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Holiday Concert Features Symphonic Splendor

Holiday Concert Features Symphonic Splendor

What better way to ring in the concert and the season than with James M. Stephenson’s Holiday Fanfare Medley, which brings together some of the oldest and most beloved Christmas carols (Il est Né, le Divin EnfantBring a Torch, Jeanette, IsabellaWe Three KingsPat-A-PanCome All Ye ShepherdsGood King Wenceslas). These bright renditions full of brass and bells will evoke the magic of the season, yet even these ancient tunes do not reflect the oldest of the holiday traditions. The songs of Symph-Hanukkah, arranged by Peter Jaffe, will bring to mind the Jewish Festival of Lights. It may be a time of reverence and remembrance, but you’ll be tapping your toes to sections that recall klezmer dance music and the playful, perennial favorite, the Dreidel Song, whose melody is interwoven throughout.

Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride will offer a merry opening to the second half of the concert, painting a vivid, joyful winter scene complete with the clip-clop of hooves and a horse’s whinny. This piece has become a tradition unto itself at the annual Evanston Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert, and young and old can’t help but smile. New to the program is Carol Symphony, a collection of four preludes written by Victor Hely-Hutchinson in 1927 and rated by Classic FM radio as one of the top 20 pieces of classical Christmas music. The concert will include three of the movements, each based on a different Christmas carol and written in a distinct musical style. As you try to pick out the melodies cleverly hidden within each movement, perhaps you will be moved by “the spirit of joy which is called up by the memories of the romance and mystery of the manger,” which inspired the composer to write the piece.

This is just a taste of the rich program that will also include Handel’s “Entrance of The Queen of Sheba” from Solomon, Rutter’s Donkey Carol, and Stephenson’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

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