Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Venite adoremus!

This morning as part of the Tridentine Mass I go to, we got to sing "Adeste Fideles." That is a song I love. We learned it in Latin in high school and I never thought that knowledge would come in handy but it has!

Venite Adoremus, Dominum! They have those words carved over the doors of St. Gerard's, my old church. Dear St. Gerard's, so beautiful and huge and dignified.

Pavarotti sings it as it should be sung. Haha... I love how at the end of the video they freeze it with his mouth still open.

It is interesting how people have never been able quite to figure out the history of "Adeste Fideles." This site says that the words and the music were by this John Francis Wade, a Catholic Englishman born in 1711. If that is true he did a great job. What a wonderful hymn.

That is a helpful Web site but whoever writes it should learn how to use apostrophes. I am just saying. When I am reading something and the person does not know "its" from "it's" I tend to doubt that person's authority on anything.

Back to "Adeste" after my sermon. I am in the mood for tenors so here is the great John McCormack.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wassail, wassail

Somewhere the other day I read that a lot of the old Christmas carols were originally medieval and Renaissance dancing songs.

"Deck the Halls" was one. I looked it up. You can kind of hear it in how James Taylor plays it!

 I knew from personal experience in the medieval society, once upon a time, that "Ding Dong Merrily on High" was another. We did a dance to that tune. It was this medieval circle dance.

It is fun to think about how many Christmas carols are old, old, old.

Old as Lou Rawls, as a rapper once said in a rap number. My brother George heard that lyric and we have never forgotten it. When something is really old we say it is old as Lou Rawls.

"O Come O Come Emmanuel" is of course old as Lou Rawls.

And of course such chestnuts roasting on an open fire as "In Dulci Jubilo," a personal favorite of mine, and "O Tannenbaum." These are ancient German carols, definitely old as Lou Rawls.

English carols old as Lou Rawls would probably include Renaissance-y songs like "The Boar's Head Carol," which I love, and "The Holly and the Ivy." Holly and ivy are ancient symbols of Christmas and that is where we get the red and green. And of course there are the obvious old as Lou Rawls carols, like "The Coventry Carol." And another song I love, "Here We Come A Wassail-ing." I love any song about wassail.

Christmas carols are like candy bar brands.

Old as Lou Rawls!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Beethoven fantasy

Yesterday we spoke of Charles Schulz and Beethoven. Since then there have been new developments.

No. 1, there is a God, and He posted "Copying Beethoven" on YouTube. That is a bad title, I have to say that. "Copying Beethoven." There has to be a better title out there. But oh well.

 I have only watched the first five minutes but I have to say, it looks kind of cool.

Outrageous, sure, there's certainly a lot of poetic license, kind of like "Mozart's Sister," but still.

Who wouldn't have wanted to have assisted Beethoven?

And who wouldn't want to have been there, you know, the first time they played the Ninth Symphony? That is what someone wrote in a comment on YouTube. He wrote: "I would give everything I have if only I could have been there."

Passion like that, it makes YouTube interesting.

Anyway, what a fantasy. I will watch it as soon as I have time.

Hahahaa... as soon as I have time.

That's a fantasy!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Beethoven's birthday

The world did not observe Beethoven's birthday to my satisfaction.

I turned on the radio and there was not Beethoven playing.


Remember when Schroeder, in "Peanuts," would observe Beethoven's birthday?

You can read a nerdy article about that here. Kind of torques me off because here I am trying to scrounge enough time to finish my book and here is this guy who gets a year -- a year! -- to, ahem, research the "Peanuts" comic strips that mentioned Beethoven. I quote:

"Mr. Meredith spent more than a year identifying the compositions, gathering recordings and reinterpreting the strips; Jane O’Cain, the museum’s curator, researched (Charles) Schulz’s artistic process and music-listening habits."

Ay yi yi, why can't I be a museum curator?

Whoever this Mr. Meredith is, when a friend called him and asked him to lunch during the course of the year he researched and reinterpreted the strips, I do not think he had to say, "Uh, I'm afraid not, I'm busy."

That is one leisurely life!

How did I get onto this? I was going to talk about Beethoven's birthday.

I have never seen this movie but this looks like fun.

Friday, December 14, 2012

French twist

Today I was on Spotify putting together a Christmas playlist. I did not spend much time on it, just tossed together some Christmas songs I found appealing. But it made me think about something.

It made me realize that I am probably, zut alors, a little bit, just a tiny bit, French.

Because all my carols were German and French. And, I mean, my ancestors were German, just look at me. But I realized I had grown up with some of these French carols in addition to the German carols. The Italian carols, the Polish carols, I know nothing of them. It is as if there is this firewall. But part of my family comes from Elsass and so I know my German carols and my French carols.

French carols I love:

This video is also fun.

And my father always loved this one:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Getting a handle on Handel

This evening my mom and I were lying around listening to Handel's "Messiah." And I got to thinking..

We like "Messiah" so much. But then again, we have heard it a thousand times.

Handel was a really good composer. A few weeks ago I was driving around listening to "Julius Caesar" ("Giulio Cesare," so cool, in Italian) and it did not matter I had no idea about the music or what was going on, I enjoyed listening to it. Every tune seemed to grab me.

So. The big question is: If I went around for a year listening to "Judas Maccabaeus," say ...

 ...and it got so I could sing the airs from "Judas Maccabaeus" the same way I can sing "Oh Thou That Tellest Good Tidings To Zion," would I wind up loving it as much as I love "Messiah"?

I might have to try and find out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Memories of Dave Brubeck

I am sad that Dave Brubeck died. As I wrote on our Gusto Blog, he had a long and full life. But still.

I hate to lose these old guys!

On the Gusto Blog I wrote about how Brubeck wrote a Mass and performed it at our St. Joseph's University Church here in Buffalo. Brubeck started out as a Methodist, he told me, but he became a Catholic and he was into his faith. I liked that about him. That, and "In Your Own Sweet Way."

There was another story that I told to a friend on Facebook. It was too delicate to put on the Gusto Blog.

That was that I shook Brubeck's hand once and almost broke it!

He said "Ow."

I was so embarrassed!

What if I had broken Brubeck? It could have easily happened. My husband always tells me I have this loud German voice and strong German handshake.

By the way, not that anyone asked me, but Dec. 5 was also the day that Mozart died.

It is a day of musical death!

Let us hope things are better tomorrow.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The mellow cello fellow

Sitting around working on my Pennario project I got to thinking: God love Gregor Piatigorsky. He never took a bad picture!

Pennario loved him and his charm comes through in the pictures.

That profile.

Here Piatigorsky is with his wife Jacqueline whom Pennario adored.

Here is Piatigorsky making Heifetz smile.

Another of the two of them. On the left is the tremendous famous picture of Piatigorsky with that marvelous collar.

Classic, classic shot.

And one more smoky pic, obviously taken from the same photo session.

When I am satisfied with my Pennario book I want to come out with a book of photos of Piatigorsky.

Somebody has to!