"Messiah" and "The Nutcracker" aside, there is a huge amount of worthwhile classical music for Christmas that is seldom explored by performing organizations. But this weekend, Rochester early-music ensemble Publick Musick will offer "Rejoice!": engaging selections from the vast treasury of sonatas, cantatas, and other chamber music with a Christmas theme by 18th century Italian masters. The program includes the Rochester premiere of the cantata "S'apriro i cieli" by Bernardo Pasquini. In this work, and in another Christmas cantata, "O di Betlemme altera povertà" by Alessandro Scarlatti, soprano Ekaterina Gorlova will be supported by an ace team of Rochester period instrumentalists, including Publick Musick Artistic Directors Boel Gidholm (violin) and Christopher Haritatos (cello).
Publick Musick will perform "Rejoice!" on Friday, December 8, 7:30 p.m., at Incarnate Word Lutheran Church, 597 East Avenue, and Saturday, December 9, 7:30 p.m., at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 28 Lincoln Avenue, Pittsford. $20 general; $10 students and low income; Free for ages 17 and under. publickmusick.org.