(Part 5 of 6 for Music of Christmastide)
As we continue in the New Year, the last few days of Christmastide are upon us. If you are listening to the Bach Christmas Oratorio, now would be a good time to acquaint yourselves with parts 5 and 6 (involving the visit of the Magi).
Day 9 (Jan. 2nd): “Salvation is Created” (and other works) by Pavel Tchesnokov. While originally intended as a communion hymn, this work is very appropriate for Christmastide, and is often done, either by a symphonic band or choir (even men’s choir). Why is this work appropriate? One, it is one of the most beautiful simple choral works one can hear, the text is beautiful, and it is a good introduction to the huge output of Russian Orthodox choral music in the years before communism. In fact, Tchesnokov wrote hundreds of sacred works, but most were suppressed or hidden because of the Soviet authorities. Here is the text and a video:
Salvation is made in the midst of the earth, O God. Alleluia
Day 19 (Jan. 3rd): Christmas Organ Music (performed by Kevin Bowyer). This is a fantastic album with the “king of instruments” playing a variety of familiar Christmas melodies, along with some compositions that might be unfamiliar. A hidden gem is Brahms’ “Es ist ein ros’ Entsprungen” (Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming), in which he looks back towards Bach after a career of late Romantic classicism. The album is relatively cheap and can be found for download here. The entire album is also free on YouTube!