The whole of last week was filled with coughs and splutters. The nose suffered from smell “amnesia” (the proper word for which is actually “anosmia”. No, I’m not that smart, Google told me that). The flu season has returned. And so did the rainy season, at least in this part of the world. To think that just less than two months ago, I was gallivanting in the colours of autumn elsewhere.
After a week of using up lots of tissue paper and mentally swatting the flu bug, a friend and I met to catch up. It had been a while. On a whim, we decided to watch a Christmas concert by Vox Camerata. This is a community choir which accepts members without auditions. Kudos to them this year as they tackled some challenging works: Poulenc’s 4 christmas motets, Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, and a beautiful piece by Elizabeth Poston.
Elizabeth Poston was a composer and musicologist who collected folksongs and was an editor for carols and hymn collections. Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (sung in the video by the King’s College Choir, Cambridge) is one of her most well-known works. But did you know that the composer of this sweet music served as a secret agent during World War II? While working for the BBC, she used gramophone records to send coded messages to Resistance workers in Nazi-occupied countries.
If you like reading about music and coded messages during war time, check out this article.