Musical Happy New Year Greetings
On January 6 I completed this year’s holiday greeting, a bit late by most people’s reckoning, I suppose. Had I finished it this past Saturday, I would at least still have been safely, albeit barely, within the season of Christmas. As it is, it is more of a New Year/Epiphany greeting, and I’ll have to be content with having gotten it done sufficiently in advance of Ash Wednesday.
In any case here is a link to this, my first opus of 2013, which I hope you all will accept with my thanks and best wishes for a Happy New Year:
This year’s offering is a short, chorale-like piece, a setting of the first stanza of the poem “Christmas Bells, ” written during the American Civil War by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882). When I was growing up it was sung in our church every year (Hymn 78 in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal) at some point during the Christmas season, set to a tune called by one John Baptiste Calkin (1827-1905).
This is the latest in a series of such musical salutations, going back many years. My first musical Christmas card, written in 1988, was a reharmonization of Gustav Holst’s tune Cranham, best known as a setting of Christina Rossetti’s “A Christmas Carol” or, more familiarly, “In the bleak midwinter.” My version may be found here: . It didn’t look nearly this good initially, having been created not with Finale or Sibelius, but rather with the first notation software I ever used, the grossly misnamed Professional Composer, which some of you, along with me, alas, are old enough to recall. I cringe now as I remember choosing red paper for making the copies of my card that I intended to distribute, a choice that really did little or nothing to improve the look of the thing.