CPR Classical’s ‘Comfort And Joy’ Shares Holiday Music From Colorado Artists

· Dec. 4, 2019, 2:50 pm

Updated Nov. 2 2023

Comfort and Joy celebrates the partnership between Colorado Public Radio and the classical performing community. Join us for special recordings from the CPR Performance Studio including vocal groups Kantorei and St. Martin's Chamber Choir, the innovative instrumental groups Sphere Ensemble and Playground Ensemble, and University of Colorado-based concert pianist Hsing-ay Hsu.

Check out some of the featured recordings.

'Angels We Have Heard on High' sung by Anima Chamber Ensemble 

Angels We Have Heard on High - Anima Chamber Ensemble

"Gloria in Excelsis Deo" is a phrase that has been sung in the Christmas Mass since the second century. In the 1700s, it became the chorus for the French carol "Les anges dans nos compagnes" ("The Angels in Our Countryside"). And in English, we most commonly sing this carol to the hymn tune Gloria, in an arrangement by the American organist and composer Edward Shippen Barnes. It’s the chorus, in a beautiful two-part melodic cascade, that has made "Angels We Have Heard on High" distinctive throughout its history.

'The Christmas Song' performed by Hsing-ay Hsu

The Christmas Song - Hsing-ay Hsu

"The Christmas Song" conjures images of a cozy fireplace on a snowy day and tiny tots with their eyes aglow. But the classic song was actually written during a summer heat wave! Singer Mel Torme said pianist Bob Wells thought they could cool off by thinking about chestnuts roasting, Jack Frost nipping, yuletide carols and folks dressed up like Eskimos. Torme grabbed those images, wrote the music and some of the lyrics, and the Christmas song was born in 40 minutes.

'The Holly and The Ivy' performed by Kantorei

The Holly and the Ivy - Kantorei

Denver-based Kantorei is basking in international accolades. Their CD of music by Norwegian composer Kim Andre Arnesen is widely praised.  It includes several world-premiere recordings and works commissioned by Kantorei, and follows Arnesen's stint as Kantorei's composer-in-residence a few years back.  Kantorei was founded in 1997 by six singing friends under the leadership of Richard Larson, who was artistic director until 2014, when Joel Rinsema took over after 23 years with the Phoenix Chorale.

Harpist Lily Primus plays 'Greensleeves'

Greensleeves - Colorado Chamber Players

We'll be able to say "we knew her when" about Lily Primus. The then 17-year-old Denver School of the Arts harpist had her sights set on a top music conservatory after graduation and a principal harp position after that. It's no wonder she's so talented -- her mom is violist Barbara Hamilton, founder of the Colorado Chamber Players. Her dad is Paul Primus, the principal second violinist with the Colorado Symphony (and a member of the Colorado Chamber Players).

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View virtual and in-person holiday concerts in Colorado and beyond.

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