Music of the Baroque Christmas
Host Peter Van De Graaff guided listeners through music of the 16th and 17th centuries by composers such as Johann Vierdanck, Giovanni Gabrieli, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Henry Purcell, Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz, among others. Brass instruments have long been associated with ceremony and celebration. Ubiquitous in Renaissance court pageantry, their connection to royalty and wealth lent an air of respectability to any occasion. Courts and churches capitalized upon the exalted status of brass instruments, flaunting their virtuoso players and composers in order to enhance their reputations. Diverse in nationality, temporality and musical style, the stories the pieces in this program told are nonetheless similar in their message. Many are related to the Christmas narrative, shedding light on different facets of the tale, while others offered a timely reminder that the wonder and awe the season inspires can last the entire year. Although the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ is the dominant theme, it isn’t the only one at work in this program. Different nationalities, perspectives and styles are reconciled through the power of music, and glorious harmony is clearly the result.