12.12.2010

Didòmhnaich Adhradh: 12/12/10

Prelude: Angels We have Heard on High - arr. Tedd Smith (pf)
Choir: Candlelight Carol - J. Rutter (pf)
Offertory: Five Fingers No. 6, Lento - I. Stravinsky (pf)
Postlude: Vom Himmelhoch, da komm' ich her - J. Pachelbel (o)


Josephus De bello judiaco, MS A.8 fol. 164r
It turns out that I don't own a lot of holiday music; Christmas, Easter, even Halloween. Tedd's rendition is a little banal, but as I said it's all I have in my collection. I have a feeling it would work better in the hands of someone skilled in the swanky art of Gospel improvisation. I sort of shrug my shoulders at that one.
I can't say enough about John Rutter... but not what you think. Let's just say that he's not my favorite. Let's just say that he's prolix, superfluous, schmaltzy... awful. Music for senior citizens and junior high choirs. I am adamant about this. Sorry for those avid readers whom I have now alienated. Standards are standards.
Stravinsky's Five Fingers are wonderful. So much more interesting after learning more about Russian folk song this last quarter. No. 6 is delightfully full of Stravinksy modernisms: the "ambiguous key" of D major/minor, polyrhythmic meters, organic melodies. This one for me speaks to the tensions of Advent, the waiting and growing all at a steady Lento.
I do enjoy Pachelbel's chorale preludes, especially the cantus firmus ones, all Aslan-roaring and shaking the building. Vom Himmelhoch is a great German Christmas song which Pachelbel set in a romping 6/8 with fantasia-like interludes. Great stuff.

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