Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Music

I like how twitter sometimes gives me ideas for a blog, like today, when @mscator blipped this song:

and I stopped my constant yowling about the masses of snow to imagine myself away into gentler climes and tinsel of palm trees instead of snowy firs.

And it made me think of the many, many years I used to do this every year:

Not exactly in this exalted choir but here in Hamburg in a chamber choir of good reputation, as one alto voice among many.

Every Christmas. As soon as the requiem of that year was done we would start rehearsing the Christmas Oratorio, the same piece, every Christmas. It is a lovely piece of music, very festive, very evocative, but if you do it EVERY year...

It is a tradition for this choir to perform it every year, just like putting up the tree of going to church on Christmas Eve (even if you don't through the entire rest of the year) and all the other stuff, the Christmas cards you don't feel like writing (well, @ANeaterClare is complaining!) and the Christmas shopping (@mruku is having a hard time) or the wrapping of the presents (@Eglentyne offered that job to us all) or dealing with the snow... aren't we all.

For years now I have not participated in this particular tradition anymore, namely the singing of the Oratorio, and there is a story to it.

The last time I was there, we had a bit of a party with the singers before the performance. We were sitting in the dining hall of the church and had broken open the champagne that was really intended for AFTERWARDS and tasted a glass or two... no more than that, I swear! And when it was time to walk over to church we were all in high good spirits, joking and chatting when we should have been solemn and concentrated, and we took our places on the stair-like stage and began to sing with verve. It went really all very well.

The candles were burning brightly on the tree and the altar and in their holders along the walls, the place was well-filled with an appreciative audience, it was nice and warm in the big church, the solo singers were excellent and our conductor well pleased.

Then we came to this part:

and I got drowsy. We were allowed to sit down during the solos and instrumental parts, and so I sat, right behind the altar, my song book in my hands, and gently drifted off.

What happened? Can you begin to guess? My book fell from my fingers, banged on the wooden boards of the stage, and then further down on the tiled floor below with a resounding noise. And at a really quiet moment too.

"Snicker rippled through the rows of singers like pebbles flitting over water."

I had to sing from the heart for the rest of the concert, got many a good-humored but derisive remark afterwards and had to pay for a round of drinks.

And  decided it was time for me to change direction, music-wise.

Merry Christmas to you all, and a healthy and happy New Year.