13 December – Listen

Busking with Bach, Ophelia Redpath, http://www.opheliaredpath.co.uk/

Busking with Bach, Ophelia Redpath, http://www.opheliaredpath.co.uk/

Listen.  What do you hear?  What is the anthem of December?

How does this writing prompt advent calendar work?
This entry was posted in Music and art, Writing, Writing Prompt Advent Calendar 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 13 December – Listen

  1. Addie says:

    As you know, your Grandpa spent at least 30 summers as an usher at Tanglewood (summer home of the Boston Symphony),. He loved Beethoven, liked Brahms, but wasn’t particularly fond of the 3rd of the 3 B’s, BACH. I never paid much attention to Bach when attending a concert that had his works featured. However, when David and you took up the cello, Bach became a presence in my life as well, as an avid listener – the cello suites and eventually his violin and piano music. I remember asking Joseph (son of my friend Ginny A) and a very gifted pianist at a young age if he liked Bach – the usual answer was “not really” or “not yet”. Then late in high school, he told me “now I like Bach – he’s remarkable”. I was happy he had embraced Bach.
    A few years ago I was in Weimar Germany. After visiting the Goethe house, I took a short train trip to Eisenach where Bach was born and was Choirmaster of the local church, following generations of his ancestors in that position. Visited the museum in his honor and the church. Also visited the Thomaskirche in Leipzig and his simple grave……only engraved “Johann Sebastian Bach”.
    Thanks to you and David and my childhood friend Janet who loved his vocal music and the cantatas (and whose cello is now part of Tasha’s life)!!! I have many Bach selections on my iPad, so I can listen while I travel!! Now I must go and put a Cello Suite on my CD player.

    • Melissa says:

      I’m glad you wrote about Bach, mom. Today was a sort of a blah day, and on the way to the store I realized I hadn’t heard any music yet today. I turned on the radio, and knew immediately I was hearing Bach. Turned out it was CPE Bach, then followed by JS Bach, but both brightened the day. I like that story about Joe. I don’t remember ever disliking Bach, but I think, with time, I like him more and more (JS, that is).

  2. Melissa says:

    By coincidence, today turned out to be a day filled with music – first helping my kids with their instruments, I got to hear my son puzzle out a new piece for his trumpet and later I helped my daughter practice a piece on her violin for a little recital tomorrow. She’s been quite nervous because it will be the first time she plays in front of a group. So I asked my dear violist friend who is a superb musician for some words of advice to tell my daughter. Along with some good tips for nerves, she said ‘most of all remember that music always makes people happy, so when you play them a song it’s like giving them a present– they are so happy to receive it.’ The evening was filled with the sounds of Britten’s Peter Grimes for me (rehearsal for a concert on Sunday) and a wild disco for the kids and my husband (at a Christmas party for his work). When I created the prompt, thought I was going to write that the sound of December is that of wind through dry leaves and reeds and thatch. But what I heard blowing past my ears today was a soundscape of music across styles, centuries, and voices.

  3. Jill says:

    Today was not a typical day for me. I was busy preparing for visitors, and didn’t have much time to listen. My answer is therefore more general and based on previous experience. Here in central North Carolina, the anthem of December starts with the sparse calls of a few crickets that have survived the first frost. White-throated sparrows chime in with clear, melancholy notes, and flocks of grackles intermittently add their mechanical sound-texture. The ringing bell of a Salvation Army volunteer fades in and continues through the inevitable Christmas carols. At first, these holiday songs are just the pre-recorded versions played on the sound systems in stores (a different annoying one of which gets stuck in my head each year), but then the sound shifts to that of a small, live group of carolers. This segment ends with Silent Night as sung by candlelight a congregation at a Christmas Eve service; I hear most prominently the harmony that I am playing on the cello. The anthem of December then finishes with the sounds of conversation and laughter of family gathered together and, on the last beat, a cheerful cry of “Happy New Year!”

  4. Marie says:

    I love imagining you as the persin in this photo, Melissa. Alive with the music of the cello.

    The sounds of the day: the jets if the washing machine at 5:30 am. I love that delayed wash setting that can get the wash going even before I get up. Than that happy tune when the laundry is done.

    The laugh and conversation of neighbors as we gather for a party. An intimate gathering, seven of us. Glasses clinking. Forks clattering on plates.

    The sound of the squeegee pushing water out of the garage, snow from the car wheels that melted even though it is freezing.

    And silence. Rest. The sound of quiet, awake rest.

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