Rhapsody in perfection
Many have tried to marry jazz with classical, but few did it more successfully than George Gershwin. A classic of the fusion style, Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" is the centerpiece of the Minnesota Orchestra's New Year's Eve concert. Extra pizazz is added by piano soloist Aaron Diehl, a jazz musician to whom Gershwin's improvisatory solo writing comes as second nature. The all-American program also includes Copland's "Rodeo" and dances from Bernstein's "On the Town," plus works by John Harbison and Stephen Paulus. (8:30 p.m. Mon., Orchestra Hall, Mpls.; $50-$136, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org)
Take a gorgeous 'Winter Journey'
Schubert's "Winterreise" ("Winter Journey") is probably the greatest song cycle ever written by a classical composer. These 24 songs describe a lonely wanderer spurned in love, trudging through a snow-decked landscape. Schubert called the story "terrifying," but still poured into it some of his most beautiful and emotional music. Baritone John Taylor Ward performs the cycle with Scott Lykins on piano for a winter offering from Brainerd's Lakes Area Music Festival. (7 p.m. Thu., Woman's Club of Minneapolis, Mpls.; 2 p.m. Sun., Lutheran Church of the Cross, Nisswa, Minn.; donation encouraged with free admission, lakesareamusic.org)
ConsortiumCarissimi marks the Epiphany season with a feast of vocal music from the Italian baroque. That includes motets and cantatas by Carissimi, Graziani and Mocchi — all from the small town of Marino, south of Rome. It also includes a "Magnificat" setting by Vivaldi. (7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun.; Chapel of St. Mary, St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul; $20-$25, consortiumcarissimi.org)
The Minnesota Boychoir's membership extends from age 7 to high school and alumni status. All four of the organization's ensembles will sing for its annual winter concerts, including the 50-voice flagship choir. Artistic director Mark Johnson leads a program packed with seasonal favorites. (1 & 3:30 p.m. Sun., Landmark Center, St. Paul; free, boychoir.org)
The Bakken Trio launches into 2019 with a stimulating program of music by Brahms and Shostakovich. Violinist Stephanie Arado plays Brahms' First Violin Sonata, while soprano Liv Redpath sings a selection of his songs. Redpath also features in Shostakovich's rarely heard "Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok." (4 p.m. Sun., MacPhail Center for Music, Mpls.; $15-$25, 612-584-1967 or bakkentrio.org)