Mitt hjerte alltid vanker (My Heart Always Wanders)

A recent Xmas music favorite of mine (OK, “last decade or so” is recent, isn’t it? πŸ˜‰ ) is the Danish/Norwegian hymn, “Mitt hjerte alltid vanker.” Both the tune and the lyrics speak to me.

Here’s a beautiful rendition by Sissel:

But I’m strongly drawn to Tine Thing Helseth’s instrumental version:

As translations of lyrics go, this is rather rough–sacrificing both a good wedding with the meter of the tune and rhyme scheme–but I think this captures the heart of the meaning about as well as it can. I like the twist Tine Thing Helseth’s album featuring this piece takes on the title though: “My Heart Is Always Present.”

Mitt hjerte alltid vanker – English translation/version

My heart will always wander
To where our Lord was born,
My thoughts will always go there
And take on their true form.
My longing does belong there,
With the treasure of my faith;
I never shall forget you,
O blessed Christmas night!

Oh come, and I will open
My heart and my mind
And sigh with longing,
Enter, Jesus
For this home is Your own,
You bought it for yourself
So I will remain faithful,
With you here in my heart

I’ll willingly spread branches
Of palms around your bed.
For you and you alone
I will gladly live and die.
Come, let my soul find joy
In this moment of delight:
To see you born right here,
Deep inside my loving heart.

“I do not think that word means what you think it means… “

…or maybe it does.

While I was listening to one of my fav songs by Stephen Fearing recently, I was once again stuck by the lyrics, particularly by his use of a word central to the song: beguiling. And once again, I wondered at his use of the word, for most of my exposure to it in a lifetime of reading (usually) good books rendered the word in my mind’s ear once again as “leading with deception” or some such. So, this time, I went to Meriam-Webster online and found…

1: to lead by deception
2: hoodwink
3: to while away especially by some agreeable occupation ; also : divert 2
4: to engage the interest of by or as if by guile

But when I thought to check the same resource’s thesaurus I found

1 to attract or delight as if by magicβ€” see charm 1
2 to cause to believe what is untrueβ€” see deceive
3 to lead away from a usual or proper course by offering some pleasure or advantageβ€” see lure

Ahhh, there the meaning Fearing’s song alludes to is most akin to the primary meaning cited. And then methought, “The third listing: ‘Lure’? Fearing uses the word almost in the sense of ‘alluring’ (to entice by charm or attraction) doesn’t he?” Well, almost. But I think I’ve finally found the heart of the song in the fact that the “beguiling eyes” Fearing sees are… (at least partly) in the eyes of the beholder.

Quite apart from all that, Fearing’s wonderful artistry on the guitar, and the lyrics and melody taken as a whole, make this song one that can occupy my mind’s ear for hours. Yeh, yeh, I could wish for better vocal artistry, but the guy apparently wrote the thing as he heard it in his mind’s ear, and discovered he couldn’t quite manage some of the (very well-written) melodic devices. Someone with a better vocal instrument might do the melody more justice, but they’d have a hard time matching the overall artistry of Fearing’s own performance.

Here’s a small sample–just a portion of the intro. Get your own copy of the entire song for under a buck at the link I provided above. And no, I’m not getting anything out of the link–twc has, for now at least, been entirely “de-monetized”. All that went along with taking steps to kill off most of my traffic last year.


And no, I’m not going to post the lyrics. Go buy a copy of the song and listen for yourself.


The Sound of Music

The sound of music today is… not so musical.

The manufactured sounds of contemporary rock, hip-hop, country and etc., are stale, boring, and often completely UNmusical. So-called “artists” who can neither find nor maintain pitch (admittedly those who pass as “country music singers” nowadays usually have a BIG edge over most in other genres in at least finding pitches) seem to dominate the manufactured music market.

Of course they do. Most people nowadays can’t hear thunder. Data point: anyone reading this who can discern pitches need only think back to the first few weeks of any season of American Idol. Think of all the completely clueless, tone-deaf aspirants who auditioned. They are among the best of the population in general.

Yes, most people in our society today are tone deaf. And I lay the “blame”–such as it is–at the feet of lazy generations of folks who have let the radio (and the technologies that followed it) make their music for them, instead of making their own music. You see, true tone deafness is extremely rare, but most folks nowadays have never bothered to learn to sing, play an instrument or even whistle a tune. Oh, as American Idol evidences, many folks think they can sing, but obviously cannot.

