Saturday, 11 September 2010
The Journey Begins
I was idly browsing yesterday in one of those '£1' shops and was astonished to see a whole shelf given over to fantastically sparkly Christmas ornaments, vibrating Father Christmas's and lights to set the whole of Paradise on fire. As far as I am aware it is only Sept 11th, and the days still have a warm and sunny feel of late summer.
Of course this premature sighting of festive accoutrement's set me panicking ever so slightly, about music for the Christmas Concerts ! Whilst I try to keep the content seasonally oriented, solos and duets etc are normally standard repertoire, and therefore useful as all purpose concert fodder. The choral pieces are mainly along the Christmas theme though, and I was flung headlong into a frenzy of brainwaves dangling with baubles and tinsel!
I had already given a small amount of thought to the matter, then put those thoughts firmly away for a month or so - but here I am once again at 11pm ish wracking my brains for some show stopping songs on the theme of Holidays, Snow, Robins and the Baby Jesus !
I have given some of the small people a song from a Michael Hurd cantata about the Nativity. It is a delightful little piece called 'Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh', and has lovely words all about the symbolism of each gift to the Child, but all wrapped up in a waltzy and accessible melody which they will sing simply and beautifully. I had toyed with the Berlioz 'Shepherd's Farewell' for the ladies group, the tune of which we all know, but which takes care and delicacy to really bring off, but that is the extent of my thoughts.
My wonderful young baritone who played Captain Corcoran, and is really of professional standard, will be singing in his final Christmas extravaganza with us, as his young wife will be auditioning for music college and they will both be far away from us this time next year. I think I will take the musical plunge and go for the gorgeous 'Three Kings from Persian Lands afar' arranged with the Bach Chorale underneath the baritone solo, by Peter Cornelius. It is challenging and tricky, but I have loved it all my singing life, and I know my singers will fall in love with it at first 'sound'.
The 'funny ' item is always the most difficult to root out, and over the years one exhausts those old 'pot boilers' and I need to do some digging for a fine and rousing finale to the concerts.......watch this space.
Christmas is such a highlight of the musical year, and we manage to make our concerts in December, but not so far in the month that the stresses of the season have piled in and wiped us out! Last year the weather was so bad we had to cancel them, and, as you can imagine in this part of the world, it becomes impossible to drive even a few miles in ice and snow. It was magical to look at, but after about 4 or 5 weeks it began to pall. I hope this year the concerts will go ahead with no weather problems!
Oh well, I will try to give over a small amount of thought to the C word and it's music in the next few weeks, whilst trying to enjoy our glorious autumn, and Halloween and then Guy Fawkes night!
Loadsa time !..... she said knowing that it will be upon me before I can say Mistletoe!
Anyone got any ideas out there? All contributions gratefully received.