Neues Berliner Kammerorchester · Michael Erxleben
"Fatto per la notte di Natale" ("made for Christmas Eve") is how numerous Italian
composers of the Baroque period headed those orchestral concertos in which a
pastoral occupied a firm place as a symbol of intimate shepherds' music. Although it is natural to suppose that this pastoral and Christmas music was particularly cultivated in Rome, the home of this style was in the north of Italy, in Bologna. From 1670 the city fathers maintained in their gigantic basilica of San Petronio a small, full-time salaried orchestra which on ecclesiastical high holidays was reinforced to more than a hundred players by amateurs and musicians from the neighbourhood, and provided an incomparable splendour of sound in the divine service. The composers of the Bolognese school were either maestri di cappella at San Petronio or took part as musicians in this ensemble like ARCANGELO CORELLI, GIUSEPPE TORELLI or FRANCESCO MANFREDINI.