We take up our usual stance outside Marks and Spencers almost directly opposite Tescos, and in no time at all, from our shiny silver instruments, we’re blasting out ‘Good King Wenceslas’ into the cold, clean air for the benefit of last-minute Christmas shoppers (take a quick breath).
I never grow tired of playing ‘Good King Wenceslas.’ Or listening to it.
I think it’s my favourite favourite. And it’s not as easy to play as you would imagine.
In fact it’s really quite a complicated piece. It consists of five quatrains. Each quatrain has the scheme ABABCDCD with feminine rhyme and internal rhyme. The unstressed syllable of the fourth foot is abated in each line in favor of a caesura, forming the line into two hemistichs. In the accompanying common time musical score, the caesura is attained by rendering the fourth foot as a half note (or minim), while the last foot of the line effectively becomes a spondee by being realized as two half notes.
Perhaps you don’t really have to know all that to feel happier, better, braver when you hear it (take another quick breath) but a little knowledge never goes amiss.
If one out of every hundred stops to listen and is affected by the music or the message that is all we ask for