If you can’t make an effort to do something at Christmas, then when can you? It’s been pressing on my mind for some time now that I have been sadly neglecting my lovely LeapingTracks blog. So in keeping with the season, I wanted to make amends for that, and – of course! – mention some music along the way.
Christmas is one time of year when you can’t seem to get away from music of one sort or another. Here in the UK at least, the shops start playing Christmas carols from about October onwards these days. That does not, in the end, take away from the beauty of them in the right setting – have a little look at this 2010 Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge, UK (a traditional Christmas Eve service here).
Apart from ‘general’ traditions such as these, I have very happy memories of two of my own.
I was, for a time, in a small choir who would come together to perform Handel’s Messiah before Christmas each year in London’s St John’s Smith Square (see this post for a mention about Messiah-related choral jokes). It would be sung by candlelight and most magnificent it was – a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit.
And, at risk of jumping to T-related music (I’ll be getting back to my alphabet soon), let me tell you about our New Year’s eve tradition when Mr Tracks and I lived in London.
The Royal Opera House Ballet at Covent Garden would always been performing one of the ‘Christmas’ ballets, and the time of the performance for 31 December would be brought forward slightly earlier than usual. This would mean that one could attend the beautiful, glittering, breathtaking ballet, and then float away to a near-by restaurant for dinner, both to eat and see in the New Year. How wonderful! Whenever I hear anything from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker or Cinderalla, for example, I am taken back to one of those evenings.
This clip of the Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker is being danced by the fabulous Mariinsky Theater Ballet, but it gives you an idea of the grace, charm and beauty of this work, and the wonderful mood it generates.
Since moving to Edinburgh, we have been able to develop new traditions. Spending time with our generous Edinburgh relatives and seeing in the New Year from our apartment, watching the spectacular firework display over Edinburgh castle. This blog has benefited from that – the firework picture is from one of Mr Tracks’s photos of last year’s extravaganza.
As I write this, it has started to snow and we have just had our last food delivery from our local supermarket before Christmas. All the decorations are up, the cards have been sent, presents bought and everything is poised for the big day. And so all there is left to do is look forward to a lovely time with my family, both this week and next – that’s not very difficult, is it!
I send you, dear reader, my warmest wishes for the season and for 2014.