Musical Weekly

27 October, 2015

In this issue:

  • Promo video for SMCC concert “Mozart Requiem á la Czerny”
  • Replies to formatting query
  • Imago Divina – Images of the Divine through Art
  • This Week at St. Andrew’s (including a collaborative Requiem Mass between St. Andrew’s and St. John’s Cathedral at the cathedral, for All Souls’)

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St. Martin’s Chamber Choir’s Mozart Requiem concert is coming up in a couple weeks (Nov. 6-8), and we’ve recorded a promo video to be found here: https://youtu.be/foWaQT_gzmY

MB and I have been on a new diet for the last couple months, and I’ve lost 7 pounds.  So I’m disappointed in this video by the little paunch that is still visible…  My goal is to lose 10 more lbs.  Still, if one gets past my weight, the video is a great run-down of what’s special about this concert (see also previous Weeklys).

Highlights:

  • Czerny’s 4-hand arrangement of accompaniment – quite difficult
  • Thought lost for 150 years – recently republished
  • Regional premiere of this version (to my knowledge)
  • Mutsumi Moteki and Tamara Goldstein, pianists
  • Also on the program: Czerny’s 6-hand arrangement of three popular tunes called “Les Trois Soeurs” (The Three Sisters) in which I will play the easiest part (youngest sister?), seated between the above two fabulous pianists!

Do come, and get your tickets now: (303) 298-1970; http://www.stmartinschamberchoir.org/tickets/

  • Fri., Nov. 6, 7:30pm, Montview Presbyterian Church, Denver (Park Hill) (9’ Steinway)
  • Sat., Nov. 7, 7:30pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge (7’ Kawai)
  • Sun., Nov. 8, 3:00pm, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church/Community of Faith, Denver (9’ Bösendorfer)

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Perhaps of interest to some, but stultifyingly boring to others, I got a couple replies from readers on my question about how to format titles of musical works, composers names, etc. in programs and service leaflets.  The most extensive reply came from David V., the editor of a regional periodical on wine (and organist), who wrote the following, vindicating most of what I said my own personal practice:

Well, you asked for it! I don’t see any reason to italicize the names and dates of composers, but I wouldn’t say it’s prohibited either—it is merely a style decision based on the design of your program. Foreign words should always be italicized, as you indicated. Titles should be set off by quotation marks, except that larger works should be italicized (e.g., “For unto us a child is born” from Messiah). The same rule applies to chapters in books. I would capitalize all words in actual titles, but not in quoting first lines of text, so I would make it “The Call” or “Dido’s Lament,” but I agree with you on “Behold, now praise the Lord,” for example. I do not enclose generic titles such as Prelude, Postlude, Sonata, etc., in quotation marks (although The American Organist disagrees with me), so it would be Prelude and Fugue in F Major (I always capitalize Major and not minor, but that’s probably a personal quirk). Hymn tunes are tricky: the traditional style is to use upper-and-lower-case caps, (Hyfrydol), which is hard for most people who prepare church bulletins, so I’ve pretty much given up on it and have gone with italics as you did. As a frequent substitute, I usually try to avoid confusion by using quotation marks for hymn tunes (e.g., Postlude on “Hyfrydol”), but many church administrators seem to want to put quotes around the whole title or make it all italics, so I’m never really sure how it’s going to come out (maybe even “Postlude on Hyfrydol”). Anyway, I rarely encounter a church as careful about titles and composers as St. Andrew’s, so I appreciate that!

The moral is probably never to ask an editor about style and formatting issues.

Though David is the only reply I reproduce here, I appreciate those who replied with other conventions (even though you’re wrong).  (ha ha) 😉

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This coming Sunday evening, Nov. 1, 5:30pm, in place of the usual Still Point service at St. Andrew’s, we will be having the first of five events that we’ve chosen to call “Imago Divina: Images of the Divine through Art.”  We got a grant from the Calvin Institute of Vital Worship for these events.  In each one, an artist we have selected will present a work of their art, and describe where they see the divine in it.  There will be discussion, followed by a shared meal (chicken pot pie at this first one – yumm!), and will conclude with a brief meditative service (a la Still Point, but no Eucharist) centered around the piece of art.

