Archive for ‘Notes from the Bench’

May 21, 2017

2017-05-21 Notes from the Bench

 

“Allegro maestoso” from “Organ Sonata No. 5” by Felix Mendelssohn-Barthody

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

 

Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847), or just Felix Mendelssohn as he is generally known in most English speaking countries, was an important German composer, pianist, organist, and conductor of the early romantic era and today is among the most popular composers of that period. The Six Sonatas for Organ (Op. 65) were the result of a commission Mendelssohn received from the British publisher, Coventry and Hollier, in 1844. The original commission was for Mendelssohn to compose a set of church voluntaries; however, he expanded the project and organized the pieces into the Six Sonatas we are familiar with today. These works were not constructed in the classical era “sonata” form associated with the works of Mozart or Haydn, but rather Mendelssohn applied the term to these works in the manner Johann Sebastian Bach did, as a collection or suite of varying pieces. The “Allegro maestoso” is the final portion of Sonata number Five in D major.

 

 

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May 14, 2017

2017-05-14 Notes from the Bench

 

Festival Prelude on “This Joyful Eastertide” by Jan Bender 

 

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

 

Text: George Ratcliffe Woodward

This joyful Eastertide, away with sin and sorrow.
My Love, the Crucified, hath sprung to life this morrow.
 
Had Christ, that once was slain, ne’er burst his three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain: but now hath Christ arisen.
 
My flesh in hope shall rest, and for a season slumber:
Till trump from east to west shall wake the dead in number.
 
Death’s flood hath lost his chill, since Jesus crossed the river:
Lover of souls, from ill my passing soul deliver.

 

“This Joyful Eastertide” is a carol for the Easter season written by the Anglican poet George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848-1934). Woodward’s text was originally published in 1894 in the collection, “Carols for Easter and Ascensiontide” and in the 1902 publication, “The Cowley Carol Book.” The melody often associated with this hymn text, Vruechten, (which means ‘fruits’) is a seventeenth-century Dutch folk song that was published as a hymn tune in “David’s Psalmen” by Joachim Oudaen in 1685. The English composer Charles Wood composed the harmonization of this melody as found in The Hymnal 1982 (#192). Numerous other composers have written choral anthem arrangements of this hymn while others have composed new melodies to sing this hymn to.

 

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May 7, 2017

2017-05-07 Notes from the Bench

 

“Jubilate Deo” by Charles Villiers Stanford

 

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

 

Text:

O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands:
serve the Lord with gladness,
and come before his presence with a song.
Be ye sure that the Lord he is God;
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise;
be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name.
For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth from generation to generation.
-Psalm 100

 

 

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April 30, 2017

2017-04-30 Notes from the Bench

 

“Christ lag in Todesbanden” by Johann Sebastian Bach

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

 

Text:

Christ lag in Todesbanden,
für unsre Sünd’ gegeben,
der ist wieder erstanden
und hat uns bracht das Leben.
Des wir sollen fröhlich sein,
Gott loben und dankbar sein
und singen: Halleluja!
Halleluja!

 

Translation:

Christ lay in Death’s dark prison,
It was our sin that bound Him;
This day hath He arisen,
And sheds new life around Him.
Therefore let us joyful be
And praise our God right heartily.
So sing we Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!

 

 

 

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April 2, 2017

2017-04-02 Notes from the Bench

 

“Out of the Depths” Alan Hovhaness

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

 

Text:

Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice,
let Thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplication.
If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities
O Lord, who shall stand?
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait.
My soul waiteth for the Lord
More than they that watch for the morning.
I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

Psalm 130

 

 

Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) was an Armenian-American composer, one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth century composer with over 500 surviving works that include 67 numbered symphonies and 434 opus numbers. “Out of the Depths” (Op. 142, No. 3) was originally composed in 1938 and is among Hovhaness’s early sacred works written while he served as the organist for St. James Armenian Church in Watertown, MA, a suburb of Boston.

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March 26, 2017

2017-03-26 Notes from the Bench

Happy Birthday Johann Sebastian Bach!

