Musical Weekly

Musings from Choirmaster Timothy J. Krueger

Musical Weekly

19 April, 2017

In this issue:

· SMCC “Fun Raiser” at home of (and featuring) Terry Schlenker

· What’s next for SMCC?

· This week at St. Andrew’s

__________________

This Friday (day after tomorrow) will feature a fun(d) raiser (called “Posh Piano Bar,” but it’s more like an intimate home party) at the Wheat Ridge home of Terry Schlenker, and featuring him (among other SMCC singers) on the piano. Heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, cocktails, etc. Terry will play his own piano compositions (you’ve heard his choral works written for and sung by SMCC; now hear his piano pieces!); and other singers to be playing include tenor Daniel Hutchings accompanied by his wife Rachael in some songs that she composed for the two of them; pianists Karissa Swanson and MB Krueger (as well as myself) – and possibly even a Noël Coward tune or two sung by me.

This Friday evening, 6:00p.m., at 6740 W. 28th Ave., $40. Reserve tickets with Steve Grupe at our office: (303) 298-1970. Come join the fun! And it’s for a good cause.

__________________

St. Martin’s Chamber Choir’s next, and final, concert of the 2016-17 Season is called “Sound the Trumpet,” and features works for brass, chorus, and organ, as follows:

· First half: The complete works (6) of Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) for brass and chorus (and organ in some cases)

· Second half: Mass, Op. 130, for 9 brass instruments, organ, and chorus, by Joseph Jongen (1873-1953)

I’ll expand on descriptions of these works in future Weeklys. St. Martin’s Chamber Choir will be joined by members of the Denver Brass, and Richard Robertson, organist, for these concerts. A not-to-be-missed extravaganza!! Get tickets now!

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

· Sun., May 21, 3:00pm, St. Paul Community of Faith (Lutheran), Denver

www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/; or call (303) 298-1970 for assistance.

__________________

With Holy Week, 2017, now “in the books” (and my congratulations to the choir and organist of St. Andrew’s – many, many stunning moments of great musical and spiritual profundity), here’s what’s up next at St. Andrew’s.

With hardly a breathing pause, Evensong this Thursday, within the “octave” of Easter and hence still very celebratory, will feature a dectet of singers with organ rendering the following Eastertide music tomorrow at 5:45pm:

April 20, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: Thursday in Easter Week

Preces & Responses: Herbert Sumsion

Canticle of Light: “Hail, Gladdening Light” by Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Psalm: (plainchant)

Service: A. Herbert Brewer (1865-1928) in D

Anthem: Angelus Domini by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901)

Office Hymn: 187 (Straf mich nicht)

This coming Sunday, the full choir has the Sunday off in honor of all their fantastic work last week in 11 services over the course of 8 days! But there is still music, including, at the 9:00 service, a visiting choir, from St. Elizabeth’s School (Episcopal). Two of their choirs, the elementary-age choir (50-some 2nd-5th graders), and the Middle School Choir (a dozen 6th and 7th graders) will sing at 9:00. Ralph Valentine will be on hand to accompany hymns and service music as usual; but the Gradual, Anthem, and Communion motet will be rendered by the choirs of St. Elizabeth’s School – a school started a dozen years or so ago by, mainly, parishioners from St. Andrew’s!

Then at the 11:00 service, the following music will be sung by the staff singers (and a couple volunteers – again, a dectet, probably):

April 23, 2017, Second Sunday of Easter; 11:00am

Introit: “Alleluia, Come, good people” by Katherine Kennicott Davis (1892-1980)

Anthem: O filii et filiae, Medieval French Tune, arr. Philip Moore (2011)

Communion motet: “Now the green blade riseth,” Traditional French Carol, arr. Philip Moore (1996)

Hymns: 193 (Puer nobis), 186 (Christ lag in Todesbanden) 188 (Savannah), 209 (St. Botolph)

The two pieces arranged by Philip Moore (organist of Canterbury, Guildford, and York cathedrals, now retired) are quite captivating, especially the O filii et filiae (“O sons and daughters, let us sing…”), which is for organ and chorus. Very haunting, and rising to an incredible climax near the end before subsiding back into mystery. I met Moore at the most recent AAM convention (in Connecticut last summer), sitting near him at lunch, and we had just embarked on what promised to be a fascinating and animated conversation when he suddenly got called away, as a piece of his was being rehearsed by the choir that was singing Evensong that evening, and his presence was required. He said “We must resume this fascinating converstation later,” and it seemed he said it with genuine conviction, honoring me with the impression that he liked me. Alas, we never crossed paths again during that conference, and I didn’t make enough of a connection with him to feel that, if I sent him an e-mail now, he would adequately recall me, distinct from all the other people he must have met. But I was left with an altogether favorable impression of him as a friendly human being, between whom a spark of personal chemistry seemed to have been struck.

The life of a church musician never seems to be “on hold.” There will be a lessening of duties once classes are over at MSU-Denver in four weeks; and SMCC will cease regular rehearsals for the summer once we’ve performed the above “Sound the Trumpet” concerts; so there is relief in view; but the liturgical year marches ever on!

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

Musical Weekly

10 April, 2017

In this issue:

· Interesting responses to my reflections last week

· St. Martin’s “Fun Raiser” featuring (and at the home of) Terry Schlenker

· It’s Holy Week at St. Andrew’s!

__________________

In response to my musings on the often tiny difference between a good concert and a great concert, I got a number of interesting reflections. First, from a former SMCC singer (Scott) who was at the Friday night concert, and provides some perspective:

I hope you don’t despair over the Friday performance. It’s true that it took most of the first set for the choir to really warm up and settle in, but after that, there were also passages of great beauty – in blend, intonation, articulation, and the dynamic phrasing of the lines. I felt very satisfied with the performance as a listener, despite being aware of some of the challenges that you, as performer, would have been much more cognizant of. I am very glad that you chose to program this work, as well. As a longtime fan of TL deVictoria, I knew that this would not be a concert to miss. In fact, it is programs such as this that remind me that I wish someday to end my retirement from singing and perform masterpieces such as this again. Thank you for including this program this season – it was no “dud” in my book!

Thanks, Scott! I agree that it was not a “dud,” and I’m really glad you enjoyed it so much. Your ear is probably even more attuned than the average listener to the infinitesimal gradations of tuning and blend that disappointed me on the first two nights; so your words are encouraging. J

Another SMCC singer, Jesse, commented on the importance of a performer not to let the errors themselves affect either the performance itself nor the demeanor of the performers:

The difference between the standing ovation and the dampened evening is not in the errors themselves, but in the performers’ mien which can be changed by the errors. If I am prepared and perform with heart, I can make a few errors, but it is possible to continue to have a great time and exude the confidence and joy which, times 20 singers, brings an audience to their feet. But if singers are making little errors and letting it affect the character of their performance, the audience will catch onto that. The situations I can recall where groups I was in could have bombed in this way but instead pulled off victorious performances were situations where we as a group were really enjoying being together and making great art. There was an adrenaline factor, like a sports event (only with better goals than just winning). I can also recall other performances where a group I was in worked just as hard or harder, but because of small disappointments, the performance took a more serious turn, and no matter how heartfelt the music was, or how great the money notes were, our inner struggle was communicated just as surely to the audience as our joy should have been. One of the great violinists, it might have been Yehudi Menuhin, said that he was frustrated because a musician was expected to spend all their time practicing, and yet play with the emotions of someone who actually spent time living.

I also had a couple fascinating face-to-face conversations with people who had read my Weekly reflections, including good friend Stu, a jazz pianist (over a delightful lunch of Chinese dim sum!). We reflected on the issues I raised last week, but then also talked about differences and similarities in this sphere between improvisatory-based live music-making (jazz, liturgical organist, etc.), and non-improvisatory (choir or classical orchestra concerts). It was a wide-ranging conversation that I just wanted to make grateful note of here, not attempt to reproduce any of our points.

