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Andrews University Symphony Orchestra
December 8, 2000
Welcome Christmas

Corelli: Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 8 in g minor "Christmas Concerto"
Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)”
Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 8 in G minor "Christmas Concerto"


From the beginning, Christmas has been a season for music.  The imagination hears the song of the angels, the rustic tunes of the shepherds, the gentle lullabies for the infant King.

Corelli’s Christmas Concerto (Fatto per la Notte di Natale) was composed for use in the Christmas Eve midnight mass, possibly in St. Peter’s, Rome.  The piece is a concerto grosso, a work for a small group of soloists (concertino) and full string orchestra (ripieno or tutti).  The movements of alternating slow/fast tempos for this concerto conclude with an unusual one for this form–a “Pastorale,” evoking the image of the shepherds in the fields.

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Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Fantasia on Greensleeves

The tune Greensleeves has worn a number of texts over the centuries, gaining its Christmas dress in the 19th century with William Chatterton Dix’s text “What Child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping.”  Although Vaughan Williams composed a number of works for the Christmas season, his Fantasia on Greensleeves was not written with a Christmas connection at all.  Building on Shakespeare’s reference to the popular 16th century folk tune The Ballad of My Lady Greensleeves in the play, The Merry Wives of Windsor, the composer combined it with a folk song from Norfolk to create atmospheric music for Sir John in Love, an opera based on that play.  Vaughan Williams’ arrangement heard tonight is scored for flutes, harp and strings, a sound befitting either an Elizabethan drama or a lullaby for the nativity.

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Program notes by Linda Mack. Copyright 2000.
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Program notes home Alphabetical Index of Composers Chronological Index of Concerts