Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This time of year I always listen to a lot of music. There is so much beautiful music written for Christmas, and of course all the carols that are sung at this time of year too. Last night we had the annual carol service in school. The day before, I had been asked to play with Senior Choir, they were going to sing John Rutter's Star Carol. I love this piece, and have played it before, but it is quite tricky, and so for the sake of everyone's stress levels we opted for Oh Holy Night. Not one of my favourites, but a very popular one. The soloist was beautiful, and the choir did themselves proud. It was lovely. Yesterday morning another piece of music got added into the mix, and I played for the boys choir who sang a jazzy version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. This was a bit more of a challenge, partly due to the lack of rehearsal time, but also because the accompaniment wasn't written, out I had to make it up as I went along (with instruction from the music teacher as to what she wanted). It was something I hadn't done for a performance before, and it was great fun.
My favourite carol of all is I think, the Coventry Carol. Closely followed by In Dulce Jubilo, and In the Bleak Midwinter. You will see a theme there of voices in close harmony and the yearning to have been at Bethlehem and to have had the chance to share at first hand in the experience of Christmas.
Music is for me an integral part of Christmas. I couldn't imagine Christmas without it. And while I love the big numbers like Messiah, Winter Wonderland and Hark the Herald Angels (with Handel's tune, not Mendelssohn's I'm afraid!), the true message of Christmas for me is found in the simpler haunting melodies and achingly beautiful harmonies of composers like Tavener, Vivaldi and Leontovych.
Happy singing everyone!