Daily Archives: December 11, 2013 12:01 am

A christmas carol ballet class #11: Adage at the barre – See amid the winter’s snow

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It’s christmas. Enjoy No. 11 of my free christmas carols for ballet class.

Nativity scene in Trafalgar Square, illustration to "Christmas carols for ballet class"

Nativity scene in Trafalgar Square. It has a costume designer

 

To download the song, either right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) the player above and select ‘save audio as’, or right-click (Mac: ctrl+click) this link and select ‘save link as‘.

I constantly mix this one up with ‘In the bleak mid-winter’, probably because there’s a ‘mid’ in the first line, and because there’s a wintry, English poignancy about both of them that I love.

About “See amid the winter’s snow”

For melody-writing genius, See amid the winter’s snow should win a prize. It’s like one of those short weekends away where you only have two nights, only one full day, and a journey either end, but you remember and savour everything about it because everything is just right. Klein aber fein, as the Germans say, which as phrases go is itself is a model of what it stands for – ‘small but perfectly formed’.

Reading up about John Goss, who wrote the tune (Christina Rosetti wrote the words), I think I rather like the sound of him, and sympathized with his departed soul when I read this on the wikipedia page about him: “His mildness was a disadvantage when attempting to deal with his recalcitrant singers. He was unable to do anything about the laziness of the tenors and basses, who had lifetime security of tenure and were uninterested in learning new music.

About the arrangement

I’ve done very little with this except play it more in the style of a slow pop ballad near the beginning, and slightly reharmonize it. In the second half, just for fun, I’ve put some “musical snow” — a quotation from Debussy’s “The Snow is Dancing” from Children’s Corner. What could be more appropriate? By coincidence, it works rather well.

Click here for a full list of the Christmas Carols for Ballet Class.