Musical Weekly
30 October, 2017
In this issue:

My thanks regarding the Reformation Concerts
What’s next for St. Martin’s
This week at St. Andrew’s

The Reformation anniversary concerts of St. Martin’s Chamber Choir this last weekend were a success in every way. Artistically, I thought the choir was really quite marvelous at all three concerts, singing with precision and beauty as well as great feeling. Audience response seemed quite enthusiastic (I was very touched by the number of persons I saw in tears afterwards; and I got a lot of comments after concerts about how people thought the concert was well-programmed [or well-structured/-conceived], which is always something I take particular pleasure in, when I hear of it). And the audience numbers were healthy, with about 500 people at the three concerts combined. My thanks to all who came; and my thanks to the singers who put stupendous effort into everything, both in terms of preparation and execution.
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The next major events for St. Martin’s Chamber Choir are, of course, the Christmas concerts (more below); but before that, 35 singers (20 Chamber singers and 15 Festival singers) will be joining the Denver Young Artists Orchestra in two performances of Handel’s Messiah, pt. I. These are on two consecutive weekends, as follows:

Sun. Nov. 12, 2:30pm, Lakewood Cultural Center
Sun. Nov. 19, 2:30pm, St. Luke’s UMC, Highlands Ranch

Tickets are available through DYAO, and I’m not sure how much they are or how to get them; but if you go to the Denver Young Artists Orchestra website, I’m sure you will find the desired info.

As for our Christmas concerts this year, they are called “A Winter’s Night,” named after one of the two main works in the program. The title work is a 15-minute piece, sort of a medley of 5 familiar Christmas tunes, delightfully and artfully arranged for organ and choir by British composer Cecilia McDowall, who has become a friend of MB’s and mine. I met her at the ACDA convention in March of this year in Minneapolis; I have since performed a piece of hers with my church choir (and more to come in Advent); and she was kind enough to ask us to stay a night at her home on our European excursion in May/June, where we had the honor and pleasure of meeting her husband and mother. Richard Robertson will be joining us as the organist on this and other works.

The other major work is by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), and one of my favorite Christmas works of all, his 30-minute cantata “A Boy was Born.” Written as a choral theme and variations in his early 20’s (and quite a tour-de-force for one so young), he thought enough of it as a mature composer to revise it in his 50’s. It has a sort of ancient feel to it, despite his modernism as a composer. I’ve heard the term “ancient/modern” used occasionally about certain things like church services (ancient liturgy, modern language, for instance); and it applies to this work in that the harmonic palate is 20th century; but the overall “feel” of the work is of ancient mysticism and a sort of medieval beauty. If you’re someone who dislikes modern music as a rule, don’t let this put you off in this case, as the work is quite accessible and uses dissonance as an expressive tool, rather than as a modus operandi.

Here are the concert dates/times/venues, and tickets are on sale from our website or by calling the office at (303) 298-1970.

Fri. Dec. 15, 7:30pm, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Denver
Sat. Dec. 16, 7:30pm, Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church, Park Hill
Sun. Dec. 17, 3:00pm, St. Paul Lutheran and R. C. Community of Faith, Denver
Fri., Dec. 22, 7:30pm, Bethany Lutheran Church, Cherry Hills Village

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We have a major Evensong service this Thursday to mark the Feast of All Souls — the traditional time for the Requiem Mass to be performed in liturgical churches. The full choir, with Ralph Valentine, organist, and Jim Fittz, cello, will, indeed, be doing portions of two Requiems, as you will see below. Theologically, it is a commemoration of those who have passed on, especially in the previous year; and towards the end of the service, names of the departed that have been submitted by parishioners will be read as the great bell is tolled — a very solemn moment, and fittingly so. All are welcome. Here’s the music:

November 2, 2017, 5:45pm, Choral Evensong: All Souls’ (All Faithful Departed)
Preces & Responses: John Repulski (2006)
Canticle of Light: “In Paradisum” by Terry Schlenker (2014)
Service: Herbert Howells (1892-1983) Collegium Regale
Anthem: “Pie Jesu” by Maurice Duruflé (1908-1986), from the Requiem;
MB Krueger, alto; Jim Fittz, cello
Hymns: 618 (Lasst uns erfreuen), 286 (Zeuch mich, zeuch mich)

Jim Fittz (cello) is also joining Ralph on the closing voluntary (Ralph showed me what it was, and now I can’t remember it . . . oh, the ravages of age!)

And on Sunday (which is the time change, by the way — turn clocks back an hour!) we commemorate All Saints’ (subtle differences between this and All Souls’), the religious reason for the secular holiday of Hallowe’en (Hallowe’en stands for Hallowed Evening, or All Hallows [i.e. Saints] Eve, etc.) with the following glorious music:

November 5, 2017, All Saints’
*Introit: “These are they” by John Goss (1800-1880)
Anthem: “And I saw a new heaven” by Edgar L. Bainton (1880-1956)
*Fraction Anthem: “O Jesus, by thee bidden,” tune Heinrich Isaac (1450-1517), harm. J.S. Bach
Communion motet: “Give us the wings of faith” by Ernest Bullock (1890-1979)
Hymns: 287 (Sine nomine), *625 (Darwall’s 148th), 293 (Grand Isle), 618 (Lasst uns erfreuen)
*11:00 only

The Bainton is an old favorite of the choir — they literally cheer when it gets handed out! And I love it too.

That’s it for this week! All best wishes for November.

Tim
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Timothy J. Krueger
Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir
Affiliate Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Musical Weekly
25 October, 2017
In this issue:

New format; what is this?
St. Martin’s Concert THIS WEEKEND
This week at St. Andrew’s

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I confirmed two weeks ago that the new e-mail server at my office has a daily quota for the number of e-mails one user may send out, thus making these weekly e-mails of mine impractical if not impossible; so I have spent these two weeks determining my options. Thanks to my good friend/fabulous soprano/excellent web- and graphic-designer Ashley Hoffman (you should consider hiring her!), I decided to go this route (Mail Chimp) for my Musical Weeklys.

So I spent probably 6-7 hours this and last week manually entering addresses for this. This may mean a couple of things for some of you:

You are receiving this for the first time and aren’t sure what it is (see next paragraph)
You asked to be removed previously, but I did not remember this, so I added you again, unbeknownst
I entered an old e-mail address for you, and you would prefer it at some other address
I inadvertently entered multiple addresses for you, and you want it at only one address

If this is the first time you are receiving this: I send out a weekly e-mail to friends, colleagues, family, acquaintances, musical aficionados, etc., telling them what I’m up to this week. If you are a St. Martin’s Chamber Choir audience member/supporter; a member at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church; an out-of-town friend or family member who wants to keep up with my life; a singer in one of my ensembles; a patron of the arts in Colorado, or elsewhere; then you are the perfect recipient for this e-mail, in my mind.

