Advent Calendar 24 – The Shepherds’ Farewell

This is an old favourite from my shopping centre carolling days back in the 1990s. We always referred to this piece as ‘carols on acid’, because of the trippy key changes, and perhaps also because Berlioz was a 19th century French composer, and thus the feeling was he was surely on absinthe when he wrote this, if not something stronger.

The tenor also used to complain that the swinging 3/4 rhythm made him nauseous if he’d been out drinking the night before… though having now attempted to sing the tenor line, I suspect he just didn’t like singing this one because the tenor line is a bit of a beast, and seems to have the worst part of all the key changes…

Anyway, nostalgia trips aside, this is a beautiful piece, if a little trippy. And since I am madly making gingerbread shepherds for my ill-advised gingerbread nativity scene today, it seems on theme…

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