Wednesday, 4 February 2009

A spot of Bother

First of all, my thanks to all of you for your for your recent good wishes. My voice is now 'in the pink' as-it-were, and I am fully functioning in my duties as cathedral musician. Which is a good job really, as getting hold of deputies (many of whom live several miles away) in the recent inclement weather would have been a real problem. In fact, the snow even created problems for the regulars, myself included. What? I hear you cry. But you live within spitting distance on the great west doors, do you not? Indeed I do, dear reader, but I also occupy a basement flat, accessed by a small flight of ancient stone steps, and the subterranean space which makes up my front entrance was buried up to a depth of several feet when I awoke on Tuesday morning!

Oh yes, we have certainly 'had the snow' here in Wilchester. But did we close the cathedral? Did we cancel evensong? Did we fail to 'show up' for work? Actually, several of us did. Drane telephoned on Tuesday morning to insist that he would be incapable of turning up that evening, the boy was clearly 'holed up' somewhere with some girl or other (his flat was empty, and his car-parking space unoccupied) and even Rodney cried off, citing some concern over his aged mother. All of which was grist to my mill, as it meant I got the bass solos. We did Stanford in G, too! So you see, every cloud has a silver lining (even though the DoM was in a foul mood having been forced from his usual prancing perch before the choir to the anonymity of the organ loft. We seniors (dec and can) conducted - in as much as any of us needed it - and the effect was a considerable improvement on the norm, though I do say so myself. Well, there we are. A conductor-less choir. No more than some of us were used to in days of yore. In fact, talking of silver linings, it is my fervent hope that this credit recession will finally persuade the Dean and Chapter to see sense and dispense totally with the Director of Music. As long as there is somebody to play the organ, and others of us to sing, what possible use is there for somebody to wave his arms about and distract everybody? And given the rather high proportion of wrong notes evident at evensong on Tuesday, it would not be our young and talented assistant who would 'get the boot', but our older and rather more expensive Director of all things Musical who would 'cop it'. In fact, I feel duty-bound to suggest it to the Dean, in my capacity as Senior Lay-Clerk. And I shall 'keep you posted' as to the outcome.

In other news someone - apropos my last post - wants to know how virgins can be purified. (All I can say is, try finding one these days! They're hardly an abundant commodity here, even in the serried ranks of the cathedral girls choir, by all account. But then, the assistant organist has probably taken personal responsibility for that.) Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, Candlemas! First, the name comes literally from the 'blessing of candles' which took place on that date; second, the purification of the BVM refers to her ritual cleansing after childbirth (of course); and the third name for the festival - presentation of Christ in the temple - refers, quite obviously, to the presentation of Christ in the temple. Any other small doctrinal matters anyone wants explaining?

9 comments:

Rob Clack said...

Glad you're back on top form! I took Monday off but then felt guilty when the predicted 'further heavy snow showers' failed to materialise.

Sadly, our choir practice was cancelled, which I thought quite unnecessary.

Tenon_Saw said...

LOL!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Glad to hear
a you are feeling better
b you are getting extra work CB 1

Aren't virgins supposed to be pure anyway or am I missing something?

Let me know if there's a re-sanctification (aka born-again virgin) day or ceremony though and I'll don my white lace and re-pledged ring ;-)

Gadjo Dilo said...

All very succinctly explained, thank you. The blessing of candles, though. I'm trying hard not to imagine a John Waters film at this point. Sorry, wrong of me.

The Dotterel said...

You know that Jesus was God's son, and that He came to earth to save everyone, and that when we die we'll all go to heaven? Could you explain that, please? (With apologies to Fr Ted!)

inkspot said...

CB, the hungry beg, and we are fed! In particular, there is a clear market for more info on the virgin purification (and re-purification) issue. Would a close study of the penitentials help your disciples, do you think? Or should we leave matters to the asst. organist?

Eryl Shields said...

But what is impure about childbirth?

Nota Bene said...

Here, here. Conductirs...what's the point, whether they're on the bus or in front of musicians...

Can Bass 1 said...

Ah well, Mr Benny, I have to disagree. I mourn the passing of the omnibus conductor. In fact, that would be a very good use of our DoM's time, if you ask me. But choir conductors - well, they're all a bunch of show-offs (apart from Rodney).