Maestro's Message ~ Clyde Mitchell

Welcome to the annual Lions Gate Sinfonia Family Christmas Concert! Yes, we all knew it was coming, and now Christmas and the holidays are right around the corner. Every year I like to AVOID hearing my first Christmas song as long as possible, then when we are all ready, really go for an all-out musical celebration! With this program, that is just what we have in store.

Our concert is called MOZART and MESSIAH for good reason: we are performing appropriate seasonal music by Mozart, as well as his own arrangement of Handel’s Messiah! Originally, when Handel composed his great oratorio in 1741, during the Baroque era, orchestras were generally much smaller than what was common in Mozart’s lifetime in the Classical era. Tastes change, too, so 50 years after the premiere, Mozart happily accepted an important commission to “modernize” Handel’s earlier version(s) of Messiah. Yes – versions in plural, as Handel himself revised his work numerous times! 

It is a great pleasure to work with the North Shore Chorus under the direction of their marvelous Maestro Terry Pitt-Brooke. We are also joined by a number of singers from the Chilliwack Symphony Chorus – I hope you all remember them from last year’s brilliant performance of the Mozart Requiem! I know you will enjoy the glorious voice and wonderful presence of our soprano soloist, Tracy Satterfield, who also performed in last season’s Requiem. 

Since we are only performing music from Part One (of 3 parts) of Messiah, which is Handel’s description of the coming of Christ, we have time on the first half for some other gems. Tracy will sing the glorious 3-movement Mozart motet, Exsultate, Jubilate. We will open with one of the great medleys of seasonal carols, Christmas Festival by Leroy Anderson, the late arranger and composer for the Boston Pops. You’ll be tempted to sing along – but just wait – your time will come! Two unique pieces will be featured back-to-back: two distinct works entitled Schlittenfahrt (Sleighride) by Wolfgang and Leopold Mozart. I hope your favourite percussion instrument this time of year is the same as mine: Sleigh Bells!

My dear friends and fellow music lovers, this concert is a great way to close out our final full work week in beautiful B.C. Enjoy your holidays now; you deserve it! We wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Happy New Year, and very safe and fun holidays. We look forward to resuming our musical connections with you in 2012 right here in our home at the Centennial Theatre. 


Posted on December 12, 2011 and filed under December 17, 2011 ● Mozart and Messiah.