December 5, 2010

Chorus, Christmas, & the Coming Lord

This is the weekend of the community chorus concerts, which means I've been singing and singing and singing. This afternoon is the last one, which is kind of bittersweet. I'm looking forward to a little respite for my voice, but I do love singing with the chorus.

The chorus does a spring concert and a winter concert, though the "winter concert" would be better described as a Christmas concert. All of our selections are about Christmas in one way or another. This year we're singing selections from Rachmaninoff's Vespers and Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and a bunch of other stuff including an arrangement of Star in the East with a hammered dulcimer player (it's awesome). But my favorite piece is one by Daniel Gawthrop, called O Come Emmanuel, which the chorus actually commissioned 10 years ago. The music is gorgeous, meaningful to sing, and the text is a poem by Madeleine L'Engle, taken from a collection of her poems called The Ordering of Love: the New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L'Engle (Thanks, Google books!). This poem is the second of her "Three Songs of Mary."

2. O Oriens 

O come, O come Emmanuel 
within this fragile vessel here to dwell.
O child conceived by heaven's power
give me thy strength: it is the hour.

O come thou wisdom from on high;
like any babe, at life you cry;
for me, like any mother, birth 
was hard, O light of earth.

O come, O come thou Lord of might,
whose birth came hastily at night,
born in a stable, in blood and pain
is this the king who comes to reign?

O come, thou Rod of Jesse's stem,
the stars will be thy diadem.
How can the infinite finite be?
Why choose, child, to be born of me?

O come, thou key of David, come
open the door to my heart home.
I cannot love the as a king -
so fragile and so small a thing.

O come thou Day-spring from on high:
I saw the signs that marked the sky,
I heard the beat of angels' wings,
I saw the shepherds and the kings, 

O come, Desire of nations,
be simply a human child to me.
Let me not weep that you are born.
The night is gone. Now gleams the morn!

Rejoice, rejoice, Emanuel.
God's Son, God's Self, with us to dwell.

No comments:

Post a Comment