The Parish of St. Matthew - The Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

St. Matthew’s Music Guild continues its 2018 -2019 season with a holiday concert at its home at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Pacific Palisades, Friday, December 7, at 8pm. The program will feature the Chamber Orchestra at St. Matthew’s and the Choir and Soloists of St. Matthew’s Parish in festive Christmas music by Bach, Vivaldi and Handel. Music Director Dwayne S. Milburn conducts.

The program will include excerpts from J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio – a collection of six cantatas for the Christmas season compiled in 1734 while Bach was Music Director at St. Thomas’s Church, Leipzig. Each cantata features choruses, solos and ensemble pieces for diverse groups of voices and instruments. The St. Matthew’s performance will draw primarily from the cantatas devoted to the Birth of Jesus, the visit by the shepherds and wise men and the naming of Jesus.

Antonio Vivaldi composed his Magnificat in G minor around the year 1717 while Music Director at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice. In nine short movements, the work is scored for choir and orchestra with four solo voices. The Ospedale was an orphanage for girls established in Venice in the early 18th century and Vivaldi made the institution internationally famous by mentoring the young women in singing and the playing of virtually every instrument. Some of his most virtuosic concertos and sinfonias were composed for the residents who gave weekly concerts open to the public.

George Frederick Handel composed his Twelve Grand Concertos, Opus 6 in London during the late 1730s. The second concerto from the set, in F major, will be featured on the Music Guild concert. The concertos were used as intermission features or other incidental music in the performance of Handel’s English oratorios. They encompass a large variety of styles and moods, with Opus 6, No. 2 being in the style of the so-called “church sonata.” In four movements, the work features two solo violins, strings and harpsichord.

The concert will conclude with a traditional holiday favorite by Handel – the “Hallelujah” Chorus from his 1741 oratorio “Messiah.” The audience will be given musical scores and invited to join in the singing.

All concerts are on Fridays at 8 p.m. at the architecturally stunning award-winning St. Matthew’s Church, 1031 Bienveneda Avenue, Pacific Palisades. All concerts are preceded at 7:10 pm by “Liner Notes” – a preview and discussion of the evening’s music featuring Music Guild President and former Music Director, Thomas Neenan.

Tickets for the concerts are $35 at the door. Advance tickets, discounted season passes for all concerts, and more information are available at or by calling the Music Guild office, (310) 573-7422.

Submitted by Tom Neenan


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