Weekend MusicWatch: ‘Tis the Season

Portland Baroque Orchestra, Cappella Romana, Friday-Monday, First Baptist Church, Portland.

British Handel expert John Butt conducts the historically informed ensemble and choir, plus a quartet of top soloists, in the most authentic and accomplished version of Messiah available in Oregon — the closest approach to what Handel had in mind when he wrote his famous 1741 oratorio. Friday through Sunday’s evening performance present the three-hour, full meal deal, Monday’s two-hour concert includes just the highlights, and Saturday afternoon’s Young People’s Concert includes excerpts and hands-on educational extras.

Cappella Romana joins Portland Baroque Orchestra in Venetian music Saturday.

Cappella Romana joins Portland Baroque Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah.

Oregon Repertory Singers, Friday and Sunday, First United Methodist Church, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of one the most highly recommended choral concerts of the holiday season.

Oregon Symphony, Northwest Community Gospel Choir, Friday-Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
For the 16th year, European classical and African American gospel traditions unite to rock the Schnitz with arrangements of classical tunes and holiday and other gospel songs.

Vox Resonat, Saturday, Central Lutheran Church, Eugene.
The expert early music ensemble  sings medieval Christmas and Epiphany music, including English carols, Italian laude, Aquitanian hymns, Spanish villancicos, and motets from France, Germany, Spain and England, accompanied by harpist Laura Zaerr.

Trinity Cathedral Chamber Singers, Oregon Symphony Brass, Saturday and Sunday, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland.
The annual concert and wassail party features with seasonal songs, brass fanfares, and some of the most beautiful Christmas music ever composed, Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.

PSU Orchestra, Thursday, First Congregational Church of Christ, Portland.
With able assistance from local opera star Angela Niederloh-Hayward, Pink Martini chanteuse China Forbes guest stars in opera arias by Puccini, Offenbach and Catalani, and the orchestra plays a Verdi overture and a rarity, a jazzy score by midcentury American composer Stefan Wolpe.

Cántico Singers, Friday, First Congregational Church, Portland.
The 28 voice choir sings music by Rachmaninoff, holiday songs, and music from the inevitable Frozen.

Unistus Chamber Choir, Saturday, Milwaukie Lutheran Church.
The excellent chorus sings seasonal songs a cappella and accompanied by organ, piano, violin, guitar and flute.

Rebecca Kilgore with David Evans, Randy Porter and Tom Wakeling, Sunday, Cedar Hills United Church of Christ. 
Read my Willamette Week preview of the latest concert in this new series conceived and curated by Portland jazzer Ezra Weiss.

Healing Voices Choir, Sunday, St. Peter and Paul Episcopal Church, Portland.
The choristers sing music by Elgar, Leonard Cohen, holiday classics and more.

CHAMBER/ORCHESTRAL

Cascadia Composers, Saturday, Community Music Center, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this family friendly event that turns music into play and invites the audience to join the fun.

Simone Dinnerstein, Sunday and Monday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University.
Read Jana Hanchett’s ArtsWatch preview and interview with the popular pianist who plays both new and old classical music.

Seattle Symphony, Thursday-Saturday, Benaroya Hall, Seattle.
We seldom list such distant spectacles here on OREGON ArtsWatch, but if you want to hear exciting 21st century orchestral music this weekend, as so often, that’s where you have to go. The great young cellist Joshua Roman, who came to prominence as SSO’s principal cellist, joins the Northwest’s most important and forward looking orchestra in the world premiere of the new cello concerto by one of the country’s hottest and most visionary young composers, San Francisco’s Mason Bates. The orchestra (which just scored a slew of Grammy nominations for its recordings and performances of music by contemporary American composers, including the Northwest’s greatest, John Luther Adams) also performs a suite from Prokofiev’s film score to Lieutenant Kijé, and music from a Tchaikovsky ballet — no, not that one, despite the season — Sleeping Beauty.

Adam Hurst, Tuesday, Alberta Rose Theater, Portland.
At this CD release concert, guest musicians join the superb solo cellist in music from throughout his career, including the new Âme Oubliée, which adds accordion, guitar, percussion and gypsy and other world music rhythms to invigorate his usual moody sounds.

Three Centuries Ensemble, Tuesday, Lincoln City Cultural Center.
Pianist Cary Lewis, violinist Jonathan Dubay, cellist Gregory Dubay and clarinetist Todd Kuhns play a stimulating, wide-ranging program of music by Vivaldi, Faure, and Portland composer/guitarist Bryan Johanson’s The Wave Sings Because It is Moving, accompanied by live painting.

Michael Allen Harrison, Dec. 13–26, The Old Church, Portland.
The pianist continues his long running Christmas program with the usual contingent of special guests including the powerful singer Julianne Johnson.

Oregon Pro Arte Chamber Orchestras, Saturday, Gaiser Hall, Clark College, Vancouver WA, and Sunday, Chapel at Mary’s Woods at Marylhurst, Lake Oswego.
On Sunday, the adult bands’ annual fundraiser/reception includes Haydn’s Symphony #94, aone of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and Johann Strauss Jr. waltzes. The youth chamber orchestra’s annual fundraising concert/party Saturday includes carols, seasonal favorites, and more.

Big Horn Brass, Saturday, Lloyd Auditorium, Vancouver WA.
Singer Shirley Nanette joins the 16-member band for carols, a new, video-enhanced musical adaptation of The Night Before Christmas, and music by Vaughan Williams, Berlin, Steve Wonder and more.

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