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The Twelve CDs of Christmas

  • CultureCatch
There are always plenty of Christmas-music roundups this time of year. This one's different. The others usually focus on the newest offerings. Nothing I've gotten this year has really struck a chord, but there is no shortage of favorites from years past that have proven their merits and held up over time. It is those in the classical realm, where trends matter least; and choral, because it's sacred choir music that's at the heart of the celebration of Christmas, that are listed below. 

Ancient

If you want some Christmas music you don't already know by heart, just look further back in history.The early music movement of the past half-century has unearthed many long-forgotten masterpieces from the Medieval and Renaissance eras.

Sequentia: Aquitania: Christmas Music from Aquitanian Monasteries (12th century) (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)

This was Sequentia's second album of Aquitanian Christmas season music, following on the heels of the much-praised Shining Light.
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More Classical Christmas Music

  • CultureCatch
It's been eight years since I wrote about my favorite classical Christmas music. So here's a look at some of the finer Christmas releases since then. As before, I try to spotlight some less familiar Christmas music while still including old favorites.

Monica Piccinini/Christina Kuhne/Ursula  Eittinger/Alberto ter Doest/Thilo Dahlmann/Cologne Academy/Michael Alexander Willens Francesco Durante: Neapolitan Music for Christmas II (cpo)

I've got to get my hands on vol. I, because this is wonderful. Durante (1784-1755, an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach, was considered one of the greatest church composers in Naples at that time, and also taught such future famous opera composers as Pergolesi and Paisiello (Durante was himself a student, in Rome, of Pasquini).

Even Bach, always interested in the Italian masters, found Durante's work worthy of study. One of the tropes of Italian Christmas music was a pastoral mood celebrating the shepherds,
See full article at CultureCatch »

More Classical Christmas Music

  • CultureCatch
It's been eight years since I wrote about my favorite classical Christmas music. So here's a look at some of the finer Christmas releases since then. As before, I try to spotlight some less familiar Christmas music while still including old favorites.

Monica Piccinini/Christina Kuhne/Ursula  Eittinger/Alberto ter Doest/Thilo Dahlmann/Cologne Academy/Michael Alexander Willens Francesco Durante: Neapolitan Music for Christmas II (cpo)

I've got to get my hands on vol. I, because this is wonderful. Durante (1784-1755, an almost exact contemporary of J.S. Bach, was considered one of the greatest church composers in Naples at that time, and also taught such future famous opera composers as Pergolesi and Paisiello (Durante was himself a student, in Rome, of Pasquini).

Even Bach, always interested in the Italian masters, found Durante's work worthy of study. One of the tropes of Italian Christmas music was a pastoral mood celebrating the shepherds,
See full article at CultureCatch »

Anniversaries: Ralph Vaughan Williams Born 140 Years Ago

  • CultureCatch
The son of a vicar (and Charles Darwin was his great-uncle), Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) became one of the most popular English composers. He studied under Charles Villiers Stanford and Hubert Parry at the Royal College of Music, but also read history and music at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he palled around with the philosophers Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore. He also went to Germany for lessons with Max Bruch, but ultimately rejected the 19th century German Romantic style Friendships with fellow Rcm students Gustav Holst and Leopold Stokowski later bore more fruit, in different ways: Stokowski, who moved to the United States, became Rvw's biggest supporter there; Holst and Vaughan Williams critiqued each others' work and joined in the study and collection of English folk songs. "The knowledge of our folk songs did not so much discover for us something new, but uncovered something which had been hidden by foreign matter,
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