In its original form, this duet is sung by Nanki-Poo and Ko-Ko in Gilbert and Sullivan's 1885 comic opera The Mikado.
The flowers that bloom in the spring,
Breathe promise of merry sunshine.
As we merrily dance and we sing,
We welcome the hope that they bring
Of a summer of roses and wine.
And that's what we mean when we say that a thing
Is welcome as flowers that bloom in the spring.
This piece is extracted from the second of three pedagogical volumes for the baroque guitar written by Gaspar Sanz. The book, entitled “Libro Segundo de cifras sobre la guitarra española”, was first printed in Saragossa in 1675.
“Campanas de Belén” (“Bells of Bethlehem”), also known by its opening line “Campana sobre campana” (“Bell over Bell”), is probably the most typical Spanish Christmas song. It originated in the Spanish region of Andalusia, and, unlike many Christmas tunes, it doesn't appear to have an English equivalent.
This song is an example of the very popular musical form of a villancico, which is made up of a refrain (estribillo) alternating with verses (estrofas).
This waltz is taken from a collection of Trois valses brillantes, first published in 1838. The title “Valse brillante”, however, hardly seems appropriate for such a melancholy, subdued work.
The composer Stephen Heller related that Chopin called this slow (Lento) waltz his favorite. When Heller told the Pole that he, too, loved it best, Chopin immediately invited him for lunch at a fashionable café. Frederick Niecks wrote of this piece, “The composer evidently found pleasure in giving way to this delicious languor, in indulging in these melancholy thoughts full of sweetest, tenderest loving and longing.”
This is étude No. 10 from the first book of Ernesto Köhler's Progress in Flute Playing, Op. 33. From its very beginning it is evident that this is mainly a study in thirds. It starts off in D major, and explores the keys of G major and E minor before going back to the original key to restate the initial theme.
Not a lot is known about this Austrian Christmas carol and lullaby. The melody is a folk tune from the State of Salzburg, first appeared around 1819, while the German lyrics were published for the first time in 1865 in a folksong collection by Maria Vinzenz Süß, founder of the Salzburg Museum.
The tune for this carol first appeared in print in R. Grosjean's Airs des noêl lorrain (1862), where it is called “Ancien air de chasse” (“Old hunting air”). It is indeed the case that an old Normandy hunting tune known as “Tête bizarde”, though in 6/8, is melodically very similar.
English translations of this carol include “He Is Born, the Holy Child”, “He Is Born, The Heav'nly Child”, “He Is Born, The Divine Christ Child”, and many others.
This is the last movement of the famous Piccolo (or Recorder) Concerto in C major by Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. The soloist's plethora of fast-note patterns is here even more dazzling that in the first movement, with swirls of colorful sounds and notes tossed about athletically!
Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 4 for unaccompanied cello is known as one of the most technically demanding of the six cello suites. The Prelude primarily consists of a difficult flowing quaver movement that leaves room for three wave-like cadenzas before returning to its original theme. The composer makes use of repetitive arpeggios to build complex phrases, as he did in the first suite, but here the sense of improvisatory fantasy is stronger: the arpeggio descends in a gradual figure and varies negligibly as it explores a range of keys.
This is the prelude to the second of the Il pastor fido sonatas, first published in 1737. The composer, Nicolas Chédeville, made a secret agreement with Jean-Noël Marchand to publish a collection of his own compositions as Antonio Vivaldi's Op. 13. Chédeville supplied the money and received the profits, all of which was recorded in a notarial act. This may have been an attempt to give his instrument, the musette, the endorsement of a great composer which it lacked.
This is the first movement from the fourth of Telemann's Sonates sans Basse à deux Flutes traverses, ou à deux Violons, ou à deux Flutes à bec, or “Sonatas without Bass for Two Transverse Flutes, or Two Violins, or Two Recorders”.
The melody to this French Christmas carol about the Nativity was used by John Gay in his famous The Beggar's Opera in 1728. Since it originated in France and made its way across the channel into that famous English stage effort, it must have been in existence for some decades, because Gay only used familiar tunes for his production. The carol is also popular in English translations, the most common one appearing to be by A.B. Ramsay:
Whence is the goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away,
never the like did come a-blowing,
Shepherds, in flow'ry fields of May,
Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing,
Stealing our senses all away.
The tune “Aurelia” was written in 1864 by organist Samuel S. Wesley, one of the most influential figures in Victorian English Cathedral music. It was originally composed for John Keble's wedding hymn “The voice that breathed o'er Eden”, but it was later used for many other hymns as well, including “The Church's One Foundation” and “Another Year Is Dawning”.
The “Boar's Head Carol” is a 15th-century English Christmas carol that describes the ancient tradition of sacrificing a boar and presenting its head at a wintertime feast. In antiquity the fierce boar was feared and respected; because of its ferocious nature, it was associated with death, just as the winter solstice was associated with the death of light.
Of the several extant versions of the carol, the one most usually performed today is based on a version published in 1521 in Wynkyn de Worde's Christmasse Carolles.