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Thursday, December 25 at 10 a.m. A Renaissance Christmas

(Rochester, NY) A Renaissance Christmas, airing Thursday, December 25 at 10 a.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1), celebrates the soaring sounds of the holiday season with Chicago’s acclaimed Music of the Baroque Chorus and Brass Ensemble.

A Renaissance Christmas takes viewers to a time long before the advent of holiday lights and window displays, when music served as the main form of holiday decoration. The program includes solemn chant, brilliant brass canzonas and glorious multi-voiced choral music from the medieval, Renaissance and early baroque periods, composed to express the spiritual essence of the Christmas season and highlight the stunning spaces in which these works were first performed. Edward Zelnis, chorus director of Music of the Baroque, leads the 37-member ensemble in this national broadcast.

The richly diverse special offers a sweeping survey of early music, from the first music notated on paper to the triumphant large-scale works written for brass and choir in mid-17th-century Italy. Mystical chant melodies are heard alongside the stereophonic brass music of Renaissance composer Giovanni Gabrieli. Majestic works for chorus, including Jan Sweelinck’s jubilant Hodie Christus natus est and Monteverdi’s Beatus vir, showcase the power of the human voice that has captivated composers for centuries. A Renaissance Christmas also features popular Christmas tunes as they originally would have been heard, including Michael Praetorius’s Es ist ein Ros ensprungen (Lo, how a rose e’er blooming).

Currently presenting its 38th concert season, Music of the Baroque garners glowing reviews year-round for imaginative programs of early music, performed in downtown Chicago at the Harris Theater in Millennium Park and at city and suburban churches. The Holiday Brass and Choral concerts have been a cornerstone of annual programming for most of the ensemble’s history, attracting sold-out audiences drawn to the repertoire’s expressive intensity and the superb chorus and brass players.

A Renaissance Christmas was taped at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center in Northbrook, Illinois.

*For a complete schedule of holiday programming visit, wxxi.org/holiday.

For more information, visit wttw.com/renaissancechristmas.

Pictured: Chicago’s Music of the Baroque Chorus and Brass
Photo Credit: G. Thomas Ward/WTTW Chicago

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