Christmas and the Baroque Oratorio

As I said, I love Christmas music. And while I love all forms of Christmas music (see yesterday’s playlist), it is no coincidence that my favorite form of music–Baroque oratorio–features prominently in the genre. The first half of the 1700s were awash in Christmas music, likely ignited by Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. Vivaldi followed suit with his own Christmas concerto. Bach composed several works for the holiday, including an oratorio of his own. And yet, during Christmastime, the nearly every orchestra and concert hall in the world programs the same work–Handel’s titanic oratorio, the Messiah. Well, not to throw coal in the stockings of classical music programmers across the world, but Handel’s oratorio was actually composed for Easter, hence the emphasis of the narrative on the Resurrection. I chose one part of that undeniably great oratorio for the Christmas playlist as a nod to tradition (and chose the chorus that celebrates Jesus’ birth), but it is not strictly Christmas music. Handel will get his nod in due course in this blog, but today I’ve chosen a different oratorio (and one that is decidedly shorter than the 2+ hours running time for the Messiah). It is not strictly Christmas music either, but at least for me, it sounds like Christmas. In any event, this is what I will be listening today–a candidate for the greatest oratorio ever composed, regardless of genre or period.

Now that the man in the red suit has completed his duties, let’s allow the Red Priest to take the baton.

Antonio Vivaldi, Gloria:

For those looking for the full version, here is a Spotify link:

And for those traditionalists, here is my favorite recording of the Messiah:

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