“I always choose some of the favorite choruses from the Christmas section and then try to supplement those with excerpts that make sure all of the sections (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) are well represented,” Ellefson said. “We'll do about 20 passages altogether.”
Bach's “Magnificat” dates from 1723 and contains a dozen movements that were written for Christmas Vespers. The text is based on Mary's reaction to news from the angel Gabriel that she will give birth to a Savior.
“It's very festive so it's often done at Christmas, Pentecost and other festival occasions,” Ellefson said. “I did it in Chicago and Spokane but this is my first time to do it with Canterbury. Bach was concerned that his music say something directly to his congregation so he did a lot of teaching and preaching with his music.
“I think the ‘Magnificat' and ‘Messiah' will complement each other in terms that one is very familiar and the other will offer a new listening adventure.”
Joining Canterbury for this “Baroque Christmas” concert are members of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and featured soloists Kelly Holst (soprano), Rebecca Ambrosini (mezzo-soprano), Jeffrey Picon (tenor) and Kevin Eckard (bass). A holiday reception in the Civic Center lobby will follow the performance.