Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Carols

For me, one of the benefits of going to a boarding school like the one I did, was the many activities that went on outside the classroom to help fill up the time.

I got roped into the school choir. The Head of Music "asked" me, as he did all the new pupils, to audition for it.

The audition wasn't a very democratic experience. Basically, if you could sing, you had to be part of it - especially if you were a boy, as tenors and basses were in short supply. Some of my friends deliberately sung flat, as they saw what was coming. I didn't have the presence of mind or even the boldness to deceive my teachers like that. Moreover, I do love music and I love singing in harmony with others. It's one of the things I miss now as the demands of real life crowd into view.

Here are three non-congregational (i.e. only sung by the choir) carols that we used to sing. The first is one of my all time favourites:

In looking, I came across this version of the Angel Gabriel. I don't prefer it to the original, but it is cool especially when they mix it in with Joy to the World.

I murdered the third verse of In the Bleak Midwinter one year in a solo when nerves got the better of me at the school carol service. People were very kind, but they were trying to rescue my ego! I was upset because of the perceived humiliation and because I had butchered a carol I love! Here it is - unharmed. :-)

In this last carol, I remember thinking what a weirdo the composer must have been to liken Jesus to an apple tree. He must have composed it after drinking a particularly potent vintage of his medieval home brew! I realise now how ignorant I was. His poetic allusions were, back then, way beyond my small mind, but I see it now.

I wonder if he wanted to use pomegranates, but couldn't get them to fit the tune...

Happy Jesus-mas everyone! :-)

1 comment:

Richard Walker said...

Words to Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell,
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive:
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree