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Christmas Wishes: Christian


PhilipKT
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Christmas 2021

 

Everything is noise and stress: noise we cannot escape, words and more words, turbulent, stressful, aggressive...

I grew up in a church with a superb music program: our choir director was an expert organist, a Bach scholar, a wonderful director. The choir was all but professional quality, and every Sunday offered a recital of great music, with a sermon attached. The postlude was always a major organ work, and no one in the sanctuary left until it was done. Buxtehude, Frank, Durufle, Shütz, Bach and more Bach, organ masterpieces from all over Europe, every Sunday.

Nothing was as wonderful as the Christmas Eve service: every choir, from Cherub to Chancel, sang. There were lessons between the singing: the journey, the birth, the angels, the wise men, all the trappings of The Story, warm and familiar and comforting. But what pulls me back to those evening services was the end.

We sang Silent Night.

The greatest of all Christmas Carols was sung only one time during the entire Advent season. Just this single time, on Christmas Eve, at the end of the midnight service.

At service’s end, the lights went down, the congregation lit the candles they’d been given, and sang the entire carol. The organ played its most gentle stops as the choirs recessed, youngest to oldest, until only the chancel choir remained in the rear of the sanctuary.

And then the carol ended, the organ stopped, and all was still. And no one moved.

What is the sound of five hundred candle flames?

In that stillness, every barrier between spirit and Spirit is gone, and every soul can hear peace.

And then the choir sang, a cappella, the first verse of Silent Night, in four part harmony. Whisper soft, yet carrying throughout, and the sound echoed against the stone walls of the church, and rippled through the candle light, and for a brief beautiful moment, no one moved. Nothing moved but the flickering candles.

And still in peaceful silence, the church emptied. We exited, walking on the frosty grass to circle back around to re-enter the building and doff our robes, and replace our folders.

And gentle whispered words... “Merry Christmas Bob.” “God bless you, Mary.” No stress or turbulence, no noise.

I remember that silence, after the music faded, and the beauty and Peace that remained.

Today all is noise and tumult.

We all need a place of silence, repose, where the barrier between spirit and Spirit is gone. I found it in that music and in those moments.

Wherever you find your Peace, I pray it for you.

God bless you.

 

Philip

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9 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Christmas 2021

 

......................But what pulls me back to those evening services was the end.

We sang Silent Night.

The greatest of all Christmas Carols was sung only one time during the entire Advent season. Just this single time, on Christmas Eve, at the end of the midnight service.

At service’s end, the lights went down, the congregation lit the candles they’d been given, and sang the entire carol. The organ played its most gentle stops as the choirs recessed, youngest to oldest, until only the chancel choir remained in the rear of the sanctuary.

And then the carol ended, the organ stopped, and all was still. And no one moved.

What is the sound of five hundred candle flames?

In that stillness, every barrier between spirit and Spirit is gone, and every soul can hear peace.

...........................

We all need a place of silence, repose, where the barrier between spirit and Spirit is gone. I found it in that music and in those moments.

Wherever you find your Peace, I pray it for you.

God bless you.

 

Philip

I was participating in exactly such a service as that just last night, and once again experienced the joy of playing Silent Night after Communion........while squinting at the dimly visible music by candlelight.  :ph34r:  :D

Merry Christmas!!

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10 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Christmas 2021

 

Everything is noise and stress: noise we cannot escape, words and more words, turbulent, stressful, aggressive...

I grew up in a church with a superb music program: our choir director was an expert organist, a Bach scholar, a wonderful director. The choir was all but professional quality, and every Sunday offered a recital of great music, with a sermon attached. The postlude was always a major organ work, and no one in the sanctuary left until it was done. Buxtehude, Frank, Durufle, Shütz, Bach and more Bach, organ masterpieces from all over Europe, every Sunday.

Nothing was as wonderful as the Christmas Eve service: every choir, from Cherub to Chancel, sang. There were lessons between the singing: the journey, the birth, the angels, the wise men, all the trappings of The Story, warm and familiar and comforting. But what pulls me back to those evening services was the end.

