Theoretically, the holiday season should be a lot of fun. Family together, sitting around a blazing fire, drinking egg nog – nothing but relaxation, comfort and joy.
Practically, the holiday season is plenty stressful for lots of people. Trying to figure out what to give someone who already has everything, running around in the rotten cold weather trying to track it down in the zero amount of time left before Christmas actually arrives… bah humbug!
But music soothes the savage beast, so cut your stress with beautiful music during this holiday season. Forget the shopping, the preparations, the wrapping, whatever. Let the classics and not-yet-classics put you in the spirit of Christmas Present. 'Tis the season, after all.
On December 23, maestro Zoltán Kocsis and the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra team up with violinist Barnabás Kelemen at the Academy of Music at 7.30pm in a program of Viennese music from the high Classical and early Romantic periods.
Kelemen will be the soloist in Mozart's Violin Concerto No 1 in Bflat major, a truly delightful early work the composer wrote for himself when he was the orchestra's concertmaster in Salzburg.
And I hope you like the key of B-flat major, because all the other works on the program are in it.
Haydn's Symphony No 102 – one of the brilliant, late London symphonies a Schubert Polonaise and Schubert's charming little Symphony No 2 are on hand to make you forget that last minute shopping list.
And for such delightful music you could hardly ask for a better crew than Kocsis and company.
(The Budapest Sun, December 23, 2004)