Fanfare, drumming, trumpet blasts have, over the centuries, celebrated Majesties and Powers and announced (and started) major festivities. It is no wonder then that the Metals and Percussion Group of the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra and conductor José Eduardo Gomes come together to announce Christmas exuberantly to us.
The birth of the son of a God is celebrated! Johann Sebastian Bach’s Three Cantatas are there to signal, from the beginning, an appropriate musical message of majesty.
Christmas is also and especially for “men of goodwill” and so 3 of the 14 variations that make up the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar are chosen. It is an 1899 work that attributes each variation to a friend of the composer. We will hear Variations VII, VIII and IX, respectively dedicated to Winifred Norbury, Augustus Jaeger and Arthur Troyte Griffith.
Lounge music, sung by and among friends, will enter the program with Stephen Foster’s Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, a song that has been rooted for well over a century and a half in the memory of all Americans. Jasha Heifetz transcribed it and played it over and over again.
We continue with a diverse series of authors with relative or intensely executed compositions during the euphoric Christmas season: Hazell, Rogers, Tormé, going through very popular themes that we will hear in arrangements for the formation of Metals and Percussion. So from Gelobet I know der Herr mein Gott to Ding, Dong, Merrily On High, a festive musical journey.