If you wish to unsubscribe, there is an easy way to do that at the end of this e-mail. So if you are not interested in my musical goings-on, delivered in a witty, informative, beautifully written, once-a-week e-mail; or if you got this at two addresses, and want it at only one, then you know what to do.

Many thanks!
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16 singers from St. Martin’s Chamber Choir present “A Mighty Fortress: Music of the Reformation” this weekend (see dates below), celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s publishing his manifesto of religious reform, and including works from the earliest Lutheran composers (including Luther himself, Johann Walther, Johann Crüger, etc.) to giants of the 17th,18th, and 19th centuries (Heinrich Schütz, J. S. Bach, and Felix Mendelssohn, respectively), and a handful of lesser known composers along the way (Heinrich Hartmann, Melchior Franck, Gottfried Homilius, Carl Heinrich Graun, and Hugo Dislter). There will be opportunities for the audience to sing along with several of the better known chorales (the title of the concert is a clue to one of them).

But if the above repertoire is not personally an attraction to you, let the quality of the music-making be. We had our final rehearsal last night in one of the concert venues, and this particular group of singers is making an absolutely gorgeous sound, bringing tears to my eyes multiple times. This will be a concert that will lift the soul and soothe the psyche; will exhilarate and calm; will fill you with joy and exaltation. Every once in awhile, a St. Martin’s concert comes along that has everything, and this is one of them. I very much hope to see you there!

Friday, Oct. 27, 7:30pm — St. Paul Lutheran and Catholic Community of Faith, 1600 Grant St.
Saturday, Oct. 28, 7:30pm — St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2015 Glenarm Place
Sunday, Oct. 29, 3:00pm — Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 4500 Wadsworth Blvd.

Purchase tickets in advance at our website, or call the office at (303) 298-1970 for assistance. Tickets also available at the door, although Saturday’s concert at St. Andrew’s is filling fast.

My personal recommendations:

best acoustics: 1) St. Paul, 2) St. Andrew’s
easiest parking: St. Andrew’s or Holy Cross
comfiest seats: Holy Cross
best weather: Sunday (although there’s nothing worse than clouds and possible rain on Friday).

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Choral Evensong tomorrow (Thursday, 5:45pm at St. Andrew’s Episcopal, 2015 Glenarm Place) is sung by an a cappella quartet, and is a bit on the austere side (I say this because I know there are some of you who actually prefer these! I am not unsympathetic). This week we celebrate King Alfred the Great of England (849-899 A.D.), a man principally remembered for saving England from Danish invaders, but who is celebrated by the Anglican Church as a man who promoted culture, learning, and piety in his realms. Here’s the music we’ll be singing:

October 26, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: Alfred the Great
Preces & Responses: William Smith
Canticle of Light: Phos hilaron, by M. Susan Brown (2000)
Psalm: 21 (plainchant)
Service: Thomas Weelkes (1576-1640) “Short Service”
Anthem: “O come, ye servants of the Lord” by Christopher Tye (c.1500-c.1572)
Office Hymn: 279 (St. George)

This Sunday at St. Andrew’s, the music will also mark the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Here it is:

October 29, 2017, 9:00am & 11:00am; Proper 25
*Introit: “O Jesus, by thee bidden,” tune: Heinrich Isaac (c.1450-1517), harmonization: J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Anthem: “Wohl dem, der nicht wandelt” by Gerard Bunk (1888-1958)
*Fraction Anthem: “Because there is one bread” by Charles H. Giffen (2003)
Communion motet: “Jesu, dein’ Seel’” Melchior Franck (1579-1639)
Hymns: 688 (Ein feste Burg); *568 (Was lebet), 335 (Werde munter), 397 (Nun danket alle Gott)
*11:00 only

The feature here, I believe, is the anthem by Gerard Bunk. Bunk was a Dutchman, and this anthem (which is, in its entirely, over 10 minutes long — we’re doing an excerpt of about 4 minutes) reminds me very much of Brahms, with a noble theme, treated polyphonically in places, and with lilting beauty and an occasional touch of melancholy. Anyway, lots of German this Sunday.

Please do reply if you wish, commenting on the new format for this Weekly. Mostly it’s a change in mode of delivery, but it may involve more changes going forward, like the inclusion of more graphics, and other bells and whistles.

Best wishes to all.

Tim
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Timothy J. Krueger
Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)
Affiliate Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Musical Weekly

11 October, 2017

In this issue:

  • E-mail issues
  • SMCC Cameo: “A Mighty Fortress: Music of the Reformation”
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

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Sorry I missed last week – we had to change e-mail servers here at the church two weeks ago, so there have been some minor interruptions and other issues; but I also have experienced trouble sending e-mails to groups with a large number of recipients (like my choirs), so I’m not sure how this will go.  If our new server does not like it when I send an e-mail out with 50+ recipients, or there is a daily quota, or something of that sort, the days of this Musical Weekly may be over; or, I will have to fundamentally change the way I do this (perhaps start a blog?  Not sure how that’s done…).

 

Anyway, I will soon find out, I suppose, whether I am able to continue sending out e-mails to large numbers of people.  If I am not, perhaps this will come as a welcome relief to many of you. J

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Rehearsals for our end-of-October, 500th Anniversary of the Reformation concert are going extremely well, and the cameo group of 16 is sounding fantastic.  I sometimes liken conducting St. Martin’s Chamber Choir to driving a high performance luxury car (not that I’ve ever done that, but I can imagine what it’s like) – a highly responsive, feeling-one-with-the-road, sumptuous, guilty pleasure.  I’m sometimes convinced that, though I’ve rather successfully done it for 23 seasons now, I am actually not qualified to be leading these fine professionals; but, since they continue to allow me to do it, I may as well continue to take advantage of it!  😉

 

Anyway, that was an aside.  Here’s the program – a sort of cornucopia of musical treats, both sweet and savory:

 

A Mighty Fortress: Music of the Reformation

 

Founders

Motet: Non moriar                                 Martin Luther (1484-1546)

Chorale: Jesus Christus unser Heyland                          “

Motet: Allein auf Gottes Wort                   Johann Walther (1496-1570)

 

First Successors

Chorale: Jesu, dein Seel’ lass heilg’n mich  Melchior Franck (1573-1639)

Motet: Wenn der Herr die Gefangenen       Heinrich Hartmann (1580-1616)

 

Seventeenth Century

Chorale: Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele      Johann Crüger (1598-1662)

Motet: Verleih uns Frieden                       Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672)

 

