During the last two days of pre-Christmas daze in Bratislava, I totally got in the mood for Slovakian Christmas carols. While I proudly claim to know a lot about the composers of the Czech Baroque and Classical era (Zelenka! Ryba! Brixi! And of course, the flute people like Wanhal and Benda), the only Slovakian composer I’ve ever heard of is Johann Nepomuk Hummel, who wasn’t even Slovakian. Fortunately, YouTube is an endless source of music if you’re vague enough with your search terms, so that’s how I found Edmund Pascha and his Christmas Mass in F Major. According to Wikipedia*, Pascha was a Franciscan monk and organist during the late Baroque period, who also run under the pseudonym Claudianus Ostern. His two manuscripts Harmonia pastoralis and Prosae pastorales compositae et conscriptae a Patre Claudiano Ostern Solnae, are included in the so-called Žilinský kancionál, a collection of liturgical texts and music, which was put together around 1770 but was discovered only two hundred years later, in 1967. The Vianočná omša F-dur (Christmas Mass in F major), was also arranged as a passion play by Pascha’s contemporary and fellow Franciscan monk, the Hungarian Zrunek György.
And the music – it’s Slovakian folk tunes orchestrated in pretentious Baroque manner. Pure fun, with shepherd’s flutes and all. Enjoy.
* I know, I know. Wikipedia is not a reliable source for scientific research. Shame on me. Fortunately none of my former, oh so very famous and dedicated Historically Informed Performance Practice teachers read this blog, haha**