There is much to be said for the grand tradition of ending the year with a bang. December is typically marked by special events with holiday themes: great symphonies, epic oratorios, opera galas. Even those who haven’t made it to the concert hall in many moons will not let the year end without a Christmas Oratorio, a “Messiah” sing-along, or “The Nutcracker”.
Humbled and challenged by recent world events, we are thinking about a quieter holiday season, looking at some more intimate concert highlights this month. Chamber music draws attention to the delicate balance among us, and invites us to focus and look inward as this year draws to a close.
Pappano and Friends: Homage to Brahms
Sir Antonio leaves his baton home and takes his place at the piano. With violinist Carlo Maria Parazzoli, and cellist Gabriele Geminiani, both principal players from the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Pappano offers an chamber music evening dedicated to Brahms at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica.
Capuçon and Friends: Schubert and Beethoven Quartets
Renaud Capuçon gathers fellow string players for a performance at the Recital Hall of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. In the quartets of Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann, the drama is on a smaller scale, but no less moving than the symphonies by the same composers.
Fazil Say: Piano at the Champs-Elysées
Fazil Say brings his uncompromising creativity to the stage of Théatre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. The solo recital begins with Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata and ends with Say’s own “Gezi Park” Sonata, written in solidarity with political protesters in his native Turkey.
Bach Chamber Music at Bargemusic
With a view of Manhattan’s skyline in the background, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at New York’s Bargemusic are festive, but intimate affairs. Far removed from the Christmas Oratorios and B-Minor Masses, December 24th promises the “Goldberg Variations”, and the year ends with the Six Sonatas for Violin and Keyboard.