Last Sunday at Bass Performance Hall, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra opened the last of a series of performances of Christmas classics with the Copland-ian First Movement from John Rutter’s Gloria – I froze as the timpani rumbled, the bright, Age-of-Aquarius horns swelled and piled on top of one another toward the heavens, and the Southwestern Seminary Master Chorale boomed majestically. The orchestra’s versions of seasonal pop classics that followed seemed gratuitous and out of place by comparison.

Not that there weren’t a lot of highlights. The orchestra’s reading of Bizet’s Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2, no doubt an inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, was airy, tight, and passionate; the cherubic guest vocalist, boy soprano Nicolas Gutiérrez (son of TCU music school prof Germán Gutiérrez), sang his two solo pieces beautifully and was an angel-faced presence; and the members of The Dorothy Shaw Bell Choir – all tweens – displayed amazing legerdemain in their hyper-choreographed performances of four seasonal traditionals.

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The concert was a lovable warm-up for Tuesday’s performance of the severe holiday classic Handel’s Messiah.
– Anthony Mariani


Handel’s Messiah
Tue, Dec 9, at Bass Performance Hall, 555 Commerce St, FW. 7:30pm. 817-212-4325.

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