Friday, January 1, 2010
We're starting to wind down on Christmas carols as we approach Epiphany. We're starting to sing some of the lesser-known tunes. This week much of the service music is inspired by the hymn tune "In Dulci Jubilo," which is now typically translated "Good Christian Friends, Rejoice." I'll be playing arrangements of the tune by Manz and Durufle.
The original tune is nearly 700 years old, a jaunty waltz with an original German/Latin text. It's one of my favorites for a couple of reasons. First, it's a Chritmas hymn that we don't hear endlessly repeated in the mall, sung by everyone from the cast of American Idol to barking dogs. It's a tune that still belongs to the church. I think that's one reason that Lent and Easter music are typically more popular among church musicians: we can still make our own mark and do something interesting with it.
Second, it focuses on the joy of Christmas with its strong waltz rhythm. It makes you want to move, and the tune sticks with you through the rest of the day. In this regard, it will contrast nicely with the quartet we'll be singing, which instead focuses on the mystery of Christmas. Overall, the service should provide a balanced wrap-up to the season - joy and mystery in this snowy holiday season. Then we'll close the service with "Go Tell It on the Mountain." It's one of my sister's favorite hymns and a great reminder of what to do with the Good News we celebrate each Sunday.