Off the Christmas Shelve: A Christmas concert of familiar melodies performed in an unfamiliar guise.
Christmas music by Handel? One immediately thinks of one of his perhaps best-known and probably one of the most frequently performed oratorio works at Advent: The Messiah. Handel put it on the program in London from 1741, especially during the Passion season, and today we associate its familiar and catchy melodies with pre-Christmas splendor and festivity. As a composer, Handel did not shy away from reusing his own motifs - sometimes even entire movements - compositionally in other instrumentations and contexts.
Based on this idea, Ensemble Odyssee designs a program that plays well-known instrumental music by Handel and contemporaries both in original instrumentation, but also dares to arrange highlights of the Messiah and other Christmas works by Bach and Corelli for its instrumentation. Bach is widely known not only to have re-orchestrated his own work, but also to have transferred Vivaldi's violin concertos to the organ. A source of inspiration for Ensemble Odyssee, which in this program "thinks back" to Bach's organ works and presents them in an instrumental setting for recorder, violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord.
There are also original blossoms of the art of arranging in the program: at the beginning of the 18th century, the London publisher John Walsh had understood how well the music of the composer stars of the time sold among the music-making London gentlemen, even in the most adventurous new settings. Thus he was not afraid to slim down Corelli's complete Opus 6 (the Concerti Grossi, still beloved today) for two recorders and basso continuo. The eighth concerto from this collection of twelve ends with a pastorale, and the subtitle "Fatto per la Notte di Natale" suggests that it is to be performed on Christmas Eve.