Sunday, December 25, 2016

Joy to the World

This is rather an odd Christmas for me, but I suppose, as a mostly non-religious person, all Christmases, and Hanukkahs for that matter, are odd. But I am a deeply embedded member of Western Civilization so I feel the spirit of the season nonetheless.

I used to play concerts with a dear friend who was a flute player (lots of good repertoire for flute and guitar) and a colleague of mine in the university music department. He was from Texas and as a young man he played in the US Air Force band. He once told me that the most terrifying experience he had in those years was when they were on tour and one night had to share a barracks with Marines. Heh! I think he was kidding. But maybe not.

In any case, I wanted to share with you a clip of the US Air Force Band and Choir in a flash-mob style performance at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. They are performing a medley (duodley?) of Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and the traditional Joy to the World:

I want to wish everyone who reads this blog the most peaceful and fulfilling holiday and prosperous and healthy New Year. And I promise to get back to posting more regularly soon!

I have been reading the Psalms lately and I want to leave you with one that Steve Reich chose to set in his Tehillim. This is Psalm 18: 26-27 translated from the Hebrew:

With the merciful You are merciful,
with the upright You are upright.
With the pure You are pure,
and with the perverse You are subtle.


Marc Puckett said...

Merry Christmas, Bryan! and best wishes in this season of holidays. I'm hoping to have the time but more precisely the energy after the New Year to keep up with your posts as I should like to do.

It is one of the those very sad coincidences that you should write about your friend who was in the armed services on the day when so many members of the Alexandrov Ensemble ('the Red Army Choir') died in such tragic circumstances. There is a video of their music director, Valery Khalilov, conducting a performance in DC of the Russian bishop Hilarion Alfeyev's Christmas Oratorio in 2007 here:

Bryan Townsend said...

Merry Christmas to you as well Marc! If you will find the energy to keep tabs on the blog, then I will be sure to find the energy to put up some good posts!

That was a terrible tragedy for the Alexandrov Ensemble--a whole musical institution wiped out in an instant... I don't think I can recall anything similar ever happening. Thanks so much for the clip.