Saturday, December 09, 2006
The Musical Advent Calendar
The musical advent calendar. This probably would be a much cooler feature if I had started back on December 1st, but I didn't...I'm sure someone else has probably done this, and done this better. However, I do have a semi-secret, abiding passion for the music of the season, which stems back to my youth when all the good toy lines also produced music as a tie-in product. I had the Rainbow Brite Christmas (and a silver star for Rainbow Brite's tree!), a Care Bears Christmas (oh, Grumpy! - this one actually had to be purchased twice because I wore out the first cassette), and of course, the Mini-Pops Christmas. Because this music is a passion of my father's, we have a very extensive library of Christmas CDs, and, well, I probably know more about it than most people would care to.
So I've decided to highlight one song here each day until the day itself. The parents, the boy, and myself went to see the lovely Natalie McMaster last night, and she did a beautiful version of "O Holy Night" (or "Minuit Chretiens" to the boy) on the fiddle. "O Holy Night" is probably my favourite traditional Christmas song. It is gorgeous both musically and lyrically (although the boy tells me that the French lyrics are quite intense and include references to Christ arising to free us from original sin). Probably one thing I like about it is that the song is so vocally demanding that not everyone chooses to sing it--the "FAll on your knees/ and hear the angel voices/ o night divine" part is just killer if you can't manage the range. I don't usually care much for the "powerhouse" singers like Mariah, Celine, etc., but this is a song that requires a set of pipes. The combination of music, lyrics, and vocals in "O Holy Night" has a power and strength that few other Christmas song have. I am not much on the religious tradition of Christmas (silly heathen upbringing) but this song makes me feel connected to it.