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.
The small village of Arlesheim is situated on the outskirts of the city of Basel in Switzerland. Mainly a farming community, it contains a cathedral and a town center built in the 17th century, two castles, and a large English garden. Arlesheim is worth a visit for its sights alone, but a must for music lovers to hear the world-famous Silbermann organ in the cathedral.
Towns are founded to succeed. Some do and grow out of all recognition. Some fail and disappear into the ground. Some few fall into a vegetative state and keep going without growing. They are the ones to visit like Palmanova in Italy. Like a time capsule, the town remains almost unchanged since the time of Napoleon. It was founded by the Republic of Venice as the ideal Renaissance town.