That’s all I have for now.

__________________

On Friday, April 21 (the Friday after Easter), St. Martin’s Chamber Choir hosts a “Fun Raiser” at the beautiful home of Terry Schlenker, a St. Martin’s singer and a composer much beloved to many in the SMCC audience. It will feature Terry playing some of his piano compositions, and a few other St. Martin’s singers playing and/or singing as the entertainment. Meanwhile, sumptuous so-called “heavy appetizers” (i.e. you can make dinner out of it) and drinks (cocktails, wine, beer, soda, etc.) will keep spirits up. And it’s all to benefit a rather worthy cause (remember my reflection in last week’s Weekly about “earned” and “unearned” income? This fits into the latter category, ironically). To reserve a place ($40 per), follow this link: http://www.stmartinschamberchoir.org/feasts/, and click on the “Click” icon after this particular event (second one down). Rumor has it that I will be singing a Noël Coward number or two accompanied by MB … I hope to see you there!

__________________

Since it’s Holy Week, and we have a million (well, eight) services in the next six days, I’ll dispense with any mention of St. Martin’s’ next concert, and get right to the music listings. If you’re curious, and not even particularly religious (or a member of some other church but would like to visit on a night when your church doesn’t have a service), I encourage you to come to any that intrigue you. The singing and organ playing at St. Andrew’s, in case you haven’t caught this hint before, I consider to be of a pretty high calibre, well worth your effort. 😉

Tues., April 11, 2016, 7:00pm: The Way of the Cross

A procession moves around the church in this service, stopping at each of the bronze Stations that we have (Marian Buchan is the artist, 1930’s), and we sing a setting of the text Adoramus te at each one (congregation sings along with plainchant on every third Station). The ten settings of the Adoramus te not sung to plainchant are by:

· G. P. da Palestrina (1525-1594)

· Anonymous 10th C. (Codex Montecassio)

· Mariano Garau (1997)

· G. B. Martini (1706-1784)

· G. A. Perti (1661-1756)

· G. M. Nanino (1543-1607)

· G. O. Pitoni (1657-1743)

· Q. Gasparini (1749-1770)

· B. Britten (1910-1976), adapt. TJK (2017)

· Geert Verhallen (1997)

We conclude the service with F. A. G. Ouseley’s “O Savior of the World.”

c. 40-45 mins. Highly recommended for the curious (mostly music)

Weds., April 12, 2017, 7:00pm; Tenebrae

This service goes from illuminated to completely dark by the end. Candles are extinguished (and the church becomes darker with each one) as penitential psalms are chanted. Other music as follows:

Lamentations of Jeremiah, TJK (2001)

Tenebrae Responsories, Healey Willan (1880-1968)

Christus factus est by Felice Anerio (1560-1614)

Miserere by Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652) (complete with famous high Cs).

c. 45-50 mins. Highly recommended for the curious (entirely music)

April 13, 2017, 7:00pm; Maundy Thursday

Entrance Hymn: 315 Song 1

Sequence Hymn: 581 Cheshire

Anthems during the Footwashing:

· “Peace is my last gift,” Plainsong, Mode I, harm. James McGregor (b. 1930) and MB Krueger (2005)

· “Drop, drop slow tears” by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)

· “This is my commandment,” variously attrib. to Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585) or William Mundy (d. 1591)

· “A new commandment” by Richard Shephard (b.1949)

· “God is love” by A. Gregory Murray (1905-1992)

Anthem: “Draw us in the Spirit’s tether” by Harold W. Friedell (1905-1958)

Fraction Anthem: Tantum ergo by Maurice Duruflé (1903-1986)

Communion motet: Ubi caritas by Maurice Duruflé (1903‑1986)

Hymns: 315 (Song 1), 581 (Cheshire), 314 (Adore devote), 313 (Jesus, meine Zuversicht), 320 (Lauda Sion salvatorem) 329 (Pange lingua)

c. 90 mins. Not recommended for the curious, unless you need your feet washed (ha ha), or want to commemorate the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

April 14, 2017, 12:00 Noon; Good Friday

The St. John Passion by Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)

Hymn 471 (Breslau)

Procession: Crux fidelis by King John IV of Portugal (d. 1656)

The Anthems at the Veneration, by TJK (2007)

Procession to the Altar of Repose: Hymn 166 Pange lingua

Communion motet: “My God, my God, look upon me” by John Blow (1648-1708)

Hymns: 471 (Breslau), 166 (Pange lingua) 168 (Herzlich tut mich verlangen [Passion Chorale])

c. 75 mins. Moderately recommended for the curious – the most solemn of all the services (high quotient of music to spoken word)

April 14, 2017, 7:00pm; Downward to Darkness

Viola Preludes (Dane and Bach)

“Give me that Stranger” by Michael McCarthy (2010), based on Byzantine Troparion of the Burial of Christ

Hymn 173 (Traurigkeit)

“O Lord, look down” by Jonathan Battishill (1738-1801)

Viola solo (Benjamin Britten – based on the Russian Kontakion of the Departed)

“Ah, holy Jesu” arr. by John Ferguson (1995)

Hymn 172 (Were you there?)

c. 45 mins. Highly recommended (mostly music, and what’s not is poetry and other sacred readings. Also features one of the finest violists I have ever had the honor of being associated with, Matt Dane)

Sat., April 15, 2017, 7:00pm; The Great Vigil of Easter

Responses to readings:

· “I will sing unto the Lord” by John Amner (1579-1641)

· Sicut cervus by G. P. da Palestrina (1525‑1594)

· “When the Lord turned again” by Adrian Batten (1591-1637)

Anthem: Te Deum by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), from the B flat Morning Service

Communion motet: Angelus Domini by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901)

Hymns: 398 (Kingsfold), 296 (Engelberg), 199 (St. Kevin), 191 (Hyfrydol)

c. 120 mins. Not recommended for the curious visitor (long and esoteric. It’s the best Easter service to go to for the regular parishioner, however, in my opinion)

April 16, 2017, 9 and 11am; Easter Day (Full Choir both services)

Introit: Jauchzet dem Herrn by Gottfried August Homilius (1714-1785)

Anthem at the Asperging: “Most Glorious Lord of Life” by William H. Harris (1883‑1973)

Sequence: “Rise up, my Love” by Healey Willan (1880-1968)

Anthem: “Sing ye to the Lord” by Edward Bairstow (1874-1946)

Communion motet: Easter (“I got me flowers”) by Daniel Burton (1984)

Hymns: 207 (Easter Hymn), 174 (Salzburg), 210 (Ellacombe), 204 (Noël nouvelet), 180 (Unser Herrscher) with Parry Choral Amen

c. 90-95 mins. (highly recommended for the curious visitor. Lots of noise and joy).

So that’s that. I’ve scheduled a massage for myself on Easter Monday, as I will probably not be good for much of anything else after all this!!

Blessed Holy Week to all.

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

Musical Weekly

3 April, 2017

In this issue:

· Reflections on good vs. great

· What’s next for SMCC? Duruflé Requiem this weekend!

· And then?

· This week at St. Andrew’s

__________________

This past weekend saw three concerts of the Victoria Tenebrae Responsories with a cameo group of 12 singers. The third, on Sunday afternoon, was one of the finest, most perfect, most captivating concerts St. Martin’s has ever performed, in my opinion. The choir was utterly engaged every second of the long 1’20” intermission-less period; the tuning was impeccable, the voices beautiful, the blend perfect (helped by the acoustics of St. Paul’s), and we had the audience utterly in the palm of our hand. The passion in the voices as we flawlessly weaved the intricate lines of counterpoint brought tears to my eyes three times during the concert. It probably came off to the audience as effortless, but it was darned hard work getting there, and the singers were amazingly focused. I left the concert on a pillow of rapture about as puffy as any I have every experienced.

