Advent Carol for December 21: A Spotless Rose

I have mixed feelings about this one, actually, because while I think it is heart-stoppingly beautiful, for most of us it’s one to admire, rather than to join in with. We had our usual family carols yesterday and attempted several numbers that I’d never heard before, or at least never paid attention to, and I realised anew that it is not possible to read music and words at the same time and get both right. So listening to this now is making me feel a bit anxious.

This is, of course, because it’s a twentieth-century carol – dating from around 1919 – and they’re often a little tricksier than their older relatives. Stick with it, though, for a cameo from a baritone whom you’ll recognise as our solo Balthazar back on December 12th. I wonder what he’s doing now?


Advent song for December 7: Happy Christmas, Matthew

I have always said (what do you mean, you’ve never noticed?) that it’s easy to be funny and mean, and much harder to be funny and nice. Matthew manages to be all three, which is even cleverer, and whilst I have sometimes been reduced to tears of laughter by his beautifully elegant put-downs (always aimed at the most deserving of targets), it’s also abundantly clear that he is a dazzlingly nice man, whose warmth, wit and generosity of spirit make him one of the best people you could ever hope to bump into in the pub.

I demand that you follow him on Twitter immediately. It is his perfect medium, and also the place where you get to find out about the music he likes, which – since he is a musician – is another treat.

Happy Christmas, Matthew! This tune is one of my earliest memories, although I never knew its name before today, so thank you for that too.