December 24 to 26
Stingray Classica celebrates Christmas with a string of seasonal favorites! From Sunday, December 24 to Tuesday, December 26, these enchanting ballets, celebratory oratorios, and spiritual concerts offer a colorful palette of captivating seasonal programs for everyone. Invite these holiday classics home to become part of your holiday tradition! Notable highlights include J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) as presented by the Thomanerchor Leipzig and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra on December 24, and a magnificent Christmas concert presented by conductor Paul Van Nevel and his Huelgas Ensemble on December 25, consisting of an atmospheric musical selection of 14th to 19th-century compositions. Be sure not to miss the other Christmas classics on Stingray Classica, which include Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker (December 25 and 26), and a fine selection of J. S. Bach’s Christmas cantatas performed by Collegium Vocale Gent under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe (December 26).
J. S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248
Sunday, December 24 | 21:00
Traditionally, many ensembles festively announce the Christmas season with a performance of Johannes Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248. It consists of six cantatas originally intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period. The work saw its first performance in 1734, at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany, where Bach occupied the position of cantor. In that very same church the thirty-fourth ‘Thomaskantor’, Gotthold Schwarz, leads the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in a performance of Bach’s choral masterpiece. Among the soloists are Dorothee Mields (soprano), Elvira Bill (alto), Patrick Grahl (tenor, Evangelist), Markus Schäfer (tenor, arias), and Klaus Häger (bass). This performance was recorded in 2018.
Mirabile Mysterium - A Christmas Tale
Monday, December 25 | 10:00
Conductor Paul Van Nevel and his Huelgas Ensemble present the ideal Christmas program, consisting of an atmospheric musical selection of 14th to 19th-century compositions. The Huelgas Ensemble, which has emerged as one of Europe's premiere vocal ensembles dedicated to the performance of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is the ideal candidate for the job, conveying all the mystery and luster a Christmas celebration calls for. Van Nevel organized his varied musical selection in four distinct themes: ‘The Birth in Bethlehem’, ‘The Crime of Herodes’, ‘The Travel of the Three Kings’, and an Epilogue. In 2015, the full program was performed and recorded at the baroque St. Augustine Church currently known as AMUZ in Antwerp, Belgium. ‘The Birth in Bethlehem’ opens and closes with pieces by unidentified composers, 'Balaam de quo Vaticinans' and 'A Carol for Christmas Eve' respectively. The core of this section is made up of Jacobus Gallus's 'Myrabile Mysterium' and Jerónimo Luca's 'Este nino que es sol del Aurora'. ‘The Crime of Herodes’ opens with 'Hostis Herodes Impie' by an unidentified composer, followed by Jean Mouton's 'Interrogabat Magos Herodes', Giaches De Wert's 'Vox in Rama', and Bertram Luard-Selby's 'A Voice from Ramah was There Sent'. ‘The Travel of the Three Kings Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar’ opens with 'Vincti Presepio' (anonymous), followed by Pierre De Manchicourt's 'Reges Terrae', Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck's 'Ab Oriente', and Peter Cornelius 'Drei Könige Wandern'. Lastly, the Epilogue consists of 'Quae Stella Sole Pulchrior' (anonymous) and António Marques Lésbio's 'Dexen que Ilore mi Niño'.
Monday, December 25 | 14:00
English Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner (*1943) found the perfect setting for his recording of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio; the historic Herder Church in Weimar. Against the backdrop of the church's dramatic altarpiece by painter Lucas Cranach the Younger, the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists perform Gardiner's new interpretation of this classic piece. For the renowned conductor, this Weimar concert is a special performance, marking the start of his Bach Cantata Pilgrimage. With this new interpretation of the Christmas Oratorio, Gardiner shows himself once again to be an incontestable specialist in Bach's music. In this documentary, he explains his interpretations, the setting, and more about Bach and his Christmas Oratorio.
J. S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)
Monday, December 25 | 14:25
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a performance of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) Parts I to III/Parts IV-VI. Claron McFadden (soprano), Christoph Genz (Tenor), Bernarda Fink (alto), Dietrich Henschel (bass) are the soloists. The Christmas Oratorio is a series of six cantatas, each originally intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period during the winter of 1734 and 1735 in Leipzig. Bach took many of the arias and choruses from works which had previously been composed, and the music represents an expression of the parody technique, where music is adapted to a new purpose. Gardiner is one of the finest interpreters of Bach’s vocal music and seems to use the choir as a soloist. The size of the choir is similar to that which Bach probably used. This performance is recorded at the Herderkirche in Weimar, Germany, on December 23 and 27, 1999.
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker
Monday, December 25 | 21:00
Toulouse-based Ballet du Capitole performs Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's famous ballet The Nutcracker in a choreography by Kader Belarbi. The Nutcracker, an 1892 ballet in two acts which was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, is based on E. T. A. Hoffmann's story 'The Nutcracker and the Mouse King'. This performance was recorded at Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse, France on December 28, 2018.
Bach - Christmas Cantatas
Tuesday, December 26 | 10:00
The Collegium Vocale Gent has built its reputation as one of the world's most prestigious choirs. Founded by conductor Philippe Herreweghe, their lively, musical approach strives for an authentic sound. This concert was recorded on December 23, 2015, at the Church of Saint-Roch in Paris. Owing to J. S. Bach's function as the Thomaskantor, the leading cantorate of Protestant Germany at the time, he composed many cantatas for the Lutheran liturgy. These Christmas cantatas are an invitation to reflect on the nature of Christmas. The orchestration evokes feelings of splendor while the counterpoint also carries on a festive mood. The wind instruments act as glorious messengers of joy and the soloists proclaim that the glory brings light. This unique program, consisting of the four cantatas BWV 40, 62 , 63 and 91, offers an elegant and very delicate interpretation of these works. Under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe, the Collegium Vocale delivers an interpretation free of exaggeration or vanity yet full of humility. A glorious concert in the spirit of Christmas.
Ice Dance: Nutcracker 2011
Tuesday, December 26 | 14:00
This stunning performance of theatrical ice dancing brings viewers into the enchanting world of Tchaikovsky's magnificent holiday classic, The Nutcracker On Ice, performed by the internationally renowned Imperial Ice Stars, and including former champion figure skaters, Vadim Yarkov and Olga Sharutenko. This very special performance and soundtrack was performed by the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tim A. Duncan, and filmed live in Cape Town, South Africa in 2011.
Sounds like Christmas
Tuesday, December 26 | 21:00
Set in the magnificent Cistercian Monastery Schulpforte near Naumburg, Germany, Sounds like Christmas combines festive music with the spontaneity and freshness of jazz. This Christmas program is the musical encounter between soprano Angelika Kirchschlager and jazz trumpeter Tomasz Stańko. Interpreting popular and lesser-known Christmas songs, the soloists are accompanied by the outstanding Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the Leipzig a cappella ensemble Amarcord, consisting of former members of St. Thomas Boys Choir. The artists' different backgrounds and stylistic preferences create a suspenseful, varied musical experience. The origins of the monastery date back to the Benedictine convent founded in Schmölln in 1127. Concert footage is juxtaposed with snowy mountain landscapes and cities decorated for Christmas.
Baroque Christmas Concert
Tuesday, December 26 | 22:00
This splendid Christmas concert was recorded live from the Freiburg Cathedral in 1999. It features soprano Barbara Bonney, recognized worldwide for the clarity of her voice and the precision of her diction, and the baritone Matthias Goerne, one of the most promising singers of his generation. Accompanied by the Baroque Orchestra of Freiburg and the German Brass, they perform pieces from Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), Mozart's Mass in C minor (KV 427), and Handel's Messiah.