tree-2011 I’ve realized that this is seventh year in a row that I’ve done a little musical Advent calendar here at Xanga. Startling thought. I still come up with new tunes every year, but today’s is a classic Advent carol, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” This site takes it at a very brisk clip compared with most of us, but it’s a lovely tune at any speed.

The tune is from the 11th century, and the words were written by a Roman poet of the 5th century, so you can really marvel at the persistence of this stuff. Will people sixteen hundred years or more hence be singing Lady Gaga’s
Christmas Tree”? Seems unlikely. And yet we’ll have this tanner or country parson or, as in this case, judge who knocks out a little ditty for the holiday and we hum it around the office still. Amazing.

The author, Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, was born in Spain (part of the Roman Empire) in 348 A.D. He became a lawyer and then a judge, and finally rose to great power under Emperor Theodosius. At 57 he retired to write poetry, and came up with this wonderful thing, which was translated into English by John Mason Neale in 1850.

You can sing this around the house or office today. It sounds good hummed softly under the breath. It also sounds nice in complex arrangements, as you can hear at YouTube, and also very pretty with just a guitar like this. They’re a little off pitch sometimes, but it’s still nice.

I’d like to hear it jazzed up, too. Quite a few choirs have recorded this piece, but no one has put a steel drum or saxophone with it.

I got to gym today, at last. If we relax about the gym from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, we’ll be completely out of the habit and have to start over, so this is not the time to skip days. The 52 changes book also wants us to begin keeping a record of what we eat. I’ve tried to do this before, and I always fail, but I’m trying again.