In this first event, the featured artist is Jennifer Miller, a member of the Art faculty at MSU-Denver, who works with lighting, illumination, and projections.  She will project images on the walls, pillars, and ceiling of the church, and talk about sensing the divine essence in the mundane, every-day world.  She herself is a Mennonite, and, having met and chatted with her as she has been preparing for this event, I am very much looking forward to her presentation.  (In subsequent events we will have textiles, poetry/narrative, dance, and other arts).

The event is free (including the meal), and I invite the curious to come and witness this unique and, I think, enriching experience.  No religious pedigree is required or even desired – “the Divine” is to be defined by you, and secondarily by the presenting artist.  It will conclude, meal and all, by 7:30.

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Evensong this Thursday contains the following music, rendered by an a cappella quartet:

October 29, 2015, Choral Evensong: James Hannington

  • Preces & Responses: John Repulski (2006)
  • Canticle of Light: Phos hilaron by M. Susan Brown (2000)
  • Psalm: 124 (plainchant)
  • Service: John Goss (1800-1880) in E Major
  • Anthem: “These are they” by John Goss (1800-1880)
  • Office Hymn: 241 (Laus Deo)

I like that it is now dark when the service takes place – something about the atmosphere of Evensong in a darkened church that is harder to achieve in a bright, sun-lit church.

This Sunday is the Feast of All Saints – one of the four major church holidays (Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost being the other three) – the one, in fact, that gave birth to its superstitious corruption, Hallowe’en (how sad that a beautiful holiday that is about loved ones who have died, and their resurrection to eternal life, has been corrupted [willfully, or simply through superstitious ignorance?] into a creepy day about corpses rising from graves to haunt the living).  Anyway, there’s lots of great music for All Saints’, since it’s a major feast.  Here’s what I’ve chosen:

November 1, 2015, All Saints’ Day

  • *Introit: Justorum animae by William Byrd (1540-1623)
  • Anthem: “Lift up your heads” from Messiah, by G. F. Handel (1685-1759)
  • *Fraction Anthem: Tantum Ergo by Robert L. Pearsall (1795-1856)
  • Communion motet: “And I saw a new heaven” by Edgar L. Bainton (1880-1956)
  • Hymns: 287 (Sine nomine), *286 (Zeuch mich, zeuch mich), 293 (Grand Isle), 618 (Lasst uns erfreuen)

*11:00 service only

All good stuff.  My choir is particularly fond of the Bainton.  They practically swoon every time I hand it out (which is about twice a year).

On Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm, the St. Andrew’s Choir joins the St. John’s Cathedral Choir for an All Souls’ Requiem Mass.  The featured musical work this year is the Palestrina (1525-1594) Missa pro defunctis, conducted by moi.  This is the third year we have collaborated with the cathedral choir on a Requiem – Duruflé and Fauré the previous two years – and the first year I’ve got to conduct it (my thanks to Stephen Tappe, cathedral organist-choirmaster).  If you’re interested in seeing a Requiem Mass actually celebrated and performed in the way it was intended (mostly, at any rate – I’m sure Anglicans alter one or two small bits to suit their reformed theology, but it’s essentially the same), come along to what promises to be an interesting service, with a choir of about 60.  It’s Denver’s version of “The Three [Two] Choirs’ Festival!”

All the best (and a safe Hallowe’en to everybody)!

Tim

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Musical Weekly

19 October, 2015

In this issue:

  • Mozart Requiem a la Czerny (SMCC)
  • Formatting question
  • This week at St. Andrew’s

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In early November St. Martin’s performs the Colorado premiere of a recently rediscovered 4-hand piano version of the Mozart Requiem by Romantic era composer and teacher Carl Czerny.

Carl Czerny (1791-1857) was an extremely prolific and well-regarded composer of the early Romantic era.  A student of Beethoven and a teacher of Liszt, Czerny is chiefly remembered as the composer of a wealth of affectionately despised piano exercises (“School for Velocity”).  In this vein, he wrote a reputedly difficult and admired 4-hand piano version of the Mozart Requiem, performed to much acclaim in 1827, but subsequently lost.  Czerny dedicated the arrangement to the Abbé Maximilian Stadler (1748-1833), a composer himself, who knew Mozart and was a close friend of his widow Constanza, assisting her with the settling of Mozart’s estate and the disposition of his scores and manuscripts.

Recently rediscovered in a library in Czerny’s native Slovakia, it has been published and is being revived with much fanfare around the world.  When I discovered the score (thanks to Dennis Blubaugh, Musical Resources of Toledo, for bringing it to my attention) while attending the national ACDA convention last March, I determined to perform it with SMCC as soon as I could.

