Monday, December 28, 2009

Freedom!! (Sort of.)

The cast is off my poor, sore right arm.


(Sort of.)

The elbow joint is very stiff, and my mobility is quite limited. Maybe I should have taken this for a sign BEFORE I tried to clean up the Christmas rubble in my house, do the shopping, or drive a car.

Never mind.

I'm teaching myself to write again, with the vain hope of being able to complete a major art project for the university in two weeks... I'm typing-- and doing fairly well-- in order to get caught up on many, many emails. I can't take a steady photograph to save my LIFE, with these shaky hands of mine, and so all the Christmas photos will be quirkily blurred this year.

Most of all, I can't wait to KNIT.

For dear Father Christmas brought me exactly what I wanted, in the form of a delicious, new Noro yarn, and a beautiful book of patterns.

Is this the stuff of dreams, or what???!

The needles?

They are CALLING ME, people, after too, too many months of neglect.

I can't wait.

Now. All I need is a physiotherapist who will work during the holidays...

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Heart-in-Waiting

"Madonna and Child" by Wee Three, 2009

The Heart-in-Waiting

Jesus walked through whispering wood:
‘I am pale blossom, I am blood berry,
I am rough bark, I am sharp thorn.
This is the place where you will be born.’

Jesus went down to the skirl of the sea:
‘I am long reach, I am fierce comber,
I am keen saltspray, I am spring tide.’
He pushed the cup of the sea aside

And heard the sky which breathed-and-blew:
‘I am the firmament, I am shape-changer,
I cradle and carry and kiss and roar,
I am infinite roof and floor.’

All day he walked, he walked all night,
Then Jesus came to the heart at dawn.
‘Here and now,’ said the heart-in-waiting,
‘This is the place where you must be born.’

from Selected Poems
Enitharmon Press 2001

A Happy Christmas to you all!

"The Candlelight Carol"
by John Rutter
and performed by The Cambridge Singers

How do you capture the wind on the water?
How do you count all the stars in the sky?
How can you measure the love of a mother,
Or how can your write down a baby's first cry?

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn,
Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo!
Angels are singing; the Christ Child is born.

Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him,
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep;
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Savior,
But Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep.

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star glow,
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn,
Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo!
Angels are singing; the Christ Child is born.

Find Him at Bethlehem laid in a manger:
Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay.
Godhead incarnate and hope for salvation:
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day.

Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star glow,
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn,
Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo!
Angels are singing; the Christ Child is born!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy Christmas.
Thank you for reading, thank you for listening.

With much love from, CGF xoxo

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Joyous and Blessed Christmas Eve...

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming
performed live by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge
at the 2009 Carol Service, earlier this evening

DET är en ros utsprungen av Jesse rotoch stam.
Av fädren ren besjungen den står i tiden fram,
En blomma skär och blid,
Mitt i den kalla vinter i midnatts mörka tid.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came a floweret bright amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Swedish translation, THEKLA KNÖS
English translation, THEODORE BAKER
Arrangement, JAN SANDSTRÖM
Gerhmans Musikförlag

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 24

"The Huron Carol"
performed by The Elora Festival Singers

'Twas in the moon of wintertime
when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim
and wondering hunters heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born:
In excelsis gloria!"

Within a lodge of broken bark
the tender babe was found;
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
enwrapped his beauty round
But as the hunter braves drew nigh
the angel song rang loud and high:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born:
In excelsis gloria!"

The earliest moon of wintertime
is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on
the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
with gifts of fox and beaver pelt:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born:
In excelsis gloria!"

O children of the forest free,
O seed of Manitou
The holy Child of earth and heaven
is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant boy
who brings you beauty peace and joy:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born:
In excelsis gloria!"

The words of this Christmas hymn were written in 1643, by Jean de Brébeuf, who was a Jesuit missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, near Midland, Ontario, Canada. Brébeuf wanted to tell the Christmas story in a way the Hurons could understand, so he composed this Christmas carol, using the native language of the Huron/Wendat people. The song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The essential message - of the miracle and promise of new life and new hope in the midst of dark and bitter winter - was very "acceptable" to the Huron people, and is one we can all share today.

Even after Jean de Brebeuf's death in 1649 at the hands of the rival Iroquois, the destruction of the Sainte-Marie settlement, and the dispersal of the remaining Huron people, the survivors of the brutal attack still celebrated the nativity each winter and kept the carol alive through the oral tradition. Almost 100 years later, another Jesuit priest heard the carol and wrote it down. It was translated into French under the title "Jesus est ne". In 1926, poet J.E. Middleton wrote an English interpretation that is widely known today.

