On Sunday after church, the trebles (sopranos and altos) had their first rehearsal on the Christmas Day music. They will be singing Gabriel Fauré’s Messe Basse for the ordinary, plus the French carol, Il est né. (They’ll also be singing O magnum mysterium by Gerald Near for the communion, and I’m afraid I don’t know if he has any French in his ethnic background! For the first read-through, all sounded lovely. I will also be playing French noels by Claude Balbastre (A la venue de Noel, Joseph est bien marié and Votre bonté grand Dieu). It will be women only on Christmas Day and the music will be gentle and pastoral, quite a contrast to the exuberant and virtuosic Bach and Praetorius music of the night before, Christmas Eve.
As you know, Carl and I went to France this past summer, and we thought we’d have a French Christmas theme with our holiday parties this year. Two parties are in the record books, and in case you’re interested, we had French cheeses and patés, four appetizers in verrines (small glass dishes), boeuf bourgignon (French beef stew), fillet de saumon (salmon filet), haricots verts (green beans), and tarte tatin (French apple tart). So not only are we presenting French music, we’re eating French food too!
Joyeux Noël !