Advent Calendar Day 23: Rorate Coeli (Rheinberger)

Today’s carol is a very different interpretation of yesterday’s text – it’s romantic to the point of swooniness, and sweet to the point where it narrowly escapes being cloying.  (Actually, when we sang this in choir a few weeks ago, opinions differed as to whether it did, in fact, escape cloyingness.)

To me, this is like fairy floss for the voice – it’s sweet and easy on the ear, and it’s a heap of fun to sing, but one suspects that a steady diet of it over time wouldn’t be terribly good for you.  Best to alternate it with a good, bracing dose of Baroque music, I think.

Joseph Rheinberger himself was a German composer of the late 18th century, and he seems to be a bit elusive, or perhaps just not terribly well known, because I had an awful lot of trouble finding him on YouTube, and everyone seems to be spelling his name differently.  I’d never heard of him before, but apparently he was born in Liechtenstein, and married a poetess eight years his senior, with whom he lived very happily, both of which definitely fall into the category of random cool facts that incline me to like him.  Apparently, he was quite prolific, but if YouTube is anything to go by, he has rather fallen out of fashion – not many of his works seem to be available, which is a bit of a pity.  After all, fairy floss may not be the healthiest sort of music, but it does make a delicious little treat from time to time.  I’d like to sing more of his work.

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