Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Double Fantasy at Humboldt Symphony and Singers Christmas Concert

Special guests join the annual combined concert of the Humboldt Symphony, University Singers and Humboldt Chorale on Friday and Sunday December 9 and 11 at Fulkerson Recital Hall, in a program that includes a double fantasy. But the emphasis as always is on music for the holiday season.

The first fantasy--Ralph Vaughan Williams’ soaring Fantasia on Christmas Carols--makes full use of the orchestra and singers. Beginning modestly with a single cello and a single voice (baritone soloist Kevin Richards) it expands into richly rendered elements of traditional Christmas melodies. “It’s beautifully strong writing for orchestra and voices,” noted Symphony conductor Paul Cummings, “and a very audience-friendly piece.”

The second fantasy--Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy--also exploits the full potential of orchestra and chorus, but with an addition of solo piano, which originally was played by Beethoven himself. “This is one of the few works in all of music to include chorus, orchestra and piano,” Cummings said. “We’re excited to have Daniela Mineva join us as piano soloist, especially on this piece because Dr. Mineva studied with teachers who trace their lineage back to Beethoven. She brings some real insights as to how Beethoven would have performed this improvisatory piano part.”

Another seasonal work on the program is the Christmas Cantata by American composer Daniel Pinkham. Though written in 1957, it was heavily influenced by early baroque sacred music. “This is Pinkham’s most popular choral work,” Cummings said. In addition to the University Singers and Humboldt Chorale, it features ten members of the Humboldt Bay Brass Band, with HBBB founder Gil Cline playing the trumpet lead.

The Humboldt Symphony alone performs two works for the first half of the concert: the complete Ballet Suite by Jean Baptiste Lully, and the complete Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg, including the familiar melody of “Anitra’s Dance.”

Paul Cummings conducts the Humboldt Symphony, Harley Muilenburg directs the HSU University Singers, and Carol McWhorter Ryder directs the Humboldt Chorale, a community group.

The combined Humboldt Symphony, University Singers and Humboldt Chorale Christmas concert is Friday December 10 and Sunday December 12 at 8 pm in the Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus in Arcata. Tickets are $7 general, $3 students/seniors, from the HSU Ticket Office (826-3928) or at the door. Free to HSU students with ID. Produced by the HSU Music Department.

Media: Humboldt State Now, Tricity Weekly

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