It’s the first Sunday in Advent (premier dimanche de l’avent) today which, as we all know, marks the start of the build-up to Christmas. And I have finally got round to wrapping up a few pressies and parcelling them up to be sent off to family and friends in England and Ireland. And we’ve got turkey for tea. We couldn’t stand big black turkey’s constant gobbling any longer- and I mean constant – so he made the transition from running around outside with feathers to sitting very still in the oven without them! He smells delicious. Oh yes, and I made the Christmas cake too this morning. I feel a touch of domestic goddesism coming on here.

So, since it’s Advent, it seemed fitting to blog about something Christmassy, and I’ve chosen one of the carols that we’ll be singing at our carol concert in Boussac on 9th December (19.30 at St Anne’s Church if you can make it, and I’m doing a reading in French!). It’s Noël Nouvelet, which I adore. It’s an old carol, dating back to the fifteenth century and you can hear that in the tune, as well as the lyrics. Here are some versions to listen to:

A nice one on Youtube here.

A low tech but very pleasant midi version here.

If you want to play it for yourself, you’ll find the score here for free.

The version we’ll be singing is a setting by Jehan Alain. This incredibly talented organist, from a family of musicians, was killed in action in 1940 at the age of 29. He wrote a vast amount of music during his short life, his most famous being Les Litanies and Trois Danses. He was working on some orchestral music at the time of his death. The manuscripts, which he’d taken to the battlefront with him, were never found. You have to wonder what else he’d have gone on to compose if only he’d lived.

Find out more about him at this French website:

I’ll do my best to keep a Christmassy theme going in my blog over the next few weeks. Tis the season to be jolly, after all.