Monday, January 2, 2012

Local Lecture on English Choral Church Music

"English  Congregational  Song  and  How  It  Started"

Professor Nicholas Temperley,  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Washington, Seattle
January 6, 2012

3:30 P.M.,  Room 223, Music Building 

Please email for more information

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Repertoire 2 of 6

"My soul doth magnify the Lord...", is one of the most ancient Marian hymns and widely spread in Western Christianity. The Magnificat or Canticle of Mary, comes from Luke's Gospel during the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. A fitting piece for the Christmas Liturgy, Mary's song tells of the greatness of the Lord and the joy which comes from bearing Him in her womb. The canticle expresses the reoccurring theme of the salvation and fulfillment of God's covenant with the chosen people which is found throughout the propers of Christmas.

The Magnificat is most well associated with Evensong, where it is paired with the Nunc Dimittis, or Song of Simeon. The amount of settings of these two canticles by well-known English composers over the ages are immense. From Purcell's Service in G minor to Stanford's Service in C and Dyson's Setting in D, we have some of the most beautiful music ever composed in the English language. The setting which will be sung this year at Lessons and Carols is from an English composer earlier than all of the previous three mentioned.

Thomas Morley lived between 1557 and 1602 and claimed to be a student of William Byrd. He was organist of St. Paul's London after receiving a degree from Oxford. He wrote two services for evening prayer, one entitled Short Service and the other in the fauxbourdon style. Literally meaning, false base, a piece in fauxbourdon is harmonies above and below the melody, usually a 4th and 6th, which allow for the chant to move parallel with it. This was the basis for hymn singing in the English tradition, where the melody was in the tenor, and the harmonies above and below. In this case, the tenor sings the chant from the VIII psalm tone throughout the piece, while the other three parts sing in fauxbourdon. This creates a clear, simple, but beautiful setting for the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Repertoire 1 of 6

Here is the first choral piece which will be included in the Christmas Liturgy at St. Bartholomew, Break forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light - by JS Bach.

This "hymn" is a significant choral piece in the repertoire because of the larger work which it comes from: Bach's Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 for Weihnachtstag. This piece is the chorale from the second part of the Christmas masterpiece which was composed around 1734. Like most of Bach's sacred cantatas, the chorale was taken from a older well-known tune, in this case from the early Baroque composer Johann Schop, and either incorporated into the polyphony, or in this case, re-harmonized into a SATB setting.

The text, Brich an, o schönes Morgenlicht, was written by the German poet and dramatist Johann von Rist. Also writing two complete cantata texts for Bach, von Rist incorporated a Greek style of sacred text by focusing on the great eternal light which "ushers in the morning."

The stanzas walk the audience through the life of Christ, beginning at his birth with the "angels warning" to the "confidence and joy" of His earthly ministry to the chosen people, all the way to his death and "the powers of hell overthrowing." The chorale ends the way it should be sung: "at last our peace bestowing."

Christmas fast approaching...

It is a good thing we have malls, television, and the internet to remind us (starting on November 1st) that Christmas is on its way, or I think we would all be SO lost.

Attached below are links to the packets for Lessons and Carols as well as for Christmas Mass. There is no need to print them out and bring them to rehearsal (I will have complete packets), but in case you lose something or are interested in looking early, they will always be linked here. Which brings us to the next topic, rehearsal...

We will rehearse starting the First Sunday of Advent after mass, as well as the Wednesday of that week. We will continue rehearsing after mass for all 4 weeks of Advent. We will arrange a final practice on Christmas Eve before lessons at a later time.

Next Wednesday we will start with dinner at 6pm, a thank you for all your work this year for the schola program, and continue with practice at 6:45. This will give us a chance to read through the entire packets and make notes. Please come hungry and ready to sing.

Thanks once again for your commitment.

Lessons and Carols Choral Packet

Christmas Mass Choral Packet

Look ahead for videos that correspond with pieces in a following post.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Requiem Aeternam, dona eis, Domine

"Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them" is the Introit for the Requiem Mass and a prayer for those souls who have gone before us. May the Lord welcome Bill into his heavenly kingdom, and may he comfort those who grieve him. 

Kathy has done so much in the little time I have been here to welcome, encourage, and serve not only our schola but the entire parish; and I thank her for her dedication and appreciation. Let us always keep her and Heather in our prayers. May the beautiful setting of "In Paradisum" by Gabriel Faure remind all of us of the hope of Heaven which Christ has made possible for every individual.

"May the love of Christ which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ name" - St. Paul

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Much Thanks and Praise

Much thanks again to all schola members. I had many comments on how nice it is to have Sacred chant and choral music back at St. Bartholomew's. Also, many thanks to Fr. Davis for his support of the program.
We will not have a rehersal this Sunday, I think a break is due. We will begin practicing again the first weekend in May. Have a blessed Easter Season.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easter Sunday Music Packet

The link below is a for the Easter Sunday Music Packet. I will also send this by email. Please print this out to bring for rehearsal on Sunday April 10th. The only piece which is not in the packet is the Handel Anthem "Thine is the glory"...I have bound copies of that at the church which I can give you on Sunday. The first page of this packet is an agenda for the service, I will let you know what the hymns are so you can pencil them in once that has been decided.

Easter Sunday Packet

Thanks again!