By Jim Lowe
When Anthony Princiotti conducts the Vermont Symphony Orchestra in music by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Hindemith on Saturday at Burlington’s Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, it will kick off a nine-concert holiday transversal of the state for the orchestra.
Next weekend, Princiotti takes the VSO and VSO Chorus on the annual Holiday Pops tour to the Barre Opera House Dec. 9, the Flynn Center Dec. 10, and Rutland’s Paramount Theatre Dec. 11. Then the VSO Brass Quintet, joined by Vermont’s professional choir Counterpoint, is off to Warren Dec. 14, Stowe Dec. 15, Newport Dec. 16, Grafton Dec. 17, and Manchester Dec. 18.
On Saturday, Princiotti, the VSO’s principal guest conductor, will lead a program of revered orchestral works. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36, closing the program, is one of the most popular symphonies in the repertoire.
Paul Hindemith’s “Mathis der Mahler,” written in anticipation of the composer’s opera about the painter Matthias Grünewald, is also a popular staple of the symphonic repertoire. Opening Saturday’s program is Beethoven’s Overture to “Egmont,” Op. 84, incidental music to Goethe’s 1787 play of the same name, another symphonic “hit.”
Princiotti has chosen a substantial, though appropriately lighter program for the VSO’s Holiday Pops tour, ranging from excerpts from Handel’s “Messiah” to the traditional carol singalong with the VSO and VSO Chorus, directed by José Daniel Flores-Carraballo. The lighter side will include such perennial favorites as Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” and the like.
Vermont Youth Orchestra French horn player Nathan Bamberger will be the featured soloist in the opening Allegro of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major. K. 412. Other great composers represented by their lighter side include J.S. Bach, Georges Bizet and Ralph Vaughan Williams. And in honor of New Year’s Eve, Johann Strauss Jr. offers up his waltz, “On the Beautiful Blue Danube.”
Counterpoint, founded by Robert De Cormier and directed by Nathaniel G. Lew, will be joined by the VSO Brass Quintet in an equally eclectic program. Included are popular carols as well as more exotic ones in De Cormier arrangements — the familiar and the unfamiliar, and something for everyone.