As noted by conductor Victoria Gau, the Washington Symphonic Brass holiday concert at Strathmore was at least three journeys in one.
Presented by the National Philharmonic, the Washington Symphonic Brass is a lot larger than the name suggests. It consists of more than a dozen brass musicians, several playing multiple instruments, and the group could perform as a large ensemble and break into smaller groups. In addition, there were several percussionists, playing everything from timpani drums to sleigh bells. Plus the National Philharmonic Chorale, a subset of the full chorus, was on hand for several numbers.
The first journey was through time. Some of the holiday selections were very old, despite being dressed up in more modern arrangements. The Finnish Carol “Divinum Mysterium” (Of the Father’s Love Begotten) is a carol from the 16th century, and its words go back far earlier. Meanwhile, “In the Bleak Midwinter” is from a poem by Romantic poet Christina Rossetti, set to music in the early twentieth century by Gustav Holst, and the Brass gave a suitably somber rendition of this song.
There are certain types of music that seem geared to the holiday season. I am not sure you can have a Grunge Christmas or an Emo holiday season, or if you would even want to. But the sounds of Baroque music seem tailor made for this time of year.
The University of Maryland celebrated the holidays with a “Festive Baroque” concert last weekend, and it was half true. The second half featured one of the liveliest Baroque works in the repertory and perfect for this time of year. It is both one of the most famous and most obscure works.
With a name like “Space Junk,” the recent performance at Strathmore by Rebollar Dance could be about anything. It could easily have been about my living room.
Where so many modern dance pieces use music to create patterns and ever shifting forms, Rebollar has something to say with “Space Junk.” With dance and sounds and images, “Space Junk” is all about outer space, especially the early days of manned space exploration. What it is they want to tell you is as clear as the night sky and as cryptic as any astronomical phenomena.
This co-presentation by CulturalDC and CityDance is a demanding one hour performance with no breaks. Once the five dancers get one stage, they very rarely leave. While there is a small solo for Nate Johnson at one point, and a short duet between two female performers, generally all five dancers are constantly on stage and constantly doing something.
Local musician John Mobley talks about the inspiration for his latest song.
The Cousin John Band is made up of local musicians who've been together for years. John talks about love and peace and living life as he describes his latest song.