Temperatures in the 50s-- and it had been raining heavily or steadily but constantly for most of those first three days. Dawn this morning seems to have broken the spell; I know there were flood alerts Friday and Saturday which seem to have been cancelled today. It is the feast of the Apostle Saint Thomas (CE, Introibo, Wiki). Saint Thomas and the Apostle Saint Andrew (and his sometimes is and often is not, after all) and then of course the Immaculate Conception are the major feasts of Advent-- the relative absence of feasts allows us to appreciate the Masses and chants of the season in a way that might otherwise not be possible. If I've read correctly, there is no streaming of Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène until the Vigil of Christmas, Thursday, so am taking the opportunity and will listen to Sir James MacMillan's program on Edward Elgar and his faith on BBC Radio 4 at 0800 and put off Terce until 0830.
Dom Jacques-Marie Guilmard of Solesmes continues, in today's episode of the 'Advent calendar' from Neumz, his presentation of the history of the Roman and Gallican rites, the Mass and the Office, the opus Dei, and their history, speaking of Chrodegang of Metz, Charlemagne, Alcuin, and Hilduin.
Wigmore Hall presents The Cardinall's Musick performing both Palestrina's motet O magnum mysterium and his Mass O magnum mysterium (with the Gregorian proper Lux fulgebit, which is the Mass in aurora, at dawn, on Christmas Day), as well as works of Heinrich Schütz, Hieronymus Praetorius (am unfamiliar with this fellow-- I thought it was going to be some piece of Michael's) along with other Christmas music at 1130. I see that the Palestrina Mass is a parody of the motet which means, in this context, simply that the great master used elements or ideas from the motet in his Mass in a way explicable by someone much more knowledgeable about polyphony than I. The Cardinall's Musick fellow-- Andrew Carwood, I believe-- used the analogy of Palestrina taking apart his original Lego construction (in this case the motet O magnum mysterium) and re-assembling the pieces into a new construction (the Mass O magnum mysterium) to describe the making of a parody. The singer of the Lux fulgebit mispronounced a syllable he was singing, tsk, in the introit's Gloria Patri: "in saecula saeculoram".
From the Bayerisches Staatsoper (they have been streaming a program each Monday for some time), Camille Saint-Saëns's Oratorio de Noël, probably, tsk, at more or less the same time as the Wigmore Hall concert-- 1115. Tsk.
Am listening (on Klassikaraadio) to Herbert Blomstedt last year conducting the Japanese Radio NHK Symphony Orchestra in a concert of Beethoven's Symphony no 3, Strauss's Tod und Verklärung, and then the Overture to Wagner's Tannhäuser. Then this afternoon, I'll watch the opera streamed from Vienna the name of which I cannot recall at the moment, based on the Mishima novel. 'The Faithless, Betraying Sea', I think, whatever that is in German. Something Meer. Das verratene Meer.
Post Sextam, to which I was late because in the first place the lovely concert from Wigmore Hall ended only shortly before 1300 but also because I thoughtlessly downloaded two album purchases to this machina whereas I ought to have done to the other one where I keep my music. Moving the files was a tricky process because I'm an idiot. It occurs to me now that it is all done that the simplest and quickest thing would've been to have downloaded the zip files from Presto to the other machina directly, tsk.
Am listening to a part of one of the Masses I just acquired, the Sanctus of Robert Fayrfax's Mass O bone Ihesu which evidently is... troped, I suppose is the word: there is another text or perhaps two of them added to the text of the ordinarium-- it is beautiful but I cannot make out the words of the additional text. This is the Sanctus of his Mass Albanus, since that of the Mass O bone Ihesu doesn't seem to be at YouTube.
The rain is returning, but I feel the temperature dropping. It is December 21st...
Ante Vesperas. I think Noboru just killed a cat in a burlap bag with a hammer-- am listening to Das verratene Meer, ha; am obviously missing elements of the plot. I understand that he is being an adolescent tormented by his disordered affection for his mother and for the ship captain or whoever he is but beyond that, I need to read the libretto or Mishima. Who I first took to be the ship's mates must be the radical Right 'gang' or club that Noboru belongs to. It doesn't help that I missed the first twenty minutes or so of the opera, after an interminable conversation in German among the directors and writers et alii during which I began to attend to other matters, which conversation now continues during what is presumably the one interval. The Japanese drum is pretty cool, however, and the contrabass clarinet-- am vaguely enjoying listening, in other words, without understanding very much of what is going on on stage. Time for Vespers.
Post Vesperas. I'm sure composer Henze has an appreciative audience-- there look to be literally dozens of works-- but I am not likely to ever listen again to Das verratene Meer. Between the shouting and dissonance, on the one hand, and the tedious immorality, on the other, eh, it was only with reluctance that I finished listening. At this point I'm sorry that I bought a copy of the Mishima the other day. A huge downpour of rain during the first part of the second act, as cats and dogs as it gets-- but the night is silent now.