Eighteenth Century

Chorale: Wer sich ein Vat’r erbarmet        Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

[excerpt from Motet I: Singet dem Herrn]

Motet: Jauchzet dem Herrn [excerpt]        Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785)

 

Nineteenth Century

Chorale: Nun danket alle Gott                  Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

[fr. Symphony No. 2, “Lobgesang”]

Motet: Richte mich Gott                                    “

 

Comparison of Two Settings of the same text

Motet: Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit  Carl Heinrich Graun (1704-1759)

Motet: Fürwahr, er trug unsere Krankheit  Hugo Distler (1908-1942)

 

Epilogue: Audience Sing-Along

Chorale: A Mighty Fortress is our God       tune: Martin Luther; harmonization: J. S. Bach

 

The Chorale and the Lutheran Motet are Lutheranism’s greatest gifts to the musical world, so I alternate between them as we work our way forward in time.  From Martin Luther himself, who was a musician and wrote many of the tunes and lyrics of the first Chorales, through Crüger, Schütz, Bach, and Mendelssohn (along with fabulous lesser lights like Hartmann and Homilius), I trace the annals of Lutheran music-making over the last 500 years.  Each piece is literally a guilty pleasure to sing and conduct; and I had a difficult time deciding which pieces I would allow Michael Johnson, the conducting intern, to conduct, as I didn’t want to give any of them up!

 

Here are the concert dates and venues:

 

  • Friday, Oct. 27, 7:30pm, St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1600 Grant St., Denver
  • Saturday, Oct. 28, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2015 Glenarm Place, Denver
  • Sunday, Oct. 29, 3:00pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 4500 Wadsworth Blvd., Wheat Ridge

 

Come to one of the early performances, because I predict a goodly number of you will enjoy it so much you’ll want to return on a subsequent night to hear it all again in a different acoustic!

 

Purchase tickets in advance at www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts, or call the office directly for assistance at (303) 298-1970.  You won’t want to miss these concerts!

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Choral Evensong this week, sung by an a cappella quartet, marks the witness of St. Philip the Deacon (apparently there were two Philips in the Bible – the Apostle, and the one mentioned in Acts who baptizes the Ethiopian eunuch in a chariot – this one is the latter).  Here’s the music I’ve chosen:

 

October 12, 2017, Choral Evensong: Philip (transferred)

Preces & Responses: Michael J. Gibson “Modal” (2006)

Canticle of Light: “Preserve us, O Lord” by Charles H. Giffen (2011)

Psalm: 67 (plainchant)

Service: Thomas Barrow (c.1720-1789) in F

Anthem: “Ecce quomodo moritur Justus” by Georg Reutter, Jr. (1708-1772)

Office Hymn: 286 (Zeuch mich, Zeuch mich)

 

Barrow was a singer in the Chapel Royal, first as a boy chorister, later as an alto, and was apparently admired by Handel for the power of his voice (I seem to recall he premiered the role of Esther in Handel’s opera of the same name – apparently the reverse of a “pants role”).  Composers of much of the typical sacred repertoire were largely organists or choirmasters, so it is nice to see a singer who contributed.  This is, along with Arnold in A and Kelway in G minor, my favorite 18th century (“Georgian”) setting of the Evensong service.

 

And here’s the music for this Sunday:

 

October 15, 2017, Proper 23

*Introit: “Lord, we pray” by Timothy J. Krueger (2001)

Anthem: Praise, by George Dyson (1883-1964)

*Fraction Anthem: “Because there is one bread” by Charles H. Giffen (2003)

Communion motet: “Rejoice in the Lord” by Anonymous, 16th century English

Hymns: 316 (Canticum refectionis), *481 (Gopsal), 701 (Jesu, meine Freude), 300 (Benifold)

*11:00 only

 

Back in 2001-02 I wrote an introit for almost every day in the church year based on the Collect of the Day (that’s an antique English word for Prayer).  Most of my introits are forgettable (and that’s being charitable); but there was one of true inspiration that I still do on almost every Proper 23.  Soprano, alto and tenor sing a two-chord ostinato on the words “your grace,” while the basses have the melody and the text of the collect, “Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us.”  The ostinato begins before the tune starts, and continues after the tune ends, thus depicting the words of the text “precede and follow.”  In the middle, the chordal ostinato rises chromatically with the melody, and then subsides again back to its original pitch level.  It’s all of 45 seconds long, but it’s the only one of these many introits that I’m actually proud of a decade-and-a-half on.

 

Dyson’s anthem (to George’s Herbert’s winsome poem “Let all the world in every corner sing”) was originally written as a unison song with piano; but he later added alto, tenor, and bass parts, and orchestrated it, when using it as one of a set of pieces called “Three Songs of Praise.”  I included this piece in the wedding of Governor Hickenlooper a couple years ago.  A real gem of a piece.  And, as far as Tudor English anthems go, the anonymous “Rejoice in the Lord” is quite a rollicking good sing that the choir always quite enjoys.

 

That’s it for today.  All the best to all of you.

 

Tim

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Timothy J. Krueger

Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver

Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)

Affiliate Music Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver

6

Musical Weekly

27 September, 2017

In this issue:

  • “Symphonic A cappella” a success.  What’s next for SMCC?
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

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The Festival Singers’ initial outing as an a cappella group was a resounding success, artistically; and the audiences were of a respectable size (if not quite what we were hoping).  I thought the choir rose to the occasion(s), sang with great accuracy yet emotion, and it was a great pleasure bringing these delightful works to life.  The audience seemed to react very positively to both the main works (Bantock and Spohr), including an immediate and rousing standing ovation at the end (these are more and more de rigeur in modern America, so I gauge their authenticity by how enthusiastic and immediate they are).  I hope the evident pleasure in the reactions of the audience leads to greater attendance at the next outing of the Festival Singers (as yet unplanned). We had over 200 at each performance, resulting in a combined total of well over 400, but, alas, we had budgeted for more, given that, at the Festival Singers’ debut performance last Fall, we had over 1000 at the two concerts.  Hence, we had budgeted for double what we got (and we thought 800 was conservative, given last year’s 1100).

