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December 24, 2010

To wish my blog friends a Happy Christmas, my new favorite carol

Thanks to Bryn Terfel's wonderful Christmas album this year, I discovered a carol that had eluded me, lo, these many years -- "Still, Still, Still." To me, it's nearly as perfect as "Silent Night" in unaffected beauty of words and melody. Turns out both of these lullaby carols are Austrian. Not sure if that means anything, but I figured I should mention it.

What really put me over the edge for "Still, Still, Still" was the arrangement by Mack Wilberg used on Terfel's recording. I couldn't find a YouTube clip of that, but there was one of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so that will have to do. The harmonies in the accompaniment really are terrific, I think, giving a very simple melody an affecting depth.

The carol works just as well, unadorned, of course. I've posted such a version by the Vienna Choir Boys, followed by the rich Wilberg arrangement. I think you'll find both quite charming. With this gentle, tender music, I send Christmas greetings to one and all:

 

Posted by Tim Smith at 1:43 PM | | Comments (0)
        

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at baltimoresun.com/artsmash. This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog
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