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 third week of #ClassicalChristmas

12/16 Francis Poulenc- Quem Vidistis Pastores

This motet is the third of Poulenc’s Quatre Motets pour le temps de Noël. Written in the 1950s, the work blends contemporary harmonies with medieval Latin sacred texts.

12/17 Arnold Schoenberg; Weihnachtsmusik

Schoenberg “Christmas Music” is a setting of “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen.” Schoenberg most like wrote this 1921 work for family and friends to play at a holiday gathering.

12/18 Johannes Ockeghem – Ave Maria

Ockeghem was one of the most prominent composers of the 15th Century. Like most of his surviving music, his setting of the Ave Maria is difficult to date. The music comes from the Chigi Codex, collected after Ockeghem’s death.

12/19 Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina – O magnum Mysterium

This Christmas motet was published in 1569. The Latin text translates “O great mystery and wonderful sacrament, that beasts should see the new-born Lord lying in a manger.”

12/20 John Knowles Paine – Christmas Gift, Op. 7

Paine was one of the older members of the Boston Six. He was one of the first American-born composers to write symphonies and oratorios. Christmas Gift is one of his many piano miniatures.