The pianists for this performance are Mutsumi Moteki, on the CU-Boulder piano faculty, and Tamara Goldstein, until recently coordinator of piano studies at MSU-Denver (we collaborated with this same pairing on the Brahms Liebeslieder four or five years ago).

In addition to the Mozart/Czerny Requiem, I will be joining this incomparable duo on three arrangements by Czerny of popular British melodies, which he called Les Trois Soeurs (“The Three Sisters”), written for three pianist sisters.  One part is much easier than the other two – obviously for the youngest sister – and that’s obviously the part I’ll be playing! J

Here are the performance details:

  • Nov. 6, 7:30pm, Montview Presbyterian Church (new 9’ Steinway grand)
  • Nov. 7, 7:30pm, Holy Cross Lutheran, Wheat Ridge (6’-some Kawai grand)
  • Nov. 8, 3:00pm, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (9’ Bösendorfer grand)

It’s not too early to buy tickets here: (303) 298-1970, or http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/720315

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The question of formatting for programs and service leaflets has been making the round here at St. Andrew’s lately, and I’d like to ask people’s opinions (I might be opening myself up to as much controversy with this as if I asked what people thought of various presidential candidates!)   😉

I’ve always italicized the names (and dates) of composers as below, but I don’t feel strongly about this, and I’ve seen it both ways.  So:

  • Fugue in F major . . . . J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
  • Fugue in F major . . . . J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

 My general rule of thumb for the titles of anthems/pieces is that if it’s in a foreign language, it is to be italicized (O salutaris; Jesu, meine Freude); if it’s in English and contains the first few words of the text, it’s to be in quotation marks (“For unto us”); and if it’s a title that is not part of the text (or a familiar or descriptive title), it is neither italicized nor in quotes, but generally every word is capitalized: (Dido’s Lament; or Hallelujah Chorus; or The Call).  What about the titles of larger, dramatic works, like operas or oratorios?  Do these conform to conventions on book titles, or movies (and what are those conventions)?

Anyone care to comment?

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Evensong this week, sung by an a cappella quartet, marks the feast of James of Jerusalem, Jesus’ “brother” (in quotation marks because, although two biblical books identify him as brother, some traditions think of him as a cousin, or other relation).  Little is known about him.  Scant biblical mention is augmented by an early Christian chronicler named Hegesippus (yes, it will be on the test), who called him “the Just,” identified him as Bishop of Jerusalem, and later a martyr.  Here’s the music I’ve planned:

  • October 22, 2015, Choral Evensong: James of Jerusalem (antic.)
  • Preces & Responses: William Smith (4 pt. arrangement)
  • Canticle of Light: “Behold, now praise the Lord” by Thomas Wilson (17th century)
  • Psalm: 1 (plainsong)
  • Service: John Blow (1649-1708) “Short”
  • Anthem: “Not unto us” by Thomas A. Walmisley (1814‑1856)
  • Office Hymn: 232 (Nyland)

And here’s the musical fare for this coming Sunday:

  • October 25, 2015, Proper 25
  • *Introit: “Almighty and everlasting God” by Orlando Gibbons (1583‑1625)
  • Anthem: “The Lord hath been mindful” by Samuel S. Wesley (1810-1876)
  • *Fraction Anthem: O salutaris hostia by Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
  • Communion motet: The Call, by Clifford Harker (1923-1999)
  • Hymns: 429 (Old 113th), *411 (St. Thomas [Williams]), 567 (St. Matthew), 410 (Lauda anima)
  • *11:00 service only

This is the last week for the Howells Fraction Anthem – I’ve become quite fond of it these last 5-6 weeks.  Clifford Harker was the organist-choirmaster at Bristol Cathedral 1949-1983, where he was a mentor for my own teacher Lionel Pike, who was my thesis advisor, choir director, and (dare I say) friend, while I was at Royal Holloway College, University of London.  Lionel began as a choirboy under him, and later became an assistant organist at Bristol.  MB and I found Harker’s grave when we were visiting Bristol Cathedral a couple years ago.  The Call (“Come, my way, my truth, my light” – George Herbert) is probably his best-known choral work.  And fair warning about the Wesley – the tune at the words “Ye are the blessed of the Lord” is quite an ear-worm (to translate from the German – a tune you can’t get out of your head once you’ve heard it…).

