RDSO to present A Baroque Christmas

An uplifting antidote to anyone feeling “Bah! humbug!” about the excesses of the season is being offered by the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra.

VoiceScapes is a musical collective formed in 2000 by two couples — Christina Jahn and Paul Grindlay

An uplifting antidote to anyone feeling “Bah! humbug!” about the excesses of the season is being offered by the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra.

A Baroque Christmas, a Saturday, Dec. 5, concert at the Gaetz United Church, will feature 300-year-old choral music sung in Latin, Greek and German by the VoiceScapes ensemble from Calgary.

Accompaniment will be provided on the church’s large pipe organ by organist Wendy Markosky and by the 16-member orchestra, including RDSO strings musicians playing with reproduction curved period bows.

A virtuoso recorder player is even being flown in from Toronto to help create the kind of mellow, nuanced sound that Baroque audiences would have heard in the 1600s, said conductor Claude Lapalme.

“This concert is going to be very, very special. Nothing like this has ever been done in Red Deer,” added Lapalme, who predicted this will be the most beautiful concert of the season.

On the program are spiritual Christmas works by French composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Germany’s Johann Sebastian Bach.

As well, Markosky will perform improvisational transcriptions from famed French organist Louis-Claude Daquin’s Le livre d’orgue as an audience welcome before the concert officially starts.

Charpentier, who lived in the latter half of the 1600s, wove the melodies of 11 traditional French Christmas carols in with original material to create his uplifting Messe de minuit sur les airs de Noel. Two of the carols, Where Do These Happy Shepherds Go? and Let Your Flocks Graze, will be familiar to anyone French-Canadian who grew up in Quebec, said Lapalme.

Little is known about the origins of the Messe de minuit, except that it was written around 1690 for the church of Saint-Louis in Paris, where Charpentier was music director. The 40-minute piece has six choral movements that repeat a formal mass.

The Christmas offering was very popular in its day and Lapalme said it remains a unique accomplishment.

Bach’s Second Cantata from the Christmas Oratorio (And there were shepherds in the same country) was written in 1734 when the composer was music director for principal churches in his native Leipzig.

The cantata is actually one of six from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and deals with the annunciation to the shepherds.

The piece contains music previously composed for two secular works, but Bach added original pastoral elements, such as music for four oboes and two English horns, to make the shepherd scene more believable.

Lapalme said this kind of pastiche was commonly done and doesn’t take away from the extraordinary beauty of the cantata. “It does sound Christmassy, even though it was based on parody.”

VoiceScapes is a musical collective formed in 2000 by two couples — Christina Jahn and Paul Grindlay, and Julie Harris and Herald Fast. This concert will also include special guests singers Aoife Donnelly, Julie Freedman Smith, Stuart MacQuarrie and Dylan Wright.

The group, whose collective experience encompasses medieval and operatic singing, solo and choral work, is frequently heard on CBC Radio, and has performed with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert are $43.50 ($30 for children, students) from Ticketmaster. (Free tickets are available for a dress rehearsal of the concert, held at the church from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. Call the RDSO office at 403-340-2948).

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Rimbey-area landowner believes earthquake damaged his electricity supply

Underground line was damaged at same time quake hit, says landowner

Open call for musicians to play Ross Street Patio Parties in Red Deer

The City of Red Deer is inviting musicians from various different cultural… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House citizens recognized in awards show

Mayor’s Recognition Awards handed out in ceremony last Friday

Red Deer monitoring creeks during spring melt

Residents advised to use common sense when approaching ice

WATCH: Celebrating francophone Canadians at the 10th annual Red Deer Winter Carnival

The event was hosted by the Red Deer region of the French-Canadian Association of Alberta Saturday

Family: Time to shed winter clothes and inhibitions

It has been a long, crazy cold winter. But, if the thermometer… Continue reading

Chelsea Carey rink registers two wins at world women’s curling event

SILKEBORG, Denmark — Canada’s Chelsea Carey rebounded nicely Sunday at the world… Continue reading

Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title, winning BNP Paribas Open

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Canadian Bianca Andreescu has her first WTA title.… Continue reading

‘Captain Marvel’ soars even higher with stellar 2nd weekend

LOS ANGELES — “Captain Marvel” has continued to dominate the global box… Continue reading

Budget to focus on affordable housing changes on supply, demand, regulation

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government will take steps in Tuesday’s federal budget… Continue reading

Kenney lieutenant denies running ‘puppet’ candidate in party leadership race

EDMONTON — The staffer at the centre of a spreading scandal over… Continue reading

RCMP find ammunition, machete after searching for ATV reported stolen

FROG LAKE, Alta. — Police say they found 600 rounds of ammunition… Continue reading

Most Read