Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Begins!

Yah, it's only Christmas Eve.

But this is worth hearing now.

That work was commissioned by Paul Salamunovich's Los Angeles Master Chorale.  Paul was a student of Roger Wagner and both are KCSGs.

It's a large-form Christmas carol and one can argue that it's become a classic less than 20 years after its premiere.  How good is it?  Well, Robert Shaw (Atlanta Symphony & Chorus) recorded it, too.  If both Shaw and Salamunovich put it to recording, it's good.  Very good.

While you listen, here's a bit of reading-accompaniment, written by a pal of Willy Shakespeare:

By Saint Robert Southwell

Behold the father is his daughter's son,
The bird that built the nest is hatch'd therein,
The old of years an hour hath not outrun,
Eternal life to live doth now begin,
The word is dumb, the mirth of heaven doth weep,
Might feeble is, and force doth faintly creep.

O dying souls! behold your living spring!
O dazzled eyes! behold your sun of grace!
Dull ears attend what word this word doth bring!
Up, heavy hearts, with joy your joy embrace!
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs,
This life, this light, this word, this joy repairs.

Gift better than Himself God doth not know,
Gift better than his God no man can see;
This gift doth here the giver given bestow,
Gift to this gift let each receiver be:
God is my gift, Himself He freely gave me,
God's gift am I, and none but God shall have me.

Man alter'd was by sin from man to beast;
Beast's food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh;
Now God is flesh, and lies in manger press'd,
As hay the brutest sinner to refresh:
Oh happy field wherein this fodder grew,
Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew!

Both cadged from Chant Cafe.

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