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3 Songs for 3 Kings

Today we visit the Three Kings, well before Epiphany. Instead of the usual ‘We three Kings’ that as children went more like this: Three Kings of Orient Are, Trying to smoke a rubber cigar! It was loaded and it exploded,…

Haven’t You Always Wondered?

Why ballet shoes are pink? How are art installations put together? In a fight between the director and conductor of the opera, who wins? Good news Captain Curious! Miss Mussel is working on a new column, which is intended to…

The Madness Of An Extraordinary Plan

The Manchester International Festival is happening again this summer coming. Miss Mussel was there in 2009 and had a fabulous time. Mancunians are well known for their dismissive view of anything that sniffs remotely of pretension, so even though every…

Buy One Get One Free

The KW Symphony has a deal going on for this month where you can buy one ticket and get another one free. Bring a friend, give a gift or just use them both yourself and enjoy the extra legroom. 3…

Day 11: Charlie Brown Christmas

Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy’s right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Brownest. – Linus Of…

Day 10: In The Bleak Midwinter

Today’s Advent treat was nearly a bit of Kenny and Dolly but seeing as we’ve had snow two days in a row here at OM Headquarters, it seemed the perfect time to get all dramatic about it and offer In…

Day 9: Winter Wonderland

Theory peeps – HELP! What is going on with the harmony at the beginning of this song? Has Pat Boone gone all atonal? Polytonal? Did the engraver just miss an accidental in the parts? Gah! Winter Wonderland was written in…

Day 8: The Three Drovers

We’re off to Oz today for The Three Drovers, a carol written in 1948 by John Wheeler and William G. James. Since there were no suitable videos about, Miss Mussel dove and took a stab at making one herself. Drovers…

Day 7: Sussex Carol

We’ve been to King’s College Cambridge quite a lot in this calendar, so today, we go 125 miles west across the Midlands to Worcester Cathedral in…uh…Worcester — also known as the place the unpronounceable sauce comes from. The church was…

Day 6: Jesus Christ The Apple Tree

1. The tree of life my soul hath seen, Laden with fruit and always green: The trees of nature fruitless be Compared with Christ the apple tree. 2. His beauty doth all things excel: By faith I know, but ne’er…

Day 5: Jingle Bells

Barbra Streisand with the most intense version of Jingle Bells these ears have ever heard combined with a ridiculous amount of Christmas lights = CHRISTMAS MANIA!!!!! Jingle Bells is one of the most flexible Christmas tunes and its incarnations are…

Day 4: White Christmas

The story goes that Irving Berlin wrote White Christmas in 1940, poolside at the Builtmore hotel in Phoenix AZ. He often stayed up all night writing — he told his secretary, “Grab your pen and take down this song. I…

Day 3: Petit Papa Noel

The third installment this year’s Advent Odyssey comes from La France (obvs). Petit Papa Noel is linked inextricably with Tino Rossi in the way that Je Ne Regrette Rien belongs to Edith Piaf. Rossi himself was, in his day, quite…

Day 2: All I Want For Christmas Is You

Day 1 was all about restraint and tradition. On Day 2, Miss Mussel is kicking off her boots and enjoying the holiday season with a side of go-go dancers. All I Want For Christmas Is You seems just the sort…

2009 Advent Calendars

The annual OM calendar is back in full force. It seems it was so successful last year that now all the other cool kids are doing one. A great bivalve once said that a man who is tired of carols…

Day 1: Once In Royal David’s City

Once In Royal David’s City has been the opening carol of the Nine Lessons And Carols Service at King’s College, Cambridge for 90 years, and, since here at the OM we adore men and boys choirs, the annual OM Aural…

O Holy Night Mystery Singer Unmasked-

Earlier today, Miss Mussel posted one of her favourite Christmas gag tracks but a little poking around on the interwebs has come up trumps. The man doing the singing is a Nashville studio composer/arranger called Steve M. He gave an…

Aural Advent Calender: Day 18

Reader Pat suggested these 3 minutes of silliness in the comments from yesterday’s post and really, who among us has not sat through a performance that pretty well matches this one? Its generous lashings of earnest and awful combined with…

Aural Advent Calendar: Day 17

It’s 1977, Jimmy Osmond is still a treble and powder blue was the wardrobe colour of choice for the Mormon Tabernacle costume department. Heady days in Salt Lake City, folks. With the whole Osmond family on hand to close out…

Aural Advent Calendar: Day 3

The evergreen quality of the fir tree inspired many songwriters over the years, so there are several versions of this carol in its original German. The version that is the most well-known to English speakers was written in 1824 by…