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 fourth and fifth weeks of #ClassicalChristmas
12/22 Bob Chilcott – The Shepherd’s Carol
Chilcott was a member of the King’s Singers and turned to composition full time after leaving the ensemble. As might be expected, many of his works are choral compositions.
12/24 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sleigh Ride, K.605
This piece is part of “Three German Dances” published in 1791. Mozart wrote the set while serving a short-lived role as Imperial Chamber Composer to Emporer Joseph II.
12/25 Johann Heinrich Schmelzer: Sacro-Profanus Concentus Musicus: Sonata 12
Schmelzer’s collection of concertos was published in 1662. Sonata 12, one of the “sacred” concertos, has become associated with Advent.
12/26 Claude Debussy: Des pas sur le neige
“Footprints in the Snow” is from Debussy’s first book of Preludes (1909). The work is only 36 bars long, yet effectively paints an Impressionist picture of falling snow.
12/27 Andreas Hammerschmidt: Allelujah! Freuet euch, ihr Christem alle
Hammershmidt, the “Orpheus of Zittau,” was one of the most popular Protestant composers of the early 1700s. Over 400 of his sacred works survive, including this Christmas motet.
12/30 PDQ Bach: Throw the Yule Long On, Uncle John
This carol comes from PDQ Bach’s “A Consort of Choral Christmas Carols.” If nothing else, it illustrates the importance of punctuation.
12/31 Roxanna Panufnik: A Tibetan Winter
This movement comes from Panufnik’s 2007 work “Four World Seasons.” Inspired by Vivaldi’s work, Panufnik depicts each season in a different part of the world, using musical instruments from that region in her composition.