Now, compare that to the two concerts that preceded it on Fri. and Sat. nights. Not bad concerts by any combination of descriptors, so the difference between good and great is a fine line indeed – but a fine line that is rarely crossed, and therefore a seemingly very impervious one. I regret that the audiences at the first two concerts could not have heard the utter perfection of the last concert; but I hope they feel they got their money’s worth. However, I have to admit (now that it’s over – I never would have told the singers this immediately for fear of causing morale or confidence collapse), I left both of the first two concerts with a slight burden on my heart that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I felt vaguely disappointed, as I knew things could have gone better in terms of tuning, blend, and what I call “stupid mistakes,” i.e. brain-farts, or new mistakes in easy passages that happen when focus is lost for the briefest second (a misread interval, giving an extra half-beat to this or that note, etc.). That martinis a drank after those concerts were in a sullen rather than a celebratory mood, and I felt like I had programmed a right “dud,” that those audience members would never return to another of our concerts, and that everything was my fault.

Then came Sunday’s performance, and my own feeling and the reaction of the audience (the only standing ovation of the three concerts, and it was richly deserved) made me feel I was not such a dud after all, and not only restored by self-confidence, but vaulted it to a dangerously high level!

Anyway, it has led me to ponder how minimal, almost ineffable, the flaws can be to make a concert seem like a failure to one of the performers, even if an objective observer might find little difference between two performances. Comments and observations welcome.

__________________

This weekend, 12 singers from St. Martin’s Chamber Choir are joining the Alpine Chorale (whose conductor is one of our occasional singers [he sang in the very first SMCC concert ever in 1993!], David Farwig) in a concert featuring the Duruflé Requiem. The SMCC singers will sing the Duruflé Quatre Motets on their own (Ubi caritas, Tantum ergo — that lot); the Alpine Chorale is singing a handful of numbers on their own; and then the two choirs join forces for the Requiem in the second half.

When I’ve been asked what Requiem I would want performed at my funeral (after I suppress the response that I am not a Roman Catholic and therefore wouldn’t want a Requiem [I find the Requiem text rather horrific, in terms of my personal inferno-less theology]), the Duruflé is usually tops on my list. If one is to include non-standard Requiems, then I might prefer either the Brahms or the Howells; but among those Requiems containing the official R. C. text, it would have to be Duruflé or Mozart.

Here are the concert details:

· Fri., April 7, 7:30pm, Wheat Ridge United Methodist Church (38th Ave. and Wadsworth)

· Sat., April 8, 7:30pm, ditto venue

And here’s how to get tickets: http://alpinechorale.org/concerts/

I’d love to see many of my SMCC fans there!

__________________

There’s one more concert in the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir season – “Sound the Trumpet!” This concert will feature the Denver Brass and Richard Robertson, organ, on the Joseph Jongen (1873-1953) Mass Op. 130, and six motets by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) for brass and chorus. We will be joined by 9 brass players from the Denver Brass, as well as Richard Robertson, and raise the rafters of the two venues in question.

Jongen was a Belgian composer of a generally late-Romantic style (think Franck or Fauré), so nothing too dissonant here, and a really interesting work (and LOUD). It is so jealously guarded by the holders of the copyright that there are no recordings of any part of it on YouTube (all quickly deleted, if anyone puts one up, I suspect), so it’s sort of like the Allegri Miserere of its day! Only to be heard live.

Not that th following paragraph should persuade you to come, nor to make you sorry for us, but just an observation – this is perhaps the most expensive concert we have ever mounted. The fees of the instrumentalists combined with the rental of the parts ($$$!!!), the incredibly expensive choral scores for the Jongen, performance fees, singer salaries, etc. etc., we are going to lose a lot of money on this concert. But that’s what we do. We have a mission to perform fantastic and often obscure classical music for our audience. Some concerts turn a profit (Christmas), but most of the others don’t. It’s why the budgets of every non-profit are made up of “earned” income (ticket sales, ad sales, recording sales, etc.) and “unearned” income (donations, grants, etc. — hardly “unearned,” but that’s another topic for discussion!). So don’t worry – we’ve got the money already in the bank for this concert (unlike a recent, well-publicized example of a local performing organization that went suddenly belly-up after a concert, failing to pay almost all of its musicians). But still, it would be a help for us to have healthy tickets sales for this concert; and you’ll enjoy it anyway. Who doesn’t like organ and brass and choir?!! You know you’re going to want to come!!

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

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

Get tickets here: www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/

__________________

This week is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. At St. Andrew’s we have services (sometimes multiple) every day except Monday, and each one is a musical feast. I’ll post the schedule below.

But before we get there, we have the final Evensong of Lent this Thursday, and it will be a cornucopia of Henry Purcell (1659-1695), sung by an octet and featuring Ralph Valentine on organ. Here’s the music:

April 6, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: The Thursday in the Fifth Week in Lent

Responses: Thomas Tomkins

Canticle of Light: Ego cubui et dormivi by Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Psalm: 142 (plainchant)

Service: Henry Purcell in G minor

Anthem: “Hear my prayer, O Lord” by Henry Purcell

Office Hymn: 171 (Petra)

Here’s the music for Palm Sunday:

April 9, 2017, 9 & 11am Palm Sunday

Anthem at the Distribution of Palms: “Hosanna to the Son of David” by Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623)

Outdoor processional: “Ride on, ride on” to Hymn to Joy (with Bagpiper Michael Lancaster)

Anthem: Solus ad victimam by Kenneth Leighton (1929‑1988)

*Fraction Anthem: “Verily, verily I say unto you” by Thomas Tallis (c.1505‑1585)

Communion motet: Christus factus est by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

Hymns: 174 (Valet will ich dir geben), *458 (Love unknown), 168 (Herzlich tut mich verlangen [Passion Chorale]), 164 (bANGOR)

This service begins with an outdoor processional, and we will have a bagpiper leading us again this year as we march around the block. But the real delicacies of the service are the Weelkes, the Leighton, and the Bruckner, especially the latter two. Very powerful, anguished pieces. And the choir sounds magnificent on them.

Here are the rest of the services (with music – there are three others that are spoken) in Holy Week:

Tues., April 11, 7:00pm – Stations of the Cross (the choir sings 14 different settings of Adoramus te as a procession moves around the church, focusing on our exquisite set of stations bronzes. c. 45 mins. – my personal favorite service of the week)

Weds., April 12, 7:00pm – Tenebrae (another largely choral service, featuring the Allegri Miserere [complete with 7 high C’s from Ashley H.], my Lamentations of Jeremiah [2001], and many psalm chants, all sung as the church becomes successively darker, ending in pitch darkness. c. 60 mins. This is the favorite Holy Week service of most of my acquaintance)

Thur., April 13, 7:00pm – Maundy Thursday (commemorating the Last Supper [hence, the institution of the Eucharist], there is footwashing and later, after Communion, the stripping of the altar, where everything in the sanctuary (everything, including chairs) is removed, and – my favorite moment – the host is carried in a monstrance to the altar of repose while we sing “Sing my tongue the glorious battle.” c. 90 mins. )

Fri., April 14, 12:00 Noon – Good Friday Liturgy (marking the crucifixion, the choir sings the Passion [T. L. de Victoria], my own “Anthems at the Veneration” [composed in 2008], King John’s Crux fidelis and John Blow’s “My God, my God.” c. 1 hour)

Fri., April 14, 7:00pm – Downard to Darkness (a service of poems, readings, and music, all of a very solemn nature, as we observe Christ in the stillness of the tomb, and our own utter wretchedness. c. 45 mins.)

