Christmas Eve (1912) is a symphonic poem by British composer Arnold Bax, which he composed while staying at Glean na Smól in County Dublin in Ireland. The work was originally premiered in 1913 as “Christmas Eve on the Mountains”, but the composer revised the work and abridged the title twenty years later. In the opening passage he had “tried to suggest the sharp light of frosty stars and an ecstasy of peace falling for one night of the year upon the troubled Irish hills.”
The story of John Rutter’s Brother Heinrich’s Christmas is built around the legend that the carol In dulci jubilo was first sung by angels who miraculously appeared to the medieval monk Heinrich Suso one Christmas Eve. Brother Heinrich is helped in the story by a donkey named Sigismond.
Frederick Delius’s Sleigh Ride was written in 1899 and originally titled “Winter Night.” It has also been referred to as “Norwegian Sleigh Ride.”
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3, is a choral composition by Benjamin Britten. Written as a set of six choral variations, It was written when Britten was only in his second term at the Royal College of Music. Variation five is a setting of In the Bleak Mid-Winter and the sixth and final variation is a setting of the carol Noel!
We’ll feature these holiday-themed works on An English Pastorale, Sunday at 9 am.
The group Trio Mediaeval consists of three women who met and combined their vocal forces in Oslo, Norway. The trio has released an album called Aquilonis which features some music for the Advent season. The album’s repertoire travels from Iceland to Italy, from 12th-century Italian sacred pieces to modern works written especially for the trio’s unique vocal qualities.
Classical 90.5 is featuring Aquilonis as well as other new releases during this holiday season. Enjoy this selection from an earlier recording by Trio Mediaeval:
The Mediaeval Baebes originated in 1996 and was organized by singer Katharine Blake. Her idea was to combine unapologetic sexuality with traditional period performances of early vocal repertoire. During the group’s 17 year run, it has released several albums and toured around the world.
The groups latest release, Kings & Angels, is a collection of Christmas carols. The singers are joined by instrumentalists playing strings and percussion. Classical 90.5 will play this as part of our holiday music mix for 2014.
Soprano Renee Fleming has been a beloved figure on the operatic stage for years. So it’s curious that Ms. Fleming has waited so long to release her first-ever Christmas album entitledChristmas in New York.
The recording features many guest appearances by New York-based musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Chris Botti, Rufus Wainwright and Gregory Porter. The album contains only two sacred works – In the Bleak Midwinter and Still, Still, Still. The rest of the songs are traditional lighter fair such as Winter Wonderland, Merry Christmas Darling and Central Park Serenade.
Christmas in New York is one of many new releases Classical 90.5 will feature in the days to come during the holiday season.