I highly recommend the spectacular book, "The Huron Carol", which is beautifully illustrated by Frances Tyrrell. It includes the music for The Huron Carol, the only surviving verse in the old Huron language, and two verses from the eighteenth century French translation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 23

"The Holy Boy"
by John Ireland
and performed by
The Cambridge Singers

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 22

by Joni Mitchell
and performed by Dianne Reeves

Because I owe you one...

"I've Lost My Mummy"
performed by Rolf Harris
(who else??? Sorry, I just can't get enough...)

Thanks to my wonderful, generous, endlessly patient brother-in-law...


All is right with the world.

Well... with my arm in this cast, all is LEFT with the world.

But it turns out, that's good enough for me.

Thanks, bro.

Best. Christmas. Gift. EVER.


December 21

"The First Nowell"
performed by The Elora Festival Singers

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December 20

"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
sung by Dame Kiri te Kanawa


I have always HATED this song.

It's redundant, redundant, redundant. To make matters even worse, it's one of the most frequently recorded carols, and seriously overplayed.

Listening to this song in all of its nauseating varieties, in every major shopping centre from Wal Mart to Holt Renfrew, makes me feel as though my brain is going to rupture and leak out of my ears.

So imagine my shock and surprise when I discovered this particular recording, featuring the sublime New Zealand opera star, Dame Kiri te Kanawa.

This recording? Takes my breath away.

Dame Kiri is clearly in her element, and her soaring, lilting voice is full of all of the good humour required to make this song successfully engaging for the listener. Even more brilliantly, each verse has its own little musical theme which is carried along through each successive verse, and culminates into a wonderfully inspiring finale.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas" originated as a children's rhyme that was published in a book called "Mirth without Mischief " in about 1780. It was used as a memory and forfeit game, wherein each player took it in turns to say the rhyme, and more lines were added with every round. It is also rumoured to have been written as a "catechism song" to help young Catholics learn their faith. However, this would have been at a time when practicing Catholicism was discouraged in England, and there is apparently no substantive primary evidence that supports this claim.

The date of the song's first performance is not known, though it was used in European and Scandinavian traditions as early as the sixteenth century. Frederic Austin wrote an arrangement in the early twentieth century, which can be found in The New Oxford Book of Carols. He added his own melody from the verse "Five gold(en) rings" onwards, which is why the latter part of the song sounds quite different from the beginning.

The Twelve Days of Christmas, and the evenings of those twelve days ("Twelve-tide"), are the festive days beginning the evening of Christmas Day, through the morning of Epiphany (January 6). This period of time is also known as "Christmastide".

Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19

"Gabriel's Message"
performed by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

"Enjoy your break!"

Ironically, these were the last words my professor called after me as I was leaving her class on Wednesday, having just handed in my final 75 page paper of 2009.

Little did I know that less than an hour later, I would be lying inert and stunned, flat on my back on my icy driveway. I dislocated my right elbow so completely that the medical team looking after me in Emergency obeyed my request to be knocked out, while they assessed the damage and attempted to put me back together again.

I will be spending this Christmas, and probably well into the New Year, encased in a cast from my shoulder to my wrist... no driving, no writing, no cooking, no shopping or wrapping, and most certainly NO KNITTING, for at least the next few weeks.

I am miserable, to be sure. But pain relief is abundantly available, thanks to my merciful doctors, and the comfort of family and friends means the world to me.

I am doing my best, and am making the most of the situation I have found myself in. We mothers do not have much choice, at times like these. We can choose to fight against the forces that are beyond our control... Or, we can yield: Surrender our own agenda for the time being, and trust that in time, all will work out as it should.

I have faith.

All will be well.

In time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 17

CGF will return tomorrow. She has had a fall on the ice, and will learn to type 1 handed asap.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 16

Remember, O Thou Man

by Thomas Ravenscroft (1592 -1635)
arranged by Bob Chilcott,
and performed by The Elora Festival Singers

Remember, O thou man,
O thou man, O thou man,
Remember O thou man,
Thy time is spent.

Remember, O thou man,
How thou cams't to me then,
And I did what I can,
Therefore repent.

Remember Adam's fall,
O thou man, O thou man!
Remember Adam's fall
From heaven to hell!

Remember Adam's fall,
How we were condemned all
To hell perpetual,
There for to dwell.

Remember God's goodness,
O thou man, O thou man!
Remember God's goodness,
And promise made!

Remember God's goodness,
How His only Son He sent
Our sins for to redress,
Be not afraid.

The angels all did sing,
O thou man, O thou man!
The angels all did sing,
On Sion hill.

