Wednesday, 11 October 2017

8th October 2017 Trinity 17

Fairest Lord Jesus  German 17th Century, translated by Lilian Sinclair Stevenson (1870-1960)
Silesian folk song (1842) arranged by Martin How.

The music is a folk song from Silesia, a culturally rich area of Europe from the 1st century, now forming part of modern day Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.  The words are a 17th century German hymn adapted by British organist, composer and choir master Martin How.

Some think this was originally The Crusader's Hymn, sung by German crusaders as they made their way to the Holy Land.

Franz Liszt used the tune in his oratorio The Legend of St Elizabeth as a crusader's march and so the tune became known as St Elizabeth.

Martin How (1931- ) was born in Liverpool, moving to Brighton and then Glasgow just before the start of WWII.  He spent most of his childhood in Glasgow. He was awarded an organ scholarship at Clare College, Cambridge, reading Music and Theology.

He spent most of his career with the Royal School of Church Music, principally as a choir trainer, motivating and training young singers. He initiated and developed the RSCM Chorister Training Scheme used in various forms around the world.

He was appointed MBE for Services to Church Music in the 1993 New Year Honours List .

1st October 2017 Harvest Thanksgiving

Look At The World   Words and Music by John Rutter.
This was written in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Council for the Protection of Rural England.

John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and had his first musical training at Highgate School as a chorister. He studied music at Clare College, Cambridge where he wrote his first published music and had his first recording whilst still an undergraduate.

His compositions cover a wide variety of musical genres but he is well know by all choirs who must have some Rutter in their repertoire. He formed the Cambridge Singers and spends his time composing and conducting.

He was awarded a CBE for services to music in the 2007 Queen's New Year Honours List.

30th September 2017

St Mary's choir was asked to sing again at the sung communion service held in Chichester Cathedral for the Prayer Book Society.

The communion service was the Darke setting in F Major.
This setting was dedicated to the Rev. John H Ellison M.V.O. Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill, E.C.

Harold Edwin Darke (1888-1976) was born in Highbury, London.  His first post as organist was at Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead from 1906 - 1911.  He became organist at St Michael's, Cornhill in 1916 and stayed there until 1966, leaving for a short time to deputise for Boris Ord as Director of Music at King's College, Cambridge during the second World War.  Darke started lunchtime concerts at St Michel's in 1916 and these are the thought to be the longest running lunchtime organ concert series in the world.

He is best known for his setting of Christina Rossetti's poem "In the bleak midwinter".  His othr music still performed are his Communion Services in E minor, F major and A minor, and his Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis in F major.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Friday, 22 September 2017

3rd September 2017

"Ave Maria" by Rihards Dubra

"Ave Maria" is the Hail Mary.  It is a common motif used in religious choral works.

Rihards Dubra is a Latvian composer born 28.2.1964.  He started his piano studies at he age of 7 at the Music School in Jurmala near Riga.  From 1978, he continued his studies in music theory at the Emils Darzine Special Music School in Riga.  From 1982 - 1989, he studied composition with Prof. Adolfs Skulte at the Latvian Music Academy.  In 1996 he attained his MA in composition.  Whilst studying, he also worked at the Music College in Jurmala teaching music theory and composition.

He writes mainly sacred music, choral, symphonic music, Mass and cantatas.

Sunday 17th September 2017

"O Lord my God" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810 - 1876)

The words are from King Solomon's prayer based on 1 Kings 8.

For more on the composer see 9th July 2017.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Sunday 30th July Trinity 7

“Panis Angelicus”  César Franck

“Panis Angelicus” (Bread of Heaven) is the penultimate strophe (stanza) of the hymn “Sacrum solemnis” written by St Thomas Aquinas for the feast of Corpus Christi.

This particular stanza has often been set to music separately from the rest of the hymn.  In 1872 César Franck set the stanza for Tenor voice, harp, cello and organ and incorporated it into his “Messe à trios voix” Op 12.  Today’s version was arranged by Henry Geehl.

César Franck (1822 – 1890) was born in Liège (now Belgium but in 1822 part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands).  He was a composer, pianist, organist and music teacher working in Paris during his adult life.

He gave his first concert in Liège in 1834 and studied privately in Paris from 1835.  He returned briefly to Belgium but after a disastrous reception to “Ruth”, an early oratorio, he went back to Paris.  He married and started his career as teacher and organist.  He gained a reputation for improvisation.

In 1850 he became organist at Sainte-Clotilde where he remained for the rest of his life. He became a professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872 and at the same time, he took French nationality, a prerequisite for his professorship. Once at the conservatoire, Franck wrote many pieces that have entered the classical repertoire.