sacred stillness and corporeal clamor form the bedrock of what our concert is all about – The Reason for the Season is an excuse for us to joyously come together in celebration and contemplation of the miracles of life, of hope, and of salvation against all odds and the bitter isolation of winter cold.
The first half of our program traces a path from the opening contrast of our two familiar masterpieces through seasonal pieces from the rich choral traditions of England. In William Byrd’s complementary pair of renaissance madrigals, In Winter Cold and Whereat an Ant we can hear echoes of the magnum mysterium theme of the irony of simple animals being the first witnesses of the Christmas miracle. Then, in John Rutter’s contemporary setting of Shakespeare’s Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind the focus turns inward, conflating the bitterness of cold with the coldness of the human heart in its wintry isolation. Finally, a favorite Episcopal anthem is heard: Otto Goldschmidt’s A Tender Shoot connects our nature themes to that of the Tree of Jesse, depicting the lineage of Mary and Jesus. A pair of Ave Maria settings bookend our concert intermission, with Anton Bruckner’s powerful setting closing our first half, and Clara Schumann’s illumination of Emanuel von Geibel’s poetic depiction of a Venetian feast day beginning the second half of our concert.
Finally, our program ends with some musical delights and one of the true joys of the season: caroling together. We will share Flory Jagoda’s contemporary Hanukkah classic, Ocho Kandeliaks, a piece set in the Ladino language of pre-inquisition Spain’s Jewish population, alongside John Rutter’s Handelian setting of the familiar classic, Joy to the World. Finally, a set of Carols of the Season will feature beloved classics in special arrangements, leading to a rousing singalong finale.