September’s Choral Showcase offered up a “Rogues Gallery” of sinners, so for November, I thought we’d turn to the saints. We’ll begin with Antonín Dvořák’s Saint Ludmila. As patroness of the Czechs, and grandmother of “Good King Wenceslas”, Ludmila brought Christianity to her people; her conversion is dramatically recounted in Dvořák’s oratorio, which we’ll hear on November 6.
The conversion of Saul, persecutor of Christians, to Paul, “apostle to the gentiles” is dramatized November 13 in Felix Mendelssohn’s Paulus, an oratorio very much in the style of Bach.
Both Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel honored Saint Cecilia, music’s patron saint, with an Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day. We’ll hear them both on November 20. Saint Cecilia’s Day, by the way, is November 22; that also happens to be the birthday of Benjamin Britten, who wrote his own Cecilian ode.
But we’ll take in his dramatic cantata, Saint Nicholas, a charming work he wrote specifically for performance by, and the enjoyment of, children. Our performance, featuring combined choirs, will air on November 27, concluding our month of saints and offering a foretaste of December’s holiday programming. I hope you’ll join me for Choral Showcase, Sundays at 9PM ET.
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