Home for the holidays
A musical round-up
The religious feasts of Christmas and Hanukkah and the secular celebration of New Year’s Eve may be terribly busy times for most people, but they offer an addictive sense of excitement. They are not only occasions for renewal and stock-taking, gift-giving, and partying, but they also hark back to an ancient past, when the bleak, cold depth of winter was the pivot point for nature’s long slog back toward the sun and renewal. So it’s no wonder that music-making, whether in a church or a concert setting, is particularly tempting during this season. When it comes to fervent concertgoing, it’s hard to beat the month of December. Here’s a look at what’s coming up for holiday music different in the City Different, organized by date.
The Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble’s annual A Christmas Offering takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Sunday, Dec. 11 and 13, and Friday, Dec. 18, in Loretto Chapel, 207 Old Santa Fe Trail, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at First Presbyterian Church, 208 Grant Ave. A number of contemporary works by MarkWinges, Guy Forbes, Paul Carey, Stephen Paulus, and Nancy Grundahl are planned, as well as traditional carols and the world premiere of a SFWE commission by Kinley Lange.
Tickets range from $20 to $35 (with student discounts) and are available at the door or by calling 954-4922.
Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols anchors a 7 p.m. concert on Tuesday, Dec. 15, in Loretto Chapel and a Cathedral Church of St. John (318 Silver Ave. S.W., Albuquerque) concert at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18, by Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico. Conducted by Maxine Thévenot, the ensemble— which varies in number and gender depending on repertoire— is a female group in this incarnation. Besides the Britten, the group performs the world premiere of Andrew Ager’s Winter: An Evocation, as well as music by Praetorious, Poulenc, Tarik O’Regan, and John Tavener, and traditional carols. Tickets are $16 to $35 in Santa Fe and $20 (with student and senior discounts) in Albuquerque, in advance at polyphonynm.com or at the door. Call 505-821-1956 for information.
The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus offers a Feast of Carols and Choruses concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi (131 Cathedral Place). The Symphony Chorus, the Santa FeWomen’s Ensemble, and the Symphony Brass perform carols and concert works by Holst, John Rutter, Z. Randall Stroope, and Giovanni Gabrieli. There will be singalong choruses from Handel’s Messiah as well as traditional carols like “Silent Night,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” and Spanish canciones. The event is free on a first-come basis. Call 983-1414.
The Santa Fe Desert Chorale brings back its annual Christmas concerts with three repertoires. Carols & Lullabies is devoted to sacred Christian music ranging from Gregorian chant to contemporary works, including American composer Conrad Susa’s Carols and Lullabies: Christmas in the Southwest. Music director Joshua Habermann, who revitalized the ensemble during his first season this past summer, has also programmed familiar carols including “Ríu Ríu Chíu,” “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” and “TheWexford Carol,” plus choral masterpieces by composers including William Billings, Jan Sandström, and Orlando di Lassus.
A Chanukah Celebration offers a look at the Jewish tradition with service music for synagogue use and concert pieces on Jewish themes by Louis Saladin, Schubert, and Eric Whitacre. A Family Holiday Christmas features popular favorites plus more traditional carols with singers from the fourth to eighth grades joining in.
A Chanukah Celebration takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15, at Temple Beth Shalom, 205 E. Barcelona Road and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, at Congregation B’nai Israel (4401 Indian School Road N.E, Albuquerque). Carols & Lullabies is set for 7 p.m. Friday and Monday, Dec. 18 and 21, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, at Cristo Rey Catholic Church, 1120 Canyon Road; and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, Immanuel Presbyterian Church (114 Carlisle Blvd. S.E., Albuquerque). The family concert is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at Cristo Rey.
Tickets are $20 to $45 (with student discounts available) from the Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211W. San Francisco St., 988-1234, or from Desert Chorale at 988-2282.
Works by Vivaldi, Handel, and Purcell anchor Santa Fe Pro Musica’s annual A Baroque Christmas concerts in Loretto Chapel. Eagerly awaited each year, the events last about an hour without intermission, with pieces chosen to fit Loretto’s live acoustic. Besides members of Pro Musica’s Baroque ensemble, guest artists Kathryn Mueller and Melanie Germond, sopranos, perform on alternate concerts. They will sing arias from Handel’s Solomon and Messiah as well as traditional carols.
The concerts take place at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, to Thursday, Dec. 24, and on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 26 and 27. There are additional 6 p.m. concerts from Monday, Dec. 21, to Thursday, Dec. 24. Tickets are $15 to $60 (student discounts available) through the Lensic at 988-1234 or by calling Pro Musica at 988-4640.
Serenata of Santa Fe offers Music for Winter Solstice at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, at the Santuario de Guadalupe, 100 S. Guadalupe St. Performers are violinists Martha Caplin and Joanna Jenner, violist Elena Sopoci, cellist DanaWinograd, and double bassist Aaro Heinonen; they will be joined by a number of young instrumentalists ranging in age from 12 to 18 in this “Blurring the Lines” program that puts students on stage with their teachers.
Tickets, at the door only, are $25 with discounts for seniors, students, and children. Call 989-7988.
The Santa Fe Concert Association’s annual Christmas Eve concert this year in the Lensic takes place at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24. Joseph Illick conducts young American starWendyWarner in Samuel Barber’s Cello Concerto; the concert closes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major. Tickets are $28 to $84 at the Lensic; call 988-1234.
Santa Fe Pro Musica concertmaster Stephen Redfield; opposite page, Carol Redman, also of Pro Musica Wendy Warner, playing in the Santa Fe Concert Association’s Christmas Eve concert at the Lensic