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!

15 comments:

Brother Tobias said...

That it's not a carol shows in the tortured scansion of verse 3. I don't know if that works with the Holst, but it doesn't work at all well in the Darke. So little so that I once rewrote it - rather elegantly I thought - to save our doorstep carol-singing from tailing off in its inevitable muddle.

I think the second favourite was 'Oh Little Town of Bethlehem'. Vaughan Williams' 'Forest Green' makes me want to end it all. There was one tune I liked, but I can't track it down ('Nativity' by Minke comes nearest).

Do you have a favourite, Can Bass?

scarlet-blue said...

Silent Night was always my fav. I play the Jazz version on sax.
Sx

Nota Bene said...

Evidently the vote was announced by the government in the same press release as the statistics for decreasing knife crime. In both cases I understand the national statistical office is not happy.

As I didn't see the announcement myself, I wonder if it's just a confusion, and was simply a commentary on the state of the world at the moment, rather than a reference to Christmas carols

Rob Clack said...

I heard a really good version of Lulla Lullay (sp?) set by Leighton, at a concert I went to this very lunchtime. The Cambridge University Zoology Department boasts a 16 member choir who sang a super selection of Christmas music today. Great fun, and I recommend the Leighton.

Gadjo Dilo said...

In The Bleak Midwinter - with whatever music one chooses to sing it to - at least has the advantage of not being jolly. I personally am disppointed with English carols for that reason. Though I can listen readily to the version of Silent Night sung on I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue to the tune of "Tequila".

Barry Teeth, Beet Poet said...

I quite like Carol Vorderman.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I fear these distinctions are wasted on me but will save them up to impress people at dinner parties with...


;-)

Can Bass 1 said...

Carol Vorderman? Dear Lord Above...

musicmiss said...

Love the animated Christmas card, but am worried that the dear little fairy will have contracted bird flu after snogging the robin.

inkspot said...

Musicmiss' comment reminds me: why is there such a close connexion between choral music and sex? I'm not complaining, just envious.

Barry Teeth, Beet Poet said...

Yes, The Vord is as sexy an older woman as you could find, and she is good at sums. She's lost some timber since Countdown began, I tell you!

ChickPea said...

Thanks for the link to Cantabile, Mr CB - they are a new group to me, and a great find.

And wishing you a very merry and happy Christmas, Mr CB.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I still like it! Merry Christmas Canbass1!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Merry Thingy Can Bass!

Hope the season's properly rewarding for you.

scarlet-blue said...

Kerry MessFest Mr Cass!!
SXX
[Another porn name..]