Friday, December 01, 2017

#ClassicsaDay #ClassicalChristmas Annotated List Week 1

I'm a regular contributor to the #ClassicsaDay Twitter feed. In December 2017, I focused on the music of the season that doesn't get a lot of exposure -- but should. Below is an annotated list of the works I featured in the feed with the supporting hashtag #ClassicalChristmas.

(November's theme was Composers A-Z, which ran over into December. So I didn't start #ClassicalChristmas until the 6th.)

John Playford: To Drive the Cold Winter Away

This anonymous English tune first surfaced in the early 1600s. There are various texts that were set to the music. The tune is also known as "In Praise Of Christmas." "The Praise Of Christmas," and "All Hail To The Days." This particular version was published by John Playford in the 1651 edition of "The English Dancing Master."

Henry Cowell (1897-1865): Sweet was the Sound

Henry Cowell was recognized as a major force in American music in the 1930s. After the Second World War, his music became simpler and more accessible. And Cowell also began incorporating American folk elements into his works. The carol "Sweet was the Sound" comes from that period.

William Henry Fry (1813-1864): The Santa Claus Symphony

Fry holds the distinction of being the first native-born American to write orchestral works and operas (and to have them performed. Fry's symphonies have extra-musical themes, and The Santa Claus Symphony is no exception. The symphony premiered in 1853 and is one of the earliest works to use the then-new saxophone. From the beginning, the work was both admired by the public and derided by critics (as it still is).

#ClassicalChristmas Annotated List Week #2
#ClassicalChristmas Annotated List Week #3

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