?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
Sing song merrily - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Sing song merrily
I'm not very good at writing reviews of things so this is really just a diary entry to remind me What I Did At The Weekend...

I spent the afternoon at a Come & Sing Christmas Carols session organised by the BBC Singers. ewtikins joined me and we met for lunch beforehand -- it was lovely to catch up a bit and talk about bikes and music and stuff before heading off to the Emmanuel Centre to sing.

The carols were all from Carols for Choirs 1 so I knew them all already (though in most cases was more familiar with the tenor part, as a result of spending a long time singing in choirs with a shortage of tenors!) but it was lovely to sing with such a big group (a couple of hundred people, I reckon?) and with the BBC Singers themselves. It's also always noticeable how much more fun it is being led/conducted by a professional -- in this case Bob Chilcott, who was lively and dynamic and kept the session moving forwards at a fairly fast pace without ever making things feel rushed.

Two of the carols we sang (David Willcocks' arrangement of "I Saw Three Ships", and Peter Cornelius's "Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar") were being recorded for Radio 3 (to be broadcast at some point in December), and interestingly, they were recorded in sections rather than as a whole -- to be spliced together into one perfect recording of each by "the wonders of digital technology". It was a shame not to do the Three Kings properly all the way through (except for one initial sing-through), only piecemeal, but it was still lovely to sing -- it's one of my all-time favourites, and the soloist from the BBC Singers was good (and rather cute, ahem). The others were just for fun -- "The Sussex Carol", "Ding Dong Merrily on High", "Torches", "In Dulci Jubilo", "Away in a Manger" (to the twee tune, unfortunately) and a rousing "O Come All Ye Faithful" to finish with. It's never too early to sing carols (we've been rehearsing them in Cherwell Singers since mid-October!) and I never feel I've had too many of them, so this was a welcome fix before the real Advent/Christmas carol service season starts (though it always starts early in Oxford because term's over almost before Advent has begun!).

The BBC Singers seem do these Come & Sing events a few times a year (I went to a marvellous Come & Sing Spem in Alium they did a few years ago for the 40th anniversary of Spem) so if you're interested it's worth joining the mailing list and keeping an eye out for them.

It did feel strange, though, to be singing from Carols for Choirs inside rather than in the Cambridge Craft Market where I sang carols every December for 6 or 7 years with the Portfolio Singers, busking for charity (hoping to make it back to join them this year, too, in fact). My carol book has permanently wrinkly pages from being out in the rain so many times... It was also strange to be able to sing the same part all the way through for "In Dulci Jubilo" rather than having to swap between two alto parts (and fill in occasional other bits and pieces) to make up for not having enough people to cover the 2-choir arrangement. I do really miss being part of that kind of cheerfully-makeshift small singing group, the sort where people are happy to sight-read stuff for fun, and swap parts around all over the place, and sing bits of the accompaniment to cover the gaps... and somehow it still sounds good. I'd love to find (or found!) something similar in Oxford, but never seem to have the time and/or opportunity... but that's a post for another day. Maybe one day I'll actually do some of these things I keep wishing I had a chance to do.

Tags: ,

Read 9 | Write
Comments
imc From: imc Date: November 21st, 2010 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, envy! (Though I did go to a two-year-old's birthday party today (smallclanger's cousin), which was fun in its own way.) I notice the one remaining "come and sing" event on that page has already sold out.

While I do rather like the second (Normandy) tune to "Away in a Manger" in the green book, to my mind David Willcocks is one of the few people to have managed to un-twee the first tune (though it has to be done fairly slowly for the proper effect).

No traditional carols for us yet as we are currently attempting to learn the whole of Britten's Ceremony of Carols in the space of 7 weeks. Which I'd probably recommend to you if you weren't already singing on Wednesdays.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 21st, 2010 12:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
has to be done fairly slowly

Urgh, no! Then it's even more like being gradually suffocated by a big pink duvet. (We may have to agree to differ on this one. ;)

The Ceremony of Carols is gorgeous though -- Cherwell Singers did it for last Christmas's concert. :) This year's concert is "An American Christmas", ie all American composers -- a slightly different selection of carols/arrangements from the usual, plus Lauridsen's 'O Magnum Mysterium' and Whitacre's 'Lux Aurumque'. The latter two are proving a bit of a challenge for my currently baby-reduced lung capacity... :-}
imc From: imc Date: November 21st, 2010 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, perhaps then we can agree to be thankful that "Little Donkey" didn't make it into the Carols for Choirs books…

Lauridsen appears to be on the agenda for Wesley Mem's carol service, as is Bethlehem Down. (And coincidentally I have a book that has both of them in, as well as several other interesting things that are not in the CfC books.)
j4 From: j4 Date: November 21st, 2010 04:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
coincidentally I have a book that has both of them in

Ooh, which book? That's going straight on my wishlist!
imc From: imc Date: November 21st, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's blue and it's called "Noël!", edited by David Hill and published by Novello, ISBN 0-7119-8455-7. I got it in Blackwell's a fair number of years ago because it has Barry Rose's harmonisation of "Silent Night" (another carol that I find twee unless done right). Other notable titles include Gardner's "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" and Tavener's "The Lamb"; "O magnum mysterium" by Victoria as well as Lauridsen, and a Bach version of "In dulci jubilo". Well worth the tenner, I thought (though it seems to be £13 now).

Odd that Amazon doesn't seem to keep it in main stock, though they have a few sellers listed, but others such as musicroom.com do seem to.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 22nd, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent, thank you! It sounds like a compilation of all my favourite Christmas songs. I have just bought it for £8.99 from eBay. :)
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2010 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
ビーダーマイヤー、素敵。
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2010 01:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Imperial Gardenとか。
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 23rd, 2010 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
日本のアジサイ。
Read 9 | Write