Candlelight Classics on Dec. 2 and 9

TEMECULA – Continuing their tradition of festive chamber concerts to ring in the holidays, Temecula Presents and the California Chamber Orchestra present the annual “Candlelight Classics” performances at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2, and Sunday, Dec. 9, in the Club at the Merc, Old Town Temecula Community Theater. For these performances, the Merc is dressed in its holiday finery and bathed in candlelight. It’s the perfect atmosphere for chamber music.

 The program features Antonio Vivaldi’s incomparable “The Four Seasons,” a series of four violin concertos that are some of the best-known examples of chamber music. “Even if you don’t know Vivaldi, don’t normally listen to chamber music, and aren’t familiar with the name ‘The Four Seasons,’ you know much of this music,” said Dana Zimbric, artistic director and conductor of the California Chamber Orchestra. “You hear these themes in movies, in commercials, and on TV. And this is their original form.”

 In addition, this year’s program features three of the Rosary Sonatas for violin and basso continuo by Heinrich Franz Biber, a contemporary of Vivaldi’s. “These sonatas are part of a series of 15 that Biber wrote to explore the mysteries celebrated in the Rosary,” Zimbric said. “The three that will be performed celebrate three events or mysteries tied to the Christmas season: the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Nativity. They’re beautiful examples of Baroque chamber music that we don’t get to hear as often as we should.” 

The performers for Candlelight Classics are Camerata Sorrento, a San Diego area ensemble. The group features Ondrej Lewit and Steven Stohs, violin; Michael Dvoskins and Paula Simmons, viola; Gordon Grubbs, violincello; and Joanne Stohs, harpsichord.

 Tickets for Candlelight Classics are $25, and are available at the theater’s ticket office, online at, or by calling 866-OLD-TOWN (866-653-8696).

Zimbric advises purchasing tickets in advance. “These two performances sell out every year; order now to reserve.”

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