30 March, 2015

In this issue:
· Last week’s blur
· “Beat! Beat! Drums” – SMCC Cameo Concert
· Holy Week at St. Andrew’s – list of all music and services

Wow – does a week ever blindside you? Hence, I never got to a Weekly last week. This was regrettable, as the Evensong last Thursday (all men), and yesterday’s Palm Sunday music, were among the best in their category that I have ever done at St. Andrew’s. The men at Evensong created a rich, sonorous blend, and I was particularly moved by how beautiful they sounded – quite a highlight that I shall not soon forget. And Palm Sunday – a day I normally dislike because of the nature of the outdoor procession at the beginning of the service – went the best it ever has in my 20 Palm Sundays at St. Andrew’s, partly because of the presence of a bagpiper; but once we got inside the church, too, the service just seemed to gel, and the choir has rarely sounded better than we did on the Leighton “Solus ad victimam” and the Bruckner “Christus factus est.”

Ironically, though Holy Week should be the busiest of all my weeks in the year, I feel fairly composed this Monday morning, quite ready for the onslaught the rest of the week! So here’s my Weekly.

Here’s a complete list of the readings (italics) and musical selections (bold text) for “Beat! Beat! Drums!”, St. Martin’s Chamber Choir’s upcoming concerts, April 10-12 commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War and Lincoln’s Assassination.

Excerpt from Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address
Lincoln Prays After the Battle of Bull Run Harvey Gaul (1881-1945)

Joshua Chamberlain – excerpt from Speech Delivered on the 25th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address
A Procession Winding Around Me Jeffrey Van (1994)
Alex Komodore, guitar
1. By the Bivouc’s Fitful Flame
2. Beat! Beat! Drums!
Excerpt from a Reflection by William Faulkner
3. Look Down Fair Moon
4. Reconciliation

Sarah Morgan – “A Confederate Girl’s Diary”
Shenandoah arr. James Erb (1971)

Robert E. Lee’s Farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia
Civil War Trilogy Bradley A. Bombardier (1996)
1. The Portent (1859)
2. Malvern Hill (July, 1862)
3. Shiloh – A Requiem (April, 1862)

Colonel Henry G. Thomas’ Recollections of a Colored Brigade
Way over in Beulah Lan’ African American Spiritual, arr. Stacy Gibbs

Julia Ward Howe’s Recollections on Writing the “Battle Hymn”
Battle Hymn of the Republic arr. Donna Wickham (2015)

Excerpt from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
O Captain, my Captain! John White (b. 1931)

Frederick Douglass Oration in memory of Abraham Lincoln
Resignation Florence B. Price (1887-1953),
derived from an African-American Spiritual
“When Lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed” (excerpt)
To all, to each William Schuman (1910-1992)

Letter from Union soldier Sullivan Ballou to his wife
played during the reading: “Ashokan Farewell” Jay Ungar
Angel Band Shawn Kirchner (b. 1970)

The concerts are as follows:

· Friday, April 10, 7:30pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge
· Saturday, April 11, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
· Sunday, April 12, 3:00pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver

And tickets may be obtained on our website at www.StMartinsChamberChoir.org, or by calling (303) 298-1970.

Here’s the outline of events and music for Holy Week at St. Andrew’s. This is a powerful week in terms of its dramatic impact – like attending a series of plays that are all linked. People who go only to Easter Sunday service miss out on the full impact of the day, in my opinion. The joy one gets from Easter is lessened by not having gone through the depths to get there. It’s like enjoying the view from a mountaintop after having been dropped off there by a helicopter, rather than having made the climb from the valley, with all its aches and sores and blisters. It’s like watching the happy ending of a film without actually knowing what went on in the previous 4/5ths that actually make it a happy ending. It’s like cheering a team in the playoffs without actually having followed them as they slogged through the regular season (we all know how much we resent those sorts of “fans!”). Okay, I’ll get off my soap-box now. I suppose I’m saying that I’d love people to come and witness the fabulous ritual and music of the darkness before they get to the light. By the time the choir (and clergy, I feel safe in saying) get to Easter, we’ve actually already given of our best. Those who have accompanied us know and feel this, making it all the more appreciated when they hear us sing and preach and trudge through the Easter service by drawing on our last remaining reserves of energy. To sing an Easter service when well-rested and chipper is not to sing an Easter service at all, in my opinion. Anyway, here’s the whole shebang (including yesterday’s Palm Sunday service, for the sake of comprehensiveness):