The angels all did sing,
Praises to our glorious King,
And peace to man living,
With a good will!

The Shepherds amazed was,
O thou man, O thou man!
The Shepherds amazed was,
To hear the angels sing.

The Shepherds amazed was
How it should come to pass
That Christ our Messiah
Should be our King!

To Bethlehem did they go,
O thou man, O thou man!
The shepherds three;
O thou man, O thou man!

To Bethlehem did they go,
To see whether it were so,
Whether Christ were borne or no
To set man free.

As the Angels before did say,
O thou man, O thou man!
As the Angels before did say,
So it came to pass;

As the Angels before did say,
They found him wrapt in hay
In a manger, where he lay
So poor he was.

In Bethlehem he was born,
O thou man, O thou man!
In Bethlehem he was born,
For mankind's sake;

In Bethlehem he was born,
For us that were forlorn,
And therefore took no scorn
Our sins to bear.

In a manger laid he was,
O thou Man, O thou Man,
In a manger laid he was
At this time present.

In a manger laid he was,
Between an ox and an ass,
And all for our trespass,
Therefore repent.

Give thanks to God always,
O thou man, O thou man!
Give thanks to God always,
With heart most joyfully

Give thanks to God always,
Upon this blessed day,
Let all men sing and say:
'Holy, holy!'

Thomas Ravenscroft started his career as a chorister at Chichester Cathedral and then moved to London to serve in St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was an exciting time in London as the Theatres were hugely popular, showing plays by such noted playwrights as William Shakespeare. Ravenscroft grew to know many of the actors and writers of this era, and wrote music to accompany some of the plays that were produced at the Globe Theatre. Ravenscroft was also responsible for the preservation of the largest collection of popular vocal music which were published in Pammelia(1609), Deuteromalia(1609), and Melismata(1611). These songs had massive popular appeal and, as with the plays of the era, proved profitable for the Publishers. These works became some of the longest surviving collections of traditional English popular songs.

My brother was recently at the Advent Carol Service at St. John's Church in Elora, where he heard this beautiful, "blues-y" version of the carol, arranged by Bob Chilcott. I agree with him wholeheartedly that it is nothing short of spectacular. Many thanks, DLB, this carol is the star of the season!

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 15

"The Nativity Carol"

by John Rutter, and performed by
The Cambridge Singers

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 14

"Six White Boomers: Santa's Australian Run"
performed by the one and only Rolf Harris

Right, dear Aussie readers... please do not inundate me with hate-mail, because I love Rolf Harris... I am told by my cousins in Australia that this song is the next thing to blasphemy, but let me say this in my defence: this is PAY BACK for all the many, many years that Certain Relatives have telephoned me on Christmas Day from the beach, where they have been sunning and surfing and throwing something juicy on the barbie for their dinner, whilst the REST of us have been freezing our Canuck Arses off in about thirty squillion feet of snow.


Merry Christmas, you Guffs.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December 13

Madonna and Child circa 1827-30, by William Dyce

"A Maiden Most Gentle"
trad. French, arranged by Andrew Carter
performed by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

A maiden most gentle and tender we sing,
Of Mary the mother of Jesus our King.
Ave Maria

How bless’d is the birth of her heavenly child,
Who came to redeem us in Mary so mild.
Ave Maria

The archangel Gabriel foretold by his call,
The Lord of creation and Saviour of all.
Ave Maria

Three kings came to worship with gifts rich and rare,
And marvelled in awe at the babe in her care.
Ave Maria

Rejoice and be glad at this Christmas we pray,
Sing praise to the Saviour sing end-less.
Ave Maria

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 12

"He'll Be Comin' Down the Chimney"
performed by The Guy Lombardo Trio

I've just come through one of the toughest weeks of the whole school year... and I'm more than a little bit worse for wear, I'm afraid. I need this term to be over, so that I can return to the waiting arms of my three girls, hearth and home. That said... I am woefully behind on Christmas preparations, and it's going to be a real scramble to get ready for the arrival of the Jolly Old Elf, Himself!! Part of me is teetering on the brink of full-on PANIC...

But the other part of me CAN'T. WAIT.

Hurry up, Christmas.

We Need You.

Only twelve more days to go...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 11

"Count Your Blessings"

from the movie "White Christmas"
and sung by Bing Crosby, to Rosemary Clooney

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 10

"White Christmas"

performed by Louis Armstrong
(who else??!?)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 9

Virgin and Child under an Apple Tree 1525-30
by Lucas Cranach, the Elder

The Child Christ helds bread and apple in his hands. The apple is the symbol of the original sin, the bread (the body of Christ) of the redemption. The Virgin is considered to be the second Eve redeeming the sin of the first.