Have a wonderful week!

Tim

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In this issue:

  • Promo video for SMCC’s Menotti concert
  • This Week at St. Andrew’s

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Gene M. (SMCC board member and all-round good guy) and I recorded (and he edited) a promo video for the upcoming St. Martin’s “Menotti’s Madrigal Fable” concerts (Oct. 9 and 11), about which I wrote at length in last week’s Weekly (q. v.).  The video is a good summary of all that.  Here’s the link (I don’t think it has been embedded in the SMCC website yet, but probably will be shortly):

 

https://youtu.be/u4KwNzznK6k

 

Since St. Martin’s has never recorded anything by Menotti; and, because copyright laws forbid us from using any recorded music in the background of our videos for which we do not have written permission; the problem arose of what to use in this video. Gene M. had the brilliant idea, I think, of using the wordless chorus “To be sung of a summer night on the water” by Frederick Delius that we recorded in 1999 on our “Dreams all to brief” CD.  The visual background of the shoot is the chancel of St. John’s Cathedral, where the Friday performance will take place.  And I think I’m looking particularly natty in this video, to boot.  Sort of a cross between a university professor and an English country gentleman.  J

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This Thursday is the commemoration of Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), one of the most amazing women of the Middle Ages.  So the anthem at Evensong (an octet with organ) will be by her; and the Canticle of Light, also by a woman (Susan Brown), is my way of giving a further nod to Hildegard.  Here’s the run-down:

 

September 17, 2015, 5:45pm, Choral Evensong: Hildegard von Bingen

Preces & Responses: William Smith (16th century)

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

Psalm: 104:25-37 (plainchant)

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

Anthem: O rubor sanguinis by Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179)

Office Hymn: 606 (Ubi caritas)

 

Susan Brown, a former alto in St. Martin’s Chamber Choir and the St. Andrew’s Choir, is a very fine composer, and she wrote the above anthem for the latter choir when she was in it a decade (or two!) ago.  I think it has a very charming simplicity to it – just a bit redolent of when Copland was trying to sound American – very effective.  The Hildegard anthem is an obvious choice, sung just by the women of the choir.

 

The Brewer service setting may not seem such an obvious choice for this Thursday – a big, bright piece of solid Anglican music.  The reason is this:  2015 is the 150th anniversary of Brewer’s birth, so I am doing all three of his most well-known services (not sure if he wrote any more – these are the three I am aware of) – E flat, D, and F – this autumn.  The E flat is this Thursday, the D major service (his most famous) will be on Oct. 1 (full choir), and the F major, the gentlest of the three, will be on Oct. 18.

 

This coming Sunday St. Andrew’s moves from its Summer to its Autumn schedule, with services at 9:00am (family oriented, no incense) and 11:00am (solemn “high”); and, of course, the Still Point (Gregorian Chant) service continues at 5:30pm.

 

Here’s the music for this coming Sunday:

 

September 20, 2015, 9 & 11am; Proper 20

*Introit: Nolo mortem peccatoris by Thomas Morley (1577‑1602)

*Creed: John Merbecke (1550)

Anthem: “Draw nigh to God” by Basil Harwood (1859-1949)

*Fraction Anthem: O salutaris hostia by Herbert Howells (1892-1983)

Communion motet: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” arr. Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)

Hymns: 477 (Engelberg); *480 (Kingsfold); 434 (Eltham); 492 (Finnian)

*11:00 service only

 

It’s a good British Sunday, all ‘round, both choral and congregational numbers.  We’re trying out a new (old) setting of the creed, arranged from plainchant by John Merbecke in 1550 for the then-brand new Book of Common Prayer.  I’ve located a lovely organ accompaniment of it by Royle Shore (1917).  We’ll see how long it takes the congregation to fall in love with it.

 

The Harwood is a lovely piece, slow and thoughtful, with a louder section in the middle, and a beautiful soprano solo.  The Stanford arrangement of the well-known hymn tune Lobe den Herren is a rollicking good sing, and the congregation will be humming along with most of it (this is encouraged, as long as it doesn’t annoy other listeners around you).  The Fraction Anthem remains the Howells O salutaris for a few more weeks – a gorgeous piece.

 

Thanks, all!

 

Tim

Posted in Musical Weekly.