Sat., April 15, 7:00pm – Great Vigil of Easter (begins outside with the lighting of the new fire; a variety of lessons are read in the dark church with musical responses; then the resurrection is declared, the lights are turned on, the organ is heard for the first time since Maundy Thursday, and the joyous first service of Easter is celebrated. Featured works: Stanford Te Deum in B flat, and Rheinberger Angelus Domini. c. 2 hours)

Sun., April 16, 9 and 11am – Easter Day (as you’d expect; featured works this year are Bairstow “O sing unto the Lord,” Harris “Most glorious Lord of life,” Burton “I got me flowers,” Willan “Rise up my love,” and Homilius Jauchzet dem Herrn. c. 90 mins.)

Whew! That’s enough for now, eh?!!

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

Musical Weekly

27 March, 2017

In this issue:

· SMCC — Forsaken: The Victoria Tenebrae Responsories — THIS WEEKEND

· Meeting composers galore!

· This week at St. Andrew’s

__________________

Here’s the link again to the promo video for this weekend’s St. Martin’s Chamber Choir concerts (including its potentially humorous typo!): https://youtu.be/b4bqrVvjEPE As you listen to the sound-track in the background (there are two extended clips later in, including an entire movement at the end [the O vos omnes], so listen all the way through), you will hear how fantastic the choir (12 voices) is sounding. I’m very pleased and proud of them.

Delicious Spanish Renaissance polyphony, darkened churches (well, except for the matinee concert – but luckily that concert features the best acoustic of the three, in my opinion), and the dolorous sounds of Holy Week exquisitely rendered by an authentically-sized ensemble are the delectations to be anticipated at these concerts. We don’t anticipate any concert selling out (although Saturday night’s is closest, with the house already over half sold), so tickets may be obtained at the door; however, if you want to be safe, here’s where to get the tickets in advance: www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/, or call the office at (303) 298-1970.

· Fri. March 31, 7:30pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 4500 Wadsworth Blvd., Wheat Ridge

· Sat. April 1, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2015 Glenarm Place, Denver

· Sun. April 2, 3:00pm, St. Paul Community of Faith, 1600 Grant St., Denver

If you’re worried about parking at the Sunday matinee (sometimes an issue – the lots around the St. Paul are pay lots, and you take the risk of a ticket, as they are not owned by the church itself), you could park at St. Andrew’s, which is four blocks away, and walk on a – hopefully – pleasant early Spring Sunday afternoon! Though these lots are also pay lots, they are owned by St. Andrew’s and therefore you will not be penalized!

I hope to see many of you Denver friends there!

__________________

I had lunch today with Scottish composer Chris Hutchings, in town visiting relatives for a few days. I had not previously been acquainted with his music, but he gave me some sample copies, and I listened on his website (http://www.hutchingsmusic.co.uk/) to very fine performances by groups such as the Christ Church (Cathedral) Choir of Oxford, and St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh, among many others. I look forward to getting to know his music (and he gave me a new setting of the Preces & Responses that has not yet been performed. Maybe St. Andrew’s will have the honor to premiere it!). Combined with the other composers I had the pleasure of meeting at the ACDA convention earlier this month, like Cecilia McDowall, I am being brought into the 21st century at last! 😉

__________________

Evensong this Thursday, 5:45pm, features yet another Fauxbourdons service (next week I’ll break the pattern with a “normal” setting by Herbert Brewer), this one by Thomas Morley. Here’s all the music:

March 30, 2017, 5:45pm, Choral Evensong: The Thursday in the Fourth Week in Lent

Responses: Wm. Smith

Canticle of Light: “O Gracious Light” by John Stainer (1840-1901)

Psalm: 73 (II.a)

Service: Thomas Morley (c.1557-1602) Fauxbourdons service

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

Office Hymn: 27 (Lucis Creator optime)

And the music for this Sunday features a couple of interesting pieces:

April 2, 2017, 9 and 11am; Lent 5

*Introit: “Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake” by Richard Farrant (d. 1581) or possibly John Hilton (d. 1608)

Anthem: “Steal Away,” African-American Spiritual, arr. Dale Adelmann (1995)

*Fraction Anthem: “Verily, verily” by Thomas Tallis (c. 1510-1585)

Communion motet: “By the waters of Babylon” by C. F. Boyd (1930-2002)

Hymns: 151 (Aus tiefer Not), *339 (Schmücke Dich), 666 (St. Bride), 547 (Marsh Chapel)

*11:00 service only

“Steal Away” is a delicious arrangement of this well-known Spiritual, penned by a recipient of this Weekly, Dale Adelmann, Canon for Music at St. Philip’s Cathedral, Atlanta (let’s see if he reads far enough to see his name! J). One of my sopranos, Ashley H., was in his choir at All Saints’, Beverly Hills, where she recorded it with him. It’s not the first time we’ve done an African-American spiritual arrangement at St. Andrew’s during my tenure, but the first time in a Sunday morning service (I’ve done a few at Evensongs when we’ve been marking the lives of African Americans like Frederick Douglass, Harry T. Burleigh, and others).

The motet, by a C. F. Boyd (possibly Clifford), is a lovely little 8-part composition that I found on CPDL (Choral Public Domain Library). I have no idea who he is, but I suspect he might have been an Australian organist, from a single item uncovered through Google that listed his name in connection with a “St. Nicholas, Adelaide”. The resolution on the score was so bad that I entered it into Finale (a music notation software program), made one or two minor editor’s adjustments (forgive me, C. F. [Alan Lewis is very familiar with my tendency to “improve” a single chord here or there by adjusting an accidental! If you can apply ficta in ancient music, why not 20th century, too?!]), and had the choir sing through it. It went well enough that I decided to program it. If anyone can dig up anything more about him, I’d appreciate hearing about him.

Many thanks!

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

Gene M., our in-house filmographer (he’s on the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir board, and he and I film these little promotional videos), came to a recent rehearsal of our next concert, “Forsaken, the Victoria Tenebrae Responsories,” and recorded us doing a few movements. I was skeptical about whether the audio would be complimentary enough to use, but it turned out quite nice, really; and my jaw-flapping about the concerts themselves is the usual not-unpleasant and not-uninformative stuff. We chose a Goya painting for the posters and program covers because he was Spanish, like Victoria, and I think the graphics look splendid (we use the same graphic designer as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, in case you’ve noticed their graphics around town).

Here’s a link to the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/b4bqrVvjEPE

I’m not sure it was a smart thing to wear a cassock (I thought I’d give it a sort of churchy feel, but it looks a bit funny). The choir sounds a bit distant, but it’s quite atmospheric. And yes, we just realized there’s a typo (misspelling) in the graphics, but I’ll let you see if you can find it. 😉

Anyway, the soundtrack of that video will give you an excellent idea of what the concert will sound like. I hope you can come to one of the concerts a week-and-a-half from now:

· Fri. March 31, 7:30pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 4500 Wadsworth Blvd., Wheat Ridge

· Sat. April 1, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2015 Glenarm Place, Denver

· Sun. April 2, 3:00pm, St. Paul Community of Faith, 1600 Grant St., Denver

www.StMartinsChamberChoir/concerts or (303) 298-1970 for tickets.

__________________

Evensong tomorrow is not only intimate (quartet), but austere (Lent). We’re doing another one of the Fauxbourdons settings of the Mag and Nunc that I described in last week’s Weekly, this one by Charles Villiers Stanford. Here’s all the music:

March 23, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: Thursday in the Third Week in Lent

P&R: Richard Ayleward (1626-1669)

Canticle of Light: “Lord, we beseech thee” by Adrian Batten (1591-1637)

Psalm: 86, plainchant

Service: Charles V. Stanford (1852-1924) Fauxbourdons Service

Anthem: “Bow down thine ear” by Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Office Hymn: 144 (Cornhill)

And here’s the music for this coming Sunday:

March 26, 2017, Lent 4

*Introit: “Hide not thou thy face” by Richard Farrant (d. 1581)

Anthem: “Lord, when the sense of thy sweet grace” by Mack Wilberg (1994)

*Fraction Anthem: “Verily, verily” by Thomas Tallis (c.1510-1585)

Communion motet: Homo natus de muliere by Leopold Hoffman (1738-1793)

Hymns: 440 (Liebster Jesu), *567 (St. Matthew), 646 (Dominus regit me), 429 (Old 113th)

To say ‘Mack Wilberg,’ who is a musician (I’m not sure of his title) at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, usually brings to mind sappy but brilliant arrangements of Christmas Carols. This is his other side, extremely somber, somewhat dissonant, full of yearning and melancholy. It says that the tune is based on a plainchant, but I think it must be loosely so. The text is by Richard Crashaw, one of the 17th century mystic Anglican poets that I like very much (George Herbert is the best known of this crew). A wonderful piece that will transport you, I guarantee.

