Christmas Organ Music

Christmas Organ Music

A collection of pieces for solo organ ideal for church performance around Christmas

1.   Karg-Elert  -  Adeste Fideles No.4 from Cathedral Windows, Op.106

Karg-Elert, Sigfrid

Karg-Elert (1877-1933) was a German composer principally known for his works for harmonium and pipe organ. His rich imagination is much on display in this chorale prelude, with its delightful lilting melody overlayed upon the familiar Christmas melody 'O Come all Ye Faithful.'

Adeste Fideles No.4 from Cathedral Windows, Op.106

2.   Bach  -  Wachet Auf (Sleepers Awake)

Bach, Johann Sebastian

'Wachet Auf' BWV 645, is one of the best known chorale preludes (a composition that is based upon an existing hymn) by J.S. Bach. This particular piece is the first of a famous set known as the 'Schübler Chorales', named after the printer, Johann Georg Schübler, who published them around 1747.

Wachet Auf (Sleepers Awake)

3.   Corelli  -  Christmas Concerto Op 6 No. 8, Pastorale (Manuals)

Corelli, A.

Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8, by Arcangelo Corelli, known commonly as the Christmas Concerto, was commissioned by Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni and published posthumously in 1714 as part of his Twelve concerti grossi, Op. 6. The concerto bears the inscription 'Fatto per la notte di Natale' ('Made for the night of Christmas'). It was composed around 1690, since there is a record of Corelli having that year performed a Christmas concerto for the enjoyment of his then-new patron. The concerto is scored for an ensemble consisting of two concertino violins and cello, ripieno strings and continuo. The work is structured as a concerto da chiesa, in this case expanded from a typical four movement structure to six.

Christmas Concerto Op 6 No. 8, Pastorale (Manuals)

4.   Daquin  -  Noel, No.10 from Livre de Noels

Daquin, Louis-Claude

Louis-Claude Daquin (1694-1772) was a French composer and virtuoso keyboard player. He was a child prodigy, performing at the court of Louis XIV at the age of six and becoming organist at the royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle at the age of just twelve. Amongst his best loved works today is his collection of twelve 'Noëls,' the most famous of which is the tenth, which delightfully captures the joyful spirit of the season.

Noel, No.10 from Livre de Noels

5.   Brahms  -  Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen, No.8 from 11 Chor...

Brahms, Johannes

'Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen' is from Brahms late and great collection of Eleven Chorale Preludes written in 1896. The Chorale Melody 'Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen' ('A Rose has sprung up') is a German Christmas Carol, 'Ros'' referring to the Virgin Mary.

Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen, No.8 from 11 Chor...

6.   Gounod  -  L'Angelus (Manuals)

Gounod, Charles

French composer Charles-François Gounod (1818–1893) is today best known for is opera 'Faust' and short pieces such as his 'Ave Maria' and 'Funeral March of a Marionette.' He was gifted melodist, most obviously displayed in his voluminous song output, but also in exquisite miniatures such as this short work for organ.

L'Angelus (Manuals)

7.   Berlioz  -  The Shepherds Farewell

Berlioz, Hector

Berlioz's "The Shepherds Farewell" started life as an organ work for his friend Joseph-Louis Duc. On turning it into a choral work in 1850 he was gratified to find that many who disliked his music praised it. This encouraged him to add further movements, the work eventually becoming part of the larger "L'enfance du Christ" ("The Childhood of Christ"). That work is often performed at Christmas, but the delightful "Shepherds Farewell" remains the most popular part of it, often extracted and performed alone.

The Shepherds Farewell

8.   Handel  -  Pastoral Symphony from Messiah (Manuals)

Handel, George Frideric

George Frederick Handel (1685-1759), German by birth but an adopted Briton, is known today for a number of oratorios, operas, anthems and concerti grossi. None, however, is more celebrated than his oratorio 'Messaiah,' today probably the most commonly performed large-scale work during the festive season. It contains may rousing choruses, but also moments of quieter reflection, such as this Pastoral Symphony, which evokes "the shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night."

Pastoral Symphony from Messiah (Manuals)

9.   Chauvet  -  Offertoire

Chauvet, Charles Alexis

Charles-Alexis Chauvet (1837–1871), was a French organist and composer who made his debut at the organ of St. Remi church in Marines at the age of just 11 years old. This atmospheric 'Offertoire' ('Offertory', i.e. for use during the offering of the bread and wine at a Communion service) was written specifically for Advent and Christmas, seeming to capture some of the spiritual mystery of this time of the church year.


10.   Handel  -  I Know That My Redeemer Liveth from Messiah
(8notes PREMIUM)

Handel, George Frideric

"I Know That My Redeemer Liveth" is a soprano aria from the third part of Handel's celebrated oratorio "Messiah." The lyrics draw from both the book of Job and Paul and are "an expression of faith in redemption." They also announce the Second Coming of Christ. Much recorded as a stand-alone number, the melody has also been reworked as a hymn tune.

I Know That My Redeemer Liveth from Messiah
(8notes PREMIUM)

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