Sunday: KSO Brings ‘Classical Christmas’ to the Bijou

There are a couple of reasons that Knoxvillians should be excited about this Sunday’s Chamber Classics concert from the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra.

Regal Celebration of Lights, Downtown Knoxville

Regal Celebration of Lights, Downtown Knoxville

December seems like a busy month, what with various Nutcracker performances, local amateur church choir attempts at The Messiah, and the KSO’s own annual Holiday Concert. The truth is, however, that has been about it—strangely sparse in terms of professional classical music performances for a city the size of Knoxville.

I confess I’ve whined about this and I’m sure others have as well. The KSO has responded with a major first step toward bringing more music to December—an after-Thanksgiving chamber orchestra performance that covers a lot more than just carol sing-alongs. From all indications, this may turn out to be an annual thing. We can only hope.

“Classical Christmas”—Sunday afternoon’s offering at the Bijou—features a nice mix of 18th century pieces and old and modern secular works. The concert will be conducted by KSO resident conductor James Fellenbaum and will also feature the Knoxville Chamber Chorale.

Thanks to his appointment as “Royal and Imperial Chamber Musician”, Mozart was called on to write dance music for holiday occasions. During the winter celebrations from 1787 to 1791, he composed 31 German dances. From the K. 605 series from 1791, came one that has become quite popular, known as “Sleigh Ride” due to the lovely inclusion of bells.

On the program from the Baroque will come the never-heard-before “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” a chorus from the cantata BWV 147, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben. Seriously, if you’ve only heard this at weddings or in elevators, you’ll be totally won over by the real orchestra and chorus beauty.

Also, look for Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G minor, op. 6, no. 8, and a selection from Handel’s Messiah.

Contemporary English traditionalist composer John Rutter will be represented by the familiar “Shepherd’s Carol.” Plus, there are orchestral arrangements of well known carols and secular pieces such Waldteufel’s Skater’s Waltz.


Knoxville Chamber Orchestra, “Classical Christmas”
With the Knoxville Chamber Chorale
Works by Mozart, Corelli, Handel, Bach, Rutter, Waldteufel, et al.

Sunday afternoon, November 29, 2:30 p.m.
Bijou Theatre, 803 S. Gay Street, Downtown Knoxville
Tickets and Information