Leopold Hoffmann was the Kapellmeister at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna 1772-1793. In 1790 he was in failing health, so at his request Mozart was made his assistant (an unpaid position), with the expectation that Mozart would therefore succeed him when he died. As we all know, Mozart died in 1791, hence Hoffmann survived him, and was, indeed, the musician in charge at Mozart’s funeral in the cathedral. This is a little homophonic piece, the text from Job (familiar to Anglicans as part of the Burial Service – “Man that is born of a woman…”), and reminds me a bit of Mozart’s Lacrymosa, or other somber 18th century, quasi-stile antico sacred works.

That’s it for this week. The onslaught of Holy Week approacheth, however! (I’m a bit late with this because this is our Spring Break at the University, so I’m trying to take some days off at church as well).

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

Musical Weekly

6 March, 2017

In this issue:

· MB and I at ACDA this week in Minneapolis

· SMCC’s “Forsaken: the Victoria Tenebrae Responsories”

· This week at St. Andrew’s

_________________

MB and I attend the National Conference (biennial) of the American Choral Directors Association this week in Minneapolis, MN. I look forward to these events mainly for these four reasons (in general order of importance):

· Visiting exhibitors’ booths and combing through literature for programming ideas/new music

· Attending performances – many university and high school choirs, uniformly excellent; and outside professional groups. This year I’m particularly looking forward to the Stuttgarter Kammerchor from Germany.

· Rubbing shoulders with old friends, new friends, and nerdy choral people (and composers)

· Socializing with MB and the above-mentioned friends (good meals, and cold martinis!)

The only conference I prefer to this one is the annual conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians. There, the good friends and nerdy types are even MORE “my people.” I remember sitting on a bus at my first conference, on the way back from a choral evensong, and hearing the conversations around me, about Herbert Howells, about clergy-musician relationships, about shared frustrations, and thinking “these are the people who daily think the same thoughts as me, do the same tasks, and with whom there is an automatic, unspoken kinship.” At ACDA this week, there are mostly academic choir directors (colleges, high schools, etc.), so the sense of identification and bonding, though still strong, is less immediate. Still, I know I will enjoy it.

_________________

Just to keep the next St. Martin’s Chamber Choir concert in front of your eyes – Forsaken: The Victoria Tenebrae Responsories is coming up at the end of this month. A very solemn concert, the music is uniformly somber – sometimes grieving, sometimes angry, but always focused on the tragedy inherent in the Passion.

These pieces, written for the Dowager Empress of Spain’s private chapel, are Renaissance polyphony at its finest. In the two evening concerts, we will attempt to recreate the darkened, candle-lit atmosphere of the Empress’s chapel on the last three nights of Holy Week (the matinee performance will be difficult to make dark, but we’ll do what we can to make it solemn!). 12 singers.

· Fri Mar 31, 7:30pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 4500 Wadsworth Blvd., Wheat Ridge

· Sat Apr 1, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 2015 Glenarm Place, Denver

· Sun Apr 2, 3:00pm, St. Paul Community of Faith (Lutheran), 1600 Grant St., Denver

Obtain tickets at www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/ or call the SMCC office on (303) 298-1970 for assistance.

_________________

Evensong this Thursday is of the intimate variety – a quartet, a cappella. As I will be out of town, Matt Bentley is the guest director, and here’s the music:

March 9, 2017, 5:45pm; Choral Evensong: The Thursday in the First Week in Lent

P&R: Thomas Ebdon (1738-1811)

Canticle of Light: Phos hilaron by M. Susan Brown (2000)

Psalm: 46 plainchant

Service: John Holmes (c. 1600) Fauxbourdons

Anthem: “God so loved the world” by John Stainer (1840-1901)

Office Hymn: 489 (Tallis’ Ordinal)

Here’s Sunday’s music:

March 12, 2017, 9 & 11am; Lent 2

*Introit: “Haste thee, O God” by Adrian Batten (1591-1637)

Anthem: “Thee we adore” by T. Frederick H. Candlyn (1892-1964)

*Fraction Anthem: “Verily, verily” by Thomas Tallis (c.1510-1585)

Communion motet: “God so loved the world” by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901)

Hymns: 473 (Crucifer), *313 (Jesus, meine Zuversicht), 489 (Tallis’ Ordinal), 401 (Leoni)

*11am only

One thing in common between the Evensong and Sunday: the Gospel is the same (John 3:16-21). So, for the ease of it (as the choir is experiencing a deluge of music right now, Holy Week rehearsals having just begun), I’ve programmed the same anthem for both – the loved and hated Stainer “God so loved the world.” I’m in the former category – I’m rather fond of this anthem. It’s an unusual example of a Victorian piece almost devoid of cloying chromatic sentimentality, and it “works.” The voice-leading is good, the melodic content satisfying, and it’s a solid little piece. And given the hackneyed nature of the text (I’m looking at you, sports fans and football players with “John 3:16” written on your posters and eye-black), it’s about as well as one can do with the overly-familiar. You may feel free to disagree about the Stainer. (I look forward to the lovely adjectives some of you will use to denigrate it! J).

Note that (at least here in the US) we go to Daylight Savings Time Sunday morning by turning our clocks ahead an hour. Don’t be late to your Sunday morning call times!

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

Musical Weekly

27 February, 2017

In this issue:

  • What’s next for SMCC?
  • Last week at St. Andrew’s
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

_________________

 

After a wonderful set of February concerts (“Winter Winds” – superbly performed, enthusiastic audience response, pretty good ticket sales [above what be budgeted – yay!], and, if I say so myself, rather intriguingly programmed J); and a reprise of last November’s Shakespeare Cameo concerts in Grand County last Friday (in Tabernash, as part of the Grand County Concert Series – snowy evening in the mountains, singers were both intrepid and artistic!); St. Martin’s now turns its sites to the next Cameo concert, “Forsaken: Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories.”  This concert is the opposite of the last, at least in terms of mood.  The last was playful, full of variety and emotional shifts, and wide-ranging in style and mood.  This one is somber – rather unremittingly – and, because it’s all by the same composer, cannot be described as at all varied in style.  It’s Renaissance polyphony at its best, but it’s Renaissance polyphony . . . relieved only occasionally by a line of plainchant, or a homophonic section.  I am going to creatively make some variety where I can (some sections for one-on-a-part trios and quartets for a change in texture; and about 5 movements are for SSAT – I will transpose a couple of them down to make some ATTB movements, for a change in tessitura/sonority; et. al.). In spite of these efforts, however, the audience will be in a very solemn mood by the end.  But SMCC audiences are generally well educated, and know what they’re getting into.  And many of them actually like this sort of thing!!  (wink, wink).

 

The Spaniard Tomas Luis de Victoria, after studying in Rome as a young man (presumably with Palestrina), returned to Madrid where he was a tenor in (and I believe leader of) the choir that sang in the dowager Empress of Spain’s private chapel.*  I’ll brush up on the history before the concert (where did I put my Groves’ Dictionary?), but these would all have been written for about 8-12 singers, and performed on the last three nights of Holy Week (the “Triduum”) at dark, candlelit evening services.  There are 18 of these Responsories (six per night), and I’m dividing the three sets with a couple other works by Victoria, to give the feel of having moved from one night to the next.  We’ll try to replicate the dark candlelit atmosphere where we can (not all of our venues are that versatile, or willing to accede to the whims of visiting ensembles!).

