When we hear a musical performance by ourselves or someone we know, it’s undeniable that we’re a bit more connected to the piece than if it were someone we did not know. We pay the utmost attention to every detail, and depending on how well we know the performer, to us, their personality may manifest itself in the music they make. Our classical music shows here on KRCU are usually filled with recordings of wonderful artists from around the world: Yo-Yo Ma, Anna Netrebko, Claudio Arreau, you name them. But this Christmas, local musicians from Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus have gifted to us their time and talents for Afternoon Classics. Not only will we be playing on-location recordings, but popular Christmas tunes by people such as Michael Bublé and Bing Crosby as well! So, whether you know them personally or not, you may feel a sense of pride just knowing that what you're hearing is a musician from your area.
Dr. Barbara Lamont, Director of Choral Activities, and Dr. Kevin Hampton, music department chair and applied piano instructor, both took a seat at the Steinway in Shuck Hall on the River Campus to record piano duet carols.
Our first recording features Appalachian Christmas Carols for One Piano, Four Hands by Vincent Persichetti. Songs in the set include: Down in Yon Forest, The Cherry Tree, The Seven Joys of Mary, Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head, Jesus Born in Bethn'y, Lullay Lulle, and Jesus the Christ is Born.
Their second set of songs is titled “Christmas Music Transcribed for Piano for Four Hands” composed by Norman Dello Joio. These are more well-known carols, such as: Oh Come All Ye Faithful, The Holy Infant’s Lullaby, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, A Christmas Carol, Silent Night, Bright Star (Light of the World), and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
On December 2nd, KRCU took a trip to the Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church to catch the Southeast Missouri State University Chamber Choir’s performance for the city’s Christmas Festival. Dr. Barb Lamont reappears, directing the choir in many lovely Christmas arrangements.
John Rutter is a composer whose name Dr. Lamont says is synonymous with the holiday season and with Christmas music.
“He has written and is still writing a lot of very festive music that calls to mind fanfares and twinkling lights of the season,” says Dr. Lamont. “This particular piece is a bit of a step back to the actual manger and to the cradle; it is a lullaby.”
Dr. Lamont says our next piece is the epitome of John Rutter’s feel-good music of the season.
“This particular text and setting wraps you like a warm blanket with a mug of hot cocoa in your hand, and makes you feel like there’s a fire crackling,” says Dr. Lamont. “It really calls to mind the loving feeling that you have when you're around your family during the holiday season.”
Next, we have a modern jazz take on a classic Christmas tune. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was composed by Southeast composition student Landon Schnurbusch, who is also on the piano in this recording. Southeast’s new jazz professor, Dr. Joseph Jefferson, joins him on the trombone. Have a wonderful time listening to this tune for trombone and piano!
On November 28th, in addition to Vivaldi’s “Winter” and “Gloria”, The Southeast Missouri Symphony performed two chorale transcriptions by Johann Sebastian Bach in the Bedell Performance Hall of the River Campus.
The first, named "Jesus bleibet meine Freude," translates as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” It’s the 10th and last movement from the Bach cantata, “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” or, “Heart and mouth and deed and life,” written in the early 18th century.
Next is a hymn originally written by Martin Luther in the early 16th century, but later used as a source for Bach’s chorale cantata "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott," or, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” It was published after his death in the early 19th century.
Enjoy our playlist of hit Christmas tunes as well on Spotify: