Glories of the West: Medieval Carols – A Holy Night (Album)

Source: Medieval Carols – A Holy Night (Album) | YouTube

I have been remiss in posting entries in this category, of late! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa… Here, in any case, is a wonderful selection of glorious seasonal music, from the medieval West!

  1. Hodie Christus Natus Est
  2. O Nobilis Nativitas/O Mira Dei/O Decus Virgineum/Apparuit
  3. Lux De Luce
  4. Alleluya: A Nywe Werke
  5. Verbum Supernum Prodiens
  6. Balaam De Quo Vaticinans
  7. Ave Maria
  8. Gabriel, Fram Heven-King
  9. Lullay: I Saw A Swete Semly Syght
  10. Prolis Eterne Genitor/Psallat Mater Gracie/[Pes]
  11. Vox Clara, Ecce, Intonat
  12. De Supernis Sedibus
  13. Omnes De Saba
  14. Puellare Gremium/Purissima Mater/[Pes]
  15. Lullay, Lullay: Als I Lay On Yoolis Night
  16. Tria Sunt Munera
  17. Orto Sole Serene/Origo Viri/Virga Lesse/[Tenor]
  18. Peperit Virgo
  19. Ecce Quod Natura
  20. A Solis Ortus Cardine
  21. Ther Is No Rose Of Swych Vertu
  22. Videntes Stellam
  23. Nowel: Owt Of Your Slepe Aryse
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Jethro Tull: Fires at Midnight (Songs From The Wood, 1977)

“I believe in fires at midnight,

When the dogs have all been fed:

A golden toddy on the mantle,

A broken gun beneath the bed…”

I have always thought of Songs from the Wood as in some ways the quintessential British countryside album, and this song as the quintessential British countryside song. As such, it fits perfectly into the “Blighty Boys” concept!

It appears that, in some ways at least, the band itself agrees:

“Jethro Tull’s tenth album was inspired by Ian Anderson’s departure to a more rural environment in a transition which bore clear influence on the writing and recording process, with the band notably doffing a cap to British folklore and countryside.”

Songwriter and Jethro Tull lead singer Ian Anderson has also noted that the album was “for all the band members… a reaffirmation of our Britishness.”

https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0001/774/MI0001774361.jpg?partner=allrovi.com

Te Deum – 5th Century Monastic Chant (Solemn)

This form of Christian chant – Gregorian chant – is, of course, of unquestionably Western provenance! As the notation on the linked YouTube page notes,

“Monks of the one of the Abbeys of the Solesmes Congregation sing this beautiful chant. The Te Deum is attributed to two Fathers and Doctors of the Church, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, and is one the most majestic chants in the Liturgy of the Church. It is sung in traditional seminaries and monastic houses at the Divine Office and for Double feasts of the First Class, The Nativity, Easter, Corpus Christi, Epiphany, Pentecost and those which have an Octave. The solemn Te Deum is sung on all occasions of public [liturgical] rejoicing, in Traditional Catholic Churches.”

And in English translation, it is sung (or recited, in the Office of Morning Prayer) in not a few traditional Anglican churches, as well!


Nota Bene: The Abbey of Solesmes, under Dom Prosper Guéranger, was largely responsible for the rebirth and liturgical restoration of Gregorian Chant, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and remains the mother-house of a Benedictine community to this day (with several interruptions along the way!). For more information, check out this fascinating brief account of its history, or the Abbey’s own history page.


Here is the Te Deum in traditional English translation:

Te Deum laudamus.

WE praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud; the Heavens, and all the Powers therein;
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
The Father of an infinite Majesty;
Thine adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.

THOU art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, in glory everlasting.

O LORD, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
Govern them and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Here is an English-language plainsong (chant) version:

Das Lied der Deutschen / Deutschlandlied

The Anglophilic Anglican I may be, but a significant portion of my ancestry – approximately a third – is German, and I have always had a great deal of respect, appreciation, and affection for Germans and Germany… and for this song! (Of course, the English were and are themselves a Germanic people, with an originally Germanic language, and many Germanic features to their culture.) This particular video clip is especially nice, as it shows both historic and contemporary images of Germany!

