Our Holiday Music Month comes to its grand conclusion today with two posts — one for the Twelfth Day (of Christmas) and one for Twelfth Night.
This spectacular arrangement of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” by David Chase (performed by the Boston Pops Orchestra) is a musically educational holiday masterpiece — why not turn it up to orchestral volume and invite your students to march around the house today:
January 5th is traditionally considered the last day of the Christmas season — the Twelfth Day of Christmas. In many Western cultures it’s treated as a day of revelry and celebration; it’s also often regarded as the traditional day when the Christmas tree and all the decorations come down until next year. The humorous “Twelve Days of Christmas” song, which can be traced in part as far back as the late 1700s, celebrates the day and has become a staple of radio broadcasts, shopping malls, and concert halls across the country.
Chase’s arrangement, which incorporates fragments from a great variety of other pieces of music, has become an especially popular performance piece. How many of its sources can you and your students identify? I can hear children’s songs, a Beethoven symphony, The Sound of Music, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, some dance-hall cancan music, and Handel’s grand Messiah at the end — you may be able to recognize still more.
One of the deepest purposes of a liberal education is to enable people to get jokes, and this “Twelve Days” performance teaches that happy principle. See if your students notice how the entire audience laughs when the orchestra gets to Day 5, and see if they can tell why.
What artistic creations and musical discoveries are you making in your homeschool this month? 😊
❡ Just how much are those French hens? Did you know you can use “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to teach economics? It’s true! The PNC Financial Services Group, a Pittsburgh-based banking firm, has for many years been publishing a whimsical Christmas Price Index that charts the total cost of all the items in the song, from twelve drummers drumming to a partridge in a pear tree. They even have a kids’ activity book and twelve daily crafts you can make — why not give them a try!