Diane Taraz & Jonathan Gilbert
The Old New Year

© 2011 Jonathan Gilbert & Diane Taraz, Raisin Pie Music (BMI)

1. The Old Year (La Guignolee)
In Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, the first European settlement west of the Mississippi, singers still go door to door, ringing in the new year as they have since the town was founded in 1735. La Guignolee is both the name of the song and the custom, which dates from medieval times. Daughters, beware!

2. Noel Nouvelet / Pat-a-pan
The first song in this French medley is in Dorian mode and dates from the early 1500s. The second was written in Burgundian dialect by Bernard de la Monnoye in 1720. Jonathan had fun playing multiple tracks of recorders, and Diane couldn't resist popping in a snippet of the echoing harmonies she vaguely recalls from singing Pat-a-pan in various choirs and choruses over the decades.

Noel Nouvelet

Noel nouvelet, Noel chantons ici,
Devotes gens, crions a Dieu merci!
(chorus) Chantons Noel, pour le roi nouvelet,
Noel nouvelet, Noel chantons ici!

L'ange disait, "Pasteurs, partez d'ici!
En Bethleem trouverez l'angelet."

En Bethleem, etant tous reunis,
Trouverent l'enfant, Joseph, Marie, aussi.

Bientot, les rois, par l'etoile eclaircis,
A Bethleem vinrent un matinee.

L'un partait l'or; l'autre l'encens bem;
L'etable alors au Paradis semblait.
Guillaume, prends ton tambourin, toi, prends ta flute, Robin,
Au son de ces instruments: tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan!
Au son de ces instruments, je dirai Noel gaiment.

C'etait la mode autrefois, de louer le roi des rois,
Au son de ces instruments: tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan!
Au son de ces instruments, ils nous en faut faire autant.

L'homme et Dieu sont plus d'accord que la flute et le tambour,
Au son de ces instruments: tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan!
Au son de ces instruments, chantons, dansons, sautons en!
Translations (roughly!):

Noel Nouvelet
A new Noel, we sing today,
Faithful people, give thanks to God.
(chorus) Sing Noel, for the newborn king, a new Noel, we sing today.

The angel said, "Shepherds, leave this place!
In Bethlehem you will find choirs of angels."

In Bethlehem, when the shepherds arrived,
They found the baby, and Joseph and Mary, as well.

Soon the kings, by the shining star,
Came to Bethlehem in the morning.

One carried gold, the other myrrh;
This made the stable seem like heaven.
William, get your drum -- you, Robin, take your flute,
With the sound of these instruments: tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan!
With the sound of these instruments, I make the holiday festive!

It's the custom as of old, to praise the king of kings
With the sound of these instruments: tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan!
With the sound of these instruments, we'll do it even better!

Man and God are more in tune than the flute and the drum,
With the sound of these instruments: tu-re-lu-re-lu, pat-a-pat-a-pan!
With the sound of these instruments, sing, dance, and jump about!

3. Amaryllis
Diane wrote these lyrics in 1992, inspired by her amaryllis plant, which blooms in the dead of winter. The melody is ancient Irish. This song was on Diane's first CD, Shoes That Fit Like Sand, and it was time for another whack at it!

4. Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene
Jonathan taught Diane this lovely English song from the late 1200s, when people still pronounced the "k" and the "gh" in "knight." It sits beautifully on the dulcimer. Here are the three verses (there are more, but three seemed enough!):

Edi beo thu, hevene-quene,
Folkes froure and engles blis,
Moder unwemmed and maiden clene,
Swich in world non other nis.
On thee hit is wel eth-sene,
Of all wimmen thu havest thet pris;
Mi swete levedi, her mi bene
And reu of me, yif thi wille is.

Thu asteghe so the daiy-rewe
The deleth from the deorke nicht;
Of thee sprong a leome newe
That al this world haveth ilight.
Nis non maide of thine heowe,
So fiar, so schene, so rudi, so bricht;
Swete levedi, of me thu reowe
And heave merci on thin knicht.

Spronge blostme of one rote,
The Holi Gost thee reste upon;
Thet wes for monkunnes bote
And heore soule to alesen for on.
Levedi milde, softe and swote,
Ic crie thee merci, ic am thi mon,
Bothe to hone and to fote,
On alle wise that ic kon.
Blessed be you, heaven's queen,
The people's comfort and angels' bliss.
Mother immaculate and maiden pure,
Such in this world no other is.
In you it is easily seen,
Of all women you have the prize;
My sweet lady, hear my prayer
And have pity on me, if that is your will.