 

Anyway, here are the dates and venues:

 

  • March 31, 7:30pm – Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge
  • April 1, 7:30pm – St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
  • April 2, 3:00pm – St. Paul Community of Faith, Denver

 

Go to www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts to purchase tickets, or telephone (303) 298-1970 for assistance.

 

*too many prepositions in this sentence.  Tried unsuccessfully to rewrite it.

_________________

 

Again, things got away from me and I skipped a week.  For the interested, here’s what we sang last week at St. Andrew’s:

 

February 23, 2017, Choral Evensong: Polcarp, Bishop and Martyr

Responses: William Smith

Canticle of Light: “The rising of the sun” by M. Susan Brown (1998)

Psalm: 121, plainchant

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

Anthem: “Lift thine eyes” by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Office Hymn: 238 (Holy Manna)

 

February 26, 2017, Last Sunday after the Epiphany

*Introit: “Fair is the sunshine,” Silesian Folktune (1842), harm. TJK (2017)

Anthem: “Arise, Shine” by William Mathias (1934-1992)

*Fraction Anthem: O nata lux by Thomas Tallis (c.1510-1585)

Communion motet: “Alleluia, song of gladness,” Timothy J. Krueger (2002), based on a Plainsong melody, Mode 2

Hymns: 618 (Lasst uns erfreuen), *129 (Mowsley), 134 (Jesu dulcis memoria), 460 (Hyfrydol)

_________________

 

Now things take a turn for the somber.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  We have two services here at St. Andrew’s, one at Noon and one at 7:00pm.  They are virtually identical, except where indicated:

 

March 1, 2017, Ash Wednesday (Noon and 7pm)

At the Imposition of Ashes: Per signum crucis by Thomas Tallis (c.1505-1585)

Psalm 51, plainchant

Noon Anthem: “Thou knowest, Lord” by Henry Purcell (1659‑1695)

7:00pm Anthem: “Hear my prayer, O Lord” by Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

*Fraction Anthem: “Verily, verily I say unto you” by Thomas Tallis (c.1505‑1585)

Communion motet: “The Sacrifice of God” by Maurice Greene (1696-1755)

Hymns: 149 (Old 124th), *411 (St. Thomas [Williams]), 152 (A la venue de Noël), 142 (St. Flavian)

*7:00pm only

 

This is an entirely a cappella service, including hymns; so, very somber.  At noon there will be about 10 people singing (those staff singers who can make it in the middle of the day, and a few volunteers), and at 7pm the entire choir.

 

The next day (Thursday, 5:45pm), the full choir with organ sings Evensong, with the following music:

 

March 2, 2017, 5:45pm, Choral Evensong: The Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Responses: M. J. Gibson (2007)

Canticle of Light: “O Lord, the world’s Saviour” by William Mundy (d. 1591)

Psalm: 37:II, plainchant

Service: William Byrd (1543-1623) Fauxbourdon Service

Anthem: “Behold, the Lamb of God” by George F. Handel (1685-1759)

Office Hymn: 76 (Winchester New)

 

Again, solemn is the watchword.  Anthem and hymn fit the Gospel (Christ’s baptism…not sure why that’s the Gospel for the Thursday after Ash Weds., but it is!).

 

And here is the first Sunday of Lent, services at 9 and 11am, as usual:

 

March 5,  2017, 9 & 11am, Lent 1

Great Litany                     

Anthem: “O Lord, look down from heaven” by Jonathan Battishill (1738-1801)

*Fraction Anthem: “Verily, verily I say unto you” by Thomas Tallis (c.1505‑1585)

Communion motet: Angelis suis by Johann Joseph Fux (1660-1741)

Hymns: *448 (Deus tuorum militum), 147 (Bourbon), 688 (Ein feste Burg)

*11:00 only

 

Rather than a processional hymn at the opening of the service, we sing the Great Litany in procession around the church.  A lot of pleading and brow-beating and mea culpas, with the plainchant responses harmonized by Steve Kick, a former member of the choir.  Two 18th century anthems, one from England (Battishill was a choirboy at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and later worked as organist at the Chapel Royal and several London parishes, but never achieved his goal of becoming organist of St. Paul’s, passed over due to an addiction to the bottle, it is said) and one from Austria (Fux, court composer at the Habsburg court in Vienna).

 

Because our regular choir rehearsal is Weds. evening, and Ash Weds. services preclude this from happening this week, last Weds. was our last rehearsal before Last Epiphany, Ash Weds., Evensong, and Lent 1.  I’m afraid I was a little under pressure, and at the beginning of the rehearsal a little tetchy.  But we made good progress, and the preparedness and spirit of the choir soon had me back in good spirits.  What a goodly crew!!

 

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

 

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

Musical Weekly

13 February, 2017

In this issue:

  • It’s SMCC Concert Week: “Winter Winds”
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

_________________

 

This Friday and Sunday feature St. Martin’s Chamber Choir in a delightful concert of winter-themed a cappella pieces.  And here’s a teaser — a video featuring SMCC singing Abbie Betinis’ playful “Run, toboggan, run!” from a Christmas concert a few years ago: https://youtu.be/b6SFHeNoSRc  Make sure you listen to the end, because each verse is faster than the last, until we’re clipping along at a rather brisk pace. (Confession: Listening to it just now, I am astonished at how slow I started it – no doubt thinking that I needed to keep in mind the four accellerations.  I will definitely start it a bit faster this time around, even if it means the final verse is breakneck – but what better way to illustrate a toboggan ride than uncontrollable speed, eh?)

 

Here’s where to get tickets: www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts/ — click on the specific concert (date) to which you wish to purchase tickets, and it will link you.

 

Here are the dates and venues:

 

  • Feb. 17, 7:30pm – Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St., Park Hill (Denver)
  • Feb. 19, 3:00pm – St. Paul Community of Faith, 1600 Grant St., Capitol Hill (Denver)

 

And Here’s the program again:

 

The Coming of Winter

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Summer is Gone • Gustav Holst: The Autumn is Old • William Byrd: In Winter Cold

 

The Cold of Winter

Benjamin Britten: In the bleak midwinter • Michael John Trotta: Blow, blow, thou winter wind • Robert Baksa: When icicles hang • Claude Debussy: Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain

 

Winter as Sadness or Old Age

Charles Wood: The Widow Bird • Ned Rorem: The Lover in Winter Plaineth for the Spring

  • Stanley Hoffman: That time of year

 

Interval

 

Winter as Remembrance

Alfred Caldicott: Winter Days • Edward Elgar: Dreams all too brief • Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Unquiet Grave

 

Winter as Play

Timothy Krueger: Lied der Alpenjäger • Abbie Bettinis: Run, tobbagan, run! • Joachim Raff: Winter Carol • arr. Bradley Dunkin: Gloucestershire Wassail

 

Heralds of Spring

Robert Walker: Celandine • Healey Willan: Rise up my love

 

I hope to see all my Colorado friends there!!

_________________

 

Choral Evensong this week includes Ralph Valentine at the organ, and a quartet of singers marking the life of Charles Quintard, a 19th-century Bishop of Tennessee who opposed the segregation of Episcopal congregations (after the Civil War, many southerners wanted blacks and whites to have their own separate parishes – Quintard wanted every parish open to all); here’s the choral music I’ve planned:

 

February 16, 2017, Choral Evensong: Charles Todd Quintard (d. 1898)

Responses: Richard Ayleward (1626-1669)

Canticle of Light: “O Lord, support us” by Alan Lewis (2016)

Psalm: 94 – plainchant

Service: John Goss (1800-1880) in E

Anthem: “A new commandment” by Richard Shephard (b.1949)

Office Hymn: 24 (St. Clement)

 

The Goss in E is a jolly little service – programmed partly to represent the sort of evening service that would have been typical in the second half of the 19th century – at least at English Cathedrals.  I’m not sure what might have been sung at Quintard’s cathedral in Tennessee in the 1890’s, but probably not Goss in E.  Still, it might put someone in mind of the time period.