March 29, 2015, 9 & 11am: Palm Sunday
Anthem at the Distribution of Palms: “Hosanna to the Son of David” by Thomas Weelkes (1576-1623)
Anthem: Solus ad victimam by Kenneth Leighton (1929‑1988)
*Fraction Anthem: Verily, verily I say unto you Thomas Tallis (c.1505‑1585)
Communion motet: Christus factus est by Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
Hymns: “Ride on, Ride on” to Hymn to Joy with bagpiper; 154 (Valet will ich dir geben), *458 (Love Unknown), 168 (Herzlich tut mich verlangen), 164 (Bangor)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015, 7:00pm: Stations of the Cross
10 different settings of Adoramus te, Christe, by Palestrina; Anonymous 13th century; Clemens non Papa; Padre Martini; G. A. Perti; G. M. Nanino; G. Pitoni; Q. Gasparini; O. Ravanello; G. Verhallen. Also, Gregorian Plainchant.
“O Saviour of the World” by Frederick A. G. Ouseley (1825-1889)

In this service, an officiant and acolytes move around to each of the 14 Stations of the Cross mounted on the walls of the church; a brief reading and prayer accompanies each one, and then as the procession moves to the next Station, a setting of the Adoramus te is sung (plainchant 4 times with congregation; 10 others to settings be the above composers). I love hearing the differences in the settings of this same text, from Medieval, Renaissance, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century composers. Personally, this is my favorite service of the week.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 7:00pm: Tenebrae
7 Psalm Chants
Lamentations of Jeremiah (Lessons 1-3) by Timothy J. Krueger (2001)
Holy Week Responsories (Lessons 1-3) by Healey Willan (1880-1968)
Christus factus est by Felice Anerio (c.1560-1614)
Miserere mei by Gregorio Allegri (c.1582-1652)

This is many people’s favorite service of the week, with the gradual extinguishing of lights until the service ends in complete darkness (the famous Allegri Miserere is very powerful in the dark!). 99% of the service is sung, and 60% of that is psalm chants, so the repetition of the alternatim is very hypnotic and solemn.

Thursday, April 2, 2015, 7:00pm; Maundy Thursday
Anthems at the Footwashing:
“Peace is my last gift,” Plainsong, Mode 1, harm. James McGregor (b. 1930) and MB Krueger (2005)
“Lord, do you wash my feet?” Gregorian Chant, Mode 5
“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 (Adoro devote), 313 (Jesu, meine Zuversicht), 320 (Lauda Sion salvatorem), 329 (Pange lingua)

This service re-enacts the Last Supper, where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, celebrated the meal that has served as the model for Communion ever since; and, finally, prepares the church for tomorrow’s Good Friday service (and represents Jesus’ betrayal and abandonment by those whose feet he had just washed) by stripping the altar and chancel area of everything not permanently affixed, and the removing of the host (the body of Christ) from the church to an “altar of repose.” So the service begins with love and community, and ends with aloneness and abandonment – fairly powerful in the stark contrast it creates. One of my favorite moments of the church year is when, as the people sing the Pange lingua, the host (in a monstrance) is borne from the church in great solemnity by the priest, the thurifer walking backwards and bowed down in reverence…

April 3, 2015, 12:00 Noon; Good Friday
The Passion According to St. John, setting by Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
Procession: Crux fidelis by King John IV of Portugal (d. 1656)
The Anthem at the Veneration: “Ah, holy Jesu” by John Ferguson (1995)
Procession to the Altar of Repose: Hymn 166 (Pange lingua)
Communion motet: “My God, my God, look upon me” by John Blow (1648-1708)
Communion Hymn: 168 (Herzlich tut mich verlangen)

