Could it really be the penultimate week of 2011?
It seems so. And now, as we celebrate the winter holidays, music takes center stage, perhaps more than at any other time of year.
It is interesting to contemplate what makes this so.
Most obviously, music has always been central to religion, ritual and spirituality. Music gives us Christmas oratorios and carols, spirituals and the Jewish cantorial tradition. For centuries of Western history, sacred music was the dominant form. In non-Western cultures, as well, music accompanies rituals and worship.