Day #2 of TEMP's 12 Days of Christmas
I’m a big fan of nostalgia. I think it’s good any old time of the year, not just at Christmas time, Halloween, or Super Bowl Sunday! So when I was researching “new” music for this year’s Early Christmas concerts, I found myself thinking back to the mid-eighties (see photo) when a lot of my core early music interests really galvanized. Yes, I know, I was still in grade school, but still….
Anyway, I had never been a fan of the French Baroque; it seemed so snooty and high-falutin’—and then in ’83 or ’84, I heard William Christie’s group Les Arts Florissants and their recording of Charpentier’s Christmas Pastorale and I thought that it was so un-snooty and really entrancing that I should—gasp—consider changing my mind. And then I got to work with Mr. Christie in England in 1985 and he brought two of his singers to the workshop for an intimate concert; the baritone was great but the soprano, Agnès Mellon, reduced a roomful of Brits and Americans to tears in a matter of seconds. No, the song wasn’t a noël; it was a very gentle, non-assuming air de cour by Michel Lambert. (Yes, students of mine, it was that air de cour.) I realized that her singing on the Pastorale album (and subsequent albums as well) played a large part in changing my mind about the French Baroque, as did William Christie. Enjoy this teaser video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNfF9UmRqfI
Back to the present: So I gave myself the gift of scheduling excerpts from the Pastorale for this year’s Xmas concert. And, in a way, it’s my gift to you, this gift of about 7 minutes of joyous, high-falutin’ but very un-snooty and very beautiful French Baroque music for Christmas, with chorus & orchestra & with solos by Jenifer Thyssen and Meredith Ruduski. (And thank you, Agnès Mellon, wherever you are! Your Atys rocked my world.)
Joyeux Noël, y'all!