Coffee Sunday Sampler Matinee Series

A Christmas Oratorio

A Christmas Oratorio

About This Concert:

Helmuth Rilling, an internationally-acclaimed master of choral music, leads the Orchestra’s first-ever performance at Orchestra Hall of Johann Sebastian Bach’s inspired and inspiring Christmas Oratorio.

BACH
Christmas Oratorio, Cantatas I, II and III

Fun Facts:

  • Oh, if we had time! Bach’s complete Christmas Oratorio has six parts and usually lasts well over three hours. The Minnesota Orchestra will perform the beautiful first half of this extended masterwork, which describes the birth of Jesus.
  • Conductor Helmuth Rilling has recorded all of Bach’s choral works—a staggering 1,000 pieces on 170 CDs.
  • This performance is an international affair with our wonderful Minnesota Orchestra musicians joined by soloists from Holland, Germany, Canada and the U.S.
James Ehnes, violin | Photo © Benjamin Ealovega

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6

About This Concert:

The Tchaikovsky Marathon swirls to a brilliant close with this season’s featured artist, James Ehnes, in perhaps the most beloved concerto of the entire violin repertoire.

TCHAIKOVSKY
Marche Slave
Violin Concerto
Symphony No. 6, Pathétique

Fun Facts:

  • Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto today is the most frequently performed and universally adored concerto in the repertoire.
  • Unlike many young violinists, Ehnes says he never practices scales from books, but rather focuses solely on the score he’s working on at the moment. “That’s always been my philosophy, although maybe it’s just laziness masquerading as practicality.”
  • Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 is subtitled Pathétique, mistranslated into French from Tchaikovsky’s Russian original which meant passion.
  • For sheer toxicity, no critic has ever surpassed the sourpuss who said at the 1881 premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto that he’d found “music which stinks in the ear.”
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.
The King's Singers | Photo © Andy Staples

The King's Singers GOLD

About This Concert:

Recognized as royalty of the choral music world, The King’s Singers bring their vocal virtuosity and British wit to a performance that celebrates 50 years of making gorgeous music.

Fun Facts:

  • The King’s Singers, a British a cappella vocal ensemble founded in 1968, is named after King's College in Cambridge, England, where the group originally formed.
  • The group always consists of six singers, with membership changing over the years. Although none of the original members remain with the group, performances often feature collaborations with past members.
  • The King’s Singers album Simple Gifts won the Grammy® for Best Classical Crossover Album in 2009, and their contribution to Eric Whitacre’s album Light and Gold won the Grammy® for Best Choral Performance in 2012. In 2013, the group was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.
  • The London Times has praised The King’s Singers for their “Pinpoint precision, total rapport, crisp diction, faultless tuning and a seemingly effortless ability to switch between different stylistic requirements.” “The King’s Singers are out-and-out entertainers,” raves The Edmonton Journal.
  • This concert features beloved classics and newly commissioned works by New York-based composer Nico Muhly, British composer Toby Hession, former King’s Singer and internationally-celebrated composer Bob Chilcott, frequent King’s Singers composer Alexander L’Estrange and choral legend John Rutter.
  • The Twin Cities loves The King’s Singers—their Orchestra Hall performances are known to sell out.

Please note: The Minnesota Orchestra does not perform on this program.

Kenneth Freed, Céline Leathead, Thomas Turner, Silver Ainomäe

Chamber Music: Mendelssohn and Dvořák

About This Concert:

A brilliant, sunny quartet and a Czech-inspired quintet, featuring Concertmaster Erin Keefe and her colleagues from each of our string sections.

Please note: this chamber music performance will be held in the Orchestra Hall auditorium.

MENDELSSOHN
String Quartet No. 4

DVOŘÁK
String Quintet in G major

Fun Facts:

  • Adding the double bass to the standard string quartet gave Dvořák a chamber ensemble that used each of the string instruments of a symphony orchestra.
  • Dvořák’s Quintet was originally 5 movements; one of these movements is now known on its own as his Nocturne for Strings (Opus 40).
  • The String Quartet No. 4 was composed while Mendelssohn was on his honeymoon in the Black Forest.
  • Mendelssohn’s Quartet has several moments that foreshadow his famous E-minor Violin Concerto—a piece that Concertmaster Erin Keefe performed with the Orchestra in 2014.
  • Casual Concerts include: $5 pre-concert happy hour, local craft brew, and an opportunity to meet musicians onstage after the performance.

Photos © Joel Larson and Josh Kohanek Photography


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