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Praetorius: Christmas Vespers / Apollo's Fire


Release Date: 10/23/2007 
Label:  Koch International Classics Catalog #: 7673   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Magnificent . . . a musical gift to treasure." -- THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

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Living at the same time as Monteverdi, the great revolutionary composer of Italy, Praetorius was aware of the new and virtuosic elements of Monteverdi's music; however, he firmly upheld Luther's ideal that the common people should be able to participate in the music-making in some way. Therefore, while Monteverdi's music requires an entirely professional ensemble of virtuoso singers, such as existed at St. Mark's in Venice, Praetorius channeled his imaginative flair toward writing music that brought together professional singers, humble village choirs, children's voices, and even congregational
Read more singing.

Thus, Praetorius' music combines the drama and virtuosity of something like the Monteverdi Vespers, with the simple and accessible traditions of Lutheran hymn-tunes that many Protestants know by heart. Praetorius wanted children to participate, and thus many of his pieces are scored for children's voices singing a familiar chorale tune, while professional soloists and instrumentalists weave more virtuosic variations around them.

Though Praetorius produced a vast quantity of sacred music in every form imaginable - from simple duets to large and complex polychoral works - he did not write a work called the Christmas Vespers. "Christmas Vespers" is the title of the program I have compiled, selecting from amongst the many dozens of Christmas pieces that Praetorius left us. Unlike some early music conductors before me, I am not striving to recreate a complete and authentic 17th-century Vespers service, exactly as it would have been done in Wolfenbüttel on Christmas Day in 1618. Rather, my primary goal was to create a vivid and compelling concert experience. With that in mind, I set out to shape a program that presents highlights from typical 17th-century Lutheran Advent and Christmas Vespers services.

This recording is a reflection of that concert experience. The first half of the program highlights an Advent service - i.e., one of the four weeks preceding Christmas, when the liturgical focus is on thoughtful preparation of the soul, attentive watching and waiting, and longing for the birth of the Messiah...In the second half, we present highlights from a typical Vespers (evening) service on Christmas Day.

Jeannette Sorrell ( excerpted from album liner notes)
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Works on This Recording

1.
Nun komm der Heiden Heiland by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
2.
Wachet auf by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1619; Germany 
3.
In dulci jubilo by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1619; Germany 
4.
Nun lob, mein Seel, den Herren by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
5.
Magnificat by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
6.
Puer natus in Bethlehem by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1619; Germany 
7.
Musae Sioniae: Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1609; Germany 
8.
Quem pastores by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
9.
Bransle double by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
10.
Bransle gay by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1612; Germany 
11.
Terpsichore: Bransle simple by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1612; Germany 
12.
Musae Sioniae, Book 5: Der Morgenstern ist aufgedrungen by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 
13.
Polyhymnia caduceatrix et panegyrica: Missa gantz Teudsch - Gloria by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1619; Germany 
14.
Ach mein Herre, straf mich doch nicht by Michael Praetorius
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Apollo's Fire
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Germany 

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