30 December, 2010

The 5th Day of Christmas

The Sussex Carol

The musical dance form known as the Reel is a grand old British/Celtic tradition, born out of the Dark Ages after the Roman Empire had fallen and before the rise of the Renaissance and the Reformation. The Scots-Irish developed a myriad of variations based on the original "Reel of Three", wherein three (or multiples of three) dancers interweave with one another in a figure eight.

The music lends itself to the harmonic drone of the traditional pipes overlaid with a fiddle or recorder or single reed hornpipes laying down a melodic, repetitive pattern, reminiscent of the the weaver at work at the loom.

Many of our favorite Christmas Carols come directly out of the tradition of the Reel. Most have been subdued and toned down to match the solemnity of the post Renaissance grandeur of the Anglican Church liturgy. The Holly and the Ivy, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, The Sussex Carol and....one that I will share later: Angels from the Realms of Glory, as performed by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band.

Since we have a massive and bitter cold Canadian storm blowing down upon us, perhaps a gathering of folks to dance some reels and share Christmas joys to keep the blood warm and pumping strong are in order!

Enjoy this 5th Day of Christmas!

No comments:

Post a Comment