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6 classical concerts streaming joy to your home

Keith Lockhart leads the Boston Pops 2020 Holiday Celebration.Aram Boghosian/BSO

BOSTON BAROQUE Martin Pearlman’s eloquent period instrument orchestra and chorus have a big December in store. First up in the “Messiah” department: On Dec. 1 the group releases its own complete version of the oratorio, assembled from highlights of its previous five consecutive “Messiah” performances; and on Dec. 18 and 19 at 7 p.m., it streams a one-hour special program on the work. Also next month will be a popup performance by the Boston Baroque orchestra — with seasonal favorites by Charpentier, Vivaldi, Bach, and others — streamed live from GBH’s Fraser Studio on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. And finally, as in past seasons, the ensemble will ring in the new year with performances on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 1 at 3 p.m. — this time featuring an encore broadcast of its New Year’s concert from January 2019.

BOSTON POPS The Boston Pops’ beloved holiday concert goes digital with all the festive confections you might expect (“Sleigh Ride” is a sure thing) as well as virtual performances by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir, a reading of “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” and a special Christmas sing-along. Premieres Dec. 10, noon. Available through Jan. 9.


TALLIS SCHOLARS Boston Early Music Festival has hosted this storied Renaissance-minded choir each year for more than three decades, and it’ll take more than a pandemic to break that streak. Directed by founder Peter Phillips, the Tallis Scholars recorded a BEMF exclusive program of polyphony for the Virgin Mary at London’s Church of St. Anne and St. Agnes. Music by Palestrina, Lassus, Arvo Pärt, Praetorius and many more. Premieres Dec. 11, 8 p.m. Available through Dec. 25.

BLUE HERON Under Scott Metcalfe’s direction, the city’s impeccable Renaissance choir typically offers an annual deep-diving holiday concert. This year brings a virtual concert assembled from its English and French Christmas programs as well as other material including a new work by Kevin Allen. Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.,


Countertenor Reginald Mobley is one of the vocalists for Handel and Haydn Society's "Messiah."Meredith Nierman/GBH

HANDEL’S ‘MESSIAH’ FOR OUR TIME Boston’s venerable Handel and Haydn Society was not about to let the pandemic put an end to its 166-year streak of performing “Messiah” so this year it has partnered with GBH for a special edition, recorded in smaller groups and then layered together by audio engineers. The hour-long broadcast — featuring Part One and the “Hallelujah” Chorus — will be led by Ian Watson, with vocal soloists Joélle Harvey, countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Aaron Sheehan, and baritone Sumner Thompson. Dec. 20, 7 p.m.,

LAURIE ANDERSON The seemingly tireless composer, musician, performance artist, and poet has been a practicing Buddhist for many years and an avid proponent of meditation. On the eve of the winter solstice, Anderson leads a free sound meditation in support of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Insight Meditation Society, focusing on empathy and communication in the time of coronavirus. Registration required. Dec. 20, 8 p.m.

Zoë Madonna can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @knitandlisten. Madonna’s work is supported by the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

A.Z. Madonna can be reached at Follow her @knitandlisten. Jeremy Eichler can be reached at, or follow him @Jeremy_Eichler.