The first weekend in December is stacked with concerts. 'Tis the season to make a choice because many of these promising events conflict. Sunday is like a battle to the death, with no fewer than 13 concerts.
The La Jolla Symphony is doing a concert of American composers with John Luther Adams's The Light That Fills the World, Samuel Barber's Prayers of Kierkegaard, and Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3. Copland’s symphony incorporates his famous Fanfare for the Common Man in the final movement. The woodwinds get to play it first, but then the brass gets to tee off. I’m sure the La Jolla Symphony will blow the roof off of Mandeville Auditorium at UCSD. There are only two concerts — Saturday, December 5, at 7:30 and Sunday, December 6, at 2:00 p.m.
Copland: Symphony No.3 - 4. Molto deliberato (Fanfare) ; Allegro risoluto
The one thing I feel can’t be missed is The Rite of Spring at San Diego Symphony. You may or may not remember what happened the last time I heard this monument to paganism. Joining the program are Beethoven's Overture No. 3 to “Leonore” (a.k.a. Beethoven’s opera Fidelio) and Sibelius' Violin Concerto.
Conducting the-rite-of-all-things-awesome is Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla. Born and educated in Lithuania, Gražinyte-Tyla is currently an assistant conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This is her San Diego Symphony debut. The violinist for the Sibelius is Karen Gomyo.
The concerts are the traditional Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, December 6, at 2 p.m. The venue is Symphony Hall.
If you want some Messiah there are five opportunities. The University of San Diego is providing two sing/play along concerts and the Bach Collegium San Diego is performing three sit-and-listen concerts with a fourth on Monday, December 7th.
The USD concerts are Friday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 6, at 2 p.m. Both concerts are on the USD campus.
It is safe to say that when it comes to Handel’s Messiah, the Bach Collegium is hands down the best performance. The concerts use the performance practices from Handel’s time and the caliber of the singers and orchestra is top notch. All four concerts have different venues so it is probably best to visit the Bach Collegium website.
Here’s an itinerary for the weekend: Messiah on Friday night (either USD or Bach Collegium), Rite of Hunting Caribou on Saturday night at San Diego Symphony, and blow your hair back with La Jolla Symphony on Sunday afternoon.
But those are only the “big concerts”. What about Carol Williams playing the Spreckels Organ for December Nights at Balboa Park? What about Amahl and the Night Visitors at the Village Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe, or the San Diego Women’s Chorus, or the Chancel Choir at First United Methodist, or the Scripps Ranch A Cappella Singers, or harpist Leah Panos?
It’s an avalanche of music, folks — be safe out there. Check out the Reader events page for a full listing of concerts.