 

This could be a conversation for later – what is it that makes a concert a success?  In my mind it’s mostly a crapshoot – completely unpredictable.  It doesn’t seem to rest on the familiarity of the repertoire; a catchy title; the adventurousness of the programming; interesting collaborations; the performance venues we choose (i.e. ready access to parking, good acoustics, etc.) …  We’ve had both big and small audiences at all of the above, and I despair sometimes to enter into the minds of the audience to know what will sell and what won’t.  But, ultimately, I suppose, I care less about what will sell than about what I think I would love to perform; and in this case, giving both the Bantock and Spohr a hearing was important to me – lifetime goals now fulfilled.  The fact that we lost money on the performances?  Well, that’s the nature of performing organizations in our culture.  I should probably learn to dwell on the positives and let that which detracted from the overall experience be like the proverbial water off the duck’s posterior. J

 

So, what’s next for St. Martin’s?  We go from 65 singers down to 16, and perform three concerts in late October to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, with works by German Lutheran composers from Luther to Mendelssohn.  “A Mighty Fortress,” is my attempt at a catchy title; and there are works by familiar names like Bach, Mendelssohn, and Schütz; and unfamiliar names like Hartmann, Walther, and Homilius.  And it is the first time that I, a Krueger, have performed a work by another Krueger, in this case Johann Crüger (1598-1662).  The concerts are the weekend of Oct. 27-29, Fri. and Sat. nights, and Sun. afternoon.  Go to our website for more information: www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org.  Tomorrow I am recording a little promo-video with the stalwart Gene M., so perhaps next week I’ll be able to provide a link to it.

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This week at St. Andrew’s, Evensong tomorrow features the men of the choir with organ, marking the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.  I figured it was being sexist to always do this service with just women (as I have done for the last three years), just because I associate the angelic nature of their voices with the subject of the feast! 😉  So here’s the music:

 

September 28, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: St. Michael & All Angels

Preces & Responses: Timothy Krueger in G (TTBB)

Canticle of Light: “Behold, now, praise the Lord” by William H. Harris (1883-1973)

Psalm: 8

Service: George Dyson (1888-1964) in C minor

Anthem: “Ye watchers and ye holy ones,” 17th century German Melody arr. George Oldroyd (1887-1956)

Office Hymn: 282 (Caelites plaudant)

 

Although I wrote this setting of the Responses in 2010 (originally for SSAA), this is their premiere as a set for TTBB, transposed down an octave.  Jury is still out whether they work in this lower register, but I’m liking what I hear at rehearsals for the most part.  J  The Dyson is a lovely unison setting of the canticles, so I’ve spruced it up a bit to have a few solos, some bits for tenors alone, other for basses, and added some harmony parts on the Amen.

 

Then this Sunday, here’s the music:

 

October 1, 2017, 9:00 and 11:00am; Proper 21

*Introit: Exultate Deo by Alessandro Scarlatti (1659-1725)

Anthem: “Like as the hart” by Herbert Howells (1892-1983)

*Fraction Anthem: “Because there is one bread” by Charles H. Giffen (2003)

Communion motet: “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree” by Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987)

Hymns: 492 (Finnian), *339 (Schmücke dich), 343 (St. Agnes), 477 (Engelberg)

*11:00 only

 

It’s always fun to sing choir and congregational favorites like the Howells and Poston.  The Scarlatti is also an old favorite of mine.

 

That’s all for this week!

 

Tim

_________________

Timothy J. Krueger

Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver

Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)

Affiliate Music Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver

6

Musical Weekly

6 September, 2017

In this issue:

  • Welcome back!
  • The Men of St. Martin’s singing plainchant
  • Martin’s Season Opening Concerts
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

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It’s good to be back in the saddle, so to speak.  It was a wonderful summer for MB and me, celebrating our 20th anniversary (with an Alaska cruise that “featured” an actual murder – perhaps you saw it in the news), and travels in England and Germany.  I hope you all had good summers as well.  But I’m looking forward to cranking things back up in my musical life, and sharing it all with you in these pages.

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Six men of St. Martin’s Chamber Choir are reprising this Sunday a concert we did two seasons ago called “Chant: Mystery and Mysticism.”  The concert features two large works which both alternate Gregorian Chant with movements for organ, played by the incomparable Richard Robertson.  The first work is the Kyrie from Francois Couperin’s Mass for the Parishes (Baroque); but the main work on the program is the Symphonie des Mysteres by Joaquin Nin-Culmell (1908-2004).  This same group of people (Richard, and the men of St. Martin’s) did the premiere recording of this work in 1997 – exactly 20 years ago – in the presence of the composer (that recording is still available from Toccata Classics: https://toccataclassics.com/product/nin-culmell-symphonie-des-mysteres/, including some samples for listening).  We reprise that work here, 20 years later, in the same space and on the same organ. This is a mystical, 20-some movement work that traces the mysteries of the rosary.  Nin-Culmell was a student of Dukas and de Falla, a colleague of Messiaen, and, incidentally, the brother of the rather celebrated (notorious?) memoirist and erotica author, Anais Nin.  I recall him as a quiet, extremely polite man, and I very much like this piece of music.

 

The free concert is at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, 1500 Logan St., at 3:00pm this Sunday.  Parking will be an issue, but since the concert’s free…  😉  It is part of the Basilica’s Bosetti Concert Series, honoring a past clergyman who championed good music at the Basilica.  Hope to see some of you there.

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St. Martin’s opening concerts this season feature the Festival Singers (SMFS) in a concert called “Symphonic A Cappella.”  It’s all in the title – almost 70 singers singing works conceived on a grand scale, by Felix Mendelssohn, Louis Spohr, and Granville Bantock.  The Festival Singers’ debut a year ago this month was with orchestra (RVW Dona nobis pacem with the Stratus Chamber Orchestra); and I was pleased to have the Festival Singers featured this summer with the Colorado Music Festival in two concerts, once on Beethoven’s 9th, and then in Holst’s The Planets.  Both concerts received some of the best reviews that an ensemble of mine has ever received, in the Boulder Daily Camera.

 

Now these much-lauded Festival Singers are striking out into unchartered A Cappella territory.  I’ll describe the actual repertoire next week, but for now plan on which of these two concerts you want to attend, and purchase tickets at www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/

 

  • , Sept. 22, 7:30pm, Bethany Lutheran Church, Cherry Hills Village
  • , Sept. 24, 3:00pm, Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church, Park Hill

 

Musical Weekly

3 July, 2017

In this special summer issue:

· SMCC on the radio last Sunday

· “Baroque-ing In” a new harpsichord at St. Andrew’s

· St. Martin’s Festival Singers in two appearances with CMF in July

· “Travels & Tea with Tim & MB”

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My thanks to David Rutherford for broadcasting the entire Terry Schlenker Mass for Double Choir yesterday morning on “Sacred Classics” on KVOD/Colo. Public Radio 90.1FM. I only caught the tail end of it, but thought the choir sounded marvelous, even though that recording is now over a decade old. In fact, almost 15 years old!

There are several musical events happening this summer that I wanted to let you all know about, especially the locals, as I’d like you to consider attending. Hence, the exceptional appearance of a Musical Weekly during the summer months.

