Solo Performances in Christmas Eve Music Service

Tonight, I played Laurindo Almeida’s classical guitar arrangement of Bach’s Air on the G String and Luis de Milán’s Pavane III at the Jefferson Unitarian Church Christmastide Music Service. The Pavane was originally written for the vihuela, a Renaissance instrument that closely resembles the guitar.  Air on a G String is an arrangement by German violinist August Wilhelm (1845-1908) of the second movement of Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major BWV 1068.  Both pieces are compact, highly expressive musical works that are adaptable to being performed in a variety of settings.

During the Christmas Eve service that followed the Christmastide Music service, I sang with the Jefferson Unitarian Church Choir “Deep Peace,” a mysterious, ethereal choral work by Bill Douglas.  The text of this work is part of a traditional Gaelic blessing.  The service concluded with every member of the congregation holding a candle in the darkened chapel while singing “Silent Night.”  Upon exiting the church, I was greeted by a thick, fresh layer of snow that heralded the arrival of Christmas.