Set to Christina Georgina Rossetti’s famous titular poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter” is a moving Christmas carol written by Andrea Montalbano. As if the melody had always been a part of the lines, this composition gives off an aura of classical music. The season is encapsulated in the piece as singer Motomi Tanaka and pianist Mari Kotskyy harmonize to bring it to life. The magical performance was touched by the recording that took place in December 2020 at New York’s Cutting Room Studio.
Notable composers like Gustav Holst (in 1906) and Harold Darke (in 1911) have already turned the poetry “In the Bleak Midwinter” to music. Andrea Montalbano takes a fresh approach to this classic piece, reimagining it musically in a way that speaks to his own aesthetic sensibilities. This presents a fascinating chance to go into the poem’s extensive history, exploring the links between Holst’s and Darke’s previous performances and Montalbano’s composition.
Inspired by Rossetti’s poetry, Montalbano wanted to add to the growing fabric of musical interpretations, therefore he decided to create a new musical version of a beloved text. Montalbano brings a modern twist to the lyrical profundity of “In the Bleak Midwinter” by incorporating his own musical sensibility into the piece, creating an original and captivating take on the traditional piece.
Montalbano’s performance of “In the Bleak Midwinter” exemplifies how music can capture the essence of the season and how Rossetti’s words have stood the test of time. An emotionally moving performance honoring the classic poem and highlighting Montalbano’s unique contribution to this treasured musical tradition is created by the combined talents of the soprano and pianist.