Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Eleventh Hour Post

... And looking at the time on the corner of my screen, that is pretty literal. I have been far spottier about making Christmas posts than I intended to be this year, but it seemed a pity to let the last day of Christmas go by without remark, so here is one last quick post. 

Today is the the feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day and Little Christmas. As you might guess from the second name on the list, it is the day in which we commemorate the visit of the Magi to the Child Jesus. In many traditions, this is the gift-giving day of Christmas. In my family, we truly do celebrate it as a little Christmas, with a few small gifts, a fancy dinner, and general merriment.  It is a very pleasant tradition.

Although Epiphany has been celebrated since the very early days of Christianity, I found it surprisingly difficult to find a proper song for the day, aside from We Three Kings - which is a very fine song, but not particularly remarkable, it being very well known. But I persevered, and found this song, which has a sort of charm about it:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Professor.

You knew it was coming, right? The  happy-birthday-dear-Tolkien post smack in the middle of Christmas. According to the Tolkien Society, all admirers of the Professor  are supposed to offer up a birthday toast to him at 9 pm this evening. We fill our glasses with goodly drink, stand and say, "The Professor!" Yes, I am going to do that. With my Christmas whisky, which is very good indeed. Yes it is quirky of me. I don't care. 

In honour of Christmas and Tolkien, I am presenting you with the lyrics for a carol entitled All Mydle Erthe It Shall Fulyll - and yes, that really is Middle Earth. Tolkien didn't invent that term, he adopted it. (Fans of Thor might be familiar with Midgard. It means the same thing.) I have not bothered to update the spelling, nor replace "u" with "v" (that word is venite)

A voyce from heven to erth shal com:
"Uenite ad iudicium."

This voyce both sharp and also shryll
Shall be herd from heuen to hell
All mydle erthe it shall fulfyll
    Uenite ad iudicium.
        A voyce. etc.

Uenite is a blyssed song
For them that for ioye dooth longe
And shall forsake paynes strong
    Uenite ad iudicium
    A voyce. etc.

Glad in hert may they be
Whan Chryst sayeth Uenite
Ye blyssed chyldren come to me
    Into vitam eternam
        A voyce. etc.

Whan I hongred ne gaue me meat
Ye clothed me agaynst the weat
In trouble ye dyde me not forgeat
    Uenite ad iudicium
        A voyce. etc.

Ye socoured me at your doore
And for my sake gaue to the poore
Therfore wyll I you socoore
    Uenite ad iudicium.
        A voyce. etc.

Sory in hert may they be
That hereth this heuy worde, Ite
Ye cursed chyldren go fro me
    In to ignem eternum
        A voyce. etc.

Whan for nede that I dyde crye
Confortlesse ye lete me dye
Therfore now I you deny
    Uenite ad iudicium
        A voyce. etc.

For by me ye set no store
Ye shall abye ryght dere therfore
In hell with deuyls for euermore
    Uenite ad iudicium
        A voyce. etc.


And since I know that was a lot of archaic language to skim through, I am also providing two Christmas Carols. O Come All Ye Faithful  in Sindarin (which is the elvish you mostly hear spoken in the Lord of the Rings movies)

And also In Dulce Jubilo - a macaronic carol, originally in Latin and German, but in this case, Latin and Quenya - Quenya being High Elvish, and the language Galadriel used when she sang Namarie:

And lastly, this rather lovely little thing - Ve EƤrendil vanima . Click on "show more" for the translation, and to find out more about it. Just do it. You'll not be sorry.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The New Year, It Hath Entered In....

You know what I really wanted to post for this day?  A video of Billy Boyd singing "Auld Lang Syne".  I thought I should be able to find one without too much bother. After all, the man sings, quite sweetly.  He's Scottish, and that is a Scottish song, and New Year's Day is a big deal in Scotland..... Well, let me tell you something. It is not easy to find. Quite the contrary. Indeed, if a recording of the wee man singing that particular song exists at all, it has somehow managed to avoid making an appearance on ze internetz - and in this day and age, no less. Apparently, miracles do still occur. 

So, since I canna welcome in the New Year with whimsy, I shall welcome it with an old  Welsh New Year's Carol called Levy-Dew. Benjamin Britten put it to music, so it was rather a challenge to find a cover of it that was not beautifully sung in four parts by classically trained voices. You are getting this version partly because it was one of the few non-choir versions I came across, and partly because I was quietly amused by the intro:

But I also wanted something a trifle more robust.  I had clearly in mind the sort of tune I wanted, but one of the discouraging things about being me is that there is a gulf between the sort of thing I like to listen to - ancient tunes with lots of history, sung by people with satisfying voices, enjoying themselves hugely - and what people actually sing - notably, songs for a swingin' New Year.  I don't swing, and a mere rotation of the Earth around the Sun is not enough to prompt me to change my ways now.  I found this, and while it is not an old tune, it has rather satisfying harmonies to it, and sings of bonfires with an enthusiasm that makes me want one myself - and not just because it is currently -2 degrees outside:

Please do not ask me why one video is so much smaller than the other. I used the same method for embedding them both, and got different results. I should be able to figure it out, as I am taking a coding class, but it is 9 am on New Year's Morning, and I don't feel like it. So there.

Wait... that preview is terrible. Oh, all right. Let me go have a gander at that html.... oh look.... the top one shows a width of 516 and the bottom one a mere 420.... let me just change that....  and hit preview again.... CACKLE!....     Behold, vids of the same size, for a balanced look. Might as well start the New Year off right, eh?

And on that note, I go to brew some cappuccino for the breaking of my fast. Happy New Year!