Advent Carol for December 22: Torches

Another twentieth-century classic today, written in 1951 by John Joubert, who is still with us at the age of eighty-eight and has an eclectic collection of music to his name. I sang this with a choir in about 2006 and what I remember most is the feeling that you don’t really get to breathe – you just launch into it and keep singing right through until the end. The arrangement is striking but it’s the rollicking rhythmical headlong style of it that I really like. There is also a story, told by my parents, of me as a small child, old enough to read the title “Torches” but certainly not old enough to read the music (I would struggle now, if I didn’t already know it), singing this carol with the music propped up in front of me, upside-down. I’m afraid I failed to fulfil the prodigal promise of my early life, but I still like the song a lot.

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