Harmonia Early Music

Holiday CD Sampler

We’ll hear from Theatre of Voices, Gloriae dei Cantores Schola, The Choir of Westminster Cathedral and more. Maybe you’ll discover something for your wish list!

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Some gift ideas for the Early Music lover in your life!

Photo: Mike Fischer

Some gift ideas for the Early Music lover in your life!

Time capsule for this episode: Saint Nicholas 

This hour on Harmonia, we’ve pulled together some of the recently released holiday recordings that have been trickling into our studio to offer you a sample of what’s out there.  (For additional ideas, beyond what is featured on this program, check out our Harmonia Holiday CD List blog post.)

Grandi and Organum

Since 1990, Theatre of Voices has entranced its listeners with not only their performances of early music, but the entire span of choral repertory including contemporary compositions. Recently, they teamed up with Ars Nova Copenhagen to record music inspired by traditional “Lessons and Carols” concerts performed each year in England and around the world in preparation for Christmas.

Alessandro Grandi: Missus est Gabriel
Theatre of Voices / Ars Nova Copenhagen — The Christmas Story (Harmonia Mundi, 2011)
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Ensemble Organum directed by Marcel Peres originally issued a CD called Mass for Christmas Day in 1985, and it has been reissued for this holiday season, including music from the 13th century to 18th century.

Anonymous: Sanctus
Ensemble Organum / Marcel Peres, conductor — Ecole de notre-Dame: Mass for Christmas Day (Harmonia mundi, 2011)
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Chant and South America

In the Gregorian chant tradition, celebrants could sing four different masses for Christmas: one before the night office of vespers, one after vespers, one at dawn on Christmas morning and one celebrated at Terce, or around 9:00 AM.

Anonymous: Introit: Puer natus est
Gloriae Dei Cantores Schola — The Chants of Christmas (GDCD 123, 2010)
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The ensemble Grupo Canto Coral Buenos Aires has issued a recording of a live Christmas concert they gave in 2002. In it, they hoped to demonstrate the mixture of Spanish and native musical traits following the colonization of South America.

Anonymous: Convidando esta la noche/Dennos licencia Señores
Grupo Canto Coral Buenos Aires — South American Christmas: Es sol claro y luciente (K & K Verlagsanstalt, 2011)
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Renaissance England and Germany

Many traditional Christmas carols come from the 15th century and earlier and were revived in the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, “What child is this” comes from the tune “Greensleeves,” which dates from the Tudor dynasty.

The Burgundian Cadence has a recording of Christmas music from Medieval England. By the time of Tudor Queen, Elizabeth I, these would have already been classics!

Anonymous: Hayl Mary/Lully lullia
The Burgundian Cadence — Christmas Music from Medieval England (Zenobia Sounds, 2010)
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The Choir of Westminster Cathedral and the Parley of Instruments has released a CD of Christmas music both arranged and composed by Michael Praetorius. He did quite a few harmonizations of tunes that Johann Sebastian Bach would also set about a century later.

Michael Praetorius: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland
Choir of Westminster Cathedral; Parley of Instruments / David Hill, cond. — Christmas Music by Michael Praetorius (Hyperion, 2011)
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Featured release: A Dutch Christmas

Our featured release is A Dutch Christmas by Early Music New York. This recording was originally produced in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit titled “The Age of Rembrandt,” and is the sixth in a series of holiday albums. It features both Latin songs, like “currite pastores,” and carols such as “Een kindeken is ons geboren.”

Jan Baptist Verrijt / Tielman Susato / Cornelis de Leeuw: Currite pastores / Danserye / Een kindeken is ons geboren
Early Music New York — A Dutch Christmas (Ex cathedra, 2010)
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Alessandro Grandi: Missus est Gabriel
Theatre of Voices / Ars Nova Copenhagen — The Christmas Story (Harmonia Mundi, 2011)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Anonymous: Sanctus
Ensemble Organum / Marcel Peres, conductor — Ecole de notre-Dame: Mass for Christmas Day (Harmonia mundi, 2011)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Anonymous: Introit: Puer natus est
Gloriae Dei Cantores Schola — The Chants of Christmas (GDCD 123, 2010)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Anonymous: Convidando esta la noche/Dennos licencia Señores
Grupo Canto Coral Buenos Aires — South American Christmas: Es sol claro y luciente (K & K Verlagsanstalt, 2011)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Anonymous: Hayl Mary/Lully lullia
The Burgundian Cadence — Christmas Music from Medieval England (Zenobia Sounds, 2010)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Michael Praetorius: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland
Choir of Westminster Cathedral; Parley of Instruments / David Hill, cond. — Christmas Music by Michael Praetorius (Hyperion, 2011)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Jan Baptist Verrijt / Tielman Susato / Cornelis de Leeuw: Currite pastores / Danserye / Een kindeken is ons geboren
Early Music New York — A Dutch Christmas (Ex cathedra, 2010)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Anna Pranger

Anna Pranger moved to Bloomington in 2009 to pursue a degree in music librarianship. Before this, she worked on a degree in music history at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. She serves as both an assistant producer for Harmonia and the Music Library Assistant for WFIU.

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