Something to listen to while you read. Sheet music available at Sheet Music Plus.
Since it’s the last day of December and we’re celebrating Christmastide, I thought it would be fitting to share the story of this little known – but really fun – Christmas carol.
El Desembre Congelat (Cold December Flies Away), a traditional Catalonian carol with an unknown author, was translated into English by Howard Hawhee (b. 1953) in 1978. Only recently appearing in a handful of American hymnals, the carol is based on the hope-filled passage found in Isaiah 35:1-2:
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad,
and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose;
it shall blossom abundantly
and rejoice even with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the excellency of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord
and the excellency of our God. (MEV)
I stumbled on Cold December in a Lutheran hymnal while hunting for lesser-known/unusual carols to create piano arrangements. Its bright, bouncy tune piqued my ear but, as an avid gardener, it was its text talking of roses, flowering trees, buds, and sweet perfumes that I couldn’t resist. For fun, I gave the arrangement hopeful, childlike qualities and added an ending where December truly flies away. 🙂
Cold December flies away at the rose-red splendor.
April’s crowning glory breaks while the whole world wonders […]
On the blessed tree blooms the reddest flow’r.
On the tree blooms the rose here in love’s own garden,
Full and strong in glory.
May your own garden bloom with love, peace, blessings, and beautiful music in the upcoming year.