Saturday 5 December 2009

Christina Rossetti

The annual winter workstorm has kept me from blogging much lately, but I note that today is the birthdate of Christina Rossetti (born 1830). The poor woman led one of those sad Victorian lives that were the lot of so many of her sex, self-thwarted by religious scruples whose force we can scarcely comprehend today. She left behind much half-good poetry, little of which entirely works (she certainly wasn't our homegrown Emily Dickinson) - but In the Bleak Midwinter will surely survive. In its beautiful setting by Holst, it's one of the most moving of Christmas carols - and read as a poem it has something of the force and simplicity of George Herbert. Played by a Salvation Army band, it is certainly more than I can easily bear - but more and more things reduce me to tears these days. I think it's part of growing older. Lacrimae rerum...


  1. With you on Bleak Midwinter. My grandad loved four pieces of music: In the Bleak Midwinter, the adagio from Mozart's 21st Piano concerto, Amazing Grace sung by Elvis Presley, and Needles and Pins by the Searchers.

    Excellent choices all, but he was a gruff, frightening old bugger and these cracks of sentimentality in his persona were rare and strange.

  2. Needles and Pins in that company is strange indeed...

  3. Tommy Steele look alikes, smile, show teeth, twang-twang-twang, Needles and Pinsaaaa, you had to go awayayeee.
    Wonder if Wolfgang showed his teeth.

    Bleak midwinter best sung in draughty Gospel Halls full of people coughing and sneezing, takes you back a bit though but.

    Grandpa didn't do Elvis impressions, did he Brit.

    Tommy Steele was a bit mean, when he hit the big time he bought his mum a house, in Catford.

  4. I don't think it is - it's the melody of the verses (I saw her today, i saw her face, it was a face ...), sad, pretty, sentimental.