Music of the Baroque: Brass & Choral Holiday Concert

The WFMT Radio Network and Music of the Baroque wants to wish you and yours a joyous holiday season as we offer the Brass and Choral Holiday Concert for your listening pleasure. Hosted by celebrated WFMT host Candice Agree, tune in to the great works of composers like Samuel Scheidt, Giovanni Gabrieli, William Billings, Claudio Monteverdi, and many more. Music makes the holidays come alive, and through the centuries this special time of year inspired composers to new creative heights.

Drawn from diverse cultures and various points in history, conductor William Jon Gray has assembled a program highlighting multifarious holiday traditions around a single unifying principle: whether in the twelfth or nineteenth centuries, in Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, the Netherlands, or Spain, music gives voice to the spirit of the season.

The first half of the program draws together Giovanni Gabrieli’s sparkling “stereophonic” music for brass ensemble and ethereal choral music written for performance in the soaring churches of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. Christmas music for Russian czars and the straightforward harmonies of North American music, including William Billings’s Shiloh and the Revivalist hymn “I shall be satisfied” illustrate dramatically the wealth of musical styles employed in the celebration of the holiday.

While the Christmas theme continues in the second half of the program, the repertoire becomes even more diverse. Lively instrumental dances by Tylman Susato contrast with “Adoramus te, Christe,” a sacred madrigal written by opera “inventor” Claudio Monteverdi, and Polish composer Mikolaj ZieleĊ„ski’s Vidimus stella euis in Oriente. The joy of the holiday season shines through in the infectious rhythms of the medieval villancico Riu, riu chiu and A siolo flasiquiyo by the sixteenth-century Mexican composer Padilla. The program concludes on a more traditional note with Praetorius’s “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,” leaving listeners with the beautiful image of a delicate flower flourishing in the snow.

Music of the Baroque is comprised of a chorus and orchestra of approximately 60 professional musicians who individually perform around the nation and worldwide and come together in Chicago as a collective. We would love to share their exquisite music with you and your listeners this holiday season.

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