This year, advent has had its own advent – after such a somber year, now we’re clinging on every small thing, and we even wait for the waiting phase. When I’m walking in the street for my daily one health walk, I see Christmas lights on houses and trees, there are Christmas ornaments everywhere, and bless the Brits, they even started to set up Christmas trees in November. (Otherwise they do that in early December.)
This Winter, I haven’t even been thinking about whether this is too early. It is dark at 4 pm already. Being locked down is gloomy. Nobody can predict the future. We have to find all occasion to let light in our lives and hope in our days. This Sunday I’ll light a candle, greet the advent of this year, and I’ll let the feast with a bittersweet smile in this feastless year, and while snipping a spicy tea, I’ll turn on the live broadcast of the advent concert in the Müpa.
It starts with the Adam oratory from 1749 by Gregor Joseph Werner. He’s not among the most well-known composers, but early music orchestras try to keep the public aware of him, as he was the Kapellmeister of the Esterházy princes before Haydn. The second piece evokes the famous family itself, because it will be Pál Esterházy’s Harmonia Caelestis to be played by György Vashegyi’s two formations, the Orfeo Orchestra and the Purcell Choir, alongside the soloists. And then Haydn can’t be missing as well! At a later point, we can hear his Maria anthem called Salve Regina.
After the Austro-Hungarian domain, the then-equivalents of Germany, France, Italy are coming. There will be a German cantata by Christoph Bernhard, with a title that fits to 2020 very well: “don’t be afraid”. Marc-Antoine Charpentier lets instruments to awake Christmas spirit, and then Johann Sebastian Bach’s first movement of a third-day-of-Christmas cantata celebrates the coming of Jesus, the sweetest comfort. Then it’s Giuseppe Tartini’s turn with the Violin Concerto in D major, and the closing piece is a cantata by another German baroque composer, Andreas Hammerschmidt, straight from heaven.
Aside the two remarkable early music formations, there are five soloists: sopranos Ágnes Kovács and Ágnes Pintér, countertenor Péter Bárány, tenor Márton Komáromi and bass Ákos Borka, just like violinist László Paulik and Vera Balogh flutist. This concert can be a truly festive and solemn opening of this year’s advent, as in any case, it is baroque art that is the most suitable for what we all need now: to coat everything with gold and light.