Review: Boston Pops’ in-person return to Symphony Hall for holiday concert

Posted on: December 7, 2021

“Thursday marked the first time that the Boston Pops performed live in front of an audience in its Symphony Hall home in two years,” writes Marc Hirsh in Tuesday’s (12/7) Boston Globe. “The orchestra opened the night and the season with Adrianus Valerius’s holiday fanfare ‘We Gather Together.’… The masks required of the audience were also seen on the members of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus…. Diversity and inclusivity marked most of the remainder of the first half, with Mexican, African-American, and Jewish holiday-music spotlights unspooling in sequence. Silvino Jaramillo’s two pieces drew on the music of his country, with guitarrón-mimicking basses and mariachi rhythms and melodies playing out on shakers and horns…. ‘The Good News Voyage’ offered three distinct modes of Black music, from joyous African harmonies to echoes of ‘What’s Going On’ and Philly soul to upbeat gospel. And the klezmer melodicism amid the wild romping of ‘Of Lights, Nights and Brass’ inserted hints of sadness even in the midst of raucous celebration … ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ brought the (masked) big man himself to banter with [conductor Keith] Lockhart.”