Once in a while
The rapid approach of the Christmas season will have choirs large and
small busy in preparation of carols and the many bigger repertory works,
such as Bach's Christmas Oratorio. The amount of music in celebration
of this feast day gets substantially larger each year, often in performance of
commissioned works, which are sometimes settings of new libretti by distinguished
writers. In all, Christmas must lead the field by a generous margin.
But it has long since suffered the inequalities of any subject that attracts
writers and composers: most of the new becomes the neglected old, and
performers defiantly repeat that which hits some kind of jackpot. These
reverberations largely dictate the choice of many for years to come, following a
pattern for which there is no known cure.
We look, as always, to the enlightened choral directors whose sensitivity
ensures that Christmas programming draws upon some of the magnificence that
is still emerging from the shadows as editors and
publishers take up the challenge of making it generally available.
Hopefully some of our readers are involved in this activity. We would like
news of unusual or new Christmas music which readers wish to commend.
Copyright © 9 December 2002 Basil Ramsey,
Eastwood, Essex, UK