Season’s Celebrations!

Season’s Celebrations!
Panoramic aerial view of colourful huts at Brighton Beach, Victoria, Australia.
© Shutterstock image used with permission

Whatever your reasons for celebrating in December, Wise Music has you covered.

Whether you are observing Yule, Christmas, Rohatsu, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, or just enjoying family, freedom and your own festivities, music can sooth the soul and complement celebrations.

Here are some works worth knowing – from our opera, orchestra and ballet catalogues. Listen, read and program for next year!

OPERAS

A Christmas Carol by Graeme Koehne

A Christmas Carol by Graeme Koehne shows a contemporary Australian take on Dicken’s tale. The admirable qualities of love, compassion, and generosity shine through. A total gem, this work is playful enough to be adapted to the cultural attributes of any region. It will become a perpetual favourite.

Nativity by Richard Mills

A yearning for salvation and grace amid spiritual aridity is forefront in Nativity by Richard Mills. A meditation on the Christmas story conceived and written through the difficult years of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Mimi and the Dragon by Rachel Portman

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon by Rachel Portman displays friendship, courage and adventure. This work was written especially to introduce classical music to children. Beautifully composed, gentle, filmic and satisfying.

Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti

Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti was the first opera written for television and concentrates on the three Magi. Written in a great hurry, it was Samuel Barber who helped complete orchestrations for the television recording. A frequent festive favourite!

The Snow Queen by Michael Easton

The Snow Queen by Michael Easton is an opera for children based on Andersen’s classic mid-winter Christmas story. Simply and effectively composed for piano and voices it brings a sense of delight to all ages.

Snedronningen by Hans Abrahamsen

Based on the classic Hans Christian Andersen story Snedronningen by Hans Abrahamsen illustrates a Northern Hemisphere December holiday, full of snow and ice. A far cry from the beaches and barbeques of the southern hemisphere. 

CHORUS and ORCHESTRA

Quem Quaeritis by Ross Edwards

The Quem Quaeritis by Ross Edwards are based on mediæval English texts. Influences from Edwards’ teacher Peter Maxwell Davies can be heard within the orchestrations. A play of the nativity for chorus and orchestra that is a reminder of joyous aspirations and wonderment.

My Christmas by Gian Carlo Menotti

My Christmas by Gian Carlo Menotti is one of his most beautiful choral pieces. The words themselves are typical in juxtaposing the homely and the visionary, as is the pathos that permeates the music. The accompaniment for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and harp are an exquisite repast between the refrains and verses.

NARRATOR and ORCHESTRA

Sugar Plum on the Run by Lior Rosner

Lior Rosner had created a Christmas classic adventure in Sugar Plum on the Run. The music features Tchaikovsky’s iconic ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ to which Rosner has composed a set of variations, imagining what his favourite Russian composers would have written if they were each commissioned to write a variation on Tchaikovsky’s theme. The work is underpinned by a narrated story about the Sugar Plum Fairy, penned by Rosner together with James Lorick. The ‘fairies’ scene’ has also received an animated illustration by Étienne Duval of Yo Studios in Luxembourg.

ORCHESTRA

Die Natali – Chorale Prelude for Christmas by Samuel Barber

Die Natali – Chorale Preludes for Christmas by Samuel Barber is a sequence of chorale preludes based on popular Christmas Carols. Contrapuntal and harmonic compositional devices are used to meander through O come, O come, Emmanuel; Lo, how a rose e’er blooming; We three kings; God rest you merry, gentlemen; Good King Wenceslas; Silent Night; Adeste Fideles culminating with Joy to the world.

Jingles Journey by Michael Easton

Jingles Journey by Michael Easton takes one an orchestral journey based on the popular tune Jingle Bells, penned by James Lord Pierpont, wittily romping through various forms to bring a smile to every child, young or old.

Adoration for String Orchestra and Soloist by Florence Price

Adoration for String Orchestra and Soloist by Florence Price was originally a lush, reflective and grounding piece for organ. This new string orchestra arrangement by Peter Simcich brings new life to the original composition.

BALLET

A Christmas Carol by Sally Beamish

The world premiere  of A Christmas Carol by Sally Beamish has just taken place in Finland.  A brand new adaptation of the Dickens classic story to give you a feast for your eyes and ears.

 

For your convenience, here is a link to recordings of a selection of the above works:

Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays and peace to all.