Last night, the Bucharest Philharmonic, Choir, and four classical singers performed at the Romanian Athenaeum. Their joyous Christmas concert featured works by composers Arcangelo Corelli and Johann Sebastian Bach. Corelli and Bach wrote some of the world’s most famous Baroque Christmas music during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Concerto Grosso in G Minor, Op. 6, No. 8 by Arcangelo Corelli is better known as the Christmas Concerto. Corelli’s work was commissioned by Italian art patron Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. It was “written for two violins and cello and bears the motto – Fatto per la note de Natale (For Christmas Night)”. Corelli’s concerto was published posthumously in 1714.
Christmas Oratorio, Parts I and VI by Johann Sebastian Bach is “one of the most famous religious compositions of all time”. Bach’s religious vocal work was published in 1734 and includes six cantatas, written for Christmas, New Year, and Epiphany. In Germany, the Christmas Oratorio is a holiday tradition performed every year in major cities. The cantatas are performed on separate days during the Christmas holiday.
Note from Conductor Nicolae Moldoveanu
“We’re in the festive spiritual period before Christmas. In the tradition of Western classical music, Baroque style is featured. For this performance, I chose a repertoire featuring Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Corelli’s Christmas Concert.”
“Baroque has been a primary interest to me over the years, as I’ve developed as a conductor and organist. Unfortunately, current pandemic restrictions impose a reduction in the artistic presence allowed on stage and the size of the audience in the concert hall. Repertoires are subject to unwanted constraints that can compromise the instrumentation required by the score, but we strive to give our best.”
In spite of covid limitations, last night’s concert was another outstanding evening of first-class music. I’ll long remember the beautiful Athenaeum and Bucharest concerts enjoyed there!
French Revolution Éclairs!
As an aside, a few feet around the corner from the Athenaeum you’ll find French Revolution Éclairs – some of the best éclairs in the world! The delicious pastries will send your troubles packing, at least temporarily. These éclairs might even manage to get a smile from Bach. I recommend choco noir, caramel au beurre salé, choco lait noisettes, and especially Paris brest!