Concerts by candlelight

In what has become a holiday tradition since 1987, the Rogue Valley Symphony will present a series of four concerts each performed by candlelight. In the ambiance of a Baroque concert much like listeners experienced in the 17th century, the settings are churches of southern Oregon, lit by the glow of over 150 candles.

Each of this year's performances will take place at 8 p.m. The first is Friday, Dec. 7 at Newman United Methodist Church, Sixth and B streets, Grants Pass. The second is Saturday, Dec. 8, at the First Baptist Church, 2004 Siskiyou Boulevard, Ashland. The third and fourth concerts are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14 and 15, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Tenth and Oakdale, Medford. A complimentary festive reception follows each performance.

The Candlelight program opens with Ralph Vaughan Williams' Rhosymedre, Prelude on a Welsh Hymn Tune for string orchestra. Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) traveled the English countryside transcribing folk tunes, which he incorporated into his own music. Rhosymedre is a place in North East Wales.

This year's program features symphony flutists Katheryn McElrath and Staci Scalfari with concertmaster Scott Cole in J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. The Candlelight chamber orchestra will also perform Mozart's Symphony No. 21 and Rhosymedre, Prelude on a Welsh Hymn Tune, by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The Rogue Valley Symphony Brass will be featured in two pieces by Renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli.

J.S. Bach's most celebrated orchestral work, a set of six concertos, was sent to the governor of Brandenburg province as an application for employment in 1721. Margrave Christian Ludwig neither acknowledged its receipt nor had the music performed. The manuscripts were rediscovered in the Brandenburg archives in the nineteenth century, thus earning their nickname. Today they are widely popular and appealing, and the Concerto No. 4 in G Major for violin and two flute soloists with orchestra is light and joyful.

Mozart composed his Symphony No. 21 in A Major in 1722, at age 16. Wolfgang Amadeus was busy on European tour accompanied by his father and teacher, Leopold. Recognized as a virtuoso on the clavier, the young Mozart would sight-read concertos and improvise publicly, also performing on organ and violin. As a teenager he was already well underway in his life's work of over 600 compositions, never known to labor or struggle over his masterpieces. The Symphony No. 21 is scored for flute, horn and strings, in four short, cheerful movements.

Principal trumpeter Bruce Dresser has arranged Jubilate Deo, by Giovanni Gabrieli (1554-1612), for the Rogue Valley Symphony Brass. The ensemble of four trumpets, two French horns, two trombones and tuba will perform this lively arrangement which was originally composed for voices with sacred text from the Psalms. The brass choir will also be featured in Gabrieli's Sol Sol La Sol Fa Mi.

All concert seating is open, not reserved. Tickets are $25 general, $10 for students.

See , or call 552-6398.

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