Sunday, December 2, 2012

"A glee for Christmas"…..


"Nowell sing we…"

"Green groweth the holly…"

"Gloucestershire Wassail…"

"Sweet was the song the Virgin sung…"

"A glee for Christmas…"

When was the last time you listened to music that was composed by England's King Henry VIII?

Do you happen to recall the last time you heard music and song that was first performed about the time that King John signed the Magna Carta (1215) and the last Crusades were getting under way in the 13th century?

Perhaps you missed yesterday's tender offerings by My Lord Chamberlain's Consort at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bethlehem, PA. The concert was part of the Moravian College Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

It was indeed "A glee for Christmas"….the Consort performs medieval and other early European music that is cheering, friendly and by turns delicate, robust, quiet, hearty, and, you know, hold the heavy metal please…

Pat O'Brien, the Consort's lutenist/cittern player, mentioned that in the 14th and 15th centuries there most likely was a lute hanging on the wall in every barbershop and tavern, so anyone could grab it and play and sing for anyone who would listen…hey, that sounds downright neighborly…

I imagine that some of the boys headed down to the King's Arms Inn or maybe to the Sign of the Laughing Donkey on Friday nights to drink ale and get up on stage for the air lute contests…..

King Henry could compose and play this kind of music with some skill.

The Consort makes it look easy, and they love what they're doing, every minute of it.

I loved it too.


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