BRITTEN: Ceremony of Carols
Santa Clara Chorale
Ruthanne Adams Martinez, harp
Meave Cox, oboe
Dan Cromeenes, piano
Scot Hanna-Weir, conductor
The Santa Clara Chorale commences its season of ‘Masterworks Rediscovered’ with a set of exuberant performances celebrating the season and highlighting joyful carols from around the world, with Benjamin Britten’s enchanting Ceremony of Carols as its choral centerpiece. Featuring the Chorale’s company of voices under the leadership of Artistic Director Scot Hanna-Weir, the concerts—taking place on December 8 and 10—will also include the enrapturing, festive sounds of harp and oboe. Amidst the awe-inspiring acoustics and architectural brilliance of the historic Mission Santa Clara, these performances aim to provide South Bay audiences with a uniquely serene and transcendent holiday experience for the whole family to enjoy.
Britten’s timeless Ceremony of Carols is a multi-movement masterpiece where ancient melodies interweave with modern harmonies. Written in 1942, the original, more frequently performed version calls for an all-treble children’s chorus; however, Britten penned a mixed chorus version of the score the very next year, providing a different soundscape for the work. With soaring voices alongside a hauntingly intricate harp accompaniment played brilliantly by Bay Area harpist Ruthanne Adams Martinez, this dramatic series of carols traverses centuries and continents, capturing the essence of both tradition and innovation while embracing the magic and wonder of the season.
This magnus opus is presented with other colorfully festive works for chorus, harp, and oboe—including Stephen Paulus’ enchanting Three Nativity Carols and Abbie Betinis’ beautiful arrangement of “In the Bleak Midwinter.” The concerts also explore carols from other parts of the world, featuring a set of Latvian carols arranged by Latvian composer Andrejs Jansons, and Noé Sánchez arrangements of Spanish, Catalonian, and Puerto Rican carols. This transcendental experience of choral brilliance complemented by the captivating sound of the harp and oboe—and perhaps even a few special audience singalongs—makes for a perfectly unique way to ring in the holiday season.
Season passes and single tickets available online at scc.org or by calling (408) 883-4722.