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Review: A World of Joy
An audience estimated at about 650 people filled the Cranbrook Alliance Church on Saturday for the Christmas concert presented by the Symphony of the Kootenays and the Symphony Chorus.
The concert opened with what is commonly known as the "Christmas Concerto" for string orchestra by Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713).
As conductor Jeff Faragher explained, it is called the "Christmas Concerto" because it was first performed at Christmas for his new patron.
It was a strong opening to the concert. The strings played with energy and enthusiasm, and the first chairs of each section played the solo bits with beautiful expression.
For the second work in the first half, the brass and woodwind instruments joined the strings for the beloved Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky.
As one concertgoer mentioned to me, this music is familiar to many of us, and yet there is something about watching it being performed that brings new delights to our experience.
Our new conductor has injected a new vitality into the orchestra, and it showed in this delightful performance.
Each of the dances which represent gifts being presented from different parts of the world sparkled.
The second half of the concert featured the Symphony Chorus in presenting a work written by composer Christopher Rouse in 1990.
Despite being so contemporary, Karolju is very accessible and lively.
Rouse wrote festive music for the 11 movements of this suite as if they represented different parts of the world.
He wrote the music first, and then decided to write his own text in eight different languages.
The texts, Rouse writes, were written not to be intelligible in each language, but rather for the way the words sounded.
Let me admit my bias up front—I directed the rehearsals for the choir as they learned this music.
Even so, in talking with other concertgoers, my own pride in the chorus was matched by the enjoyment of most others who were present.
It was a lively, engaging work, with lots of wonderful little surprises.
Both the orchestra and the chorus performed the music joyfully.
Many thanks to the Cranbrook Alliance Church, and especially those who arranged the lighting and the sound.
Both the orchestra and chorus were miked with a wonderful balance that enhanced the music for all who were present.
It was indeed, a World of Joy, and a wonderful beginning of the Advent and Christmas season.