Christmas time is here, and where did 2020 go? With all of the pandemic pressures laid upon us this year, there is a necessity for an escape; travel through the sounds and textures of classical music. In particular, this year has been ripe for classical creativity, with the variety and value of every musical piece holding a significant part of the 2020 celebration. So let’s take a walk down a classical winter wonderland of music, shall we?
Oh Night Divine
The night, evening, winding down from the days’ stresses and running to a place where music is needed like never before. Why not pour a cup of hot chocolate, grab a blanket and a cozy chair to listen to the album “A Winter’s Night” released in October. This release combines a tradition of carols, choirs, and organ masterfully through a specific blending of these three elements. Enhancing the flavor here is percussion, brass that complete your winter’s night effortlessly. Just how widespread the Christmas carol truly is through the Winchester College Choir is showcased by classical musicians acclaimed for excellence in their craft.
Forbidden Fruit Not Here
Advent Live Volume 2, the Choir of St John’s College released a superb expression of classical music in November. Coming directly as a follow-up to the apple(yes, the forbidden fruit once again), this showing in volume two depicts the second offering by pomegranate. The Advent Live Volume 2 follows the first with live recordings celebrating life, yes, live music, and the organically joyful nature it supplies. Here it is clear that every selection is vital in keeping the contemporary choral tradition alive and well. Being that the first volume received critical acclaim, it is projected the same success here. Sprinkled with seasonal favorites, there are collaborative undertakings from Hugo Distler, Elizabeth Maconchy, and Hugo Wolf. from past live performances that hold special appreciation in a year in which anything live was cancelled. Advent Volume 2 is fraught with deliberate intent here with communal hymns and ends with a stirring climactic piece entitled Lo.
The Boys Are Back In Town
The Trinity Boys Choir has brought Christmas to the present from the early Tudor period as an invitation, where musical expression by these classical musicians tailored in rich voices and instruments interchangeably in beautiful renditions of classical greatness in “A Tudor Christmas.”
Another tremendous classical release for 2020 is carols. This classical take from “Carolers Song Christmas Carols” by SWR Vokal ensemble brings Christmas to our homes. Chorale style is given space to shine here selections so central to Christmas seasons. Ave Maria, Alleluya, Sing Lullaby all have a wonderful place here with renditions by classical musicians such as Robert Parsons, Herbert Howells, and Peter Wishart.
The Medieval period has the spotlight shone on it beautifully in 2020 by the release of “Vox Clara.” With special attention paid to honoring medieval Livonia’s musical experience, Christmas is brought to the listener with Gregorian chants vocal ensemble showcased. The offering here is a ride or travel through what is diverse medieval Europe hardly experienced before. This album serves the closest, most accurate, sound of the sacred chant during that long-ago period. As genuine parts of the music, there are bagpipes and ancient instrumentation from the kokle to bring the experience home.
There are so many bright spots, gifts if you will, of musical gratitude emanating from classical offerings released for the Christmas season. Sharing of information in all things classical can be an entertaining process when checking out Interlude, a site with a love and passion for the classical genre. Whether your cup of tea is medieval, choir, chorale, or more, there is something extraordinary for you that will take you through the season. Here, classical musicians’ offerings of live performances transport through their senses and imagination to a place of fellowship and community of joy and hope that cannot be denied.