A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Traditionally, December is the month of the season’s festivities. In Holland we start early, on the 5th of December we celebrate the feast of St. Nicolas, the old bishop of Myra that brings presents to children together with his servant Black Peter. Consequence is, however, that traditionally we do not get presents at Christmas.
Yet, as a child, I liked Christmas and looked forward to it. That wondrous atmosphere, the christmas tree with candles, the Christmas Story with candlelight in the semi-darkness of the living room. The period between St. Nicholas and Christmas Eve looked like an eternity to me! Now that I am in my fifties, I do notice that eternity has grown a lot shorter!
My guitaristic adventure with Christmas Carols started in the beginning of the eighties of the last century, when I came across a little book with arrangements of Christmas Carols. The booklet was called 12 Christmas Carols, the arranger was Peter Gerits and the book was published by Music Publishers Van Teeseling from Nijmegen under identification VT170. At the moment it is no longer in the publisher’s catalogue, but a rare music shop still sells it, and it can also be found on the second hand market and the “recycle shops”.
The attractive feature of these arrangements is their relative simplicity, they are mainly two-part with very little chords, presenting very transparent tunes that enable to concentrate on the essentials of the melody. The transparency is a challenge indeed! I had to take care to hold back the bass line a bit in favour of the melody, and damping appeared quite important to prevent ringing.
Ever since, the songs from this book formed part of the Christmas tradition, I used to play the twelve carols at the Christmas dinner of my in-laws. My mother in law knew all songs by heart and particularly Te Bethlehem Geboren was a favourite of hers, she sang it along full-heartedly! After she passed away in 2001 I kept playing the songs, again every December, at some occasions I could play them in public too.
In 2014 I made a recording of the carols and decided to share them as my season’s greetings, you can play them back on this page. Note that the titles are in Dutch, I only know a few English titles! Please play one at a time, else you will experience cacophony!
Have fun listening and on behalf of the DOS Amigos Homepage I wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!
Gloria in Excelsis Deo(Angels We've Heard On High)
Komt allen Tezamen(Adeste, Fidelis)
'T is Geboren het Goddelijk Kind
Hoe leit dit Kindeke
Er is een Roos ontsprongen
Nu zijt Wellekome
De Herdertjes lagen bij Nachte
Slaap nu, mijn Jezuke
Te Bethlehem geboren
Herders, Hij is geboren
Maria zoude naar Bethlehem gaan
Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht(Silent Night)