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(1)

Late last year a harpsichord was generously donated to St. Andrew’s (a single manual Sabathil & Son). Over the last few months, our “resident” keyboard experts (Ralph Valentine, and Linda and Ed Mack) have replaced a couple missing strings, and given it the kind of care it needed in order to be playable.

It will be debuted (“Baroque-en in”) this Friday evening, July 7, 7:30pm, here at St. Andrew’s, 2015 Glenarm Place, with a wealth of fantastic musicians.

Former St. A’s organist Frank Nowell (now better known as the Director and cembalist of the much-lauded Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado), former UNC cello faculty member Jim Fittz, our own Ralph Valentine and Linda Mack, and vocalists Ashley Hoffman and MB Krueger, in addition to myself and Matt Bentley, will put the instrument through its paces, as both a solo and accompaniment instrument. Here’s a quick draft of the program:

Two Preludes from “L’Art de Toucher de Clavecin” by Francois Couperin

Tim Krueger

Two Songs by Henry Purcell (“Musick for a while” and Dido’s Lament)

MB Krueger, Linda Mack, Jim Fittz

Three French Pieces (D’Angelbert, Daquin, and Couperin)

Frank Nowell

Two Songs by Henry Purcell (“If Music be the food of love,” and Evening Hymn)

Ashley Hoffman, Frank Nowell, Jim Fittz

Two 20th C. Harpsichord pieces (Bartok, from Mikrokosmos, and Howells, from Lambert’s Clavichord)

Matt Bentley and Tim Krueger

Two Vocal Duets (W. Boyce “The sorrows of my heart,” and J. S. Bach, “Wir eilen”

Ashley Hoffman, MB Krueger, Ralph Valentine, Jim Fittz

Cello Sonata by Antonio Vivaldi

Jim Fittz and Frank Nowell

This recital is to benefit the Friends of Music at St. Andrew’s, and there will be a suggested donation of $20 per person (+ or – … especially + J). [a note to friends – I’ve been tasked this year to raise $20K for the music program at St. Andrew’s. I’m starting to get a little nervous about how I’m going to do it, so I need all my friends to come and put in nice crisp $100 bills… J]

There will be a wine-and-cheese reception in the undercroft afterwards.

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(2)

The St. Martin’s Festival Singers (which is an extension of the Chamber Choir – it consists of a core of 24 chamber singers, and 40-some auditioned volunteers) is appearing twice this summer with the Colorado Music Festival at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder. The first, featuring the full complement of Festival Singers, will perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on July 13 and 14; and the women of the Festival Singers will perform in the Holst “Planets” (the Neptune movement, from off-stage) on July 27 and 28. I’m pleased that, with the debut of the Festival Singers just last September, they’ve garnered enough notice that they were invited to form the choruses for these two exciting works with one of the finest orchestras in Colorado.

For details of performance times (note that both Fridays are at an unusually early time) and to obtain tickets, go here: http://coloradomusicfestival.org/festival/ Hearing a concert at Chautauqua is a wonderful experience, and every Coloradan should do it at least once!

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(3)

MB and I have several times in the past served an English “Cream Tea” in the undercroft at St. Andrew’s accompanied by a narrated PowerPoint presentation of our recent European travels (“Travels & Tea with Tim & MB”). Not that this is everyone’s cup of tea (sorry), but they’ve proved quite popular with some, and it raises funds for the St. Andrew’s music program.

We are doing this again, this time on Saturday, Aug. 5, at 3:00pm, featuring our recent 18-day trip to England and Germany. If you like scones, jam, clotted cream, and pots and pots of tea; or if you are one of those odd people who like to listen to people’s travelogues (remembrances of family slide shows from youth, eh?), this is the event for you! There are a limited number of spaces for this – about 30-35, and 15 tickets are sold already at $25 per person. But let me know if you’d like to come, and we’ll save you a seat, a tea cup, and a couple of scones. J

Thanks, all.

Tim

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Timothy J. Krueger

Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver

Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)

Affiliate Music Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver

10

“Baroque-ing In” a New Harpsichord

Late in 2016, a harpsichord was donated to St. Andrew’s. Our “in house” instrumental experts Ralph Valentine and choir member/organist Linda Mack and her husband have donated their time to replace some missing strings, repair and tune it, and it is now ready to be publically inaugurated!

So as the first of our 2017 St. Andrew’s Friends of Music events, “Baroque-ing in” the new harpsichord will be the focus of a recital in the church on Friday evening, July 7, 7:30pm, with guest artists Frank Nowell, Jim Fittz (cello), Linda Mack, Ralph Valentine, Tim and MB Krueger, Matt Bentley, and Ashley Hoffman.  Works by Purcell, Couperin, Boyce, Vivaldi, and others will put the instrument through its paces.

Plan to come hear this new instrument in recital, and support the Friends of Music in its effort to fulfill its $20,000 commitment to the budget.  Suggested donation of $20 per person; but donations of any size (+ or -) will be accepted.  Recital followed by a wine and cheese reception in the undercroft.

Musical Weekly

8 May, 2017

In this issue:

· Forgot to attach my sermon last week

· SMCC’s Season Finale Concerts coming up quickly!

· This week at St. Andrew’s

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Several people had asked me to attach the sermon I preached a week ago here at St. Andrew’s, and I intended to do that last week, but forgot. So it’s attached this time.

A disclaimer: Many of you know of my religious skepticism, and might be surprised to see such a sermon preached from a church pulpit (i.e. to question the historical veracity of miracles in the Bible! Forsooth!). For those not aware, I was raised the son of a Baptist minister in a fundamentalist household; I went to Wheaton College, a prominent Evangelical institution. While there, however, the development of my intellectual life and the crystallization of my personality led me to question the religious assumptions of my upbringing, and I became something between an agnostic and an atheist. Yet I continued attending church, I became a staff singer here at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, and continued to pursue the study of sacred music as a postgraduate. I became an Episcopalian in the 1990’s, and have always felt an inexplicable, one might even say mystical, draw to Anglicanism. And St. Andrew’s cultivates an atmosphere particularly attractive to skeptics, such that I think our rector sees it as important every once in a while for the congregation to hear the voice of a skeptic from the pulpit, as so many of them will identify with it. I am profoundly grateful to her for her friendship and trust, her deep spiritual counsel, and her recognition of my vocation as an intensely committed but theologically unorthodox Anglican musician (I think it was RVW’s widow who described him as a “disappointed theist,” and this resonates with me).

