Archive for the 'holidays' Category


10 fresh and underrated classical holiday pieces

Holiday music can be pleasant and refreshing as long as it’s . . . well, good. We comfort creatures don’t mind the familiar, but even the most spirited among us eventually tire of Messiah, The Nutcracker, and Sleigh Ride.

That’s where andante mosso steps in, bringing you, courtesy of YouTube, 10 classical pieces that can make for fine holiday listening—and you won’t find sleigh bells or whip cracks in any of them:

1 – Ubi caritas from Four Motets on Gregorian Themes – Maurice DuruflĂ©

Maurice DuruflĂ© (1902 – 1986) was a French organist and composer whose works, including the famous Requiem, are largely based on melodies from plainsong chant harmonized and developed in interesting ways. This motet, Ubi caritas et amor (Deus ibi est) / Where there is charity and love (God is there), is a simple, warm, lovely tribute to the spirit of Christmas, performed here by the Cambridge Singers.

2 – Chorus: “Jauchzet, Frolocket” from The Christmas Oratorio – J.S. Bach

One of the most underplayed Christmas masterworks in the repertoire, Bach’s monumental Weinachtsoratorium deserves, even among speakers of English, no less attention than Handel’s vastly more famous contribution. In the opening chorus, presented by John Eliot Gardiner and his amazing Monteverdi Choir, the listener is extolled to “rise up and praise” the Christmas miracle.

Continue reading ’10 fresh and underrated classical holiday pieces’