Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good Cheer for the New Year

Makes a change from Auld Lang Syne. . . .

Welcome, Yule

The youtube blurb attributes this wonderful tune to Sir Charles Parry but I thought I read that it is based on a medieval carol . . . or possibly two.  Once again, this was cited somewhere  and I copied the link but not the source.   It's not where I thought it was going to be so the h/t is going to have to be to unknown.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

More Christmas Music

Because I can't get enough Christmas music. . . .

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Christmas story in opus anglicanum

From the website of the Victoria and Albert Museum:

The Christmas season was a high-point of the medieval English calendar. Celebrations in medieval England took place over 12 days, from Christmas Eve (24 December) to Twelfth Night (5 January), and incorporated church rites (our word for Christmas comes from the Middle English 'Christ's Mass') and pagan winter solstice rituals. Houses were decorated with evergreens like ivy, mistletoe and holly, sumptuous banquets were held, and singing and dancing were important parts of the Christmas season. 
Christmas imagery appears throughout medieval art, and particularly on richly-worked and intricate opus anglicanum (Latin for 'English work'), one of the most important art forms of the period. These embroideries were often used to decorate church vestments (garments worn by the priest) and altar furnishings, and were important vehicles for storytelling. 

What follows are some beautiful examples of medieval English embroidered vestments and altar hangings.  Not the least of which you'll find about 1/3 of the way down the page -- at least on my browser anyway.  It shows one of the shepherds abiding in their fields and he's playing his one-droned bagpipe.  He appears to be playing it with one hand while the other hand rings a bell.   Just what a bagpipe doesn't need:  an even smaller range.

Worth a look even if -- unlikely as that may be -- you don't care for bagpipes.  But don't dawdle; I suspect the page comes down when the exhibition ends.  That's how those things usually work.

Opus Anglicanum page.

St Stephen's Day

St Stephen's Day in Ireland:
The 26th December is known as St Stephen's Day in Ireland. In Northern Ireland it's also known as Boxing Day. In most homes it is a sociable day, when visitors may call in to share some seasonal foods or liquid (usually alcoholic) refreshments. . . . . St Stephens is also the day when a purely Irish phenomenon can be witnessed: the tradition of Hunting the Wren. This is when the Wren Boys take to the streets in colourful costumes and masks, and noisily parade a dead wren on a decorated pole. It's a strange tradition and its origins are often debated. Some say it originated in Pagan times. Others from the Viking invasion. Most opt for a simplified religious reference: the betrayal by a wren of St Stephen who was hiding from the Romans who subsequently killed him for his Christian beliefs. Wren on tree branch This, then, gave the reason for hunting down the wren, and in olden days a bird was, indeed, captured and killed. The Wren Boys would then carry the dead bird on a pole from house to house and beg for money to bury the 'evil bird'. . . .
More here.

Christmas Day

This year, at last.  After an annual series (3 or 4?) of unfortunate Christmas dinner missteps, I finally got the gravy right.   Perhaps a little thick, but that can be remedied.

Christmas midnight Mass (midnight=7:00 p.m. in our case) was splendid.  Latin Gregorian propers and a Charpentier setting for the Ordinary.  Christmas Day itself was quiet.  Even our somewhat rumbustious neighbourhood hardly made a peep.  The children must have all gotten computer games from Santa rather than something that required being taken out of doors to race up and down on.  Or in.  Or with.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trent in the News . . . sort of

Sure, it's not Vatican II.   But it still might have some sort of authority.

Ya think?.

A Little Advent Music

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

13 December -- St Edburga of Minster-in-Thanet

 St Edburga, as so many of the sainted Anglo-Saxon abbesses seemed to have been, was of royal birth.  She died on this day in 759.

There are a few other Edburgas who merit a write-up on the internet but there is a short life of this one here.  There are some propers apparently in the Anglican tradition here, though the author doesn't give his source.

Monday, December 12, 2016

12 December -- St Finnian of Clonard

 'The Master of the Saints of Ireland', Finnian is known as a great teacher - Ciarán of Clonmacnoise and Colmcille of Iona are among the many to have trained under him. They and others have taken seeds of knowledge from Finnian's monastery at Clonard, and planted them abroad with great success. As might be expected from such a renowned teacher, Finnian has invested much of his life in his own education. France and Britain have been formative training grounds for him, and have had a direct bearing on the values and culture of his foundation at Clonard. In itself, this is far from unusual, as schooling in foreign lands is the norm for early Christian teachers such as Finnian.

More here on one  of the more well-known of ancient Ireland's saints.  He's pretty much eclipsed in this country by Our Lady of Guadalupe's great feast on the 12th.  But he's still on the Irish calendar.