December 2013

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Santa Fe Pro Musica is proud to present its beloved holiday tradition A Baroque Christmas from December 20 through December 24 at 6pm and 8pm each evening at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe. Come celebrate the holidays with us!

This December, Santa Fe Pro Musica presents A Baroque Christmas, a concert featuring the Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble and mezzo-sopranos Deborah Domanski and Dianna Grabowski (alternating performances – please see our website for complete schedule). This holiday favorite is sure to entertain and delight in the subtle tones of Baroque period performance.

The Program:

Molter Concerto Pastorale
Handel Mi lusinga il dolce affetto (from Alcina)
                Furibondo spira il vento (from Partenope)
Purcell Fantasy on a Ground in D Major
Telemann Concerto in E Minor for Recorder, Flute, and Strings
Traditional Carols O Holy Night, Masters in this Hall, Lo, how a rose is blooming, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep, and Sheep may safely graze

The concert begins with Johann Melchior Molter’s Concerto Pastorale. The baroque pastoral or Christmas concerto originated from an old Italian folk custom. During the nine-day period of devotions preceding Christmas (the Novena), country peasants playing musical instruments would process into the towns and re-enact the shepherds’ adoration of the Christ-child. Art music took this rustic fare and created the quietly lilting pastorale (pastor from the Latin for “shepherd”). For the Christmas season, a pastorale would be inserted into a concerto or other composition, transforming it into a celebration of the Nativity.

Next comes two arias by George Frideric Handel. The first aria Mi lusinga il dolce affetto (Who will reveal to me if I am deceived?) is from the Italian-style comic opera Alcina. In the story, the warrior Ruggiero has been captured by the sorceress Alcina and put under a spell to love only her. Ruggiero’s fiancée Bradamante braves Alcina’s magic to win him back. When Ruggiero is given a magic ring to ward off these enchantments, he sees that Bradamante might be his real beloved. With this aria he expresses his confusion and fear that not only has he lost his beloved, but perhaps he deserved to lose her.

The second aria Furibondo spira il vento (Furiously blows the wind) is from the Italian-style comic opera Partenope. In the story, Prince Arsace of Corinth is betrothed to Rosmira the Princess of Cyprus, but he is also wooing Partenope the Queen of Naples. Arsace, torn between the two women, sings of his anguish in this aria: “As the wind whistles furiously and convulses heaven and earth, so I feel my soul churned by sorrow.”

Henry Purcell’s Fantasy on a Ground in D Major follows the Handel. During the Commonwealth years dominated by Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), arts and culture were suppressed in England. Puritans closed down theaters, dissolved cathedral choirs, banned instrumental music in churches and instituted regulations for public morality. Upon King Charles II’s restoration to the throne (1660), music once again flourished. This was the music world young Henry Purcell entered as composer to the king. One of his duties was to write string music for “His Majesty’s Violins.” With the Fantasy upon a Ground, Purcell establishes a repeating bass line (the ground) and upon it imposes ever more fanciful variations. One of the most famous pieces of this form is Pachelbel’s Canon.

Regarded as the most cosmopolitan composer of his time, Georg Philipp Telemann wrote music in German, French, Polish and Italian styles. He learned to play many musical instruments and therefore knew how to write effectively for each one. In the Concerto for Recorder and Flute, the two solo instruments represent two branches of the flute family; the older flute (recorder, flauto dolce or sweet flute) and the newer flute (flute, flauto traverso or side-blown flute).

The evening of music making concludes with a selection of “Traditional Christmas Carols” – O Holy Night, Masters in this Hall, Lo, how a rose is blooming, Shake Off Your Drowsy Sleep, and Sheep may safely graze.

A Baroque Christmas
The Santa Fe Pro Musica Baroque Ensemble
Deborah Domanski, mezzo-soprano
Dianna Grabowski, mezzo-soprano

Friday, December 20 at 6pm and 8pm
Saturday, December 21 at 6pm and 8pm
Sunday, December 22 at 6pm and 8pm
Monday, December 23 at 6pm and 8pm
Tuesday, December 24 at 6pm and 8pm*

Loretto Chapel
207 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501

TICKETS: $20, $35, $45, $65 (*Christmas Eve, add $5 per ticket) at the Santa Fe Pro Musica Box Office (505) 988-4640, ext. 1000, Tickets Santa Fe at The Lensic (505) 988-1234, or online at


© Santa Fe Pro Musica 2013


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