This marks the third year running that the Classics a Day team made Christmas music the December theme. I guess that makes it a tradition. When it comes to the music of the season, there’s plenty to choose from. Since the 1100s composers have written sacred music for Advent and Christmas — and plenty of songs and dances for the secular winter feasts, too.
The challenge is to post a classical work that’s related to Christmas in some fashion. I further limited myself to selections I haven’t posted before in December. As you’ll see, there is more to holiday music than “Sleigh Ride” or “Messiah.”
Here are my #ClassicsaDay posts for the first week of #ClassicalChristmas
12/2 Christoph Graupner: Jauchzet ihr Himmel, erfreue dich Erde, GWV 1105/53
In his day, Graupner was as famous as Telemann. His cantata “Rejoice, heaven, and earth” was composed for Christmas Day, 1753.
12/3 Heinrich Schütz: Weihnachtshistorie SWV435
Schutz’s “Christmas Story” was first performed in Dresden, Christmas 1660. The text comes almost exclusively from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible.
12/4/ William Billings: Shepherd’s Carol
American hymnodist wrote both words and music for this carol. It was first published in “The Suffolk Harmony” in 1786.
12/5 Conrad Susa: This Endrys night
American composer Conrad Susa studied with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti. His setting of this medieval text comes from his Three Mystical Carols.
12/6 Louis-Claude Daquin: Noel X
French Baroque composer Daquin was also a renowned harpsichordist and organist. His 12 Noels was published in 1757, and are still used in churches today.