This service tells of the crucifixion, pure and simple. The choir sings the Passion Gospel; there is a rather Medieval moment called the ‘Veneration of the Cross;’ and a simple communion is served from the “reserved sacrament,” consecrated the previous evening. We have violist Matt Dane coming to play some viola solos before the service, and accompany the choir in the very moving “Ah Holy Jesus” by John Ferguson. It is an entirely a cappella service, as the organ, which played last about half-way through the Maundy Thursday service, is completely silent until half-way through the Vigil service.

April 3, 2015, 7:00pm; Good Friday: Downward to Darkness
• Reading: Mark 15:42-47
“Give me that Stranger” by Michael McCarthy (2010)
• Poem: “Pieta” by John Taylor
Hymn 173 (Traurigkeit)
• Poem: “I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Gregorian Chant, Mode 2
• Poem: “When Death Comes” by Mary Oliver
Shame and reproach have broken my heart. Gregorian Chant, Mode 8
• Poem: “Sunday Morning” by Wallace Stevens
“Out of the Depths” Meditative Congregational Chant by Timothy J. Krueger (2015)

This is a new service this year, and a very simple one. It will consist largely of the five readings/poems above, followed by a 2-3 minute period of silence, followed by the music selections listed, some choral, some congregational. The chant at the end is a Taizé-like chant I wrote last week that is repeated over and over again. Being a new service, it is something of an experiment, so we’ll evaluate afterwards what might need to be changed for next year; but the goal was to create a service of mourning, as Jesus lies in the tomb.

Saturday, April 4, 2015, 7:00pm; The Great Vigil of Easter
Exultet [choral underlay: Timothy J. Krueger (2011)] “I will sing unto the Lord” by John Amner (1579-1641)
Sicut cervus by G. P. da Palestrina (1525‑1594)
Canticle: [Stanford/Krueger Gloria in excelsis] Sequence: Great Alleluia, S70
Anthem: Te Deum by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) (Collegium Regale)
Communion motet: “Come, let us join our cheerful songs” by Percy Whitlock (1903-1946)
Hymns: “I sing the almighty power of God” (Kingsfold), 296 (Engelberg), 204 (Noël nouvelet), 191 (Lux eoi)
This is a very long service (c. 2 hours), so not for the faint of heart. But it includes some of my favorite music, including Howells’ Te Deum from his Collegium Regale service. It is the first of the three Easter services, beginning with readings that tell a story of salvific acts of God (foreshadowing the resurrection), and then the declaration of the resurrection itself about half-way through the service, when the organ is used for the first time since Maundy Thursday.

April 5, 2015, 9:00am and 11:00am; Easter Day
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)
Creed: monotone harmonization in E major (“with bells”), TJK (2014)
Anthem: “Ye choirs of New Jerusalem” by Charles V. Stanford (1852‑1924)
Communion motet: “Come, with high and holy gladness” by Hugh Blair (1864-1932)
Hymns: 207 (Easter Hymn), 174 (Salzburg), 210 (Ellacombe), 180 (Unser Herrscher) – with C. H. H. Parry Choral Amen

This is the joyous conclusion to the week, including some old favorites of mine (the Harris and Stanford), and a new piece for us this year, by Hugh Blair. It is the one Sunday in the year where the full choir sings at both the 9 and 11 services. Sure to be full, so if you plan to come, arrive 20-30 mins. early for better seating. J

This is my 20th Holy Week at St. Andrew’s. A couple numbers (the Blow “My God, my God” and the Harris “Most Glorious Lord of Life”) probably appeared in my first year and nearly every year since; some of the music will be repeats from last year (thus involving a little less rehearsal time – very necessary when you present this much music [also necessary are excellent staff singers and very good volunteers, but this is a topic for some other Weekly!]); and there are some new things this year that I’ve never programmed before – always a mix (like a wedding – something borrowed [I get ideas from other choirmasters], something blue [all those psalm chants at Tenebrae – enough to make anyone blue!], something old [good old Stanford], something new [I’m excited about trying out the new piece by Michael McCarthy])!

