Coming up in Philly music: Christmas in the German Renaissance

Hear Piffaro's Christmas offering at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on December 15. (Photo by William DiCecca.)

Piffaro’s annual Christmas concert is one of Philadelphia’s most appealing holiday offerings. The unique sonorities and tone colors of Piffaro’s Renaissance instruments create sonic versions of lights and ornaments. The religious and secular music they play reflects the season’s mixture of winter carnival and benign emotion.

This year, as part of their commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Piffaro is turning to the German tradition that generated some of our most cherished holiday customs. The music will include familiar chorales like Es ist ein Ros entsprungen and less familiar Renaissance dances and motets. The vocal guest is Jessica Beebe, a soprano whose performance at last year’s concert moved between choirboy purity in the religious music and bouncier, more colorful renditions in the music from the countryside.

Piffaro, the Renaissance Band will present Es ist ein Ros, Celebrating a German Renaissance Christmas on December 15 at 7:30pm at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 S. 38th Street; on December 16 at 7:30pm at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave; and on December 17 at 3pm at Immanuel Church Highlands, Wilmington, Delaware. Tickets ($29 to $49; youth and full-time students free) are available online, by calling 215-235-8469, and at the door.

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