Christmas Concerts December 12 and 14, 2014
Con Brio, the shoreline’s renowned
all-auditioned chorus, will present its annual Christmas concert on December 12
and 14th, at Christ the King Church in Old Lyme. Directed by Dr. Stephen Bruce
with keyboardist, Assistant Director Susan Saltus, the choir is joined by the
Con Brio Festival Orchestra and soloists, Adele Paxton, Karli Gilbertson,
Ransom Bruce and Greg Flower. Con Brio’s Christmas Concerts have become
an eagerly awaited, joyous holiday event.
This year is the 200th
anniversary of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Con Brio will sing a
very special arrangement written by Connecticut native Dudley Buck (1839-1909),
one of the most successful American composers of the post-Civil War era. The
audience will have a chance to join in singing our national anthem.
The concert continues with
two very different approaches to Christmas themes. Schubert’s rarely performed
Magnificat in C Major, drawing from the classical mass tradition, uses
Mary’s text expressing joy and thanksgiving. Astonishingly, Schubert composed
this piece over a period of ten days when he was only eighteen years old.
Stroope’s Cantus Natalis offers a powerful contemporary celebration of
Jesus’ birth, with a fourth movement reminiscent of Orff’s Carmina Burana
in its rhythmic dynamism. Stroope’s shorter piece, “Winter,” thrilled an
earlier Con Brio audience and this piece is certain to do the same.
The second half of the
concert includes two of the most popular motets of the twentieth century, Franz Beibl’s Ave Maria and Distler’s Wachet Auf. Beibl’s piece, an
amalgam of early chant and contemporary choral writing, soared to popularity
when it was recently recorded by Chanticleer. Distler’s piece uses the
well-known chorale tune (Sleepers, Wake) to construct a piece wholly different
from the original. Con Brio will then, as is now a tradition, spread out
around the wonderful space of Christ the King to perform a ten-part motet by
Giovanni Gabrieli. The audience will be invited to sing along with a Hanukah
favorite, Hanerot Halalu and some favorite Christmas carols. The concert
concludes with a rousing Christmas spiritual, Oh Jerusalem and a powerful
arrangement of We Saw Three Ships.
Tickets ($30, $15 student) may be
purchased online or from
any Con Brio member, or by calling 860 526 5399.
Christ the King Church, 1 McCurdy
Lane, Old Lyme, Connecticut.