Tuesday, January 5, 2016
We three kings of orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
- Christmas Carol
Actually, the Bible doesn’t say there were three of them, only that “Magi” (wise men, not kings) came from the east bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Folk wisdom said three gifts, therefore three kings, though the Eastern Christian church numbers them as high as twelve. In Western Christiandom they were even given names: Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and the shrine holding their bones has been in Cologne, Germany since 1164 – though Marco Polo wrote that he saw the trio’s beautiful golden tomb south of Tehran in the 1270s.
So why write about this today? Because tomorrow, January 6, is their Feast Day, Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas. Last chance to hear a little Christmas music.
This past Sunday I went with a friend to a concert in Saint Paul given by Consortium Carissimi, a small orchestra and choir who play and sing Renaissance music. This was the second time I've heard them. They use instruments that are of very old design. Some, like the violins and recorders, look familiar, but the oboe looked a bit strange and the baroque trombone almost looked more like a trumpet. And then there were the archlute and theorbo, stringed instruments I have only seen in Renaissance paintings. The concert was held in a beautiful Catholic church and something about the setting, or the acoustics, or perhaps just the mood I was in, made the second offering, Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” strikingly gorgeous. I went to YouTube yesterday, looking for a performance to link to here, and found several, but they were only beautiful, not magnificent as the performance by the Consortium.
I hope to hear from my agent this week with news about the book I submitted to my publisher and the idea I want my editor to approve so I can get back to work. I had been thinking last year that perhaps I wanted to stop writing mystery novels, that I’d done enough – or had enough – but now I’m itching to get to work.