Precious few countries can boast of a Christmas repertoire as ample and colourful as that possessed by the Czech Republic. The Baroque era imbued the texts of songs with enchanting, tender poetics with awestruck yet perplexed shepherds enthusing about the beautiful infant Jesus. Later on, a growing number of formally more complex pieces (pastorales) were written, most of them taking the form of arias or duets with instrumental accompaniment. A notable composer in this respect was Josef Antonín Sehling. Although still anchored in the Baroque world, he paved the way for the accession of a new musical style. He studied in Vienna and subsequently worked in Prague as a member of Count Václav Morzins renowned orchestra and as second violin at Saint Vitus Cathedral, although standing in as Kapellmeister over the long term (an interesting parallel can be drawn with Zelenka, the counter-bassist at the court orchestra in Dresden). Sehling was Kapellmeister of several Prague churches, including the Church of Our Lady under the Chain, where the present world premiere recording was made.
For over 20 years, the world-renowned Berliner Philharmoniker have celebrated their founding on May 1 with the annual Europa Konzert. The 2006 event was an all-Mozart program featuring Daniel Barenboim in his familiar dual role as both soloist and conductor. Sparkling high definition Blu-Ray brings the gorgeous Theatre of the Estates in Prague to life, highlighting this historic venue in its timely finery - attired to evoke the 1787 premiere of Don Giovanni, conducted by Mozart himself. A bonus Cultural Portait of Prague video makes this even more valuable to the curious viewer.