Noël Nouvelet – A Carol for Advent

It’s the first Sunday in Advent (premier dimanche de l’avent) today which, as we all know, marks the start of the build-up to Christmas. And I have finally got round to wrapping up a few pressies and parcelling them up to be sent off to family and friends in England and Ireland. And we’ve got turkey for tea. We couldn’t stand big black turkey’s constant gobbling any longer- and I mean constant – so he made the transition from running around outside with feathers to sitting very still in the oven without them! He smells delicious. Oh yes, and I made the Christmas cake too this morning. I feel a touch of domestic goddesism coming on here.

So, since it’s Advent, it seemed fitting to blog about something Christmassy, and I’ve chosen one of the carols that we’ll be singing at our carol concert in Boussac on 9th December (19.30 at St Anne’s Church if you can make it, and I’m doing a reading in French!). It’s Noël Nouvelet, which I adore. It’s an old carol, dating back to the fifteenth century and you can hear that in the tune, as well as the lyrics. Here are some versions to listen to:

A nice one on Youtube here.

A low tech but very pleasant midi version here.

If you want to play it for yourself, you’ll find the score here for free.

The version we’ll be singing is a setting by Jehan Alain. This incredibly talented organist, from a family of musicians, was killed in action in 1940 at the age of 29. He wrote a vast amount of music during his short life, his most famous being Les Litanies and Trois Danses. He was working on some orchestral music at the time of his death. The manuscripts, which he’d taken to the battlefront with him, were never found. You have to wonder what else he’d have gone on to compose if only he’d lived.

Find out more about him at this French website:

I’ll do my best to keep a Christmassy theme going in my blog over the next few weeks. Tis the season to be jolly, after all.

0 Replies to “Noël Nouvelet – A Carol for Advent”

  1. Ahh, so that’s what you do with noisy neighbors in the countryside – it’s off with their heads and into the oven. I’m still curious about the transition phase because I’ve always heard that it’s difficult to remove the feathers from poultry. It’s something that my grandmother knew how to do (and maybe my mother) but not me. Do you use a butcher or do it yourself?

    Thanks for posting the link for Noel Nouvelet – it’s a beautiful Christmas carol.

    1. Terminating noisy nuiscances works like a charm!
      If you pluck the turkey (or chicken, duck etc) straight away, then it’s very easy. I have to confess I actually enjoy this job. There are always a few tiny, stubbly feathers that need pliers to pull out, but on the whole, if the bird is still warm, it’s a doddle. Chris is the butcher. He watched a couple of videos on youtube before tackling the first one. He’s a pro these days!

  2. Thanks for the info and the link to the carol. I don’t sing very well so I’m not in the choir but I am also reading a lesson in French at our forthcoming carol service!

    Hope you enjoyed the turkey. An eleveur near us has hundreds of black turkeys – little do they know the fate that awaits them shortly!

    1. I’ve started training for my reading at the carol service. Going well so far.
      Still enjoying the turkey. So far he’s been roast turkey, then turkey and ham pie, last night he was turkey goujons and tonight he’ll be turkey sandwiches! The cats will get the final leftovers. Not bad to be fed for four days for just €6.

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