Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ceremony of Carols

When I was in college I sang Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols. It was one of the highlights of my choral career. My favorite movement is This Little Babe, the lyrics from a 16th century poem by Robert Southwell. What images Southwell creates, and how well his words reflect a little understood truth that power does not always come in an expected form.

This little Babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmed wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears he fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows made of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns cold and need,
And feeble flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes,
Of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus as sure his foe to wound,
The Angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul with Christ join thou in fight,
Stick to the tents that he hath pight;
Within his crib is surest ward,
This little Babe will be thy guard;
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly boy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Diamond Music

This morning I'm playing Palladio by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. You may remember this music from a television commerical from the De Beers diamond corporation.

The St. Antonius Insitute calls the South African corporation "the most unethical corporation in the world."

Here's an article about De Beers latest sales agreement with Botswana.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Relief of Derry Symphony

Painting by Julius Guzy.

About 12 years ago I was wandering through the folk section of Northwest Public Radio's music library when I came across a work by Irish composer Shaun Davey called "The Relief of Derry Symphony." As morning classical music host the word symphony naturally caught my eye so I took a listen. Wow! I was blown away by this amazing work. How in the world did this ever end up in the folk section? I included it in my program the very next day and the reaction was immediate and very positive.

I hope that you enjoyed No. 49 on Northwest Public Radio's "50 Favorites!" You can find links to purchase the cd on Shaun's website under Albums. Watch this video for more information on the seige of Derry.

Here's a picture of the Derry Guildhall where the symphony was recorded back in 1990.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Be Thou My Vision

This is one of my favorite versions of the ancient Irish folk hymn Be Thou My Vision. Van the man!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Across the Universe with Michael Johns

This morning I'm playing an entire hour of music written by the Beatles, including a guitar version of "Across the Universe." Here's my favorite versin of that Lennon & McCartney song sung by Michael Johns, a former contestant on American Idol.