Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Music The New Old-Fashioned Way - 1

Let's be clear -- I enjoy Christmas music as much as anyone. But the time it takes me to burn out on the same old same old diminishes every year. Even in the field of classical music, playlists tend to be fairly conservative. Selections from the "Nutcracker," the Hallelujah chorus from "Messiah," "Winter" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" and (perhaps)" Corelli's "Christmas" Concerto. With some traditional hymns in orchestral settings for filler, of course.

This genre called classical music has been around for a very long time -- like a millennia. Since the Middle Ages composers have been writing advent and Christmas hymns, masses, chorales, and instrumental music inspired by the season. Sure, Christmas is a time of tradition, which gives those works resonance as they're heard year after year.

But there's so much more out there. Composers have writing music for this season for centuries -- including this one. There are many viewpoints and many forms of expression.

You can find Corelli's baroque Christmas Concerto stodgy and dull, but be electrified by Daniel Pinkham's contemporary Christmas Cantata. If you get to hear it, that is. It's likely Corelli will be broadcast, but not the Pinkham.

"Gamut," my Wednesday morning classical music show airs Christmas Eve this year, and I intend to use that time to present some unusual (but not totally alien) music. At worst, it should provide a break for listeners weary of the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy. At best, it might be the moment when a listener discovers a seasonal work that speaks to them directly.

I'll report back tomorrow with what I aired, and why.

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