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Holiday Celebration Purchase Now 

The sound of sleigh bells means that it's winter holiday time, and music is full of representations of celebration. All around the world, winter holidays of a wide variety are celebrated, and their music is wonderful to listen to regardless of which one you celebrate.

Program 1

Bill gets us started with early Renaissance Christmas music, including a very early staging of the nativity. We jump ahead in time to hear La Fiesta de la Posada composed by Dave Brubeck. 

Anon: Nova Stella: A Medieval Italian Christmas (excerpts) 
Dorian 80142

Altenburg: Puer Natus In Bethlehem
Harwood Early Music Ensemble/Nygro
Classic Digital 1001

Arbeau: Branle De l’Official
Harwood Early Music Ensemble/Nygro
Classic Digital 1001

Guerrero: O Que Nueva!
Harwood Early Music Ensemble/Nygro
Classic Digital 1001

Respighi: L’adorazione Dei Magi from Trittico botticelliano
BBC Concert Orch & Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Cleobury
BBC Music 12/4

Brubeck: La Fiesta de la Posada (excerpts)
Brubeck, p.; Davis, bs.; Lewis, dr.; Orch/Davies
Columbia 64669

Melichar: Mille Cherubini in Coro
Vienna Symphony/Sutej; Carreras, ten.
Sony 53358

Armstrong: ‘Zat you, Santa Claus?
Louis Armstrong & the Commanders
Hip-o Records

Program 2

We come back with Christmas in Paris with music from Debussy, Charpentier and Poulenc to start, followed by a cantata from Swiss composer Arthur Honegger. 

Debussy: “Qui N’ont Plus de Maisons” fr. Noel De Enfants
Soriano, p.; de los Angeles, s.
EMI 65061

Charpentier: Noëls pour les instruments (excerpts)
English Chamber Orch/Preston
Novalis 150133

Poulenc: Quatre Motets pour le Temps de Noël
The Sixteen/Christophers
Virgin 91075

Honneger: Cantate De Noël
BBC Concert Orch & Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Cleobury
BBC Music 12/4

Tchaikovsky, arr. Ellington: Sugar Rum Cherry
The Duke Ellington Orchestra

Charpentier: Or Nous Dites, Marie (Sarabande)
English Chamber Orch/Preston
Novalis 150133

Program 3

We hear a song of the birth of Christ from a small island and an excerpt from the classic Amahl and the Night Visitors from the original television production. Bill plays us one of his favorites from Ernest Bloch, Sacred Service.

Polynesian Trad. Hymn: Anau Oia Ea
Tubuai Choir

Berlioz: L’enfance du Christ, Op. 25 (excerpts)
Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Inbal
Brilliant Classics 99999
7:43, 3:06

Menotti: Shepherd’s Dance from Amahl and the Night Visitors
NBC Symphony Orch. & Chorus/Schippers
RCA 6485

Corelli: Concerto in g minor, Op. 6 No. 8, Christmas
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
DG 429390

Bloch: Sacred Service (excerpt)
NY Phil/Bernstein; Merrill, bar.
Sony 47533

Berlin: White Christmas
Orch/Camarata; Heifetz, v.
RCA 61750

Program 4

Bill plays a children’s piece from Benjamin Britten, his Ceremony of Carols. We hear an arrangement of William Blake’s poem “The Lamb” and Mahalia Jackson performs “Sweet Baby Jesus Boy.” 

Britten: This Little Babe fr. Ceremony of Carols (excerpt)
The Sixteen/Christophers
Virgin 91075

Bartók: Romanian Christmas Carols, Sz 57
Kocsis, p.
Philips 442016

Britten: Ceremony of Carols
The Sixteen/Christophers
Virgin 91075

Chopin: Scherzo in B Minor, Op. 20: Presto con fuoco
Ax, p.
CBS 44544

Taverner: The Lamb
The Sixteen/Christophers
Virgin 91075

Ramirez: Annunciation & Pilgrimage fr. Navidad Nuestra
Choral Arts Society of Washington/Holt
Naxos 8.557542

Trad.: Sweet Little Jesus Boy
Mahalia Jackson
CBS 38304

Ramirez: Three Kings (excerpt)
Naxos 8.557542

Program 5

We open with Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols before we hear Bach’s Magnificat and a quick number from David Bowie and Bing Crosby. 

Anon: Jesu, Son of Mary
Parthenia VII/Newman
Eclipse 64432

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas Carols
Chan 10385

Torelli: Concerto A Quattro In Forma Di Pastorale, Op.8 Nr.6
English Chamber Orchestra/Preston
Novalis 150133

J.S. Bach: Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir/Koopman
Erato 23416
25:10, :18

Trad.: Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy
David Bowie & Bing Crosby
Oglio 85001

Brubeck: Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep fr. La Fiesta de la Posada
Brubeck, p.; Davis, bs.; Lewis, dr.; Orch/Davies
Columbia 64669


The Exploring Music streaming website is made possible by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and Susan & Richard Kiphart.
You have opened up the world of Classical Music to me, where previously, it seemed too complicated.
Steffen Demeter
This is simply one of the very best radio programmes in the medium!...The study of the people, the times, and the events that inform the music we otherwise enjoy and even, heaven forbid, take for granted, brings the entire world of the music and the composer to life.
Walther Davies
There isn't a program you broadcast on Exploring Music" that isn't of interest. I find them all engaging. It is a combination of variety of subject, intellectual curiosity and your obvious enthusiasm which characterize your satisfying programs.
Michael Sanders
It’s a great way to re-engage myself with consciousness before heading off to work.
I Love this program! I am in 7th grade and I am the complete opposite of the other kids. I am 4th chair in the orchestra and I love to read. But most of all, I LOVE classical music!
Claudia Wertz
Your show has helped open my mind and heart to this world of music, and every show I hear confirms my place in music and gives me new ideas for where I'd like to go with it in the future….I grew up with classical music as a child and always held it in my heart, but I didn't have the confidence to be a good student (or a good violinist.)
Christine Anderson
Listening to you is almost interactive.You invite us in with so many well modulated dramatic and informative comments, enticing, enthusiastic interpretations, and coherent, beautiful presentations. It's a privilege to follow you into the musical space you create.
Sally Rosenbaum
I just love this program. It is soothing and comfortable at the end of the day. I find his comments interesting, but they aren't so dragged out that there is very little music. The balance of both is just right.
Jean Quay
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