 

Here’s the music for this coming Sunday – the second-to-last Epiphany service (long Epiphany this year, owing to Easter’s late date):

 

February 19, 2017, Epiphany 7

*Introit: Ubi caritas by Mariano Garau (b. 1952)

Anthem: “Christ, whose glory fills the skies” by T. Frederick H. Candlyn (1892-1964)

*Fraction Anthem: O nata lux by Thomas Tallis (c.1510-1585)

Communion motet: “Teach me, O Lord” by Thomas Attwood (1765-1838)

Hymns: 525 (Aurelia), 637 (Lyons), 379 (Abbot’s Leigh), 518 (Westminster Abbey)

*11:00 only

 

Garau – contemporary Spanish composer, a sort of mystical take on this well-known text.  Candlyn – early 20th century English-born organist who served at St. Thomas’, Fifth Ave. (I think he was Noble’s successor).  Attwood – student of Mozart – unprepossessing but pleasant little piece.  Plus four of my favorite hymns (do you sense a “foundation” theme here?  It’s in the Epistle reading).

 

That’s it 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

Musical Weekly

8 February, 2017

In this issue:

  • What’s special about the upcoming SMCC concert?
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

_________________

 

In recent years St. Martin’s Chamber Choir has been blessed to collaborate with some of the region’s finest ensembles and artists.  Earlier this year, we have added a new tool to our kit – the Festival Singers.  We have branched out into many different kinds of performance opportunities.  This is all as it should be for a thriving ensemble.

 

But sometimes a handful of our oldest fans and supporters hint that they wish there was more a cappella music – the kind of music that we built our reputation on 20-some years ago; the kind of concerts of exquisite choral music that feature the choir . . . and nothing else.  Well, for those people Winter Winds will be your kind of concert: An eclectic mix of composers and pieces, all a cappella, all exquisitely crafted harmonies, clever text-painting, spanning the gamut from reflective to playful, from remembrance to anticipation, from melancholy to joyous.  Refer to either of the two previous Weeklys for a complete list of the pieces.  Here are the two concerts, both in places with excellent acoustics:

 

  • Friday, February 17, 7:30pm – Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church, Park Hill (Dahlia and Montview)
  • Sunday, February 19, 3:00pm – St. Paul Community of Faith, 1600 Grant St., Capitol Hill (16th and Grant)

 

Go to www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts and click on the concert to which you wish to purchase tickets.  Or for personal assistance, call the SMCC office at (303) 298-1970.

__________________

 

Evensong this Thursday, 5:45pm, is of the intimate variety – a quartet sans accompaniment.  Here’s the music planned – some old favorites:

 

February 9, 2017, Choral Evensong: Thursday in the 5th week after the Epiphany

P&R: Timothy Krueger in A

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

Service:  Charles King (1687-1748) in C

Anthem: Omnes de Saba by Josef Rheinberger (1835-1901)

Office Hymn: 43 (The Eighth Tune)

 

And here’s the music for this coming Sunday, services at 9 and 11am:

 

February 12, 2017, Epiphany 6

*Introit: “O let me tread in the right path” by John Ward (1571-1638)

Anthem: “O Living Bread” by Percy W. Whitlock (1903-1946)

*Fraction Anthem: O nata lux by Thomas Tallis (c.1510-1585)

Communion motet: “I have longed for thy saving health” by William Byrd (1543-1623)

Hymns: 3 (Herr Jesu Christ), *440 (Liebster Jesu), 641 (Southwell), 347 (Litton)

*11:00 only

The Whitlock is a new one for us – one of a set of “Three Introits” he wrote that are all quite lovely.  We have done the other two, but this is my first outing with this one.  Otherwise it’s a fairly Tudor line-up (well, the Ward is probably better described as “Stuart” than “Tudor,” but who’s quibbling?).

 

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

Musical Weekly

1 February, 2017

In this issue:

· “Winter Winds” next SMCC concert

· This week at St. Andrew’s

_________________

First, my apologies for missing a week. It just got away from me under the press of other business.

Second, I’m getting more and more excited about the St. Martin’s Chamber Choir “Winter Winds” concert in a little over two weeks – the choir is sounding extremely fine already in the rehearsal process, and the music is the kind of repertoire that St. Martin’s built its reputation on – solid, harmonically interesting a cappealla music. In case you missed it, here’s a list of the works:

The Coming of Winter

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – Summer is Gone • Gustav Holst – The Autumn is Old • William Byrd – In Winter Cold

The Cold of Winter

Benjamin Britten – In the bleak midwinter • Michael John Trotta – Blow, blow, thou winter wind • Robert Baksa – Winter (“When icicles hang”) • Claude Debussy – Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain

Winter as Sadness or Old Age

Charles Wood – The Widow Bird • Ned Rorem – The Lover in Winter Plaineth for the Spring

• Stanley Hoffman – That time of year

Interval

Winter as Remembrance

Alfred Caldicott – Winter Days • Edward Elgar – Dreams all too brief • Ralph Vaughan Williams – The Unquiet Grave

Winter as Play

Timothy Krueger – Lied der Alpenjäger • Abbie Bettinis – Run, tobbagan, run! • Joachim Raff – Winter Carol • arr. Bradley Dunkin – Gloucestershire Wassail

Heralds of Spring

Robert Walker – Celandine • Healey Willan – Rise up my love

Here are the venues and dates.

· Fri. Feb. 17, Montview Presbyterian Church, Park Hill

· Sun. Feb. 19, St. Paul Community of Faith, 1600 Grant St., Denver

Reserve tickets now at www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/concerts.

_________________

Evensong tomorrow (5:45pm) is with the full choir and organ, marking a feast with three names:

Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple

Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Candlemas

The final feast of the season of the Incarnation and one of the oldest of Christian feasts, dating back to the 4th Century, commemorates the infant Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple. According to Jewish custom, a firstborn child is presented at the Temple 40 days after birth (Christmas in this case), and the mother and child are “purified” by an offering of a sacrifice and blessing. This is marked by a candle procession (‘Candlemas’ in Old English) into the church at the beginning of the service. It is also the Biblical source of that Canticle so central to Evensong, the Nunc dimittis, when the elderly Simeon, who had been promised he would not die until he had seen the Savior, says, “Now you may dismiss your servant in peace,” gazing into the face of the Christ child.

An interesting side note is that Feb. 2, being half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, has long been associated with ancient Roman, Celtic, and other festivals (Lupercalia, Imbolc, Persephone, even Groundhog Day, having to do with the increase of daylight and the coming of Spring); and it is conceivable that Candlemas, with its emphasis on candlelight, was seen as a way to co-opt these pagan festivals with a Christian feast.

Here’s the music:

Candlemas Procession: Latin Nunc dimittis by Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Processional Hymn: 259 (Old 120th)

Responses: John Repulski (2006)

Psalm 84: Anglican chant by Hubert Parry (1848-1918)

Canticle of Light: Adorna, Sion, thalamum by Charles Giffen (2002)

Service setting: Herbert Howells (1892-1983) “Gloucester” service

Anthem: “When Mary to the Temple went” by Johannes Eccard (1553-1611)

Office Hymn: 257 (Edmonton)

As my sister Tere says, “Services at St. Andrew’s are like mini-concerts of sacred music.” This is definitely one of those. J

This Sunday is the fifth after the Epiphany, and here’s the music I’ve planned:

February 5, 2017, Epiphany 5

*Introit: Befiehl du deine Wege by Johann Christoph Altnikol (1719-1759)

Anthem: “Christ is the World’s True Light” by W. K. Stanton (1891-1970)

*Fraction Anthem: O nata lux by Thomas Tallis (c.1510-1585)

Communion motet: “God be in my head” by John Rutter (b. 1945)

Hymns: 381 (Ton-y-botel), *505 (O Heiliger Geist), 488 (Slane), 543 (Eastview)

*11:00 only

Insert my annual apology (in the sense of explanation, not saying I’m sorry) for this one piece by Rutter that I quite like and consistently program once a year…

Thanks!

