Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A little medieval English Christmas

This'll do y'all good.

Maddy Pryor will forever remind me of my Anglican friends in Halifax, some of the best Christians and most fun humans I've ever come across. Wacky, sherry-sipping, Ancient Greek-speaking, Boethius-reading, hymn-singin Christian loons, to a man.



Anonymous said...

Great track. Was big fan of Steeleye Span. Maddy's Christmas album with the Carnival Band is superb I especially like their version of the Boar's Head Carol which I like even better than the Steeleye version.

nic j said...

Great performance, but perhaps it would be better if they just smoothed out some of those rough edges….

I have been a big fan of wonderful Maddy Prior for years. I enjoyed her performances of what we probably do have to call the West gallery repertoire. A tragedy indeed that anglicanism threw it out – leaving it to be sung by some people in pubs in the North – and methodism seems to have abandoned what remained these days.

“Shepherds, arise” is very beautiful and highly moving. Makes me cry just thinking about it. Thank-you for publicizing this version. The only other time I have heard it was on the recording of the music soundtrack release of the London National Theatre’s “The Mysteries” from the early eighties, at least I think the album was. A phenomenon at the time, at least to the journalistic and critical establishment of the capital who seemed to be unfamiliar. Ludus Coventriae, anyone?
More or less modern language reworking of English mystery plays.

I saw a documentary about the making of The Mysteries years after. For some reason the people who produced the shows had convinced themselves that the various play cycles were works of the ordinary people (yes) that expressed community values (yes), that had nothing whatever to do with religion (er, no). The plays express a common Faith in the Christian Church in their native land at the time. ‘English, Catholic, [probably] Conservative, and not at all sorry’ as someone very clever has written.

But the production was in the era of the very silly socialists who could not believe the seventies were coming to an end, or over and Thatcher was real. The age of Peter Hall. Nuff said. One would have thought someone of his education would have known better. There’s none so blind…