We sang Silent Night.

The greatest of all Christmas Carols was sung only one time during the entire Advent season. Just this single time, on Christmas Eve, at the end of the midnight service.

At service’s end, the lights went down, the congregation lit the candles they’d been given, and sang the entire carol. The organ played its most gentle stops as the choirs recessed, youngest to oldest, until only the chancel choir remained in the rear of the sanctuary.

And then the carol ended, the organ stopped, and all was still. And no one moved.

What is the sound of five hundred candle flames?

In that stillness, every barrier between spirit and Spirit is gone, and every soul can hear peace.

And then the choir sang, a cappella, the first verse of Silent Night, in four part harmony. Whisper soft, yet carrying throughout, and the sound echoed against the stone walls of the church, and rippled through the candle light, and for a brief beautiful moment, no one moved. Nothing moved but the flickering candles.

And still in peaceful silence, the church emptied. We exited, walking on the frosty grass to circle back around to re-enter the building and doff our robes, and replace our folders.

And gentle whispered words... “Merry Christmas Bob.” “God bless you, Mary.” No stress or turbulence, no noise.

I remember that silence, after the music faded, and the beauty and Peace that remained.

Today all is noise and tumult.

We all need a place of silence, repose, where the barrier between spirit and Spirit is gone. I found it in that music and in those moments.

Wherever you find your Peace, I pray it for you.

God bless you.

 

Philip

One of my favorite college experiences so far has been performing silent night in German. It definitely brings a special spirit. 

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49 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

I do take your point, but I feel It is beautiful in any language, because it conveys the Universal Spirit, which has no barriers.

Agreed… I also believe that people feel this spirit in different ways and it’s up to the individual to find that level of communication. I feel connected to my maker especially when making music, specifically traditional old time. I think it just reminds me of the basic beauty of life and how simple it’s meant to be. 
 

anyways… I love all the ways people appreciate silent night and music in general. It makes this life interesting and diverse and adds perspective. 

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26 minutes ago, Flattmountain said:

Agreed… I also believe that people feel this spirit in different ways and it’s up to the individual to find that level of communication. I feel connected to my maker especially when making music, specifically traditional old time. I think it just reminds me of the basic beauty of life and how simple it’s meant to be. 
 

anyways… I love all the ways people appreciate silent night and music in general. It makes this life interesting and diverse and adds perspective. 

:-)

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6 hours ago, Rue said:

One of my all-time favourite Christmas Carols is Leise Rieselt Der Schnee. :wub:

I don't know why it hasn't become a bit more widely known.

This isn't my favourite recording, but it gives a wee bit of background.

https://youtu.be/PSPfsUQU8_k

 

I like it thank you for sharing. Do you know the Wexford Carol? I heard it for the first time just a few years ago on my way to rehearsal and it was so beautiful I was crying so hard I had to pull over and just listen. I called the radio station to try and find out that specific  recording was without luck.

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Merry Belated Christmas everyone! I was off grid this last week per my family vacation rules.

I hope that everyone stayed safe, healthy, and warm!

BTW- my orchestra played some fabulous Christmas tunes by Robert Bennett and arranged by Robert Shaw. Nice sampling of many holiday tunes and some classical stuff intermixed.  Love holiday music!

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9 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

Only if it's Lynne Dawson doing the warbling.

https://youtu.be/YU7VxFoPIeI?t=4770

That was amazing. Handel Is possibly the most deceptively difficult composer in the entire standard repertoire. Everybody says, “oh, Handel, it’s easy,” And not only is every page full of technical horror, but you have to play it as if it’s completely effortless or everyone will think you are a total incompetent.

What fun!

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^To a singer, Handel is probably as hard as anything else.  I don't see why it wouldn't be.  For an orchestra, including the conductor, there are sections that sound right at any speed.  Sections that will never sound too fast.  A fundamental requirement of orchestra violinist in general is to be able to play really, really, really fast

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