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
performed by The Choir of Westminster Abbey

From Divine Hymns or Spiritual Songs,
compiled by Joshua Smith, New Hampshire, 1784
Poem by an unknown New Englander
Tune by Elizabeth Poston, 1905-1987

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell,
His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while:
I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive:
This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive:
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 8

"The Fayrfax Carol"

A Tudor manuscript, set to music for
the 1997 "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols"
by Thomas Adès, and performed by
The Choir of King's College, Cambridge.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

December 7

It's Monday, people, and for those of you familiar with the
Musical Advent Calendar here at "I Can Fly, Just Not Up",
you will remember that the first day of the week means that
some Serious Silliness is in order... Enjoy!!

"Elf's Lament"
written and performed by
The Barenaked Ladies

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 6

"Madonna and Sleeping Child"
by Andrea Mantegna, 1465-70

"What Child is This?"
performed by The Choir of St John's Church,
Elora, Ontario, Canada.

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

"What Child Is This" was written by English poet and lay theologian William Chatterton Dix as a poem entitled "The Manger Throne". It was first used as a hymn text in Sir John Stainer's Christmas Carols New and Old, 1871. It's well-known tune, "Greensleeves", is a traditional English ballad with an interesting history. The earliest known publication of this tune is in two books of 1580. One is by Richard Jones, entitled "A new Northerne Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves", and the other is by Edward White: "A ballad, being the Ladie Greene Sleeves Answere to Donkyn his frende".

William Shakespeare mentions it twice in "The Merry Wives of Windsor":

I would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words; but they do no more adhere and keep place together than the Hundredth Psalm to the tune of 'Green Sleeves.'
(Act II, Scene one)

Let the sky rain potatoes; let it thunder to the tune of 'Green Sleeves.'
(Act V, Scene five)

Another one of its early appearances as a hymn tune was as the setting for “Carol for New Year’s Day, to the tune of Green Sleeves". "The old year now is fled" is from a black-letter collection printed in 1642, and can be found in the Ashmoleon Library in Oxford.

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 5

I Wonder As I Wander
performed by The Cambridge Singers

I wonder as I wander out under the sky,
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die,
For poor orn'ry people like you and like I,
I wonder as I wander, ... out under the sky;

When Mary birthed Jesus 'twas in a cow's stall,
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all,
And high from God's heaven a star's light did fall,
And the promise of the ages, ... they then did recall;

If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing,
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing,
Or all of God's angels in heaven to sing,
He surely could've had it... 'cause he was the King.

This carol is attributed to American folk singer John Jacob Niles. In his words:

" 'I Wonder As I Wander' grew out of three lines of music sung to me by a girl who called herself Annie Morgan. The Place was Murphy, North Carolina, and the time was July, 1933. The Morgan family, revivalists all, were about to be ejected by the police, having camped in the town square for some little time, cooking, washing, hanging their wash from the Confederate monument, and generally conducting themselves in such a way as to be considered a public nuisance. Preacher Morgan and his wife pled poverty; they had to hold one more meeting in order to buy enough gas to get out of town.
It was then that Annie Morgan came out-- a tousled, unwashed blonde, and very lovely. She sang the first three lines of the verse of 'I Wonder As I Wander'. At twenty-five cents a performance, I tried to get her to sing all the song. After eight tries, all of which are carefully recorded in my notes, I had only three lines of verse, a garbled fragment of melodic material-- and a magnificent idea. With the writing of additional verses and the development of of the original melodic material, 'I Wonder As I Wander' came into being. I sang it for five years in my concerts before it caught on. Since then it has been sung by soloists and choral groups, wherever the English language is spoken or sung."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December 4

"Christmas Time is Here"
sung by Sarah McLaghlan

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 3

"The Shepherd's Carol"
by Bob Chilcott, and performed by
The Choir of St John's Church, Elora, Ontario.

Oh, my friends...

It has been an agonizing several days, as my brother and I struggle with the music players on this website. Please accept my sincerest apologies for the numerous failures and malfunctions over the past several days... I have put aside essays and lesson plans in order to try and solve this problem. Please, do keep me posted as to whether or not you are able to enjoy the music I have chosen for tonight. The player will display the Quicktime logo for a moment or two as it loads, so be patient... I am PRAYING that all will be well at your end.

We'll make this work.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 2

"... now, this is SERIOUS!"

"Santa Claus is Comin' to Town"
performed by the completely irresistible
(Sweet Baby) James Taylor

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