A German Christmas, with the Radio France Children's choir

In celebration of the joyous end-of-year season, the Radio France Children's Choir has set its gaze this year upon Germany. The works of Praetorius, Schein, J.S. Bach and Mendelssohn, resonate throughout the hall, performed by the Radio France Children's choir accompanied by a brass ensemble.

Auditorium de la Maison de la Radio, Paris

In ancient Greek, the word "térpeô" means "to appreciate", and "khorós" signifies dance. Therefore, Terpsichore is the muse of dance, often represented with a lyre to accompany the cadence of her step. Portrayed by various composers including François Couperin in Second Ordre from his Pièces de Clavecin, and Georg Friedrich Handel in his opera Il pastor fido, the Terpsichore gave its name in 1612 to a collection of three hundred instrumental works published by Michael Praetorius. The Kapellmeister employed at the court of Wolfenbüttel presented himself as the arranger of works borrowed from other composers, French composers in particular, such as his collaborator Pierre-Francisque Caroubel. At the same time, 450km east of Wolfenbüttel, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck occupied the post of organist at the "old church", the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam, a position he held since the age of fifteen after taking over from his father in 1577. Other than his compositions for keyboard, entre ricercare and toccata, the "Orpheus of Amsterdam" also composed various vocal works, such as his motets for five voices and basso continuo from the collection Cantiones sacrae

Amongst the various motets from the words of Christ, from the Psalms or from the Passion, can be found nine motets for Christmas, of which Hodie Christus natus is of popular spirit, of exalted character and of a rather homophonic structure. Jetzt ist die rechte Freudenzeit by Johann Hermann Schein takes us back to the heart of the Holy Roman Empire, torn apart following the Thirty Years' War from 1618 to 1648. Schein held then, since 1615, the prestigious post of "Thomaskantor", musical director of the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, a post later held by Johann Sebastian Bach. Schein died in 1630, leaving behind several masterpieces, including the Motets of the Fountain of Israel, or the madrigals Diletti Pastorali ("Pastoral Delights") from 1624 featuring Mirtillo Mein, whose words were changed for the Christmas season to Jetzt ist die rechte Freudenzeit.

Concert Programme

Michael Praetorius   Tanz Terpsichore n° 1, 2 et 3
Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck    Hodie Christus Natus Est
Adam GumpelzhaimerCanon sur le plain-chant Ave Maria
Arnold Von Bruck   Ave Maria
Johann Hermann Schein     Jetzt ist die rechte Freudenzeit
Michael Praetorius    In Dulci JubiloTanz Terpsichore n° 4, 5 et 6Vom Himmel da komm ich herEcce Maria
Jan Sandström / Michael PraetoriusEs ist ein Ros Entsprungen
Charles Wesley / Felix MendelssohnHark! the herald angels sing
TraditionnelStille Nacht
Johann Sebastian BachIch steh an deine Krippe
TraditionnelAdeste fideles

Quintette de cuivres Or Notes Brass
Pierre Remondière horn  
Remi Joussemet trumpet  
François Petitprez trumpet  
Etienne Lamatelle trombone  
Sylvain Thillou tuba  
Laurent David, Bruno Renhold, Benjamin Woh tenors  
Vincent Vallet bass  
Maîtrise de Radio France
Sofi Jeannin conductor