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December 2011

Christmas in Cambridge

by FoMKings+College+Choir+Rehearse+Festival+Nine+JX65Qy2DOt2l
Each Christmas Eve morning for as long as I can remember, I've tuned into NPR's live broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Kings College in Cambridge, England. Regardless of your religious persuasion, it is a dramatic musical experience: the Kings College Choir of men and boys, founded by Royal Charter in 1441, sings in the resonant Kings College Chapel, completed in 1515. And, while the service has basically adhered to the same structure since it was begun in 1918, it is far from fixed in the past: Choirmaster Stephen Cleobury has, for the past 30 years, commissioned a new carol for each year's service, with past composers including everyone from John Tavener to Arvo Pärt; many are revived in subsequent festivals. This year's commissionee is the young British composer Tansy Davies, whose carol "Christmas Has a Darkness" (based on a poem by Christina Rosetti) can be heard after the sixth lesson. (Go here to download the full service program.)

The service can be heard starting at 10am on WQXR 105.9FM or online.

Howard Fishman to Play the Kaufman Center on 1/19

by Brian Weidy

Howard FishmanSince 2000, Howard Fishman's unique sounded blended from dozens of genres has catapulted him to playing some of the most prestigious rooms across the globe, from The Blue Note to Le Petit Journal in Paris.

This year, Fishman is playing Merkin Hall at the Kaufman Center on January 19th during the New York Guitar Festival. Annually one of the best festivals in New York, the festival brings together some of the most talented and creative guitar players in the world, showcasing their talents in a myriad of ways. This year, Fishman is teaming up with Califone, an experimental rock band from Chicago, to score Buster Keaton films.  Fishman will take his hand at scoring Keaton's 1922 silent film, The Frozen North.

This is just one of the great performances during the New York Guitar Festival which begins on January 6th with a live recreation of Brian Eno's ambient album, Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks at the World Financial Center Winter Garden. On January 29th , the 92nd Street Y will host a day-long celebration of Italian guitar music: from the Renaissance to the music of today.

Tickets for Howard Fishman's performance are available here; the schedule for the rest of the New York Guitar Festival can be found here.

Caitlin Mathes at the National Arts Club

by FoMCaitlin Manes National Arts ClubThis past Monday, my friend Nate invited me to go check out a recital at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South. It was the sort of high society gathering you might imagine, complete with free Prosecco and punch. But, far from being just another hoity-toidy affair, this recital featured the incredibly engaging Caitlin Mathes, who sang cabaret songs by Kurt Weill, Hans Eisler, Debussy and Satie, with all the moxie and deep-seated emotion of someone twice her age. According to the program notes, she's currently in the young singers program at the Portland Opera, which I'm sure will be a good thing for her career. But, selfishly, I'd much rather see her in settings like this. Keep an eye out for her.