Saturday, November 28, 2009

Everyone knows that the Vienna Boys Choir Brucknerchor is touring the US but do you ever read the reports they give on the WSK home page?
If you want a good laugh you should take a look at their blog entries. They are a lot more fun than mine and the humor makes the boys even more endearing.


The painting at the top of this page is titled May Morning on Magdalen Tower and was painted by William Holman Hunt, one of the greatest of the Victorian Pre-Raphaelite painters.
The figures are all portraits (the boy holding the lily is his son) but Hunt never intended to paint one actual performance, only ‘to represent the spirit of a beautiful, primitive and, in a large sense, eternal service’.

Wikipedia says that “May Morning is an annual event in Oxford, on May day. It starts early at 6 am with the Magdalen College Choir singing a hymn, the Hymnus Eucharisticus, from the top of Magdalen Tower, a tradition of over 500 years. Large crowds normally gather under the tower along theHigh Street and on Magdalen Bridge. This is then followed by general revelry and festivities including Morris dancing, impromptu music, etc., for a couple of hours.” If anyone has ever been to this tell me if it is as much fun as it sounds.

I always like it when someone suggests a CD to me and this time a friend told me about The Choir of Magdalen College and their new release Carols By Candlelight, Music for Advent and Christmas. This is not the usual collection of carols that everyone else does. The album is divided into sections, The Fall, Good Tidings, The Annunciation, The Birth of Jesus and Epiphany.

There are a few songs that are familiar like O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, but most of the songs are new to me and new music is always welcome.

There are songs like I Look From Afar by Palestrina, Britten‘s A Hymn To The Virgin, The Truth From Above by Ralph Vaughan Williams and quite a few more. An especially beautiful number is In Dulci Jubilo by Pearsall, with a soloist named Alexander Knighton.
This is my first CD from the Magdalen College Choir but I’m going to look for more.

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