Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Music: Early Snow with Loreena McKennitt

Snow seldom comes this early in the knobs, with the winter solstice still a couple of weeks away, but we woke this morning to a couple of inches, white and crisp as linen sheets over lawn and trees and as far on the horizon as one could see. Mom called Sis; the Princess and her friend Miss V had been out playing in it since 8:30, coming indoors occasionally to warm up and gulp hot chocolate, then back out they went. Brother Olde Hippie notes ironically, "White stuff on the ground. Is this what the oldtimers call SNOW?"

It also gave me my theme for Saturday music. The Irish-Canadian musician Loreena McKennitt has, over the course of her career, recorded several winter-themed songs.

One such is "Snow", with lyrics by the Canadian poet Archibald Lampman, (1861-1899). Originally recorded on her 1987 CD TO DRIVE THE COLD WINTER AWAY, it was rerecorded in a slightly different form on 1995’s A WINTER GARDEN.

The wistful carol "In the Bleak Midwinter" was written by the English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) sometime before 1872, although it was not published until a decade after her death. Rossetti titled it "A Christmas Carol" but it is more usually known by its opening line. Set to music in 1906 by the Swedish-British composer Gustav Holst, it is performed here as an instrumental, from McKennitt’s 2008 album A MIDWINTER NIGHT’S DREAM, on which songs from A WINTER GARDEN were reprised and augmented by new recordings.

Now, in mid-afternoon, the sun is peeking out and the snow is melting rapidly, dripping steadily off the roof—an ephemeral but lovely gift from Old Man Winter.


  1. VERY nice Fair. As today was the day we put the tree up, these tunes were the FIRST music of the season played in the rock castle. Kind of sets the Holiday mood....

    Hope you're well,


  2. Fairweather, loved this, esp the violin, wonderful videos. We too had a dusting of snow, beautiful but short-lived. Hope you are enjoying your Sunday.

  3. There we go! I can comment here, I think. Only problem is I don't do open id, so the link is wrong. The Loreena McKennitt is wonderful music. She has been a favorite of mine for many years. It's wonderful to be inside by the fire on a snowy day!
    This Eclectic Life

  4. LOL--hey, Share, that's cool! Loreena McKennitt is great music to cook by, I've found, in addition to being calming and, in these pieces, very much in touch with the season. All's well here at the Red Mud Inn--how's it goin' at the Rock Castle?

  5. Thanks, Miss B. The snow here was beautiful but all gone today; temps back up in the mid-forties and skies gloomy, almost like there's gonna be rain moving in. Otherwise, it's a good day here in the knobs. Hope yours is good--love ya--

  6. Hey, Shelly--good to hear from you! I first got into Loreena McKennitt's music in 1997, I think, after reading a review of her CD THE BOOK OF SECRETS in PEOPLE magazine, of all things--I got the CD and have been a fan ever since. These are great ones for a snowy day. (Will check by your place dreckly. :))