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‘Christmas Vespers: Music of Michael Praetorius’ highlights the virtusoic vocal and instrumental music of the extraordinarliy versatile 17th-century German composer, assembled as in the Baroque tradition by Apollo’s Fire’s founder/director Jeanette Sorrell.
Music for the people could have been the motto for 17th-century German composer Michael Praetorius. He adhered to the ideals of Protestant pioneer Martin Luther - of whom his father was a disciple - that music, like religion, should be open and free to all. Praetorius was an extraordinarily versatile composer and, along with J. S. Bach, was one of the greatest composers of Protestant church music in Germany. With his music, he strived to bring together people of all walks of life - professional singers, congregations, villagers and children alike - an aim mirrored in the present day’s BBC program “The Choir”.
Like the Vespers settings in the 17th century - most notably the Vespers of 1610 by Monteverdi, who inspired Praetorius - this Christmas Vespers is an assemblage of works by Praetorius that Apollo’s Fire’s founder/director Jeanette Sorrell has compiled. It highlights his virtuosic vocal and instrumental writing and includes as interludes his popular carol settings, O Morning Star and Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.
Martin Luther: Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland (Arr. Jeanette Sorrell)
Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland (Arr. Jeanette Sorrell)
Michael Praetorius: Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland
Nun Komm der Heiden Heiland
Michael Praetorius: Wachet Auf!
Michael Praetorius: Puer Natus in Bethlehem
Puer Natus in Bethlehem
Michael Praetorius: Ach, Mein Herre
Ach, Mein Herre
Martin Luther: Wir glauben all
Wir glauben all
Michael Praetorius: Terpsichore: Bransle de Poictu – Gaillarde – Bransle gay – Bransle simple – Bransle double
Michael Praetorius: In dulci jubilo / Good Christian Friends, Rejoice!
In dulci jubilo / Good Christian Friends, Rejoice!
New York Times
25th November 2015
“[Praetorius is] a composer virtually made to herald the joy of the Christmas season. The two sets of his music here...make no attempt to reconstruct actual services. Rather, Jeannette Sorrell culls highlights in an attempt, she says, “to create a vivid and compelling concert experience.” In that she succeeds admirably...Sheer delight.”