Monday, 30 July 2018

29th July 2018 Trinity 9

The Lord Bless You and Keep You   John Rutter

The text is a Priestly Blessing (otherwise known as the Aaronic Blessing from the Book of Numbers 6:24-26. Rutter composed this in 1981 for the memorial service of Edward T Chapman, director of Music at Highgate School with whom he had studied.

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.

John Rutter
John Rutter  Wikipedia

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.

Friday, 27 July 2018

22nd July 2018 Trinity 8

Brother James's Air (Marosa)  arr. Gordon Jacob

James Leith Macbeth Bain (1860-1925) was a minister, hymn writer and poet known to his peers as Brother James.  He was born in Pitlochry where he was a pupil teacher before going to Edinburgh Free Church College and the Edinburgh Established Church College.  His ministry took him to Liverpool and then to London as a spiritualist minister. He is best known for Brother James's Air which is usually set to The Lord's My Shepherd.

Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) is best known as a composer for wind band and instructional texts. He was a prisoner of war in 1917 and was one of only 60 survivors of the 800 in his battalion. On his release he initially studied journalism, but changed to composition, theory and conducting at the Royal College of Music. Because of a cleft palate and a childhood hand injury he was very limited as a performing musician, but found his forte as a composer especially for wind instruments.  He was considered to be conservative in style, but famously said "the day that melody is discarded altogether, you may as well pack up music...".

Gordon Jacob writing

Thursday, 19 July 2018

15th July 2018 Trinity 7

"Benedictus in C"  C V Stanford.

The Benedictus was composed in 1909 as part of Stanford's Morning and Evening Service together with the Office of Holy Communion Op 115.  Stanford was given the choice to hear one of his services sung at Matins at York Minster in 1923 when he was a guest of the organist, Edward Bairstow. "He chose the one in C", Bairstow recalled, "for he said he had never heard it!"

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) thought to be one of our great British composers was actually Irish, born in Dublin, although educated at The University of Cambridge and then studied music in Leipzig and Berlin.

Whilst an undergraduate, he was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge and was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music, where he taught composition for the rest of his life.  He was also Professor of Music at Cambridge.  His pupils included Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams whose fame went on to surpass his own.

He is best remembered for his sacred choral compositions for church performance in the Anglican tradition. Along with Hubert Parry and Alexander Mackenzie, he was thought responsible for the renaissance of music in the British Isles.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring   J S Bach

This is the common title of the 10th and last movement of the cantata “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” (BVW 147) composed in 1716 and 1723.  It is commonly played at weddings and Christian festive seasons of Easter and Christmas.  Much of the music of this cantata comes from Bach’s Weimar period (the 1716 parts) finished in 1723 in Leipzig.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He was a highly respected organist in his lifetime, although not recognised as a composer of magnitude (possibly one of the greatest) until a revival of his works in the first half of the 19th century. He showed considerable skill in counterpoint and harmony. He was able to adapt rhythm, form and texture from abroad. He was a prolific composer of church music due to the demand for huge numbers of cantatas over the Christian year.  It is thought her wrote over 300 with only around 200 surviving. He also wrote many other works sacred and secular.  It is now agreed that his music has technical command, intellectual depth and artistic beauty.

8th July 2018 Trinity 6

“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.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

1st July 2018 Sea Sunday Trinity 5

We welcomed our newest Junior Chorister, Tilly, into the choir today.  As is the St Mary's tradition, a small group of the choir sang  "Lead me Lord" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley. For more information, see 9.7.17.

The choir anthem was Never Weather Beaten Sail  by Charles Wood, see 2.7.17.