"Chants de Noël: A French Christmas" is a concert of holiday gems by French composers and arrangements of French carols sung in French, Latin and English, including Poulenc's "O Magnum Mysterium," "Il est né le divin enfant," "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "Noël Nouvelet."
The program's centerpiece is Camille Saint-Saëns' Christmas Oratorio for soloists, chorus, organ, harp and string quartet, written when the composer was only 23 years old. Following a lilting, pastoral prelude, subtitled "In the style of Sebastian Bach," soloists and chorus present the engaging narrative of the Christmas story from Luke, chapter 2. A deeply spiritual work, the texts of the remaining movements originate mostly in the Psalms, with some references from the Gospels and the Old Testament prophets.
"Musically, Saint-Saëns' work is beautiful, emotional and more contemplative than dramatic," said Adams. "This charming, lyrical piece offers a delightful alternative to Handel's dramatic Messiah or Bach's sophisticated Christmas Oratorio."
CCC's performing season concludes in the spring with "Grounded: Songs of Our Majestic Earth," the second concert program in its Singing the Elements series, April 11 at Unity Lutheran Church, April 17 at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church and April 18 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
Founded in 1996, the Chicago Chamber Choir promotes the joy of choral music by offering seasonal concerts and charitable performances that educate and entertain children and adults in the Chicagoland area. The choir's repertoire is culturally diverse and international in scope. Seasonal concerts feature a balance of sacred and secular works, including time-honored classics as well as contemporary selections. As part of its mission, CCC actively seeks performance venues that bring music to under-served individuals and communities. The choir has performed in Chicago's inner-city schools, retirement homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers.
Artistic Director Timm Adams, who has conducted CCC since 2000, is associate professor of music at Rockford College, where he teaches private voice and music theory, conducts three choirs and musical-directs the Performing Arts Department's main stage musicals.
The Chicago Chamber Choir presents "Chants de Noël: A French Christmas" Sunday, December 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Pauls United Church of Christ, 2335 N. Orchard in Chicago, and Tuesday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Music Institute of Chicago's Nichols Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $15 for students and groups of 10 or more. Tickets and information are available at chicagochamberchoir.org or 312-409-6890 CCC's new CD Hymns & Spirituals: Strength for the Journey costs $15 and will be on sale at chicagochamberchoir.org and at the CCC performances.
"CHANTS de NOEL"
Sunday, December 13 at 7 pm
St. Pauls United Church of Christ
2335 N. Orchard, Chicago
Tuesday, December 15 at 7:30 pm
1490 Chicago Ave, Evanston