Several Centuries of Christmas Music

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

In this encore edition of Terrance McKnight's holiday special from 2010, a look at composers and songwriters whose work has been inspired by the nativity.

That includes composer William Dawson, who wrote spirituals that made groups like the Tuskegee Institute Choir and St. Olaf Choir into internationally acclaimed ensembles. We also hear music by Claudio Monteverdi who wrote a number of works dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and Arvo Part's Magnificat. These works and others are the focus of this show celebrating the story of Christmas.


O come, O come, Emmanuel
Robert Shaw, conductor
Robert Shaw Chorale
RCA 6429

L'Annonciation de l'Ange Gabriel a la Vierge Marie
Toronto Consort
Dorian 93186

It Is Well With My Soul
H.G. Spafford/P.P. Bliss
Mahalia Jackson, voice
Columbia 47083

Magnificat (1989)
Arvo Part
Kaia Urb, soprano
Paul Hillier, conductor
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Harmonia Mundi 907401

The Little Road to Bethlehem
Michael Head
Edward Higginbottom, conductor
The Choir of New College, Oxford
Erato 19350

No Room in the Inn
Alan Mills, vocalist
Smithsonian Folkways 07750

Reading of the Christmas Story from the Gospel of St. Luke with Jesu, Joy of Mans Desiring
Johann Sebastian Bach
Charles Osgood, narrator
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Jerold Ottley, conductor
The Bonneville Classics Orchestra
BWE Classics 0123

Olatunji -Whalum
David Morrow, director
Morehouse College Glee Club
MCG 14

Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248: Shepherd's Music
Johann Sebastian Bach
Eteri Andjaparidze, piano
Naxos 553461

Symphonie devant Regina Pour la conception de la Vierge
Marc-Antoine Charpentier
Jordi Savall, conductor
Le Concert des Nations
Astree/Naive 7698

A Nativity
John Tavener
Timothy Brown, conductor
Choir of Claire College, Cambridge
Naxos 572168

Mary had a baby
William Dawson
Marvis Martin, soprano
Anton Armstrong, conductor
St. Olaf Choir
St. Olaf Records 2159

Tota Pulchra Es Maria
Anton Bruckner
Julian Podger, tenor
Ian Watson, keyboard
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor
Monteverdi Choir
Deutsche Grammophon 459674

Mary's Lullaby
John Rutter
Heidi Grant Murphy, soprano
Kevin Murphy, piano
Koch 7580

The Little Drummer Boy
Northern Lights Orchestra
Perfect Sound

Ave Maria
Franz Biebl
Brian Jones, conductor
Trinity Church Choir, Boston
Dorian 93191

Bogoroditse Devo (Rejoice, O Virgin)
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Andre Papkov, alto
Elizabeth C. Patterson, conductor
Gloriae Dei Cantores (Singers of the Glory of God)
GDCD 100

Ave Maria stella
Claudio Monteverdi
Paul McCreesh, conductor
Gabrieli Consort and Players
Archiv 4776147

Behold The Star
William Dawson
Marvis Martin, soprano
Anton Armstrong, conductor
St. Olaf Choir
St. Olaf Records 2159

Weihnachtsbaum: March of the Three Holy Kings
Franz Liszt
Eteri Andjaparidze, piano
Naxos 553461

We Three Kings
Cecilia Brauer, glass armonica
C.Brauer 01

Little Drummer Boy
Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati, Harry Simeone
Dr. Walter J. Turnbull, director
The Boys Choir of Harlem
Unencumbered 2301

Hodie Christus Natus Est
Giovanni Pierluigi
Vienna Choir Boys
Koch 321433

Laudate pueri Dominum
Claudio Monteverdi
Paul McCreesh, conductor
Gabrieli Consort and Players
Archiv 4776147

Comments [3]

rj from li

Please can you tell me when I will be able to stream this programmme? It is still unavailable for streaming.
Rita Jones

Dec. 29 2013 02:48 PM
D Tremper from Maplewood, NJ

Great show! I particularly liked the Betelehemu, the Bogoroditse Devo, and the Adeste Fidelis arrangement(which I wrote down but don't see on the playlist, so I may not have the right title).
It was unusual to hear "It Is Well" associated with Christmas as it was written in response to the author's personal tragedies including the death of his daughters, and I think is from the quote of the Shunamite woman to Elisha's servant who asks if everything is OK. Though her son is dead, she replies "It is well". The quote of what Mary was to have said is "Be it unto me according to your word" to the angel who announces her imminent pregnancy. However, the sword that was to pierce her own soul at Jesus's crucifixion might be foreshadowed at Christmas also and therefore in keeping.

Dec. 23 2013 05:24 PM
mimsey from nyc

Exquisite. You ARE Christmas.

Dec. 21 2013 10:51 PM

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