CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 17, 2015 — The Southeast Missouri Symphony, University Choir and Choral Union will join forces to perform the Christmas portion of Handel’s celebrated masterpiece, “Messiah” Dec. 1 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University.
The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Also on the program will be two festive orchestral works: Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Daydreams” Symphony No. 1 and “Russian Christmas Music” by Alfred Reed. The concert will be conducted by Southeast faculty Sara Edgerton and Peter Durow; soloists in Handel’s “Messiah” will be vocal faculty Lori Shaffer, Leslie Jones, Christopher Goeke and Timothy Schmidt.
The concert will open with movements from the “First Symphony” by the great Romantic composer Peter Tchaikovsky. This symphony, subtitled “Winter Daydreams,” was Tchaikovsky’s first notable composition. Though it only gradually achieved success and recognition, Tchaikovsky himself was quite fond of the work. The symphony conjures up very contrasting impressions and images of wintertime. The second movement is slow, with haunting melodies: it carries the subtitle “Land of Desolation, Land of Mists.” The final movement is based on a lively Russian folksong, and builds to an exciting climax with thrilling brass and percussion fanfares.
The second piece on the program is also inspired by Russian folksongs. “Russian Christmas Music” by American composer Alfred Reed is based upon Russian themes. As described by the composer, “an ancient Christmas carol (“Carol of the Little Russian Children”), together with a good deal of original material and some motivic elements derived from the liturgical music of the Eastern Orthodox Church, form the basis for this musical impression of Old Russia during the jubilant Christmas season.”
During the second half of the concert, the symphony orchestra will be joined by the University Choir and Choral Union, as well as vocal soloists Shaffer, Jones, Goeke and Schmidt, to perform Handel’s iconic “Messiah.” This performance will present the Christmas portion of “Messiah,” followed by the beloved Hallelujah Chorus. One of the most famous pieces of music ever composed, this glorious Baroque work weaves together choruses and arias to tell the story of Christ’s birth.
The concert will feature a large orchestra of 65 instrumental musicians, as well as a choir of over 100 singers on stage.
“We are very excited about this upcoming concert,” said Dr. Sara Edgerton, the conductor of the Southeast Missouri Symphony. “I think the audience will enjoy the brilliant, festive sounds of the full symphony orchestra in the beautiful compositions on the first half of the concert. And, we are thrilled to be presenting Handel’s ‘Messiah’ in the glorious acoustics of the Bedell Performance Hall. Handel’s message of peace, hope and goodwill continue to resonate in our troubled world today. This concert kicks off the holiday season at the River Campus, and is the perfect way for everyone in the audience to prepare for the festivities of the season!”
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampusEvents.com.