I hope to see many of you at one or more services this year. J


16 March, 2015

In this issue:
· Replies to my Musings on Pronunciation

· Article on St. Martin’s concert “Beat! Beat! Drums!”

· This Week at St. Andrew’s


My musing on the evolution of pronunciation elicited many interesting replies. Apparently there are a LOT of pet-peeves (or good laughs) out there in this sphere! Here are excerpts of a few of them:

A light-hearted one from Dick E.:

Sean Connery pronounces “str” “shtr,” so either the world is getting increasingly Scottish, or just more like James Bond.
From Devin N.:

Back when I lived in Hawaii (’95-2000), I would often hear a word like “street” pronounced with an sh- sound, so I assumed it was part of a local Hawaiian accent. I wonder if it’s been spreading since then . . .

Bob K. (a Californian by birth) posited that perhaps the “shtr”- originated in Texas, not California, as he knows several Texans with this trait.

Misty D. writes, saying she always corrects her children when they don’t articulate the “h” in a word like “why”:

I’ve been known to say that I would rather hear my children cuss than use poor grammar or pronunciation.

[Me: This reminded me of how my dad couldn’t stand it when us kids would say “ta-day” instead of “too-day.”]

Patty A:

What drives me wild here in middle-school-land is dropping a “t” if it falls in the middle of a word, substituting a glottal stop: “New-*glottal stop*-uhn” instead of “Newton” with a t, or at least the t is elided into the ending if it’s not spoken crisply.

[Me: I’ll add that I’ve often observed, in lazy-American-speech, that the difference between “can” and “can’t” is that you pronounce the “n” in “can” but not in “can’t,” where a glottal stop replaces the “n’t”]

Alan L.:

I’d add another “defect” to the list, one I initially associated with southeastern Pennsylvania, as the first practitioner of whom I became aware was from there, but I now find that it is alarmingly rampant. Namely, the loss of the dental quality of an internal letter “l” followed by a “d,” rendering, say, “building” into “biowding.” Having noticed it, I find it enormously annoying…naturally!

Christina L. complains of people at her church using a short ‘a’ (as in hat) in the word “Hallelujah.”

And finally, one from a “professional” in the pronunciation field, as Jim H. works at a place called “Talking Books,” which trains its readers in elocution, etc. After agreeing with me on my two points, followed by an enlightening discussion of the sound “ng”, he went on to say that, in using diacritical symbols with his newly hired employees, he has noticed something very odd in vowels:

At the very beginning of the lesson when I ask them to write ‘sing’ in diacriticals, this is where I am noticing something interesting about pronunciation. When the first person did this, I just ruled it the mistake of someone who is not used to listening carefully to the sounds of language. But then another student did it, and another.. .so that I would say about 70% of my students make the following mistake: they render ‘sing’ as the following: seeng (with a long i), and ‘thank’ as ‘thaink’ (long a, as in pale).

Finally, I’ll add an observation that is sure to elicit disagreements! I’ve always been of a mind that, when we sing, it is like poetic speech, and therefore our pronunciation should reflect the care with which poets craft their poems. Hence, when people say “we actually pronounce the word (for instance) ‘hasten’ with a schwa at the end (hay-son), so that’s the way we should sing it,” I roar in protest, because it’s like replicating sloppy speech in our music. Therefore, I ask my choirs to sing ‘hay-senn.’* The above theoretical person might reply, “That’s making it too precious, and we alienate our listeners with such affectation.” I further rejoin, “But if we replicate lazy speech patterns in song, we in effect legitimize them, and therefore (especially in an educational setting – school and university choirs) abdicate an important role of setting a good example by doing things correctly and with finesse. Now, I can understand loosening this rigor in something like a folk song or spiritual, where such niceties smack of inauthenticity, given the source of the music; but if we’re singing a piece of art music, let’s make it sound like art and not slang. Ok, I’m ready for the counter-arguments! J

