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Christmas with the Baltimore Consort

Five Christmas Tunes


The Old Year Now
Away is Fled
Ding Dong Merrily
The Cherry Tree

One cannot step into an elevator, restaurant, or airport between Thanksgiving and New Year's without hearing many of the tunes we performed as part of our Christmas program for Saint Paul Sunday. This traditional music, with roots going back many centuries, revives our spirits and evokes a festive mood. How would Martin Luther have felt if he could see us now ­ ordering a supper while the strains of Quem pastores laudavere emanate from the ceiling above?

Although a connoisseur of the most elaborate polyphonic music of his time, Luther nevertheless recognized the power of these sturdy tunes to move us. They have been part of our cultural subconscious for centuries. They have not been lost and then unearthed in recent times, like so much "early music." They have been with us all along.

Mary Anne Ballard

Christmas Day
in da Mornin'

RealAudio 2.0, 14.4
RealAudio 2.0, 28.8

Christmas Jig

RealAudio 2.0, 14.4
RealAudio 2.0, 28.8

Ohere's an interesting fact that anthropologists have commented on about acculturation: when you transplant something to a completely different place, in other words, when you take an Old English fiddle tune and bring it to the Appalachian highlands, it tends not to change, whereas the people who owned it back in the borderlands of England and Scotland ­ it was their music, so they could change it as they pleased.

But when you brought it with you from the Old Country, you had to make it the same. And so a number of wonderful people ... came and collected words for these old ballads and found them more true in West Virginia, Tennessee and the Appalachian highlands than they were in the borderlands where they had been created. ( RealAudio 2.0, 14.4 )

Bill McGlaughlin