Concierto is the nation’s first bilingual classical music program presented in English and in Spanish. This new holiday edition of the program features a broad range of sacred and seasonal selections, spanning from Renaissance Spain to the 20th century in South America and the U.S. Southwest. There is also holiday music from the Baroque era in Mexico and Cuba, as well as traditional carols in fresh settings by artists such as clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, pianist Gabriela Montero, guitarists Sergio and Odair Assad, and tenors Plácido Domingo and Juan Diego Flórez singing sacred selections.
The first hour includes villancicos by the 17th century Mexican composer Antonio de Salazar utilizing the negrillo dialect and rhythms of African slaves, and a sacred motet from Esteban Salas, the Cuban Baroque composer who merged European style with local dialect and flavor. Also featured is Conrad Susa’s beloved suite Christmas in the Southwest, a setting of carols and lullabies from Hispanic America; the Gloria from the indigenously inspired Misa criolla by Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez; and festive Puerto Rican folk tunes of the season. In the second hour, music celebrating the Virgin Mary ranges from the Renaissance polyphony of Spaniard Tomas Luis de Victoria, to contemporary composer Ola Gjeilo’s O Magnum Mysterium with Chilean cellist Emmanuel Lopez and the Phoenix Chorale. There is also a bluesy Dona Nobis Pacem, Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring in an inspired improvisation, and a fiery Carol of the Bells for violin and guitar duo. The program concludes with more stirring Latin American Baroque from the Caribbean and Bolivia.