*I think this applies in German as well, where the prevailing school of thought on words ending in ‘–en’ are pronounced with a schwa, as this is how they are spoken in modern Germany (so, “Augen” is rendered “ow-guhn”). Again, I protest and say this reflects a deterioration of speech (perhaps even as a result of the globalization of American culture and our general lack of sophistication, and even outright sloppiness as a nation when it comes to language, culture, history, etc.), rather than an upholding of standards that are good and reflect attention to detail, not to mention beauty and correctness.

Thanks to all who replied to my initial musing!


Marc Shulgold, whom many of you will fondly remember as the music critic for the Rocky Mountain News back when it existed as Denver’s other newspaper, interviewed me recently to write a preview article about SMCC’s upcoming Civil War Anniversary concert, “Beat! Beat! Drums!” for Scen3 (an SCFD*-group dedicated to mutual promotion of Tier III organizations [like St. Martin’s Chamber Choir]) Here’s a link to his article, in place of my adding anything more this week:


*Scientific and Cultural Facilities District – vote YES on reauthorization in 2016! J


Evensong this Thursday, 5:45pm, is the Feast of St. Joseph, Mary’s wife and “foster-” father of Jesus (I’ve always wondered why this feast falls on March 19, which is always in Lent…). Here’s the music I’ve planned, for a vocal quartet with Tamara Schmiege as our guest organist:

March 19, 2015, 5:45; Choral Evensong: St. Joseph

Preces & Responses: Richard Ayleward (1626-1669)

Canticle of Light: Te Joseph celebrant by José Maurício Nuñes Garcia (1767-1830)

Psalm: 89 (plainchant)

Service: Charles Wood (1866-1926) in E minor

Anthem: Oy Joseph by Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599)

Office Hymn: 260 Tallis’ Ordinal

•Nuñes-Garcia has a rather interesting history – born in Rio de Janeiro to parents of different races (he is referred to as a ‘mulatto’ in Wikipedia, which I suppose I thought was a rather derogatory term, but apparently not), he was appointed composer to the Royal Chapel there (Brazil being a colony of Portugal at the time). Most of his music is accompanied by orchestra, but this one is a simple, rather winsome hymn-like setting of a text for the Feast of St. Joseph. • The Guerrero piece is a lovely syncopated Spanish Villancico. • Wood in E minor is a simple setting of the Mag and Nunc that I thought was rather appropriate for Lent, even though St. Joseph would seem a rather festive occasion, given the saint’s close association with Jesus.

Sunday is the last “regular” Sunday in Lent, as it precedes Palm Sunday. Here’s the music I’ve chosen:

March 22, 2015, 9:00am & 11:00am; Lent 5

Great Litany

Sequence: Healey Willan (1880-1968)

Anthem: “The Sacrifice of God” by Maurice Greene (c.1695-1755)

¯Fraction Anthem: Qui manducavit by Felice Anerio (c. 1560-1614)

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

Hymns: *337 (Unde et memores), 170 (The Third Tune), 158 (Herzliebster Jesu)

We reprise the Great Litany this Sunday (the long breast-beating procession, with plainchant response harmonizations by Steve Kick). Another anthem by Greene, and one of the ever-popular trio of Lenten works by Farrant (though this one could be by John Hilton, another Tudor-era composer), fill out this last Sunday before Holy Week, when there is a service – sometimes multiple services – every day. Next week’s Weekly will contain a list of the music at every service. It is a marathon for the choir (as well as congregation, if they come to every service), but it contains some of the most moving and poignant music in the entire church year, and, even if you’re not particularly religious in a traditional sense, attending one or two might be a spiritually edifying experience. Know you’re welcome at St. Andrew’s whatever your spirituality/faith/or lack thereof.

That’s it for this week!