Heck, I spent more than a few years teaching music (both vocal and instrumental) in various settings and venues. Even kids who self-select to be in band or orchestra far, far more often than not came to the classes–in fifth or sixth grade… and even more sadly after several years of “instruction” by others–with only the vaguest idea of pitch differentiation. And I have heard “award-winning” high school bands that have never been introduced to that old Chinese gentleman, Tun-ing.

Go to a church, once one of the cultural bastions of vocal/choral music, and simply listen (if you’re one of the minority of those who can differentiate pitches). Horrible. Listless voices. Tuneless congregational singing. A far cry from the days of my youth (and even then it was not rare to find pockets of poor singing. The slide into musical illiteracy has been long).

My dad belongs to a church that has such congregational singing. It tries to make up for it by having a “praise band” and singers up front to “lead” the singing. Interesting thing: most of the instrumentalists in the band are in their 60s, 70s and even, like my dad, 80s. They come from generations when making their own music was still a common thing. (In his youth, for example, my dad and a bunch of his buddies bought a HUGE repertoire of charts of the swing music that was then popular and drove all over their home state playing gigs. As a real band, not some five-piece small ensemble that passes for bands nowadays.)

The musical illiteracy and lack of tone perception that is rampant nowadays is appalling.

For those few who can sing along without having some mindless drone from an electronic crutch, let me offer these chilling (yes, chilling) words from The Sound of Music:

When you know the notes to sing
You can sing most any thing.

Now, that’s a depressing thought in the face of American lack of musicality.

(Lest you think me some sort of pseudo-intellectual musical snob, academic/”serious” music nowadays is often worse thasn any of the pop genres. Heck, there’s more–much more–to appreciate in the musical wasteland of manufactured country, hip-hop, etc., than in the land of contemporary “serious” music. *sigh*)

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New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day: Pig in a Blanket

That’s me: staying warm n toasty and “pigging out” on Bryn Terfel while enjoying some home brewed wheat beer (yeh, yeh: from a kit ;-)).


This kinda stuff can easily carry me through New Year’s Day.


Bryn Terfel - We'll Keep a Welcome

Bryn Terfel – We’ll Keep a Welcome


Mr. Beer Whispering Wheat Weizenbier Refill Brew PackMr. Beer Whispering Wheat Weizenbier Refill Brew Pack

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Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Blog @, Adam’s Blog, Right Truth, The World According to Carl, Shadowscope, Pirate’s Cove, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, Big Dog’s Weblog, Pursuing Holiness, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Christmas Break

Peaceful Christmas afternoon. A nice lunch of my Wonder Woman’s Swedish meatballs on egg noodles and some snowpeas, notalot else. Lovely Daughter brought some ‘special” hot cocoa mix–no tedious boiling and frothing of milk and chocolate today: today is an official “Third World County Central No-Stress Day”–as we’ve tried more and more to make our family gatherings.

Wonder Woman, Lovely Daughter and Son & Heir (yeh, just wait til he sees what he “inherits” *heh* “S&H, You need to change your dad’s diapers again… ” *LOL*), listening to Christmas music that S&H made available, Just started another batch of beer (the wort’s at a boil and will steep and cool for a bit after a while), sitting here at the kitchen computer (a PC-BSD box) just letting the ambiance bathe my spirit.

*sigh* More days like this would always be welcome, ya know?

Oh, didn’t manage to keep the ECTV (the entertainment center box with a decent amp and speakers attached) off today. But we’re not watching the dam*ed thing (yeh, that’s a theological hypothesis). S&H hooked up his XBox 360, cos he loaded several hundred megs of Xmas* mp3s on it and is using it as a temporary media server shooting them through the sound system, managing the “jukebox” with the TV.

Nice of him. I used to just burn a couple of new mix CDs. I guess I ought to see about building a media pc and running some Linux-compatible media software/hardware with it.

Of course, I could attach a real sound system to this lil kitchen PC-BSD box and program Kaffeine with a playlist…

Well, that sort of thing will just have to wait for a day that’s not today. Need to post this, get back to just basking in the family glow for a while longer.

Merry Christmas!

Continue reading “Christmas Break”