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Yesterday St. Martin’s Chamber Choir had our first rehearsal with Richard Robertson, the organist for our season finale concerts “Sound the Trumpet!”, which will feature the Joseph Jongen (1873-1953) Mass for brass, organ, and chorus; and several motets by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) for similar forces. And it is thrilling hearing the parts coming together. The choir sounds marvelous, and I am gaining a deep appreciation for the Jongen Mass as a thrilling and exquisite piece of music. It’s interesting to observe the roots of fame, neglect, obscurity, and the tendency for a composer to get “pigeon-holed” for one thing. Jongen is one of those who had a brilliant career as a teacher and performer, writing much orchestral and chamber music that got performed in his lifetime to wide acclaim; yet his music fell into obscurity after his death, and he is now chiefly remembered for only a small part of his oeuvre – his works for organ. His Symphonie Concertante is heard now and then, and considered by many to be the finest work for orchestra and organ in the repertoire. Likewise, his Mass Op. 130 has been championed sporadically over the last half-century as a tour de force. These partly explain his fate of being remembered as an organ composer, but one can’t help feeling it’s a bit unjust.

It’s also interesting to juxtapose the rather Teutonic solidity of Bruckner’s motets to the Gallic finesse and lyricism of the Jongen. Both reach rather thrilling climaxes; and both have moments of lush romantic harmonies couched in largely subdued dynamics; but the similarities end there. Bruckner’s motivic development is much tighter and more satisfying (to me); but his music will come off to some as inflexibly forced when compared to the supple beauty of what will come after the intermission in the Belgian composer’s work.

The works by Bruckner are Afferentur regi (SATB, 3 trombones), Libera me (SSATB, organ, 3 trombones), Inveni David (TTBB, 3 trombones), Locus iste (SATB), Christus factus est (I) (SATB, div.), Christus factus est (II) (SSAATTBB, organ, 3 trombones), and Ecce sacerdos magnus (SSAATTBB, organ, 4 trombones); as well as two Aequale for 3 trombones.

We collaborate with members of the justly famous Denver Brass. Anyway, get your tickets now to what will be an exciting concert: www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts, or call (303) 298-1970 for assistance.

· Fri., May 19, 7:30pm – St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, 1400 Washington St., Denver

· Sun., May 21, 3:00pm – St. Paul Community of Faith, 1600 Grant St., Denver

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This last week was a real highlight for me in terms of the music at St. Andrew’s. The Choral Evensong on Thursday with a dectet of singers and organ turned out very well – I was extremely pleased (the bishop wasn’t there, it turned out – he was ill – but the 20-some congregants who did show up were treated to a wonderful service). And then yesterday’s renderings of the Stanford “The Lord is my Shepherd” were nothing short of thrilling. On the last three pages of this anthem, the choir and organ spiral upwards in a meticulously crafted and sustained climax (on the words “and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”), before subsiding at the end into the bucolic gentleness that characterizes the rest of the anthem. The choir and Ralph Valentine on the organ achieved this with marvelous intensity, and I was so emotional through the hymn that followed that I dared not look at anyone for fear of bursting into tears. Bravi to my colleagues, all!

This week’s Evensong will be the opposite – an intimate, quiet a cappella quartet rendering the following:

May 11, 2017, Choral Evensong: Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf

Preces & Responses: Thomas Ebdon (1738-1810)

Canticle of Light: “Round me falls the night” by Adam Drese (1620-1701)

Psalm: 101

Service: Thomas Kelway (c.1695-1749) in B minor

Anthem: (TBD)

Office Hymn: [copy into leaflet] (O Du Liebe meiner Liebe)

We mark the life of Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (1700-1760), a man instrumental in allowing the Moravian Church to survive and flourish in 18th century Germany and then the United States. So all the music is from the 18th century (the hymn has a text by von Zinzendorf). I’m looking for a suitable Moravian anthem, but haven’t happed upon it yet, so it remains TBD above. Suggestions are welcome. 😉

May 14, 2017, Fifth Sunday of Easter

*Introit: “O come, ye servants of the Lord” by Christopher Tye (c.1500-c.1572)

Anthem: “The Lord hath been mindful” by Samuel S. Wesley (1810-1876)

Communion motet: “O how amiable” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1874-1958)

Hymns: 430 (Sonne der Gerechtigkeit), *455 (Dunedin), 457 (St. James), 518 (Westminster Abbey)

The Wesley that we sang at Evensong last week will make a reappearance this coming Sunday, joined by Vaughan Williams’ “O how amiable.” My wife always gets choked up, she says, as the anthem segues into the hymn “O God, our help” at the end. It would be interesting to analyze when and why emotional responses like this occur.

Happy May!

Tim

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Timothy J. Krueger

Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver

Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)

Affiliate Music Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver

10

The Third Sunday of Easter (April 30, 2017)

Ps. 116
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
1 Peter 1:17-23
Luke 24:13-35

The painting on your leaflet covers is the well-known depiction of today’s Gospel story, by the 19th-century Swiss painter Robert Zünd. A reprint of this painting hung in my parents’ bedroom as I was growing up. I loved this picture as a boy, especially the highly detailed portrayal of towering oak trees; the realistic touch of a culvert under the dirt road; the faint outline of a city in the hazy distance.

This painting has colored my personal imagery of this Gospel story ever since; but this year, a new phrase in this story has captured my imagination. It is a phrase of passion, of excitement, of vivid imagery: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us?” Were not our hearts burning within us?

The phrase suggests being fascinated with something, or being irresistably drawn to something, without quite being able to put your finger on the reason. Indeed, this is, in a phrase, perhaps the most apt description of my spirituality that I can think of. When I had rejected the fundamentalism of my upbringing while at university and become an intellectual skeptic of all religion, I nevertheless retained a fascination for things ecclesiastical and things spiritual. I continued to pursue a degree in sacred music, and never missed a Sunday service, despite my theological wrestlings. Why was this? I think, because, though my intellect could not fully accept the tenets of orthodoxy, my heart still occasionally burned within me – like when I heard music within the context of worship, or when I walked into a Medieval church. My head doubted, but my heart still burned – for what I wasn’t quite sure; but it did – and it wasn’t just acid reflux.

Last week’s Gospel saw the Apostle Thomas not being willing to believe that the resurrection had taken place unless or until he had physical proof of it. In this week’s Gospel, by contrast, we are presented with persons who, even though they saw the risen Christ with their own eyes, and heard him speak with their ears, did not comprehend, did not apprehend. Hours passed in company with this stranger – and not just a stranger who happened to be quietly present, but a stranger who occupied their whole attention, whose discourse caused their hearts to burn within them. They listened, and responded, and queried, and looked into the eyes of Jesus – even as they spoke of him in light of recent events – yet they did not see him. They did not apprehend that this was he.

Yet – their hearts burned within them all the while; and the burning was not recognized for what it was until after Jesus had departed from them. Then they recognized that the sensation of burning hearts had been significant – had, indeed, indicated the true nature of this stranger, when their physical senses were unable to make the identification. It turned out, they reflected afterwards, that their senses had failed them, yet their hearts had been crying out the truth all along.

