Monday, December 23, 2013

Figures in a creche can't sing twelve-tone music


When asked why his oratorio El Pessebre (The Manger) ignored contemporary musical developments the great Catalan musician Pablo Casals replied with a smile "The figures in a crèche are folk figures; why, they can't sing twelve-tone music!" El Pessebre may be derivative with its echoes of Humperdinck and Wagner, but it is also a delightful example of naïve folk art that provides a welcome alternative to the oceans of musical kitsch that are now inseparable from Christmas. The naïve folk art seen in my header image, which transports the miracle of water into wine from Cana to a hilltop village in Provence, adorns the guest refectory in L'Abbaye du Barroux in France. If your Christmas tastes are more ancient than modern then, staying with the Catalunya, triomfant theme, the CD seen below is recommended; it is Navidad Renacentista, a programme of Renaissance Spanish Christmas music performed by Capella de Ministrers directed by Carles Magraner and recorded in the magnificent Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona. On An Overgrown Path will be back insha'Allah after a short seasonal break - a very happy Christmas to all my readers.


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