2014-01-19 Notes from the Bench

“Omnes de Saba venient” by Joseph Eybler

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate

Omnes de Saba venient,
aurum et thus deferentes
et laudem Domino annuntiantes.
Surge et illuminare Jerusalem
quia gloria Domini super te orta est.
Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente.
et venimus cum muneribus adorare

English Translation:

They will all come from Saba;
they will bring gold and frankincense
and praise the Lord.
Rise and shine, Jerusalem, for the glory
of the Lord has risen above you.
We have seen his star in the East,
And we have come with presents to
worship the Lord.

Gradual for Epiphany;
Isaiah 60:6 and Matthew 2:2

The Austrian composer Joseph Leopold Eybler (1765-1846) was born in the town of Schwechat, located near Vienna. Member’s of Eybler’s family were musical; his father was a teacher, choir director and personal friend of the well-known Haydn family. Eybler was educated at the Stephansdom in Vienna, the cathedral school of St. Stephen’s Boy’s College. For two years, beginning in 1792, he was the choir director at the Karmeliterkirche (Carmelite Church) in Vienna, and later, moved to the Schottenkloster (Scottish monastery) where he remained for thirty years. Eybler also held various court positions in Austria, which made him an influential figure in the the region. During his lifetime, Eybler was well-respected by his peers. Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, whom Eybler studied composition with, considered him a musical genius, Joseph Haydn was his friend and patron and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whom Eybler also studied with, entrusted him with the rehearsals of the opera Così fan tutte, and considered him to be a “well-grounded composer, equally skilled at chamber music and the church style, fully experienced in the art of the song, also an accomplished organ and clavier player.” Following Mozart’s death, his wife Constanze asked Eybler to complete the Requiem Mozart was composing. Eybler attempted to but did not complete the commission (the Requiem was completed by Franz Xaver Süssmayr), likely due to his great respect for the music of Mozart. Eybler is best known for his sacred compositions, oratorios, masses, cantatas, offertories, graduals, motets, and a requiem. “Omnes de Saba venient,” a gradual setting for Epiphany, is his most popular work. His secular works include an opera, instrumental music, symphonies, chamber music, and lieder.

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