The “Mass for Troubled Times” or “Lord Nelson Mass” was composed by Franz Joseph Haydn over a six-week period in 1798. The symphonic work’s unusual orchestration — strings, trumpets, timpani and organ (no woodwinds or low brass) — creates a stark sound, capturing the fear and turmoil of the time in Europe as Napoleon Bonaparte had just won four major battles and the French military chief was threatening to conquer the world.
The Oratorio Society of Queens — which includes more than 125 chorus members and top-notch string and wind sections – will offer its time-honored, annual holiday concert at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center this Sunday.
Founded in 1927, this group is the borough’s oldest nonprofit dedicated to the arts, and this is its signature show. The first half will feature portions of Handel’s “Messiah” with Maestro David Close, a 40-year veteran, and soloists Geraldine McMillian (soprano), John Easterlin (tenor), Vaughn Fritts (bass-baritone), and OSQ’s Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens.
After the break, the audience will listen — and sing along — to Christmas favorites such as “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Il est né le divin enfant,” a traditional French carol by John Rutter, and “Gesù Bambino,” which Italian organist Pietro Yon allegedly wrote while riding an NYC subway. There will also be a rollicking version of the Caribbean ditty “The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy.”
The second half will also feature Jewish songs such as “Ocho Kandelikas,” a Ladino tune which celebrates Chanukah and its story of hope and redemption, and “The Lamp kept burnin’ on” by Long Island composer Linda Tsuruoka. Guest cantor Jerry Korobow will play guitar and lead the chorus and orchestra in a lively and spirited “Al HaNissim.” All the details are on jump…
‘Tis the season to attend concerts… many, many concerts. Various top-notch Queens ensembles are set fill local venues with holiday spirit in the upcoming days. Each gig is unique, and each one offers a slightly different take on Christmas, the new year and winter. On Friday, Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist and composer Amanda Monaco brings her quartet, Formula One, to Flushing Town Hall. The first part of the show will feature original compositions inspired by car racing, while the second half will consist of seasonal favorites. On Sunday, there are three fantastic choices. At 3 pm at LeFrak Concert Hall, the Queens Symphony Orchestra (above) will take the audience on a world tour through music emblematic of various cultural traditions, all bound by the common theme of joy, unity and winter. At 4 pm, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church’s Sacred Music Society will host the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens. At 5 pm at St. Joseph Church, the Astoria Symphony will celebrate with music by two great French masters: the Bach-inspired Oratorio de Noël by Camille Saint-Saëns and Francis Poulenc’s Gloria. Exactly a week later, the Orchestral Arts Ensemble of Queens will do another show with the Oratorio Society of Queens at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center. Expect Handel’s “Messiah,” Christmas carols and Hanukkah favorites.
December 13th details: Carols and Car Races, Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, 8 pm, $15.
December 15th details: Holidays Around the World, LeFrak Concert Hall, Kissena Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing, 3 pm, $20/$10 children under 13 and adults over 64; A Christmas Concert, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, 110-06 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills, 4 pm, $25/$10 for children 12 and under; Noël!, St. Joseph Church, 43-19 30th Avenue, Astoria, 5 pm, $20/$15 seniors and children.
December 22nd details: Annual Holiday Concert 2013, QPAC, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside, 4 pm, $30/$25 seniors and students with ID/$10 children 12 and under.