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

Musical Weekly

7 September, 2016

In this issue:

  • Welcome back!
  • Martin’s Chamber Choir’s new initiative (and opening concerts)
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

_________________

 

Labor Day behind us, we launch into the full Fall Schedule for school, work, and ensembles.  MB and I had a wonderful summer, including the AAM (Association of Anglican Musicians) conference in Stamford, Connecticut (with forays to New Haven [Yale], Greenwich, Bronxville, and one day playing hooky from the conference and going into NYC; also a surprise, last-minute, brief visit to England that was not originally planned, and which came about on the spur of the moment as I received something of a windfall when asked to prepare the chorus for a concert of Debussy’s Sirene (Nocturnes) for the Colorado Music Festival!  So our apologies to any of our British friends whom we couldn’t fit into our itinerary this short visit; but we made some new friends in Ripon at the beautiful cathedral there (including a female alto lay clerk – unheard of in my experience for a British Cathedral Choir!), and spent some good time (but always all-too-little) with the Gudgins in Aslackby (Lincs.), Ruth, Lisa and Belinda in Compton (Berks.), and Fr. Richard Harrison in Lancing (W. Sussex).  Missed on this trip were the Taylors in Hereford, the Pikes in Englefield Green, and others dear to us.  After our return State-side, we spent a week with MB’s parents in the U. P. of Michigan, and then had about 4-5 weeks of leisure at the end of July and beginning of August.  Classes started up at MSU-Denver on August 21, so we’re in our third week already; St. Martin’s Chamber Choir’s first rehearsal was August 14; and this coming Thursday and Sunday we launch back into the thick of it here at St. Andrew’s!  Welcome back!

_________________

 

Here’s an article that appeared in the most recent “St. Martin’s Voice” newsletter (if you wish to receive this electronic publication directly, let me know.  It goes out 6 times a year):

 

From Concept to Reality: The Festival Singers

by Timothy J. Krueger, Artistic Director

 

In 2010 Michael Christie, Music Director of the Colorado Music Festival, invited St. Martin’s Chamber Choir to perform the Bruckner Requiem with them at Chautauqua.  The collaboration was a success, and the following year we did the Fauré Requiem.  In each case, however, it was found that a bit of subtle sound reinforcement of the choir enhanced the balance.  Simply put, the 24 voices of SMCC were just not up to producing the amount of sound necessary to balance an orchestra.

 

I recall thinking to myself, “If only I had a slightly larger group, still of the professional quality of the Chamber Choir, but filled out with select high-quality volunteers, so that the basic sound of St. Martin’s was retained, the salary costs of a concert would be the same, yet there would be enough sheer volume to balance a symphony orchestra.”

 

Similarly, I have looked at certain large-scale a cappella works with longing – pieces such as the choral symphonies of Sir Granville Bantock, Das Liebesmahl der Apostel by Richard Wagner, Masses for Double Choir by Spohr, Rheinberger, and Cherubini, Adstant Angelorum Chori by Horatio Parker, the larger motets of Mendelssohn, etc. – and, though a cappella, I say ‘with longing’ because they are just beyond the scope of a chamber choir.

 

So the idea of a group of “Festival Singers” (as an expansion of the Chamber Choir singers) took shape and has been germinating for the better part of seven years.  Knocking ideas around with friends and SMCC staff and board members last year, a commitment was made by the St. Martin’s organization to make a go of it.

 

This last spring I began advertising the concept, word spread, and by the first of August I had auditioned 50+ singers.  These 50 singers are joining the “core” 24 Chamber Choir singers in performances on September 16 and 17 of Ralph Vaughan Williams powerful work Dona nobis pacem, in collaboration with the Stratus Chamber Orchestra (David Rutherford, director).   From the very first rehearsal on August 14, I realized we had done the right thing, and had created something that I know will continue into future seasons.  The sound was every bit as pure, lithe, vibrant, and colorful as the chamber choir, without the heaviness of most of the large choruses I’ve heard; yet the volume was truly breathtaking.  The particular sound of the Chamber Choir, that I have assiduously built and nurtured over the last 23 years, was clearly in evidence; yet it had a robust fullness that could compete with an orchestra.

 

So come and witness – and judge for yourself – this exciting new initiative and constituent ensemble of the St. Martin’s organization on September 16 and 17.  And then look for the Festival Singers to repeat in future years on a concert or two per season – both in collaborations with orchestras, and in a cappella concerts.  See you there!

 

So, a new initiative for St. Martin’s Chamber Choir – an expanded 60+ voice “Festival Singers” that will appear once a year or so, making their debut with the Stratus Chamber Orchestra in RVW’s powerful Dona nobis pacem.  Also on the program is the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, and the Three Shakespeare Songs, all by RVW.  Details below:

 

Fri. Sept. 16, 7:30pm – St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, Highlands Ranch

Sat. Sept. 17, 7:30pm – Augustana Lutheran Church, Denver

 

Tickets available by calling the SMCC office at (303) 298-1970, or by going to our website: www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org/tickets.

_________________

 

The first Full Choir Choral Evensong of the season is tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 7, 5:45pm.  We offer Evensong every Thursday at St. Andrew’s, Sept.-May – sometimes an a cappella quartet, sometimes full choir with organ, etc.  The congregation has grown over the five years of its existence, from a time when the choir outnumbered the congregation, to a regular crowd now of 25-30, and sometimes up to 50 or 60 for a special feast.  We get going this week with the following music (all old chestnuts, because there’s only a small portion of one rehearsal to commit to it!):

 

September 8, 2016, 5:45; Choral Evensong: Grundtvig & Kierkegaard

Preces & Responses: TJK (that’s me) in A

Canticle of Light: “Hail, Gladdening Light” by Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Psalm: plainchant

Service: CV Stanford (1852-1924) in C

Anthem: Evening Hymn (Te lucis) by H. Balfour Gardiner (1877-1950)

Office Hymn: 665 (Michael [desc/harm. Rutter])

 

Our first Sunday of the Fall Schedule is also full of some good old Anglican chestnuts (not quite so chestnutty as the Evensong above, but still with the definite aroma of chestnuts wafting about…):

 

September 11, 2016, Proper 19C (9:00am & 11:00)

*Introit: “Prevent us, O Lord” by Herbert Brewer (1865-1928)

Psalm: Anglican chant in B flat by Samuel Wesley (1766-1837)

Anthem: “Behold, the tabernacle of God” by William H. Harris (1883-1973)

*Fraction Anthem: Oculi omnium by Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Communion motet: “O for a closer walk” by Charles V. Stanford (1852‑1924)

Hymns: 448 (Deus tuorum militum), *334 (Alles ist an Gottes Segen), 333 (Now), 489 (Tallis’ Ordinal)

*11:00 service only

 

Finally, put the following date on your calendar:  Sat. Sept. 24, 7:00pm.  Supporting the St. Andrew’s Friends of Music as our major fund-raiser of the year, we are presenting a concert of works by Charles Wood, as this year is the 150th Anniversary of his birth.  Entrance to the concert is by donation (any amount; the more zeros following whole numbers, the better J – we have to raise $15,000 this year), and it’s a great way to make a donation to this wonderful music program.  If you can’t come to the concert, you can still make a donation, obviously.  Let me know and I’ll advise you as to the particulars.

 

Good to be back!  May your autumn be filled with wonderful blessings of music and friendship!

 

Tim