This marks the third year running that the Classics a Day team made Christmas music the December theme. I guess that makes it a tradition. When it comes to the music of the season, there’s plenty to choose from. Since the 1100s composers have written sacred music for Advent and Christmas — and plenty of songs and dances for the secular winter feasts, too.
The challenge is to post a classical work that’s related to Christmas in some fashion. I further limited myself to selections I haven’t posted before in December. As you’ll see, there is more to holiday music than “Sleigh Ride” or “Messiah.”
Here are my #ClassicsaDay posts for the second week of #ClassicalChristmas
12/9 Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas Carols
RVW’s work was premiered at the Three Choirs Festival in 1912. It’s a medley of traditional carols collected by Vaughn Williams and Cecil Sharp a few years earlier.
12/10 Eric Whitacre; Little Tree
American choral composer Whitacre wrote this carol in 1996, while still a student at Julliard. The text is based on a poem by e e cummings.
12/11 Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky: Christmas Waltz
The “Christmas Waltz” is actually the December entry in Tchaikovsky’s “The Seasons” Op. 37b. This set of 12 piano pieces was published in monthly installments in a Russian music magazine.
12/12 Paul Hindemith; The Long Christmas Dinner
The setting for Hindemith’s 1963 one-act opera is a Christmas dinner table. It depicts 90 years of holiday meals as generations of family members come and go from the table.
12/13 Edward Elgar; A Christmas Greeting, Op. 52
Elgar completed this work while visiting Rome in December 1907. The poem is by his wife, Alice.
12/16 Poulenc Quem Vidistis Pastores