The Epiphany Season
What began life as a tweet from the organ bench yesterday afternoon materialized into some useful information which I will share here.
You might notice that Ned Rorem's "No darkness at all" from his Quaker Reader suite for organ begins exactly like an Anglican chant (same printed rhythm even).
The Hymnal Companion to the Hymnal 1982 (both edited by a predecessor of mine at St. Paul's, Richmond) reveal that Rorem did incorporate not one, but two of his chants into this organ work. These chants can be found in the service music section of the hymnal at S-220 and S-240.
(Special thanks to Shannon G. for the info)
See in bar 12, the trebles have this long melisma on the syllable “ge,” and they have to double up on the f? You have to do a little arabic glottal stop, and it’s just a tiny blink, but it focuses the phrase. Also, the deliciousness of f-natural to f-sharp right after that, with all those major and minor modes reflecting around the church: it was a very strange emotional moment for me: I wasn’t really sure what about it I was reacting to, but I was having a very serious reaction. Part of it was that while we were encouraged to ask questions about the text with the goal of understanding it, the implication was that the notes would make their own sauce without too many hysterical interpretive gestures. Even after a few years inside the liturgy, the wonderful subtleties of the texts continue to unfold, I assume, until death and beyond. The strangeness of the situation (a bunch of American 10 year olds singing a narrative about a Jewish mother 2000 years ago) and the ecclesiastical hush of the interpretation all gave me a serious shiver.
And this, friends, is why you must read Nico Muhly.
Here's a verse of "Praise, my soul, the king of heaven" that is not often sung.
Frail as summer’s flower we flourish,
Blows the wind and it is gone;
But while mortals rise and perish
Our God lives unchanging on,
Praise Him, Praise Him, Hallelujah
Praise the High Eternal One!
Henry F. Lyte
In honor of the end of summer. It's 3:09 UTC.
". . . it is always gratifying to hear Mr. Tritle play the organ in a recital", the New York Times says.
Tommasini, Anthony. "From Organ Loft, Sounds of Buxtehude and Bach". 13 Sept 2010.
Happy birthday to Estonian composer Arvo Pärt who turns 75 today.
An unexpected connection: William Levi Dawson, well-known arranger of spirituals including "Ain'-a that good news", studied with Felix Borowski at the Chicago Musical College, the Wikipedia entry for Dawson says.
Borowski has popped up on Sinden.org before, and though he hasn't been mentioned lately, he hasn't fallen off our radar. A recent find of his organ Suite No. 1 has rekindled our interest in his music.
Interestingly, the published copy I have differs from the Suite No. 1. The edition online has a Toccata as the second movement. Mine has a "Mouvement".
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