The propria were something I invented back at Huddersfield. I was there as a student between 1988 and 1991.
What are propria? Quite simply items of clothing that are not, and as individual items do not represent anything, but which when worn together take on the appearance of uniform. I employed propria when performing at St. Paul’s. For the uninitiated, that is the concert hall belonging to the University of Huddersfield (then the Polytechnic).
So I have always liked a bit of “show”. In my concerts in Norway, I have worn the school tie which, until the uniform was officially disused back in 2002 differed from the propria in so much that it individually did represent something. As you have previously seen on Yorkshire Viking Norway, I have also a tradition for using this on Christmas Eve.
For a thirty year old item of clothing, the school tie is in incredibly good nick. Indeed I want to keep it so, especially as it is now an irreplaceable relic. Therefore, for the first time since Huddersfield, enter…. propria.
The choir of St. Thomas Church in Leipzig is one I definitely want to hear. I’ve almost decided now – whether or not I think my budget is where it should be – that next year I really am going to have to go there before I turn fifty.
A week or so ago I found this wonderful YouTube clip. There’s a whole concert indeed (a rarity on YouTube), and given that Google has sold out to the Performing Rights’ people, and YouTube videos will shortly be going behind paywalls and those uploading them will have to “clear” them automatically before the upload (“clear” being these people’s euphemism for “pay”) I think you had better enjoy this while you can.
The Wachet Auf Cantata by J.S Bach BWV 140 has a special significance for me. I have one of those memories that is in the “read only” section of my brain. On Monday 10th December 1979, I was transferred to the former Adwick School, just before my fifteenth birthday. My first music lesson began at 1.20 pm and lasted until school ended at 3.20 pm. I even remember that this lesson was in the school’s “periods” five, six and seven. This was the work our teacher, Mr Ketley was teaching. Every single time I now hear Wachet Auf my mind goes through a mental wormhole – and I find myself transported back in time to his class that very day!
It is an association that hasn’t just appeared this year now that our poor school has been razed to the ground. When I went to the former Polytechnic in Huddersfield, I would make references to it in my compositions. In 1989, at the end of my first year, we had to write string quartets, and the Music Department brought in professional players to have them performed. I placed my Wachet Auf reference bang in the middle of mine; or more accurately, I put my Adwick reference there, since that is what it has become for me.
This is a lovely video, but I do fear that the new rules will mean we shall get less of them. So enjoy it while you can!