Traditional Victorian Christmas music, played on historic brass instruments in costumes of the 19th century to the flickering of warm candle light.
“Victorian Christmas” comprises typical Victorian „Christmas-Carols“, virtuoso instrumental music, arias and songs, respectively. The programme is supplemented by charming explanations of British Christmas customs: „How do you make a Plumpudding?“ „Who brought the Cristmas tree to England?“ „Why do English children not get their Christmas presents on the 24th of December?”
Artists: “Passion des Cuivres” (5 musicians) and optionally a female singer
“How prettily is the festive room adorned!”
Atmospheric romantic Christmas music with the „Christmas Songs“ by Peter Cornelius, the „Christmas Tree Suite“ by Franz Liszt and works of their friends and well-known contemporaries like Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy.
Peter Cornelius (1824-1874) was introduced to Franz Liszt by his uncle in 1853. They lived most of the time in close proximity until 1858. The „Christmas Songs", op.8, were composed in 1856. They are a shining jewel of Romantic music as they have acquired a status among the song repetoire that is to be admired due to their high literary quality coupled with compellent tone relationship and richness of nuances and tone colours.
Twenty years later Franz Liszt in Bayreuth dedicated the „Christmas Tree Suite“ to his granddaughter Daniela von Bülow.
Both works have an enchanting effect on one hand due to their dedication to the text and on the other because of the underlying chorals, which do not lose their vigour and importance even when they are masterly played and decorated in a virtuoso manner.
Artists: "Passion des Cuivres“ (5 musicians) and a singer (baritone)
„Paris – Moscow“
During this musical juxtaposition the audience witnesses and experiences the quality, the commonalities as well as local variations and differences that exist within the European brass music.
Paris was the undisputed cultural capital of the 19th century. Everything that was in vogue here was taken over everywhere in the world. From here also the virtuoso cornet music by a Jean-Baptist Arban („Carneval de Venice“), Schiltz and Distin spread.
François-Victor Bellon (1795–1869), a Parisian violinist and orchestra director, composed the „12 quintet de cuivres“ between 1848 and 1851. These possess, in our eyes, an unrivalled quality of brass chamber music as regards the refinement and beauty of sound. 2489km further east was the cornet playing tsar Peter III one of the key figures. The quintetts by Victor Ewald (1860-1935) and Ludwig Maurer (1789-1878), which are still performed today, were written for his musical environment.
Artists: "Passion des Cuivres“ (5 musicians)
„La Comedie et la Mort“
In 1838 the collection of poems of the same name by Théophile Gautier (1811–1872), a friend of Hector Berlioz (1803−1869), was published. Six of these poems had been set to music by Berlioz by 1841 in the song cycle „Les nuits d’été“ – at first for singing voice and piano, later in a version for orchestra. This work is played by "Passion des Cuivres“ in a romantic arrangement for brass players and soprano.
This central cycle is accompanied by Parisian composers, contemporaries of Berlioz. Thus the audience hears a quintett by the conductor and violinist Jean-François-Victor Bellon (1795 -1869) as well as works by Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) and Edmond Dédé (1827-1903).
Artists: "Passion des Cuivres“ (5 musicians) and a mezzo soprano singer
“From the Life of a Good-for-Nothing”
The romantic novelette „From the Life of a Good-for-Nothing“ by Joseph von Eichendorff contains, in addition to the well-known atmospheric pictures, a great treasure of lyrics that was gratefully welcomed and masterly set to music by the composers of the 19th century.
Some of these like “If I were a little bird” („Wenn ich ein Vöglein wär”) and “When God wishes to show true favour to someone” ("Wem Gott will rechte Gunst erweisen") have become folksongs.
Along with the read text passages "Passion des Cuivres“ plays perfectly suited music by Ludwig Maurer, a German violinist and composer, who lived at the beginning of the 19th century in St. Petersburg, as well as compositions based on lyrics by Fanny Hensel, Hugo Wolff, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and others.
Artists: „Passion des Cuivres“(5 musicians) and an actor (Wolfram Berger)
„Festgesang an die Künstler“ („To the Artists: Chorus“)
The „Festgesang an die Künstler", op.68, by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847), based on Friedrich Schiller’s poem "The Artists", was composed in 1846 on the occasion of the first German-Flemish song festival in Cologne. It opens a typical liederkranz (garland of songs).
You are enchanted by an overwhelming variation of romantic music in instrumental and vocal arrangements, as well as highlights of the “Liedkunst” with works by esteemed contemporaries of Mendelssohn like Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Louis Spohr (1784-1859) and Moritz Hauptmann (1792-1868); and composers who where supported by Mendelssohn like Robert Schumann (1810-1865) and friends such as Julius Rietz (1812-1877), Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817-1890) and Ferdinand David (1810-1871).
Artists: „Passion des Cuivres“(5 musicians) and the "Atrium Ensemble“
Beside the heroic feelings, with the eyes of the British a look is taken on other nations – in addition to light music seasoned with the legendary black humor.
Victorian England was very successful in acquiring and defending its colonies. In the competition for ressources, power and recognition with other nations it was a also competitor to be taken seriously regarding other areas such as the economy and the invention and development of new technologies.
This resulted in a strong feeling of national identity which found its expression in very patriotic songs like „Rule, Britannia!“, „Land of Hope and Glory" and „And did those feet in ancient time"/"Jerusalem". On the continent these songs were also used, arranged or adapted by composers like Beethoven, Liszt and Wagner.
Artists: "Passion des Cuivres“ (5 musicians)