John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

  • Music:

Advent 2011: Merry Christmas

Most of you probably remember me saying back in 2003 that I had never sung Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols and that I probably never would, because it was written to be sung by a boy's choir. What I didn't know at that time was that Britten had authorized an SATB transcription of the work, so it was a very pleasant surprise to walk into the choir room at church this past October and find that it would be our major Christmas performance this year. It was a hard two months work--it's definitely not easy!--but I had a lot of fun working on it. (I can't speak for the other members of the choir. I heard some grumbling from time to time.) We didn't sing it straight through, as in that YouTube playlist I linked to above, but interspersed throughout the service, which I thought worked rather nicely. And in fact, the songs were not originally intended as part of a unified work, so I'm sure Britten would not have minded this approach at all. And if he did, nuts to him.

(If you'd like to learn a bit more about the Ceremony of Carols, my choir director wrote an good article about it for the church newsletter that you may want to read. And if you want to know a lot more, these program notes by another Presbyterian church choir director are worth reading.)

I chose today's card with A Ceremony of Carols in mind. It's more a Renaissance style than a medieval one, but close enough. In any event, the card is almost exactly as authentically medieval as the Ceremony itself, in that it was made in the first half of the 20th Century by Buffalo woodcut artist J. J. Lankes. I don't knew precisely when this card was designed, only that it was "made between the 1920s and 1940s." So ... the 30s? I doubt that's what they meant, though.

Merry Christmas
Grosvenor Rare Book Room, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Buffalo, N.Y.
Tags: advent: 2011, greeting card, music

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