Upcoming release from Sonus Paradisi
If you are not familiar with this piece, it may not sound like Christmas music at first. It is written for a very specific moment during WWI. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_truce
The piece is in 4 parts. and has always evoked the same strong pictures for me as when I first heard it 30 years ago.
The first part depicts a forest at night, lit by shafts of moonlight. But besides this beauty, there is an ominous foreboding in the music.
Next, a slow march to the Christmas carol Es kommt ein Schiff, geladen begins, which one can almost imagine the soldiers humming or quietly singing as they move through the night. They stop, and the forest is quiet again.
A battle erupts above another chorale Ach was soll ich Sünder machen. The crescendo builds to a sudden, jarring silence, after which the battle falls away in two spasms and the forest is quiet a third time.
Finally, in the distance, a carol is heard softly (Vom Himmel hoch), which is answered at the same time by the other side singing Stille Nacht. Reger masterfully superposes these two melodies as the piece ends in hushed, pure harmony.
Merry Christmas to everyone on CCH!