Chanticleer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday, December 1.
I’m late getting this post up, and for once, it’s not so much that I’ve been overly busy (though I have) or that I’ve been trying to smother my stress playing an assassin type in a video game (oh my god, Skyrim is SO FUN!). It’s mainly that this was the fourth time I’ve attended one of Chanticleer’s gorgeous Christmas concerts and I’ve mostly run out of things to say about the program.
The Medieval Sculptural Hall, decked out with a tree and a Baroque crèche, sets a warm mood before a single note sounds. The processional entrance on plainchant gives me goosebumps. The singers’ versatility never fails to impress me, and although I prefer the pure tones of the Renaissance works and the lush chromatics of some of the contemporary art music to the often cheesy modulations in the spirituals, their vivacity in that last phase of the program is hard to resist. Besides, they always end with Franz Biebl’s almost unbearably lovely “Ave Maria,” so what could I possibly have to pout about?
The constancy of it all doesn’t give me much to write about, but it’s part of what I love most about the event. For me (and, not incidentally, for Sean too), the Chanticleer Christmas concert is a tradition of the best sort, something I can count on, something whose beauty always touches me deeply, something that reaches me wherever I’ve lost myself and makes me feel like I’ve finally found my way home.