Collective Listening Project

Fall Guest Artist Holiday List

Playlist No. 39

About the Playlist

December 17, 2020
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As the holidays are a time to reconnect for auld lang syne (for old times’ sake), we have asked the artists whom we would have heard on our season this fall to share their favorite holiday music for the next playlist in our Collective Listening Project. We hope you enjoy hearing the magic of this time of year through the ears of the four members of the Tetzlaff Quartet and pianist Cedric Tiberghien. And to truly do auld lang syne justice, the playlist concludes with an old and dear friend, Professor Emeritus Scott Burnham, paying tribute to an even older friend, Ludwig van Beethoven, in honor of the composer’s baptism 250 years ago today.

For old acquaintance be forgot and days of Auld Lang Syne…

JOAN BAEZ The Carol of the Birds
JOAN BAEZ O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
JOAN BAEZ The Little Drummer Boy

Elisabeth Kufferath, Violin (Tetzlaff Quartet)
As we are a German-American family, my husband, children, and I love to listen to Joan Baez’s 1966 Christmas album Noël. I especially enjoy “The Carol of the Birds.” Baez’s angelic voice is so deeply moving in this beautiful Catalan Christmas song in which the birds rejoice at the wonder of the Holy Night. Baez dedicated the song to cellist Pablo Casals, who had opened his concerts with it since his 1939 exile. Other family favorites on the album include “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “The Little Drummer Boy.”

JOHANN JOSEPH FUX Serenade in C Major, K. 352

Hanna Weinmeister, Viola (Tetzlaff Quartet)
I have listened to a lot of music lately, due to more free time, and have discovered many interesting pieces new to me. For the holidays, I would like to recommend the Serenade in C Major from Concentus Musico-Instrumentalis by the Austrian composer Johann Joseph Fux, who was born in 1660. It is a beautiful collection of cheerful and festive baroque dances. Fux was also an important music theorist and wrote Gradus ad Parnassum, one of the most influential books written on counterpoint and used by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and many other composers to study. I very much like the recording of Lorenz Duftschmid with Armonico Tributo Austria.

ROBERT SCHUMANN The Paradise and the Peri, Op. 50
ROBERT SCHUMANN Nachtlied “Quellende, schwellende Nacht,” Op. 108
(“Rising, burgeoning night”)

Christian Tetzlaff, Violin (Tetzlaff Quartet)
My holiday music would be “The Paradise and the Peri” by Schumann in the glorious recording of John Eliot Gardiner…consolation, striving for redemption, and joy. And on the same CD, the “Nachtlied:” turmoil, anxiety, and sleeplessness with all the colours and power of orchestra and choir, but…THEN! sleep does come more blissfully as any other composer could have imagined.

JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248

Tanja Tetzlaff, Cello (Tetzlaff Quartet)
My holiday music would be, of course at this time of the year, the Christmas Oratorio by J.S. Bach! This music is for me connected to joy, peace, nature, and free time with the family. When I listen to it, I am immediately with the whole family gathering at the Christmas tree. And especially in this dark year, we need a lot of bright candles to lighten up our souls. I recommend listening to Part 2, “Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend“  (“And there were shepherds in the same region”), in a recording with Nikolaus Harnoncourt—the Sinfonia at the beginning is pure peace.

DUKE ELLINGTON In a Sentimental Mood

Cedric Tiberghien, Piano
There are many works I’m listening to, so the choice is not easy. If it can be outside classical music, I’d go for “In a Sentimental Mood” sung by Ella Fitzgerald. I love that song. I discovered it played by other artists in very different ways (Fats Waller or the legendary and fabulous Coltrane/Ellington). But Ella brings something that cracks my heart: the unique quality of tone, her phrasing, the way the guitar plays with the harmonies in an always surprising manner. It’s instant goose bumps for me!!!

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1

Scott Burnham, Scheide Professor of Music History, Emeritus
For this birthday celebration, I would choose Beethoven’s very first opus number, the Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 1, No. 1. Written while he was still in his early twenties, this high-spirited work is full of “quips and cranks and wanton wiles,” as well as plenty of the charming puppy fat of youth. I get a special kick out of the last movement, easily one of his most entertaining finales. Here’s a rollicking performance by the Beaux Arts Trio.

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