Work: Christmas Concerto, Op. 6 no 8
About This Work
Although one cannot be sure, Arcangelo Corelli's famous Christmas Concerto -- the Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 ("Fatto per la notte di Natale," as the inscription actually reads) -- may well have been composed a full quarter
century before it first appeared in print, posthumously, in 1714; there is a record of Corelli having, in 1690, performed a Christmas Concerto for the enjoyment of his then-new patron, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. The Christmas Concerto is easily Corelli's best-known piece of music, though isolated movements from the sonatas have, through other composers' adaptations, achieved vast individual fame. It is at heart an example of the sonata da chiesa, expanded from the usual four movements to five and incorporating into the last movement a rolling, 12/8 meter Pastorale ad libitum. Like the rest of the Op. 6 concerti, it is scored for a concertante group consisting of two violins and a cello and a larger tutti ensemble.
The second movement is in the usual binary form, and is built around Corelli's favorite kind of staggered, imitative suspensions. The fourth movement, Vivace, which would normally be the finale, is very short, so as to make room for the sizeable fifth movement, the body of which is an Allegro, but the true heart of which is that most famous of all Corelli music: the lovely, serene Pastorale (Largo).
-- Blair Johnston, All Music Guide
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