Crescendo Celebrates The Three Kings R&B Style

Three-Kings-high-res6:00 pm • Friday, December 29th 2017
Saint James Place • Great Barrington, MA

In the Christmas story, according to the Gospel of Matthew and Christian tradition, there was a group of distinguished foreigners who visited the infant baby Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. While the Gospel of Matthew (Matt. 2:1) doesn’t give much detail, legend and tradition has it that there were three royal Magi—Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar—from the Orient. These three have not only been given distinction in paintings throughout the ages and by way of the numerous Nativity scenes that scatter our landscapes at this time of year, in our homes, and places of worship, but are also included in Christmas carols such as John Henry Hopkins Jr.’s “We Three Kings of Orient Are.”

The Three Kings play a particularly celebratory role in the Spanish and Latin American Christmas traditions with “Día de Reyes,” “Dia dos Reis,” or Three Kings Day on January 6th. Representing the height of the holiday season by commemorating the Magi’s arrival with gifts for the infant and to confirm Jesus as the son of God, it is a day of gift giving and topped off with a dessert bread known as Roscón de reyes.

With this in mind, I point you to a festive holiday concert to be performed by the Crescendo Chorus & Vocal Ensemble on Friday evening in Great Barrington (MA) that pays homage to the Three Kings. It has become customary for the vocal group to present an early music holiday concert the week after Christmas. For this year’s performance, Artistic Director Christine Gevert, as curated a program featuring villancicos and polyphonic Renaissance music from the Iberian Peninsula and Latin American countries and titled it “Three Wise Kings Follow A Star.” Popular from the late 15th to 18th centuries, the villancico was a common poetic and musical form of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America, and Spain had a rich tradition of highly developed polyphonic music. The featured works for the Crescendo program include:

  • Juan de EncinaLevanta, Pascual, levanta a 3
  • Juan de EncinaO Reyes magos
  • Antonio de Cabezón Falso bordone del cuarto tono 1570 in Obras de musica para tecla, arpa y vihuela
  • Cristobal de MoralesMissus est Gabriel
  • Luys de NarváezQuatro diferencias sobre Guárdame las vacas
  • Francisco GuerreroGabriel archangelus
  • Anonymous (Spain, 16th. Cent.) — Ciaconas en Do
  • Cristobal de MoralesO magnum mysterium
  • Santiago de MurciaJácaras por la E
  • Francisco GuerreroMi fé,vengo de Belén a 5
  • Francisco GuerreroNiño Dios d’amor herido a 4
  • Francisco GuerreroLos Reyes siguen la estrella
  • Antonio de CabezónPange lingua
  • Francisco GuerreroPastores loquebantur a 6
  • Santiago de MurciaPreludio por la O
  • Tomás de Torrejón y VelascoDesvelado Dueño Mío
  • Santiago de Murcia and Diego Fernández de HueteCanarios
  • Juan de AraujoLos coflades de la estleya a 6

The instrumentalists joining the Crescendo Vocal Ensemble are:

While it is indeed bitterly cold out, if you can go to the concert you will no doubt experience a blanket of warmth in the music of the Renaissance and Baroque. If you are not sure you want to brave the cold, click here to take a listen to Marshall Miles interview with Christine Gevert via Robin Hood Radio. As the year-end approaches and if you do venture out, keep warm and Happy Musicking!

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