I would like to be like Ebenezer Scrooge after his transformation. Dickens said of Scrooge, “he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge”. I would like to keep it well too, and keep it all year long.
And that’s my excuse this time for plugging another Christmas CD.
Tonight I’m listening to Christmas with The Palestrina Choir. They are, for some reason, the only Irish choir whose album I have. The Palestrina Choir is from Dublin and from the pictures I have to say they are about the cutest choir I’ve ever seen with their big smiles and blue cassocks.
This CD has twenty-five carols and even though many of them are standard Christmas fare they are done with unique arrangements that make them refreshingly different. I Saw Ships is really nice and original.
It’s always fun for me to hear songs sung in Irish and there are some here. Traditional Irish songs like Suantrai na Maighdine (The Virgin Mary’s Lullaby) and Oiche Nollag (Christmas Night) and a few others. I’m glad they included the translations of the titles and lyrics in the CD booklet. It’s fun to read along.
They have a charming soloist named Christopher Graham, who was 13 and had been with the choir for 7 years when the CD was recorded in 2008.
For music they have David Grealy on the organ and Andreja Malir playing the harp. It’s all very beautiful.
I haven’t found anything about the name of the choir but I assume that they take it from the composer Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina whose sacred works had such an influence on Catholic church music.
The choir is from Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral and that term confused me. I finally found out that it just means “acting” cathedral. It seems that Dublin has two cathedrals but neither is Catholic, both are Church of Ireland.
I’m still not clear on all of it but it doesn’t matter to me. The music is what I care about and this music is great. I’m going to try and get their other CD The Bells Of the Angelus.
One little bit of humor that I noticed on the album cover is that there is a robin sitting atop the word Christmas and he’s all puffed up to sing. He doesn’t see the snowball that the artist has drawn flying straight at him. Those boys.