Following are the lyrics, in both German and English. Note that “Deutschland über alles, Über alles in der Welt,” is not nearly as imperialistic as is often thought: it meant and means that Germans should love and be loyal to their Fatherland above all other loves and loyalties in the world.

I have no issue with that, for those whose heritage is exclusively German! So, indeed, it should be. Sometimes mongrels like me (English, Scots, and German, in the main, with touches of Irish, Swedish, and French Huguenot, so that I have trouble sometimes figuring out which side to root for, in any given European conflict…) wish we had a bit more cohesiveness in our background…

Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt,
Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
brüderlich zusammenhält.
Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
Von der Etsch bis an den Belt,
Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
Über alles in der Welt!

Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang
Sollen in der Welt behalten
Ihren alten schönen Klang,
Uns zu edler Tat begeistern
Unser ganzes Leben lang.
Deutsche Frauen, deutsche Treue,
Deutscher Wein und deutscher Sang!

Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Für das deutsche Vaterland!
Danach lasst uns alle streben
Brüderlich mit Herz und Hand!
Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit
Sind des Glückes Unterpfand;
Blüh’ im Glanze dieses Glückes,
Blühe, deutsches Vaterland!

Germany, Germany above all,
Above all in the world,
When, for protection and defense,
It always stands brotherly together.
From the Meuse to the Memel,
From the Adige to the Belt,
Germany, Germany above all,
Above all in the world!

German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song
Shall retain in the world
Their old beautiful chime
And inspire us to noble deeds
During all of our life.
German women, German loyalty,
German wine and German song!

Unity and justice and freedom
For the German fatherland!
Towards these let us all strive
Brotherly with heart and hand!
Unity and justice and freedom
Are the foundation of happiness;
Flourish in the radiance of this happiness,
Flourish, German fatherland!

Glories of the West: Beethoven – Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Hilary Hahn, violin)

More of the culture that “Europeans don’t have”….!

Dan Gibson: SOLITUDES – The English Country Garden | YouTube

I have loved Dan Gibson’s Solitudes series of albums – I originally had a few of them on cassette tape, back in the day! – of nature sounds, with or without music, for a very long time (as the above would suggest).

And I am, after all, “The Anglophilic Anglican” – my love for England, the English countryside, and English country gardens, should go without saying! But despite listening to my first Dan Gibson albums back in the early 1980s, I had not until this very day realized that he had one devoted to “The English Country Garden.” Very cool!

I recognize a few of the bird calls – most poignantly, for me, the cuckoo, which I was delighted to discover really does sound exactly like its name – from my time living and studying in Ireland, in 1990. So lovely to hear it again!

Glories of the West: Germany’s living folk music tradition

Anyone who thinks Europeans (or their descendants, here in the “European diaspora”) lack culture, is simply not paying attention! European culture is rich and diverse, and by no means is it limited to “high culture”: folk music is a vital part of European culture, as it is of cultures across the world. Here are a few examples!

First, a young woman named Marilena sings “A Lausbua muass er sei” – “He’s Got to be Cheeky,” or as I have also heard it translated, “He Must Be A Scamp.” Light-hearted, cute, and flirty, but not the least bit lewd or inappropriate as so much of today’s music is:

Here is a translation of the lyrics, for those who may be interested!

Next we find two sisters going by the stage name “Die Twinnies,” singing “Bayernmädels” (“Bavarian Girls”) while playing accordions and rollerblading (!):

This version doesn’t have as good picture quality, but does include English subtitles. And true, they are in jeans rather than more traditional attire. Alas! But even I have to admit that rollerblading in a dirndl might not quite work, either practically or aesthetically…

Finally, here is the finale of the Alle Stadlstern Sieger 2006-2010 – 30 Jahre Musikantenstadl (all of the above were also recorded at the Musikantenstadl), “a live television entertainment program broadcast in the German language throughout Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. It features Austrian, Swiss, and German popular folk music (Schlager, Volkstümliche Musik), international pop and folk music as well as interviews and comedy” (Wikipedia). If this isn’t diverse, I’m not sure what is!