Dec. 12, 2006
Socks Appeal, Holiday Cheer
By Mark J. Estren
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
What could be more ingratiating than a choral conductor who shows up in
standard formal regalia -- but with bright red-and-green socks? Like the
outfit of Washington Men's Camerata Music Director Frank Albinder, the
chorus's concert at Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda on Sunday
was an appealing blend of the traditional and offbeat.
It was a mixture of sacred and secular, too, although weighted more toward
seasonal religious songs -- mostly sung in pairs. For instance, the 63-voice
chorus juxtaposed a particularly pleasant arrangement of "O Little Town of
Bethlehem" with Rachmaninoff's "Rejoice, O Virgin," sung in the original
Russian. Another highlight was Ralph Vaughan Williams's setting of "The
First Nowell," which begins in unison and becomes increasingly elaborate
until a return to simplicity in the final stanza.