There is a renaissance of sound in our home. Or, she reflects, perhaps a Middle Age. An acoustic Enlightenment.
In an effort to manage my time better, I’ve been disconnecting myself from the computer. And—I won’t lie—it’s been hard. The computer’s tentacles are long and many. It is too too easy to just “check my email” or Google one factoid and end up saying hasta la vista to a sizable chunk of time.
You know what works best for me? Turn it off at night and don’t turn it back on until x, y, and z are completed.
But, she sputters, I need my music! Yes, dear. [I talk to myself all the time.] I have an iPod and an iHome in my bedroom, but the volume doesn’t make it to the kitchen; the quality of sound doesn’t cut it.
So it’s back to CDs—discs in their cases. I can play them in our brand new BluRay player. One at a time. On good speakers with an amplifier. And my home is filled with warm, soaring, nourishing, luminous music. It’s a glorious thing. Stupendous! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear my home full of good sounds.
It gives me pause. I feel like I have cheated myself for, oh, five or more years.
There are correlations with the Kindle/real book debate. I love my Kindle for many reasons, but it will nevah [hear Winston Churchill’s voice] replace my library of books. I love my digital music for its portability and availability. But oh! the glories of an amplifier and good speakers. And I know that it reveals my age, but I really prefer to have hard copies of my music.
I often do a long post with my favorite Advent/Christmas music, but today I will highlight one CD: Chanticleer’s Our Favorite Carols*. Talk about irony: I discovered this CD from Pandora. On the computer. It came up on my Liz Story (Holiday) channel and I loved everything I heard. On a whim I purchased this CD in January. It has been in the shrink-wrap until Sunday (beginning of Advent). And I am smitten. There isn’t a preview available on Amazon, but there is on iTunes.
The tone is mid-to-high brow. A capella vocal ensemble. All guys but it some of them sound like girls. Seventeen resplendent carols. No jangles. Some Billings, Tallis, and Holst, for you music majors. There’s not one track that I want to fast-forward, and that itself makes it a winner.
In the Bleak Midwinter arrangement has some dazzling and unexpected key changes. Gabriel’s Message and Huron Carol are gems. For some reason I feel like I own Thomas Tallis’ Third Mode Melody (the tune Vaughn Williams based his Fantasia on, also heard on the movie Master and Commander); it possesses me, however, and when it popped up on this CD there was the flush of recognition. There are two tunes for Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day.
This CD is doing some heavy lifting on keeping my Yuletide sound and serene. Here is Huron Carol:
* Be sure you listen to Our Favorite Carols. Chanticleer has several Christmas albums, but this is my favorite.