A Composer’s Christmas | Cecilia McDowall


I love Christmas in every possible way.
It’s a time for family and friends to meet, I enjoy the planning of it and
decoration. I buy a nine-foot Christmas tree, which is a real one and
spend hours and hours decorating it, but my daughter, I think, thinks I’m a bit
useless at it, so now she does it in a fraction of the time. Music does play
quite a significant part in our family Christmas. We have music on all the time.
It could be Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Charpentier Messe de Minuit pour Noel,
John Rutter Christmas carols, endlessly. And I love them. And it’s just a time of
music and a time of great festivity and on Christmas Eve, I make my Christmas
puddings. I know that Christmas pudding purists feel that you should make them
months ahead and do things to them to make them richer and tastier, but I I
leave it to the last minute and I mix them up before about 3 o’clock on
Christmas Eve, put the radio on and over the air I hear ‘Once in Royal David
City’ and I can think that there are some parents out there who are absolutely
terrified about whether their son is actually going to be able to sing it,
but for me that’s the start of Christmas.