Monday, December 24, 2007

Divinum mysterium

It's Christmas Eve, and this will likely be my last post of the year. Time to take a break - and get my grading finished! Yes, it's an annual holiday disaster that grades aren't due until the very end of December. This year I'm in much better shape than in the past, but there's still work to do. Oh yeah, and tomorrow it's Christmas.

Tonight, I'm playing with my wife and 8-yr-old daughter for our church's Christmas Eve service. This is only our second time performing as a trio; once before we played a movement of a Mozart trio in an otherwise solo recital for me. However, this is our debut as a violin/cello/cello trio. We're playing an arrangement of my favorite Christmas hymn, "Of the Father's Love Begotten." Not only does the hymn feature a beautiful plainchant-style melody, but it lends itself to a young violinist without a fulltime vibrato. As parents, you don't want to force your kids to love what you love, but we hope there's a lot more chamber music in our future. (And if you think it's never occurred to me to make a wishful connection between the Brahms and Schubert quintets I just posted about and my own family of five, well...it's too soon to know where we're headed, but maybe - although I'd need to work on my cello skills for the Schubert.)

Perhaps the most persistent of Christmas traditions in my extended family is to make extended disclaimers about gifts, just to be sure too much is not expected. I'm going to try not to disclaim much about this recording - except to remind you that the violinist is young, that I only play cello two or three times a year, that we're still working on it, that I don't have a very good microphone, and the mic placement wasn't very well planned in this 'rehearsal' recording. That's all.

So here it is. And here are the lovely words:

Of the Father's love begotten
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the Source, the Ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore.

Oh, that birth forever blessed
When the Virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bore the Savior of our race,
And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
Evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Pow'rs, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring,
Evermore and evermore.

Christ, to Thee,
with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee
Hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
And unending praises be,
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory
Evermore and evermore.

(many other verses available here)
MMerry Christmas

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