The Church has been responsible for the most inspiring Christmas music. They had the message to promote, the venues for the party, and the necessary cash to pay for it. Christmas music is terribly predictable; Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and angels are standard fare. How refreshing if you get an oratorio with a role for the devil.
Stirling Castle once was a Royal residence of the kings of Scotland. Being situated near the border to England, the castle was of strategic importance for centuries before it became the seat of kings. When the Scots started to convert it into a Royal residence, the builders included a curious code into the ceiling of the king’s bedchamber. The code was cracked to reveal the music hidden within.
Galileo’s career started in a monastery in Florence; but his father saw a doctor in him. Defying his father, he studied mathematics instead of medicine. He made his first invention at 22. At 25, he was lecturing at the University of Pisa and building high class musical instruments. He had to move to Padova after being mobbed out from Pisa.
Johann Sebastian Bach's Christmas Oratorio lay in musical archives for over 100 years. They were rediscovered around 1850. And music historians were amazed and dismayed: Bach had composed and used important parts of it before and plagiarized earlier compositions into the work. The originals, however, had very different texts, and these were not at all for Christmas or any liturgical use.