Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Joy to the World", the annual broadcast from the European Radio Union, Dec. 22 2013

One of the few remaining quality broadcasts remaining on CBC Radio 2 is "Joy to the World", the annual broadcast from the European Radio Union of Christmas music.

This year the broadcast is on December 22 2013, beginning at 9:00 AM.

I notice in the spirit of modern-day political correctness, the CBC does not refer to this broadcast as being one of "Christmas" music; instead, it is "holiday music" for the "holiday season". Sigh. One wonders how much longer this musical tradition will endure until the boys and girls in short pants who run the CBC decide that such a program is not sufficiently "inclusive".

Sunday, Dec. 22

9 a.m.: Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, Zagreb, Croatia

Your morning begins with the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and conductor Tonči Bilić in the nation’s capital city. They’ll perform Ottorino Respighi’s Gli Uccelli (The Birds) before being joined by the Croatian Radio and Television Chorus and soloists for a performance of J.S. Bach’s glorious Magnificat.

10 a.m.: St. Martin in the Wall Church, Prague, Czech Republic

Czech baroque specialists Ensemble Inégal give a concert dedicated to the music of Bohemian composer Samuel Capricornus. Known for his vast output and short life, Capricornus is one of the most important composers of the 17th century. Ensemble Inégal, led by Adam Viktora, is giving the world premiere on period instruments of Capricornus’s Missa Nativitatis Domini.

11 a.m.: Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Budapest, Hungary

On Mahler’s copy of the score for Bruckner’s Te Deum, he scratched out "for chorus, solos, orchestra and organ ad libitum" and wrote "for the tongues of angels, heaven-blest, chastened hearts and souls purified in the fire!" Hungarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra join together to perform this jubilant work under conductor Gregory Vajda. The performance continues with the scherzo from Bruckner’s Symphony No. 1 and concludes with evocative music from Hungarian composer Miklós Kocsár entitled O wunderbare geheimnisvolle Nacht.

Noon: Barbican Hall, London, England

The hectic streets outside London’s Barbican Concert Hall are packed with last-minute shoppers, but we’ll travel inside the hall for Hector Berlioz’s reflective and luminous retelling of the Christmas story. The BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus are led by François-Xavier Roth and joined by Trinity Laban Chamber Choir and four soloists for Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ oratorio.

1:45 p.m.: Blauwe Zaal, deSingel, Antwerp, Belgium

Enjoy an all-Bach program from Belgium, with festive music from the Ricercar Consort and soloists led by Philippe Pierlot. You’ll hear two less famous Christmas cantatas by Bach. The icing on the cake is the bombastic and exuberant opening from a third cantata, which features dazzling timpani and trumpets.

3 p.m.: Kallio Church, Helsinki, Finland

It’s off to the heart of the Finnish capital for the eight-voiced Lumen Valo. They’ll be performing unaccompanied music from the Middle Ages right through to present day. Included on the program is music by Gabrieli, Palestrina, Praetorius and a new Christmas carol by composer Matthew Whittall, who came to Finland from Canada some 10 years ago.

4 p.m.: Studio 1, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany 

The Bavarian Radio Chorus and members of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Radio Orchestra bring you two sacred choral works with orchestra: Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten, preceded by Lauda per la natività del Signore by Ottorino Respighi. The performance will conclude with a rousing chorale by J.S. Bach.

5 p.m.: Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, Montreal, Que. 

A wildly popular Montreal tradition since 1980, the annual CBC Sing-In celebrates the season with your favourite Christmas tunes performed by the Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, the Sing-In Brass, organist Jonathan Oldengarm, conductor Jordan de Souza and more than 1,500 carollers singing along.

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