Quickie: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore, December 10, 2009
We all have heard mixes of genres that start with the best of intentions and end with horribly awkward music. I have heard several dozen of them, as I used to be Jazz Times’ go-to reviewer for anything mixing jazz with classical, and trust me: I know all the ways it can go wrong. So it is my pleasure to report that rarely does a piece take classical materials and slide them into the black vernacular (gospel, jazz, blues, and a hint o’ funk) as adeptly as “Too Hot to Handel,” the “Messiah” transfiguration Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and a whole lot of pop-music ringers performed at Strathmore on Thursday. Those forces will perform again at the Meyerhoff (yes, in Baltimore) on Friday, December 11 (at 8 pm) and Saturday, December 12 (selections, at 11 am). If you love the “Messiah” but can’t bear the thought of hearing it again this year in straight-up fashion, or if you love both classical and gospel, you should go and see “Too Hot to Handel.” As someone who fits both of those categories, I guarantee* you will not be disappointed.
Fuller review tomorrow as per usual with performances with repeats. Sleep to rest up for a full workday (not writing about classical music) right now.
*Guarantee has no monetary value, but I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.