You ascend like the ray of dawn
Which separates from the dark night;
From you sprang a new light
That has lit all this world.
There is no maid of your complexion,
So fair, so beautiful, so fresh, so bright;
Sweet lady, have compassion
And have mercy on your knight.

Blossom sprung from a single root,
The Holy Ghost rested upon you;
That was for mankind's benefit
And their souls to redeem.
Lady mild, soft and sweet,
I cry for your mercy, I am your servant.
Both hand and foot,
In all ways that I know.

5. Rudolphus Rubrinasus
In 1939, advertising executive Robert May wrote a poem for Montogomery Ward to lure kids to visit Santa at department stores. He considered Rollo and Reginald before picking Rudolph as the name of the ninth reindeer. Johnny Marks set it to music in 1940, and the variety of Latin translations now available inspired Jonathan to reimagine it as a medieval chant (mostly). Jonathan added some sly commentary at the end of each section.

Rudolphus Rubrinasus

Rudolphus rubrinasus, fulgentissimo naso;
Vidisti et si eum, dicas quoque candere (sicut lampas).

Omnes tarandri ceteri ridebant vocantes nomina;
Non sinebant Rudolphum interesse ludentes (sicut Monopoly).

Olim crassa nocte Christi, Nicolaus it dictum:
"Rudolphe, naso tam claro, agesne traham meam?"

Qui tum tarandris amor, conclamantibus eum,
"Rudolphe, rubrinase! Descendes historia (sicut Obama)!"
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose;
And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glowed (like a lamp).

All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names;
They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games (like Monopoly).

Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say,
"Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

Then how the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee,
"Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history (like Obama)!"

6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
The classic by Hugh Martin, created for the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis. On nearly all her CDs, Diane includes a multi-track extravaganza of her voice singing many parts. Thanks to engineer Larry Luddecke for keeping track of the tracks!

7. Deck the Hall
In this carol from the 1500s, there is only one hall -- the manor hall at the castle, where the lord and his lady entertain at the Winter Solstice and the Yule log burns merrily all night long in the gigantic hearth. Diane couldn't resist adding some verses that deal with the reality of today's holiday. Thanks to John Yannis and Laurie Francis-Wright, who helped us create a crowd singing along.

8. Matilda Toots
Google Miss Toots and you can track down the 1855 sheet music, with a wonderful illustration showing Matilda's alluring boots protruding from a jagged hole in the ice as her smitten young man looks on, aghast. He's definitely obsessed with those boots. Back then one had to attach one's skates to one's boots with screws. No composer is given, which is a shame, as this is such a gem. Jonathan's flute comments the whole way through, providing just the right effects.

9. Jingle Bells
James Pierpont wrote this romp in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1857. A horse that can run a mile in two minutes and 40 seconds is going 22 miles per hour, quite an adrenaline rush back in the day! Diane whinnies and snorts; Jonathan jingles and clip-clops; John Yannis and Laurie Francis-Wright lend several tracks of their lovely voices.

10. Auld Lang Syne
Robert Burns set his 1788 poem to another tune; this is the one most familiar today. You can hear his original choice Hope! Says the Holly. For that version Diane sang unaccompanied; here she plays an open-C guitar arrangement by 12-string guitar master Tracy Moore, learned from him long, long ago. Thanks, Tracy!

11. There Is No Rose of Swych Vertu
English loveliness from the 1400s. The interweaving lines create such a peaceful mood. The words:

Ther is no rose of swych vertu
As is the rose that bare Geesu. Alleluia!

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space. Res miranda! (Wondrous thing!)

The angels sung the shepherds to:
"Gloria in excelsis Deo!" Gaudeamus! (Let us rejoice!)

Leave we all this worldly mirth,
And follow we this joyful birth. Transeamus! (Let's go!)

12. Saltarello
A lively Italian circle dance from the 1300s, no doubt used to celebrate every holiday that could conceivably call for making merry. It's quite crooked, with irregular numbers of measures. The extra ones are helpfully marked with "dings." Go ahead, make up your own steps.

13. Carol for the New Year
Jonathan loves these Greensleeves recorder variations, published in 1706 in The Division Flute. He plays a baroque-pitch recorder (A=415), half a step below modern A440. The words capture the eternal hope for better times. May it be so!

~ Diane Taraz & Jonathan Gilbert