by scotty hill-New Orleans

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The "Christmas Concerto" is considered the most famous of Arcangelo Corelli's 12 concerti grossi, largely because of its final movement, marked "Pastorale." The term comes from the Italian word "pastori," referring to the shepherds who gathered at the manger in Bethlehem. According to program notes from Orchestra Seattle, "by Corelli's time it had become an Italian tradition for rural shepherds to journey into a nearby town on Christmas Eve and play their pipes in front of nativity scenes. The music most often associated with this tradition was a gentle, lilting siciliano in 12/8 meter. Corelli may have been the first composer to use this type of tune in a concert work (1714) in order to musically depict the nativity scene, but he would certainly not be the last: both Handel (the "Pastoral Symphony" in Messiah) and Bach (the opening sinfonia of the second cantata in the Christmas Oratorio) adopted the technique." Composed around 1690 but performed later on. (1714)

Photograph: The historic Saint Louis Cathedral, a minor Basilica, New Orleans, Louisiana


released December 3, 2012



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