|Performers||Flor Peeters (organ)|
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There can hardly be an image that creates a better Christmas feeling than that of the old Italian shepherds going from farm to farm, village to village, playing Christmas "pastoral" music on traditional folk instruments. That is just the kind of image we get when we hear the "pastorals" from Handel's Messiah, Corelli's ”Christmas Concerto” and similar pieces by Geminiani and others – including today's pastorale by the Italian composer and Jesuite missionary Domenico Zipoli (1688–1726).
As we so often find, history is perhaps less romantic. The "Pastoral" style, which is to remind us of the simple life in idyllic Arcadia, dates back to the ancient Greeks and has influenced music through all the ages. That this style acquired a "Christmas" association is a tradition that may have begun amongst composers in Germany or in Italy – but it is very possible that when the shepherds began to travel around playing Christmas music in 19th-century Italy, this was a new and "artificial" tradition that originated in the composed music by Zipoli, Corelli and others, rather than the other way round.
The prolific Belgian composer Flor Peeters (1903-1986) was a much-loved organist who made many recordings of early organ music.
Last update: 06.12.2011 21:06. Webmaster
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