The Little Lost and Forgotten Canon That Could

During the drive in to work today I heard one of my favorite Baroque music pieces, albeit not in performed as originally written or arranged.  A piece of music history that lay forgotten for centuries and only a single original manuscript copy survives to this day.  Rediscovered in the early 20th century, it’s popularity remains undimmed nearly another century later.  I’m speaking of Pachelbel‘s Canon.

The version I heard this morning via KLOVE had been massaged by the Trans Siberian Orchestra and transformed into a ‘Christmas Canon Rock.’

I can’t explain my reaction to this music.  Just three notes into this song and my chest tightens, I have trouble breathing and my eyes tear up.  No wonder this piece is wildly popular at weddings.  And it doesn’t matter what form or genre morphs this music.  The original genius and simple beauty always shines through.

My tiny bit of research this morning yielded an entire site devoted to this piece of music and how often it shows up in modern music.  Admittedly, the chord progression contained in the Canon in D is very common (I -V-vi-iii-IV-I-ii-V).  A few of the modern songs that caught my eye were:

  • “Cryin” by Aerosmith
  • “Let It Be” by the Beatles
  • “Tunnel of Love” by Dire Straits
  • “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister
  • “With or Without You” by U2

And I’m glad I clicked on the videos link there or I would have never watched this comedian’s rant on his cross to bear in Pachelbel’s Canon in D:


While I enjoyed TSO’s ‘Christmas Canon Rock’ version, I think, at the end of the day, what really puts a smile on my face and a zing in my spring, would be the ‘Ultimate Canon Rock’ as seen here:


Rock On Johann!

Mary’s Maiden Bliss

I felt a bit overwhelmed this week so I sought solace from an old friend (or rather friends).  Being the third week of Advent, I knew the focus at most local churches would be on Mary (represented by the pink candle in the Advent Wreath).  Talk about a woman who overcame overwhelmingness!

I ventured to a church just down the hill from me (Crossroads UMC).  It was good to see so many familiar faces.  An island of calm and comfort amid my recent stormy seas.  Halfway through the service, after the reading of the Magnificat (also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary), I realized the absence of the regular pastor.  Instead of what I’m sure would have been a sermon based on Luke 1:46-55, the Worship Leader gave a testimonial and short lesson (and an announcement to the congregation about his stepping back), followed by a video tour and teaching by Adam Hamilton of present day Bethlehem.  After the video, another church member read the poem “The Soldier’s Night Before Christmas” (which he named ‘Standing Guard’ – Follow the link for the text of the poem and more information about it’s non-anonymous authorship).

The final hymn listed in the bulletin, sung just before the Benediction, happened to be one of my favorite carols.  As usual, I could only sing the first three and a half verses.  By the time I reached the line “But His mother only, in her maiden bliss, Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.” I could no longer sing for the tears.  I whispered the final verse, blurred beyond readability, but indelibly etched upon my heart.

In the Bleak Midwinter

Words by Christina Rosetti (1872)

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Review: All Seated on the Ground

All Seated on the GroundAll Seated on the Ground by Connie Willis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read the electronic version via the Asimov’s website:…

Probably rates a 3.5, but like Connie Willis, I love Christmas and singing in very large choirs. Combining the two, especially with Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, is priceless.

And as Aunt Judith and the Altairi reminds us: ‘A prompt handwritten note expressing gratitude is the only proper form of thanks.’ I’ll be posting those notes to friends and family today.

Highly recommended, especially during this joyous season, bearing tidings of comfort and joy to all.

View all my reviews