Monday, December 22, 2008

December Stories and Songs, Part 22

Here is another Christmas tale of arriving home after a long journey. It's another one I read on Christmas Eve at church in City of Lakes a few times -- Dulce Domum, from Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows. The picture is from Arthur Rackham's illustration. As you will probably recall, Mole has been on an adventure and has met his new friend Ratty, who has introduced him to boating and the open road. On Christmas Eve, they are trudging through the snow and suddenly Mole can smell his old home. At first Ratty doesn't understand and urges him onward, but finally (and quite sensibly!) they go into the old place and, although Mole is at first worried about what his grand new friend will think of his humble home, they have a very good time. The story includes the words to a lovely carol which begins "Villagers all, this frosty tide" and which has been set to music by at least a few composers. The nicest one I've found, based on the audio sample, is by Brian Holmes, found here. There's also a nice one by Sir Philip Ledger, and there's a quirky animation to it by a student which is well worth watching and listening to, here on BBC Norfolk. (The carol is often called Carol of the Fieldmice).

Since I don't have a recording of this carol, I chose one which at least one of my daughters had sung with a choir, Night of Silence, by Daniel Kantor, paired, as it often is, with Silent Night. I have the album by Marty Haugen and friends (another Twin Cities musical treasure); although Amazon says it's discontinued, that's not true, and you can get it from GIA Publications. I found this very home-y and lovely version with voice, guitar and flute which I hope you will enjoy.

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