Oxymoron (Paradoxical) Carol
(Deep Winter, Epiphany & Lent) for SATB chorus and solo, with keyboard collaboration
from A Wintertime Pastoral Triptych: Three Carol-Fantasies
These carols celebrate seasonal times, rather than specific holidays, and do so with a paradoxically pastoral touch, e.g., the notion of "Summer in Winter". Gone are the innumerable allelujas, glory-be’s, "fa-la-las", glorias, amens; and absent are same-melody, repeated stanzas and refrains, -- in short, the very means by which traditional carols sang and danced. Much less texting still allows accessible, treasured, lyrics; but the usual text-to-melody ratio is vastly reversed. Clear divisions and discrete exclamations offer commentary and punch-line summary, but sheerly poetic elements in the lyrics do the principal shaping and sculpting. (I.) The "Oxymoron Carol" Oxymoron: an astutely apt joining of seeming opposites. Model: Nicene Creed composers often set the "et incarnatus est" as a lullaby, a charming Nativity panel, all too suddenly overshadowed by a tragic,"Crucifixus". Such jarring Credo sentiments criss-crossed Crashaw’s paradox-laden "Welcome All Wonders". The flowing pavane deftly ushers in costumed promenaders, or perhaps choreographs a Lenten conductus, either guise impressive in their own respective fineries. Seasonally, liturgically, Post-Christmas fastens itself quilt-like onto Pre-Eastertide-designs, a "multi-textured" chorus, over canny traceries of keyboard underlay: somber song, non-frivolous dance, --- toward a mid-Wintertime, pray, slightly less discontented?