music for the 2. Sunday of Advent – Michel Corrette: Sinfonia V. from 6 Symphonies en quatuor, contenant les plus beaux Noëls François & étrangers

by ada

For the second Sunday of Advent let’s get back into my comfort zone padded with late(-ish) French Baroque music, and listen to one of the Christmas symphonies of Michel Corrette, obsessive writer of DIY music treatises, knight of the Order of Christ, cultivator of the beau berger mindset that flourished in the social circles of the 17th-18th century French noblesse and, last but not least, composer of noëls and other funny things, such as concertos with titles like La Femme est une grand embarras or La Servante au bon Tabac. 

Noëls are the traditional Christmas carols of the French, and back in those times it was a thing amongst French composers to write variations based upon them for the organ, but (to my best knowledge) it was Corrette whom first occurred to bind a few of them together as a set and call it a symphony. Here is No 5 of the 6 Symphonies en quatuor, contenant les plus beaux Noëls François & étrangers, avec des variations pour un 1er violon ou flûte, un 2d violon, alto & basse chiffrée, & pouvant s’exécuter à gr. orchestre à l’Office divin, published in Paris in 1781. Its last movement is based on the melody that was well-known in Baroque Europe under various names, such as Fuggi, fuggi, fuggi; La Mantovana and Noël Suisse. Today most people recognise it as the melody of Hatikvah, the national anthem of Israel.*

* If when I’m done with the Salzburg Series and all my other series I’m dreaming of doing in my (nonexistent) free hours, like the Musica Hebraica, the Folia, the Female Baroque Composers, the Love, War and Death, etc, etc, I’m definitely doing a post on the early music background of Hatikvah. It’s not a long story to tell, so there is actually some hope of this happening, haha**

** hopefully I will still live blog at age 83***

*** Telemann, Schütz and even Corrette were still mentally fit and active around that age so nothing is impossible

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