Thursday, December 20, 2007

More and more these days as I pass the piano I slip sideways on to the bench, consult the sticky notes containing the hymns for Christmas services, and lose myself in the lovely music of Christmas.

Some of my new favourites are not the ones that are old and precious to the congregation, and so it is not easy to introduce them into the Christmas services. I love the old familiar carols too, but I find much beauty in some of the new tunes.

"Silent Night" invariably brings unshed tears as I remember Christmases past, but "Still, Still, Still" arouses feelings of tenderness right down to my fingertips as I play the music.

We sing the John Rutter translation of this old Austrian carol, and I find the words more appropriate and stirring for Christmas Eve than some of the other lullaby oriented versions.

There are other carols in our hymn book that I find particularly beautiful, but which are, alas, not familiar to the congregation. As we don't have a choir to introduce them the organist must bear the brunt of winges from parishioners who "don't know that tune, - can't sing it, - why can't we have Jesus loves Me - everyone knows that!!!"

"In the Bleak Midwinter",
and the Divinum Mysterium setting of "Of the Father's Love Begotten" would be wonderful interspersed with "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come all ye Faithful". On the other hand, I am thankful that previous organists and popular renditions have introduced our lovers of Christmas music to "The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy" and "Twas in the Moon of Wintertime" - I love the suggestion of drums in the bass in the Moon of Wintertime.

I look forward to these Christmas Services but am bemused by the small attendance at the beautiful Christmas Eve Communion (which has always been the essence of Christmas to me). I guess it is a sign of the times that the Service of Lessons and Carols draws triple the number of participants.......both pathways to the holiness of Christmas.

And how about Boney M"s "Daughters of Zion", and "A Child is Born".....

Ah bliss, pure bliss....


Willo said...

Your blog entry today is so exemplary of the season. I must purchase the album you show. One of my sons played in the orchestra when Rutter came to Omaha to conduct his "Gloria" commissioned by Mel Olson, choral conductor...and this son's string bass teacher. John Rutter's carol arrangements are so beautiful.

Hildred said...

Willo - how wonderful to have that personal experience with John Rutter, - your son was extremely fortunate.

I was inspired by your recent posting about the Holden Village Advent Evensong and prompted to learn about Marty Haugen and his settings.

I, too, love to stand close to Husband as he sings - he has a sweet and true voice, - whereas mine wavers all over the place, so I gather support from him in yet another way...