Christmas Eve is two days away, and Christmas carols and Christmas pop songs might by now have poisoned your ears. Here is an antidote. Is pure, joyful and pacifying. It is solemn without veering into kitsch. It’s classy. It’s over 300 years old, but not outdated. It’s perfect for Christmas.
The first cadences could well illustrate the moment a discoverer’s ship leaves the port of Oslo: majestic, full of hope, peaceful. But Edvard Grieg had something totally different in mind when he composed the “Holberg Suite”, op. 40. He had been tasked to write a piece to commemorate the 200th birthday of the Danish poet Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754). Continue reading!
Buxtehude – now, what kind of name is that? It sounds like the name of a witch out of a German fairy tale. But no, Dieterich Buxtehude was a Danish-German composer and organist of the 17th century.
Today, the center stage will be taken not by a composer, but by a singer. Cecilia Bartoli, a fantastic Italian mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist. Born in Rome in 1966, she has been first taught by her parents and later studied at the Santa Cecilia Conservatorium, the very same that Ottorino Respighi directed for a short time at the beginning of the 20th century. She has recorded many discs as you can see on her website, but today I would like to focus on her recording of the “Salve Regina in F Minor”, composed by the Baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) and the “Stabat Mater” written by Giovanni Batista Pergolesi (1710-1736). The two pieces had and still have a profound effect on my. Since being a student I am struggling with my faith and at some point I decided to turn my back to the Catholic Church.