Season for Dreaming
1. The Holly and the Ivy From the Oxford Book of Carols, from a broadside of 1710. The original subject is probably of pagan origin and symbolises the masculine (holly) and feminine (ivy) elements. From the OBoC: 'As the tribal chorus developed into dialogue, all such songs were sung as as dance between the lads and the maids'. The chorus retains some pagan elements: 'The rising of the sun / And the running of the deer / The playing of the merry organ / Sweet singing in the choir'. In this text the attributes of holly and ivy give support to Christ and Mary. As with most of the other tunes, the attempt in the arrangement and performance is to allow the listener to find in the season a sense of retrospection, peace and calm. The excellent harp of the Vienna Symphonic Library for the Tascam Gigastudio III, used exclusively throughout this CD, is first heard here. 2. I Wonder as I Wander An Appalachian folk carol speculating on the wondrous birth. Collected in a courthouse square in 1933 in Murphy, Cherokee County, North Carolina, by John Jacob Niles. From The Shorter New Oxford Book of Carols. This and other tunes feature the superb acoustic modeling of the Gigapiano II LE grand piano. 3. Un flambeau, Jeanette, Isabelle! From the Shorter New Oxford: 'Torches have always played an important part in French Provencal Christmas celebrations. Another tradition is the making of model villages, complete with crib and vividly characterised villagers. Both are reflected in this carol.' Then tune derives from an old drinking song by Charpentier written in 1666. 4. Ding Dong Merrily on High From The SNO, nominally by Thomas Arbeau, 1520-95. ' 'Thomas Arbeau' is the anagrammatical name of Jehan Tabourot, a French cleric who published a treatise on dancing in 1588. The tune is that of the 'Branle de l'official', a vigorous and rather saucy dance which involved the men lifting the women into the air. The words refer to the ringing of bells and like 'Angels We Have Heard On High', also heard, has a long 'Gloria' chorus. 5. Veni Emmanuel From 13th-Century Grogorian chant. The tune obviously evolved into our 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel'. The intent here is to take the song back to it's original chantlike feel while adding some chordal warmth. 6. Personent Hodie Fron the OBoC. Original latin from Piae Cantones, 1582, a Renaissance songbook. A modal, pretonal texture is heard here again. The English title translation is 'Sing Aloud On This Day', and the refrain is 'For us born, born, born', etc. 7. All Through the Night This song has always seemed an excellent lullaby. It could also be thought of as a manger song crooned by Mary and others present at the manger (perhaps even the animals, if some legends are to be believed) to the child. Also known as 'Sleep, My Child', this song is a Welsh melody from about 1784. 8. I Saw Three Ships This song's lyrics tell of the arrival of 'Christ and His Lady' by ship on Christmas morning in Bethlehem. Since Bethlehem is land-locked and Jesus was a bit young at the time to have female companionship, it is almost possible to suppose that the song contains vestigial hints at the esoteric tradition still maintained in the south of France that Jesus and his supposed wife, Mary Magdalene landed there by ship, possibly with a child, after enduring the crucifixion. 9. Carúl Loch Garman Collected in the Irish village of Inis Coirthe, better known as Enniscorthy, this carol is better known as the Wexford Carol. This is a traditional and haunting tune in changing modcs. 10. Gnomenreigen An etude by Franz Liszt, Rome, 1862-3 depicting a dance of gnomes or elves.