Cantatas to celebrate Christmas

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Eureka Springs First United Methodist Church Choir is celebrating Christmas with two cantatas on Dec. 13 at the 10 a.m. service. All are welcome.

"Run, Ye Shepherds to the Light" by Michael Haydn (1737-1807) is the first. During his day he was considered an outstanding musician and, in fact, played quartets with Mozart. His fame is now overshadowed by older brother, Franz Joseph. The first movement is rather urgent and peasant-like telling the shepherds to run to the lowly manger bare. Martha Bartell, soprano, sings the second movement aria "you were the first to see the light." The choir sings a lullaby which "transports the listener back to Haydn's beautiful Austrian countryside on a starlit Christmas Eve." Strings and piano accompany the work.

John Rutter is the composer of the second cantata, "Magnificat," from Luke 1:46-48, a poetic outpouring of praise ascribed to Mary on learning that she was to give birth to Christ. Rutter, born in London in 1945, is quite possibly Britian's best loved living composer. It was Rutter's music that opened the service for the centenary of Queen Mother, the wedding of Diana and Charles, and is sung by most all choirs or choral societies round the world. The Classical Catalogue lists nearly 70 recorded Rutter works. He is direct, simple and emotional in his writing. Rutter says, "I love Christmas. It's the child in me," says Rutter. "Maybe I've never quite grown up. I still feel just for those few magic days a year, that we have the world as it might be." Julius Stevens and Corey Divine play trumpets, Fred Mayer and Chrystal Thompson strings and Beverly Beard organ.

More Christmas music and words will be offered on Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. with Rachel and Larry Brick, and on Christmas Eve at 5:30 p.m. with carols and candles and communion.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: