I confess that today’s entry will probably be maddening–it’s a wonderful piece of which there are very few passable recordings. (Bill, feel free to chime in if I’m wrong about this!)
Resphigi’s Lauda per la Nativita del Signore is an exquisite little piece often described as “pastoral.” It tries to paint the experience of the shepherds hearing about the birth of Jesus. Probably the shepherds were not quite as proficient at the bassoon as Resphigi imagines them, but the soprano solo is the most angelic thing I expect to hear this side of the grave. It’s a short piece, but employs a wide variety of choral and vocal styles, so it’s fun and engaging. My kids love it, even though they are otherwise generally unresponsive (at best) to the music I subject them to. If you get a chance to see it performed, go! It has its charms even when performed by musicians who are just pretty good (the soprano here is better than that, I think).* And when it’s really good, it’s simply magnificent.
*It can, however, be excruciating, so don’t click on the other YouTube links. Trust me on this.