The year 2006 marks fifteen years of Harmonia programs, and this week we celebrate by traveling back in time with a retrospective of holiday shows from the last five years.
The Baltimore Consort performs Alace I lie alone on their CD “Adew Dundee.” They also released a Live Concert CD on which they performed traditional holiday chestnuts. These pieces and more were a part of Harmonia’s holiday program from 2003 in which the Baltimore Consort was the focus.
For most of our fifteen years, Harmonia’s holiday programs have explored music from different traditions both sacred and secular. In 2004, we celebrated the season with a show entitled “Beat up a Drum,” and interviewed musicologist Dr. Stacey Houck of Texas Tech University about the dangers of celebrating Christmas under Oliver Cromwell’s rule.
The end of the year 2001 was one for healing. The terrible events of 9/11 called for something special; and as a result, the show in December was called “Holiday of Healing.” Our guest was Ruth Cunningham, a singer, instrumentalist, and a former founding member of the vocal ensemble Anonymous 4. We listened to music from Ruth’s CD as a result of her work with sound and healing. She even improvised for us.
SAVAE, the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble, was our guest for Harmonia’s holiday program in 2000. At the time they were celebrating their tenth anniversary by coming and performing live in the studio. “Music of Light” was the title of the program which included early music from Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions alongside repertoire from 17th century Latin America.
A setting of “Puer Nobis nascitur,” A Child is born to us,” by Jacob van Eyck, is played on the transverse flute by Stefano Bet on the CD release from Centaur records, Jacob van Eyck: Der Flusten Lust-hof.
We have a couple of new holiday releases to share with you this week. The first is by The Orlando Consort in a CD entitled “Medieval Christmas.” Another new release for the holidays celebrates the music of the Orthodox Church. It’s called “A New Joy,” and features the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir under the direction of Paul Hillier, performing music from Estonia, Russia and the Ukraine.