It’s the first day of the countdown!
After trying this out last year, we doing the 12 Days of Christmas Music again.*
This year I’m going to try highlighting different Christmas music from different cultures and countries around the world. If you know just the perfect story to some cool song, send it along as I’m still finalizing the countdown.
For today I’m sending the same one that kicked things off last year because it’s too perfect. Instead of compiling music of Christmas from around the world, this one takes music from around the world (mostly Europe) and shoehorns it into the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a lovely poetic inversion.
This is Craig Courtney’s “A Musicological Journey through the Twelve Days of Christmas“. This performance is by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Want details on each day? Keep reading below!
- 1st day: “A partridge from 6th-century Rome” from the tradition of chant
- 2nd day: “Two turtle doves from 15th-century France”
- 3rd day: “Three French hens from 16-century Italy” (probably à la Palestrina, 1525-1594)
- 4th day: “Four calling birds from 17th-century Italy” Vivaldi, 1678-1741, specifically from the Gloria
- 5th day: “Five gold rings in a guild hall in 18th-century Germany” C.P.E. Bach, 1714-1788 (not Handel)
- 6th day: “Six geese a-laying in the Esterhazy court in 18th-century Austria” Haydn, 1732-1809 (not Brahms)
- 7th day: “Seven swans a-swimming in 19th-century France” Saint-Saëns, 1835-1921, specifically from “The Swan” (Le Cygne) fromCarnival of the Animals
- 8th day: “Eight maids a-milking in late 19th-century Bayreuth, Germany” Wagner, 1813-1883, specifically the “Ride of the Valkyries” from the opera Die Walküre
- 9th day: “Nine ladies dancing in late 19th-century Austria” Strauss, 1825-1899, specifically the “Emperor Waltz”
- 10th day: “Ten lords a-leaping in 19th-century Italy” Ponchielli, 1834-1886, specifically from “Dance of the Hours”
- 11th day: “Eleven pipers piping from 19th-century Russia” Tchaikovsky, 1840-1893, specifically from “Dance of the Reed Flutes” from theNutcracker
- 12th day: “Twelve drummers drumming from 20th-century United States” Sousa, 1854-1932, from “Stars and Stripes Forever”
Enjoy this first day!
* I realize that the 12 days of Christmas actually start on Christmas and go to January 6. Sorry. This is the non-liturgical, non-feudal Europe version.