Christmas 2014

I  The Unexpected Christmas

I’ve been talking recently about differing interpretations of the same song.  No, I haven’t mentioned the myriad interpretations of Cohen’s Hallelujah (at least until now…)  Nor have I alluded to the mother of reinterpretation… Christmas music!  Being the season it is, I did think it appropriate to cite at least one example of a Christmas carol reinterpreted.  Here’s Joy to the World… but probably not as you’ve experienced it before… unless you’ve indulged in The Preacher’s Wife, a 1996 offering which featured Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington.   Here Houston and the Georgia Mass Choir present their soulful and energetic take on this Christmas classic…

whitney-houston-preacher-wife_lg

 

II  The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…”

Things like that…  a few years ago our son, Chris, wrote and recorded a song (as a gift) which speaks of these beings.  He called the song Things Like That and he’s recently re-recorded it.  I can’t think of a better occasion to share that gift with you than during this season…

PurpleWings

 

 

III  One Hundred Years Ago

One hundred years since the outbreak of the “war to end all wars”.  What began through an assassination and a tangle of alliances quickly descended into the horror and madness of trench warfare.  It was reported, however, that on Christmas Eve 1914 something of a miracle occurred in some of those trenches.  An unauthorized truce took place with the singing of carols, the exchange of gifts and even a soccer game.  The 2005 movie,  Joyeux Noël, effectively recounts the story.  This year, marking the centennial of the event, a British grocery chain (Sainsbury’s) in partnership with The Royal British Legion created and released this abbreviated narrative…

IV  On the Night

I must confess a certain fondness for music of the Christmas season (not all such music and not incessantly).  My favourites tend to express great celebration (such as demonstrated in Joy to the World [part I]) or reflection (as in Things Like That [II]) or quiet simplicity (such as Silent Night [III]).  During my teaching days, in search of seasonal music for the choir, I discovered the work of David Ouchterlony (1914-1987).  He was, among other things, a church organist and choirmaster and the composer of some rather fine sacred music.  Over the years we performed several of his Yuletide compositions… one of my favourites, On the Night When Jesus was Born (1976), possesses that requisite sense of reflection and simplicity.  First the lyrics…

A long time ago in a little town

A little baby was born.

A little place and a little boy in a stable all forlorn.

Why did the angels sing that night, why did stars the sky adorn

In a way that had never been seen before

On the night when Jesus was born?

In a way that had never been seen before

On the night when Jesus was born.

Ω

And why did the wise men on bended knee

Approach with rev-rence there?

And why did kings bring their precious things

To the babe in manger bare?

Prices born in great palaces

Are announced with drum and horn

But the greatest of these were exceeded far

On the night when Jesus was born.

But the greatest of these were exceeded far

On the night when Jesus was born.

Ω

Sweet Mary, His mother knew all the while

Why all these wonders were so

She knew that her babe was the Son of God

Come to earth God’s love to show.

But Mary saw also a little boy

And she loved Him and kept Him warm

And the angels sang Mary their sweetest songs

On the night when Jesus was born.

And the angels sang Mary their sweetest songs

On the night when Jesus was born.

The melody (you can sing along) goes like this…

christmas-tree-magical_4043_1024x768

All that remains is to wish you and yours the best of the season and a wonderful 2015…from all of us!

 

 

Jane, Bruce and the festive grrrls...

Jane, Bruce and the festive grrrls…

Boxing Day Addendum…

This year our family gathering was held on the 26th… and this addendum is a pictorial reminder of that occasion.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements