Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Mid-Winter Bleakness

I have an announcement to make. News that 'In the Bleak Mid-winter' has been voted the nation's favourite Christmas carol is misleading, inaccurate, economical with the actualities and downright duplicitous, if you ask me (and I know you didn't, but I'm going to tell you anyway)! Why, I hear you asking? Allow me to explain. 'In the Bleak Mid-winter' might only be one poem (by Christina Rossetti) but it is TWO carols. Yes! One is a setting by Gustav 'The Planets' Holst (my personal preference) and the other is the popular setting by Mr Harold Darke (of whom none of you will have heard unless, like me, you have spent a lifetime from the age of about seven-and-a-half singing in damn choirs!).
Where was I? Ah yes, Harold Darke. I feel certain it is this version that the masses in their wisdom have seen fit to send to number one. What I find mildly irritating (ok then, damned annoying) is the assumption - borne, no doubt, of ignorance - of the massed ranks of telly, radio and newspaper journalists that 'In the Bleak Mid-winter' is a carol, singular. In my opinion they should sack the lot of 'em, especially those obsequious, ingratiating, falsely-smiling, ha-ha-ha-ing ones. And Aled Jones. 
In the meantime, have a listen to Cantabile singing twenty-eight carols in a little over two minutes if you've had enough of this stuff to last you until next year. 
Bah, humbug!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Busy, busy

Yes, dear reader, yes. You read correctly - I am busy. And I'm earning money. I do so love this time of year. Every choral society in the county has a Christmas concert; there aren't enough basses to go round and a few strategic sneezes at my fellow choral-vicars can lead to even more paid work. In the next two weeks I've got Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Vaughan-Williams Carol Fantasia, a Messiah and a bit of Purcell -Behold, I Bring You Glad Tidings. And He does! I am solvent. Why, I might even be able to afford to send some Christmas cards! What? You think it underhand of me to gain extra work by strategically spreading the common cold? Why, God Himself wasn't averse to a little bit of germ warfare every now and then. It's there for all to see in his biography. And talking of the Bible, it's amazing how far some people are prepared to go to spread the word...