At the conclusion of last week’s Thomas story, the author of John’s Gospel writes this: “Now Jesus did many other signs . . . which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.” Note that phrase, “these are written so that you may come to believe.”

I think it may be a characteristic of the ancient, pre-scientific, world that miracles were proof of the truth of something. Signs and wonders were the evidence that something was “for real.” They were seemingly what was required to prove that something was not only true, but important. I believe that many of the miracles of the Gospels – from the Star of Bethlehem and the virgin birth, right through to the resurrection itself – were put in the Gospels in order to make people pay attention, in order to “prove” the specialness of Jesus, and the truth of their claims. No ancient god was devoid of wondrous stories about him; so Jesus, the first Christians thought, should also have such stories.

Well, I must admit that I am skeptical of miracles. I tend to identify with another doubting Thomas – Thomas Jefferson – in finding the miracles of the Bible difficult to stomach. Jefferson famously created his own version of the Gospels, removing everything supernatural and miraculous, and retaining only the wisdom and sayings of Jesus, and the account of his death. I suppose I am with Jefferson in that my Enlightenment, scientific approach to truth disallows the supernatural. In direct contrast to the ancient mind, the presence of miracles in a story makes me less inclined to believe it than more.

Indeed, what is compelling to me about Christianity is not that Jesus performed miracles, or that he was born of a virgin, or even that he rose from the dead. In fact, most of these are impediments to my faith rather than otherwise. What is attractive, and even persuasive, about Christianity is more its story of sanctification of the physical world through the notion of God becoming man. That the Divine, which is usually seen as all-powerful, actually humbled itself to become one with humankind; that it gave up its power, and even suffered and died, and allowed itself to be utterly defeated at the hands of the creation that it sought to redeem with its love. That the Divine nature is about turning the other cheek, not getting even. This seeming contradiction – this utter weakness; this surrendering of power; this meekness in the face of arrogance – THIS is what persuades me that Jesus is a man worth following, and Christianity a way of life worth living, rather than some show of muscular power in smiting the heathen, or turning water into wine, or healing the blind, all in a bravura attempt to win my heart through a display of power. And is it not noteworthy in today’s Gospel that the disciples finally recognize Jesus, not through a miracle or any commanding display that would astound them, but through the mundane act of breaking bread, and serving them.

And I think it is this contradiction of a God who chooses love over power; who chooses to suffer rather than causing suffering; a God, as the Collect goes, “whose property is always to have mercy;” that causes my heart to continue to burn within me when I contemplate spirituality, even when my intellect prevents me from acceding to the more militant claims of Christianity. In fact, just like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, it is the burning of their hearts that is a truer indication of the presence of the Divine in their midst, than what their physical senses could apprehend. It is the burning of my heart as I make or listen to music; the burning of my heart as I contemplate what it is to be holy; the burning of my heart when I apprehend beauty, that is – perhaps – the truest indication of a Divine presence in my life. And perhaps it is the burning of our collective hearts as we worship and pray and sing, as we reach out to the homeless, as we break bread together – both here at the altar and below in the undercroft – that is the truest indication of a Divine presence in our life together as the community of St. Andrew’s.

Musical Weekly

3 May, 2017

In this issue:

  • “Sound the Trumpet” with SMCC
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

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It’s the last week of classes before finals at MSU-Denver, so I’m up to my ears in paper and exam grading.  Hence, just to keep it in front of your eyes – “Sound the Trumpet,” St. Martin’s Chamber Choir’s season finale concerts, with the Denver Brass and Richard Robertson, organist, are coming right up, and promise to be rip-roaring affairs:

 

Fri. May 19, 7:30pm – St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, 1400 Washington St, Denver

Sun. May 21, 7:30pm – St. Paul Community of Faith (Lutheran), 1600 Grant St., Denver

 

Get your tickets now!  www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/ ; or call (303)-298-1970 for assistance.

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Evensong this Thursday, being the first of the month, would normally be the full choir; but since the final Evensong of the month, May 25, is Ascension, we’ve moved the full choir to that day.  So this week we will have a festive octet with organ.  The bishop may even be in attendance (as he has a meeting at the church before Evensong, and is visiting our Catechumenate class after Evensong, so why wouldn’t he stay for Evensong, eh?  He’s been invited anyway, so we’ll see).  Here’s the music:

 

May 4, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: Monnica of Hippo

Preces & Responses: Richard Ayleward (1626-1669)

Canticle of Light: “O Lord, the maker of all things” by William Mundy (d. 1591)

Psalm: 115:12-18 (plainchant)

Service: Charles Stanford (1852-1924) in C

Anthem: “The Lord hath been mindful” by Samuel S. Wesley (1810-1876)

Office Hymn: 278 (Rustington)

 

Some old chestnuts here, but good’uns.  Stanford in C is perhaps the most iconic of all service settings.  It is the first piece on St. Paul Cathedrals recording “My soul doth magnify” from the 1980’s, and in this form captured my fancy as an undergrad even before I’d ever heard the name Stanford.  Such was its power, one might say, that within 5 or 6 years I was doing a dissertation on Stanford as a post-graduate in England.  And though some of Wesley is a bit sentimental, his finest work is solid and strong.  The melody of this particular anthem is what the Germans would call an “ear worm.”  It’ll be in my brain for days following the service!

 

May 7, 2017, Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday)

*Introit: “The Lord my pasture shall prepare” by William H. Harris (1883-1973), arr. for a cappella voices: TJK (2013)

Anthem: “The Lord is my shepherd” by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)

Communion motet: Ego sum pastor bonus by Giovanni Bonaventura Matucci (1712-1777)

Hymns: 399 (Camano), *645 (St. Columba), 343 (St. Agnes), 708 (Sicilian Mariners)

*11:00 service only

 

Some more Stanford here, this one from early in his career, written while he was still in his 20’s.  The service in C, referenced above, was the product of his final years, written in his 60’s.

 

The Matucci is a good piece from a too-little know group of composers — 17th-18th century Italian ecclesiastical composers. I sometimes think that, if I were to be approaching my post-graduate career now (although I do not regret in the least what I did at Royal Holloway College, University of London, under Lionel Pike – even though I never finished the degree program), I might focus my attentions on this fallow field of Italians.  I have found much of their a cappella motets and masses to be very solid pieces, written in imitation of Renaissance models, but incorporating harmonies unknown (or at least unused) at that time, like diminished 7ths, etc.  I suspect there is much musicological work to be done on the likes of Pitoni, Pisari, Perti, Casciolini, Matucci, Gasparini, Benevoli, Colonna, etc.

