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.
I included this one last year. I still love it, so we’re having it again. Besides, it turns out that this is the text for Advent 4, which was last weekend (a time which seems very, very long ago). I love the liveliness of this, and the beautiful singing, and I am determined to learn it and find people to sing it with one of these days.
No more today because I am too tired to think (and, alas, too tired to nap). But at least I am on holiday now. If I can actually *get* to sleep, I’ll be able to catch up a bit.
Today’s post is a bit late, because I was attending a wedding, and because I was far too tired to get up early and do this beforehand.
But perhaps I should have, because today’s piece is so bright and lively and delightful that it would wake anyone up in a good mood. I’ve never sung this one or heard of it until I went seeking Advent music and kept hearing about this piece, but I’ve been playing it again and again and I really, really want to sing it now. It’s just so joyous, and feels more like a madrigal in the way it’s put together than any other church music I’ve heard; something about how close all the echoes come to each other or something, and its brisk tempo. It’s fast polyphony with lots of coloratura, and I think this is my new favourite kind of music, because I’m fairly sure I’ve ever sung anything quite like it. And for once a choir with female sopranos and altos!
Also, the text is rather delightful:
The heavens spill forth dew,
and the clouds rain down justice,
that the earth below might open up
and cause Our Savior to take seed.