 

O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross (O Man, Bewail your Great Sins)

Praeludium in F Minor (BWV 534)

 

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

 

Today prelude isJohann Sebastian Bach’s setting of the chorale, O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross (O Man, Bewail your Great Sins). This chorale prelude is from the Orgelbüchlein (Little Organ Book), written while Bach was in Weimar. This setting is an ornamented chorale, the chorale melody is embellished with elaborate coloratura and is among the most beautiful of Bach’s chorale preludes. The postlude is the Praeludium in F Minor (BWV 534), one of Bach’s less-known organ works.

 

 

 

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March 19, 2017

2017-03-19 Notes from the Bench

 

“O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig” Johann Pachelbel

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

 

Text:

O Lamm gottes, unschuldig
Am Stamm des Kreuzes geschlachtet,
Allzeit funden geduldig,
Wiewohl du warest verachtet;
All Sünd hast du getragen,
Sonst müßten wir verzagen.
Erbarm dich unser, o Jesu.

 

Translation:

O Lamb of God, most stainless!
Who on the Cross didst languish,
Patient through all Thy sorrows.
Though mocked amid Thine anguish;
Our sins Thou bearest for us,
Else had despair reigned o’er us:
Have mercy upon us, O Jesu!

trans. Catherine Winkworth

 

“O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig” is a German hymn appropriate for the season of Lent composed by Nikolaus Decius (1485-1541) shortly before his death. Decius was a German monk, preacher, hymn-writer, and composer. Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) composed the chorale prelude setting for organ of “O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig” played for today’s postlude.

 

 

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March 12, 2017

2017-03-12 Notes from the Bench

 

“Collegium Regale” by Herbert Howells

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

 

For our second Sunday Choral Evensong, the All Saints’ Chamber Choir will sing the evening canticles, Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, from the “Collegium Regale” service by the twentieth-century English composer, organist, and teacher, Herbert Norman Howells (1892-1983). Howells is famous for his large output of Anglican church music that include anthems and service music. In additional to his many choral works, Howells composed music for orchestra, chamber ensemble, organ, and piano.

“Collegium Regale” is a set of service music composed for King’s College in Cambridge. The complete service includes the Morning Canticles, completed in 1944, the Evening Canticles for Evensong, completed in 1945, and the Communion service (which our Chamber Choir will be singing for our fourth Sunday Choral Eucharist later this month), completed in 1956. Howells developed a template in sound with thematic and harmonic elements carried over through each of the movements to give continuity to the entire set of service music. This work was initiated as the result of Howells winning a bet from the Dean of King’s College. King’s College is renown for its tradition of excellence in the field of Anglican sacred music; the chapel is noted for its splendid acoustics and their chapel choir with choral scholars and choristers is world-famous, singing for services, concert, recordings and live broadcasts. The annual Nine Lessons and Carols service held in the chapel is broadcast on the BBC and around the world to millions of radio listeners and television viewers.

 

 

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March 5, 2017

2017-03-05 Notes from the Bench

 

“Ave Verum corpus” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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

 

Text:

Ave verum corpus,
natum 
de Maria Virgine,
vere passum, immolatum
in cruce pro homine
cuius
latus perforatum 
fluxit
aqua et sanguine:
esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine.

 

Translation:

Hail, true Body,
born of the Virgin Mary,
who having truly suffered, was sacrificed
on the cross for mankind,
whose pierced side
flowed with water and blood:
May it be for us a foretaste
in the trial of death.

 

 

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February 26, 2017

2017-02-26 Notes from the Bench

“O Nata Lux” by Morten Lauridsen

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

 

Text:

O nata lux de lumine,
Jesu redemptor saeculi,
Dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes precesque sumere.

Qui carne quondam contegi
Dignatus es pro perditis,
Nos membra confer effici
Tui beati corporis.

 

Translation:

O born light of light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
Mercifully deem worthy and accept
The praises and prayers of your supplicants..
 
Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost ones,
grant us to be made members
of your holy body.

 

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