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Classical Music

Houston Music Highlight – Christmas Concerto

Mercury performs a piece that has been a holiday favorite for nearly 300 years

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  • Artistic Director Antoine Plante and Concertmaster Jonathan Godfrey in concert with Mercury at the Dosey Doe, 2014. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)
    Artistic Director Antoine Plante and Concertmaster Jonathan Godfrey in concert with Mercury at the Dosey Doe, 2014. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)
  • Mercury performs under the direction of Antoine Plante at the Wortham Center's Cullen Theater, December 2015. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)
    Mercury performs under the direction of Antoine Plante at the Wortham Center's Cullen Theater, December 2015. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)
  • Mercury's CD "Sammartini, Locatelli, Torelli & Corelli: Christmas Concertos" was released in November 2015. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mercury)
    Mercury's CD "Sammartini, Locatelli, Torelli & Corelli: Christmas Concertos" was released in November 2015. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mercury)
  • Soprano Lauren Snouffer performed with Mercury in December 2015, and will perform again with the orchestra on their concert, "Corelli's Christmas Concerto," on December 9, 2017. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)
    Soprano Lauren Snouffer performed with Mercury in December 2015, and will perform again with the orchestra on their concert, "Corelli's Christmas Concerto," on December 9, 2017. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)
  • Soprano Lauren Snouffer performed with Mercury in December 2015, and will perform again with the orchestra on their concert, "Corelli's Christmas Concerto," on December 9, 2017. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)
    Soprano Lauren Snouffer performed with Mercury in December 2015, and will perform again with the orchestra on their concert, "Corelli's Christmas Concerto," on December 9, 2017. (Photo Credit: Runaway Productions)

HPM's "Houston Music Highlight" Series features performances that have local connections – whether spotlighting music by Houston composers, commercial recordings by Houston musicians, or performances by local or visiting artists recorded at Houston Public Media.

Mercury is a nationally-acclaimed, Houston-based chamber orchestra. According to Artistic Director Antoine Plante, "There are a few things that make us unique ... We perform with period instruments, so we use the instruments that Mozart, Haydn, Bach, and Beethoven would have had during their lifetime. We also perform in many different venues. We perform standing up – we have a really, really dynamic group of musicians, and we also love the communicative aspect of music ... and we have lots of fun!"

For the 2017 holiday season, Mercury will perform in concert the Concerto Grosso in g minor, Op. 6, No. 8, known as the "Christmas Concerto," by Arcangelo Corelli, published in 1714.

"I love the different moods in the piece. It is deeply beautiful," says Plante. "The concerto opens with lots of drama, darkness. It's the chaotic time before Christ's coming. Then, the excitement of the time is captured by virtuosic violin music. The concerto culminates with the "Pastorale": the musical image of shepherds rejoicing. It's an ode to the simple life of shepherds, their music, and their symbol of protection and care. Also, a reminder of the modest coming of the Christ."

Listen to Mercury's performance of the last movement, "Pastorale," from Corelli's Christmas Concerto, above. From their 2015 CD, Sammartini, Locatelli, Torelli & Corelli: Christmas Concertos.

Mercury presents the holiday concert, Corelli's Christmas Concerto, featuring the title work, as well as Mozart's "Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165," and works by Bach and Rigel, with soprano Lauren Snouffer, on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 8pm in Stude Concert Hall, Rice University.

Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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