John Adams and David Lang: Masters of the Modern Holiday Oratorio | Modern Society of USA

John Adams and David Lang: Masters of the Modern Holiday Oratorio

John Adams and David Lang: Masters of the Modern Holiday Oratorio

New Yorkers are never wanting for Handel’s “Messiah” during the holidays. It’s on the calendar of every major concert hall and may be the only musical work performed in all five boroughs this month.

Nothing could dethrone Handel’s oratorio, but worthy alternatives in choral music are out there. (And I’m not just talking about Bach.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently offered two modern holiday oratorios that are intimate, affecting and quietly rich with activism: John Adams’s “El Niño” and David Lang’s “the little match girl passion.”

[See what our critics chose as the best classical music events of 2018.]

[And listen to our favorite recordings of the year.]

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