Enter your email address and click subscribe to receive new articles in your email inbox:

Music in Cincinnati Shifts into Holiday Mode

Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: Nov 30, 2008 - 1:11:27 PM in news_2008

Cincinnati's musical calendar shifts into holiday mode this weekend, beginning with the "Advent Festival of Lessons and Carols" at 3 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 30) at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, 8th and Plum Streets downtown.
    The Cathedral Choir led by music director Anthony DiCello performs seasonal carols, choral anthems and Gregorian chants for choir and handbells.  Admission is free, but free will offerings will be accepted.
    Cincinnati's favorite "carol sings," the May Festival's "Carolfest" and "Feast of Carols" at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music," are set for the weekend of Dec. 6 and 7.

   "Carolfest" is 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at Music Hall. Joining director Robert Porco and the May Festival Chorus will be the May Festival Youth Chorus directed by James Bagwell, organist Heather MacPhail, the Cincinnati Boychoir directed by Byran Mock, the Southern Baptist Church Mass Choir directed by Dan Larkin and The Studio for Dance directed by Shari Poff.  Admission is $10, $5 for children 12 and under.  Call (513) 381-3300, or order at www.mayfestival.com.

    CCM's “Feast of Carols” is 5 p.m. Dec. 6, 2 and 5 p .m. Dec. 7 in Corbett Auditorium. Performing will be the CCM Chamber Choir and Chorale, UC Men’s and Women’s Choruses, Cincinnati Children’s Choir, the CCM Concert Orchestra and guest choirs from Anderson High School, Lakota West High School and Summit Country Day School.  The "feast of conductors" includes Earl Rivers, Brett Scott, Brandon Dean, Jeremy Jones, Robyn Lana, Richard Wesp, Anthony Nims and Theresa Merrill.  Tickets are $10, $5 for non-UC students, UC students free.  Call the CCM box office at (513) 556-4183. 

    In addition to a multitude of holiday happenings, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra welcomes guest conductor Alan Gilbert in an all-Tchaikovsky program at 8 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6 at Music Hall.

Alan Gilbert
Gilbert, 41, who will succeed Lorin Maazel as music director of the New York Philharmonic effective in September 2009, brings a Tchaikovsky symphony with him -- not one of the more frequently heard ones, but the “Manfred” Symphony.  Guest artist in Tchaikovsky’s popular Variations on a Rococo Theme will be cellist Johannes Moser.
Johannes Moser

   Composed in 1885 between his Third and Fourth (numbered) Symphonies, Tcahikovsky's "Manfred" is based on Byron’s dramatic poem of the same name.  It is a dramatic symphony in the manner of Berlioz’ “Harold in Italy” and “Symphonie fantastique" and utilizes the idée fixe (a recurring musical idea, literally “obsession”) as a unifying element.  There is a “Manfred” theme that follows Byron’s character throughout.  Tchaikovsky himself provided a program to accompany the symphony's four movements.  Basically, it is the tale of a young man trying to assuage his guilt for a tragic love affair.

    Moser, 29, was the top prize-winner in the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where he was also awarded a special prize for his for his interpretation of the Rococo Variations.

   Tickets are $12-$77, $10 for students, 25% off for seniors, at (513) 381-3300 or order online at www.cincinnatisymphony.org.

   In other choice holiday concerts:

Westwood First Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir with director Heather MacPhail (bottom right)
The Chancel Choir at Westwood First Presbyterian Church directed by Heather MacPhail echoes the angels over Bethlehem with two settings of the "Gloria" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at the church, 3011 Harrison Ave.  Vivaldi's "Gloria" will be accompanied by full orchestra, harp and organ.  The "Gloria" by 20th-century composer John Rutter will be accompanied by organ, trumpets and percussion.  Admission is free.

Cincinnati Camerata, Christian Miller, director
The chamber choir Cincinnati Camerata led by music director Christian Miller performs “Mary Citings,”its annual concert in honor of the Virgin Mary, with plainsong, contemporary works and a Mass by Michael Haydn, at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Mother of God Church, 119 W. 6th St., Covington.  For further information, call (859) 491-2362 or visit www.cincinnaticamerata.com.

Helmut Roehrig
Music Sacra Chorus and orchestra led by Helmut Roehrig performs part one of Handel’s “Messiah” at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 at Our Lord Christ the King Church, Linwood Avene and Ellison Road, Mt. Lookout.  Admission is free.

In the spirit of the season:

Conundrum. L to R: Marianne Breneman, clarinet; Phil Amalong, piano; Mary Elizabeth Southworth, soprano; Danielle Hundley, flute
The quartet Conundrum -- soprano Mary Elizabeth Southworth, flutist Danielle Hundley, clarinetist Marianne Breneman and pianist Philip Amalong -- in collaboration with Koka Coffee Lounge and Mt. Adams Pilgrim Chapel will present a free program of Christmas music to benefit the Freestore Foodbank at 4 p.m. Dec. 7 at Pilgrim Chapel, 1222 Ida St., Mt. Adams.

    Guests are asked to bring non-perishable food items, personal care items, or checks made out to Freestore Foodbank.   Items may be dropped off in advance at Koka Coffee Lounge, 1101 St. Gregory St., Mt. Adams.   A free reception will be held after the concert at Koka Coffee Lounge.

   And don't forget chamber music:

Pro Arte Quartet
Chamber Music Cincinnati presents the Pro Arte Quartet, resident quartet at the Univeristy of Wisconsin in Madison, at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 in CCM's Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.  On the program are Mozart's String Q!uartet in b-flat Major, K.589, Bartok's String Quartet No. 2 and Schubert's String Quartet in G Major, D.887.  Tickets are $25, $10 for students under 18, CCM students free.  Call (859) 581-6877, or visit www.cincychamber.org.