 

That’s all for this week.

 

Tim

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Timothy J. Krueger

Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver

Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)

Affiliate Music Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Musical Weekly

25 April, 2017

In this issue:

  • My annual round in the pulpit…
  • SMCC “Sound the Trumpet” shaping up
  • Call for more Festival Singers for Beethoven’s 9 and/or Holst “Planets”
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

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Our rector Elizabeth asks me to preach once each year here at St. Andrew’s, and this year she offered me a Sunday in Eastertide.  After being turned down for Easter Day itself*, I selected Easter 3, this coming Sunday, which is the story of the Road to Emmaus, if you know that one.  Perhaps I’ll attach the sermon to next week’s Weekly, but it would do me great honor if my Denver friends were to come and hear me deliver the sermon live this Sunday, at either 9 or 11 a.m.

 

*kidding, obviously

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The vocal portion of St. Martin’s Chamber Choir’s next concert, “Sound the Trumpet,” is beginning to shape up.  The complete Bruckner motets with brass (5) (plus a couple a cappella ones to round out the first half) are testing the upper dynamic levels of the singers’ voices; and once the brass, and occasionally organ, get added, we’ll be raising the rafters!!  And the Joseph Jongen Mass for 10 brass instruments, organ, and choir has been a real eye-opener in rehearsals so far.  It, too, will have its moments of exultation and bravura; but sections of delicate beauty, and some very interestingly chromatic harmonies, are captivating me as well.

 

We will be joined by members of the Denver Brass, and organist Richard Robertson for these concerts.  Quite a fitting climax to the 2016-17 Season, our 23rd.  Get tickets now at www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/, or call the office at (303) 298-1970 for assistance.

 

  • Friday, May 19, 7:30pm, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, 1400 Washington St., Denver
  • Sunday, May 21, 3:00pm, St. Paul Community of Faith (Lutheran), 1600 Grant St., Denver

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Most of you will know what I’m talking about when I say “St. Martin’s Festival Singers” – the expansion of the chamber choir with local excellent volunteer voices – due to the much heralded debut of this group last September on RVW’s Dona nobis pacem.  Well, I’m pleased to say that the waves of enthusiasm have reached the attention of important people (as opposed to all of us!), namely the Colorado Music Festival in Chautauqua Park, Boulder.  And they have hired the Festival Singers to be the choir this summer for performances of Beethoven’s 9th, and a couple weeks later, the Holst “Planets.”  In sending word to the ranks of last fall’s Festival Singers, I’ve filled most spots for these performances, but I still have the following openings:

 

Beethoven 9:                        Holst “Planets”:

3 sopranos                        2 sopranos

4 altos                              4 altos

7 tenors

1 bass

 

So I am putting the call out to persons wishing to audition for potential inclusion here to let me know.  If you think you or someone you know, would be a potential addition; or if you could publicize this call for singers to choirs you are associated with, and let people know to get in touch with me, I’d appreciate it.  Upon application, I’ll give you the full rehearsal and performance schedule (4 rehearsals/2 concerts for each).

 

The Festival Singers will be participating in the 2017-18 St. Martin’s Season, as well (soon to be released), probably in two concerts on Sept. 22 and 24, so keep your eyes peeled for these, too.

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Evensong this Thursday (5:45pm) is of the intimate variety (an a cappella quartet), marking the life of Christina Rossetti, English poet. Most of you would be familiar with her through her Christmas poetry – “In the bleak midwinter,” and “Love came down at Christmas” being the two that spring immediately to my mind.  We will sing the following music:

 

April 27, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

Preces & Responses: Herbert Sumsion (1899-1995)

Canticle of Light: Phos hilaron by Susan Brown (2001)

Psalm: 84 (plainchant)

Service: Thomas Barrow (C. 1720-1789) in F

Anthem: “Love came down at Christmas” by Rodney Williams (b. 1941)

Office Hymn: 112 (Cranham)

 

I wanted to program a service setting that would have been contemporaneous with Rossetti, but there are so few a cappella settings from the late 19th century that are adequately rendered by a quartet, that I couldn’t find one.  Goss in E is a possibility, but I don’t have the voices engaged tomorrow that I felt would make Goss in E “work,” so I moved back a century to a lovely 18th century setting by Thomas Barrow (a singer [alto] in the Chapel Royal – premiered some of Handel’s oratorios).  I liked having a female composer for something (the Canticle of Light); and the setting of “Love came down” is by old friend Rodney Williams, a retired bass from the Westminster Abbey choir (Richard Barnes – would you let him know, since he doesn’t do e-mail, that we’re singing this?).  He and I met at the Abbey in the 90’s when I was doing my dissertation on Stanford, and I was in the Abbey archives (“Muniment Room” – I love that!) doing some research on the dates of the earliest performances of Stanford’s services.  We became fast friends.

 

This coming Sunday will include the following music:

 

April 30, 2017, Third Sunday of Easter

*Introit: “O sing joyfully” by Adrian Batten  (1591‑1637)

Anthem: “Easter Light” by Cecilia McDowall (2016)

Communion motet: Bleib bei uns by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901)

Hymns: 208 (Victory), *305 (Rosedale), 202 (Ad cenam Agni providi), 432 (Laudate Dominum)

*11:00 service only

 

I wrote in these pages recently about my having made the acquaintance of English composer Cecilia McDowall at the national ACDA convention in March.  We’ll be performing one of her anthems this Sunday (my first, but certainly not the last – I’ve already planned two more in Advent and Christmas, and a major work for St. Martin’s in a concert next December).  I find her music at once accessible and challenging – accessible in that the lines are singable (well-suited to the voice, and not too difficult) and pleasant to the ear – challenging in that the harmonies have just enough dissonance to give a piquancy to the overall flavor of the piece, and that there is an overarching architectural conception to a piece’s structure, making the planning and placement of climaxes quite important to plumb the full potential of the music.  This particular anthem was written for Easter of 2016 for the choir of Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia.  And what most captivated me when playing through it recently, I must admit, is the clear reference to bird-song in the organ (solo stop) when lyrics about a meadowlark appear.  I asked Cecilia whether it was an attempt to actually mimic the pitches of a certain bird’s song, and she replied that the text was written by a naturalist resident in Williamsburg whose mission was to save the Eastern Meadowlark from extinction in Virginia; and having listened to recordings of the bird, that, “though not literal, I hope [it] gives a little flavour of these sweet birds’ delicate tones.”

 

That’s all for this week!

 

Tim

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Timothy J. Krueger

Choirmaster, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver

Artistic Director, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir (professional)

Affiliate Music Faculty, Metropolitan State University of Denver