2014-05-18 Notes from the Bench

“Benedic, anima mea” by  Kenneth Cranford

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

 

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, praise his holy name.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits, praise his holy name.

Who forgiveth all they sin,
and healeth all thine infirmities,

Who saveth thy life from destruction,
and crowneth thee with mercy and loving kindness.

O praise the Lord, ye angels of his, ye that excel in strength,
ye that fulfill his commandments,
and hearken unto the voice of his word.

O praise the Lord, all ye his host;
ye servants of his that do his pleasure

O speak good of the Lord, all ye works of his,
in all place of his dominion:
praise thou the Lord, O my soul

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever; Amen.

Psalm 103:1-4; 20-22

 

Kenneth Cranford (1952-2002) was an American composer of mostly sacred music for choir, organ, and piano.  He was born in Halifax County, Virginia, and was active in South Boston (a small community in Halifax County), where he served as the organist and choir master for First Presbyterian Church, was a member of the South Boston City Council and commissioner of revenue, and was the news director for WHLF radio.  Additionally Cranford was committed to developing the arts in his community where he expressed interest in the development of a community arts center, was the founder and director of the Piedmont Community Band, and the accompanist and conductor of the South Boston Community Chorale.  Cranford composed approximately 100 works; many were sacred choral pieces written for his church choir, who continue to sing his works regularly.  These compositions are appealing to performers and audiences alike for their simplicity, brevity, fine craftsmanship, and tunefulness.  Other church choirs, including All Saints’, have been interested in singing Cranford’s works. Presently, much of his oeuvre remains unpublished; copies of Cranford’s manuscripts are made available to those interested in performing these works.  Efforts are currently underway to have Cranford’s compositions published.  In 2002, Cranford composed the song, “The Land of Four Rivers,” which celebrated the heritage of Halifax County and was part of the 250th anniversary celebration that year.

 

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