Sunday, 23 September 2018

23rd September 2018 Trinity 17

I Give To You A New Commandment   Peter Nardone

The anthem today is based on  John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another as I have loved you.  What makes this anthem particularly lovely is the Latin hymn Ubi caritas which is sung by the men after the ladies have sung through the New Testament words as a wonderful counter-tune below the ladies. 
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est. Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor. Exsultemus et in ipso jucundemur. Timeamus et amemus Deum vivum. Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.
Peter Nardone - (Bach Cantatas Website)
[Where charity is true, God is there. The love of Christ has gathered us into one. Let us rejoice and be glad in him. Let us fear and love the living God. And from a sincere heart let us love one another.]

Peter Nardone was born in Scotland in 1965 and studied organ and piano at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He later studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music, London. In 2012 he was Organist and Director of Music at Worcester Cathedral and artistic director of the Three Choirs Festival.  As a singer, he has sung with the Monteverdi Choir, Tallis Scholars, Kings Consort  and many others.

His compositions are mostly religious.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

16th September 2018 Trinity 16

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 . "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.

The Call (One of Five Mystical Songs)  R Vaughn Williams

These are a collection of songs composed between 1906 and 1911 based on poems by the Welsh born English poet, George Herbert (1593-1633) who was also an Anglican priest.  There are four poems, Easter being divided into two from his 1633 collection "The Temple: Sacred Poems".  Vaughn Williams was an aethiest, but it did not stop him from setting these overtly religious poems to music.  Vaughn Williams conducted its first performance at the Three Choirs Festival in
Worcester 14th September 1911.  Originally it was composed for Baritone solo with various  accompaniments.

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a Way, as gives us breath:
Such a Truth, as ends all strife:
Such a Life, as killeth death. 

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:
Such a Light, as shows a feast:
Such a Feast, as mends in length:
Such a Strength, as makes his guest. 

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a Joy, as none can move:
Such a Love, as none can part:
Such a Heart, as joyes in love. 

Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958)  was born to a wealthy family but with a good moral code and progressive social outlook.  He always sought to help his fellow citizens. He also thought his music should be available and accessible by everyone. He developed late musically not really finding himself until in his thirties. He studied with Maurice Ravel 1907-1908 and this helped him clarify the texture of his music and rid him of Teutonic influences.  He is one of our best known symphonists  encompassing a wide range of moods from the utterly tranquil to ranging fury, mysterious to exuberant. He was strongly influenced by Tudor and folk music.  He was deeply affected by the First World War in which he served. His body of work is vast and his music remains popular and widely performed.

Semi-profile of European man in early middle age, clean-shaven, with full head of dark hair
From Wikipedia,

Sunday, 9 September 2018

9th September 2018 Trinity 15

God Be In My Head  John Rutter

God be in my head is one of the earliest English prayers found in the Sarum Primer of 1514. It is a prayer for God's guidance. John Rutter has written a beautiful setting to these profound yet simple words.

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 [Wikimedia Commons]

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.

2nd September 2018 Trinity 14

Ave Verum Corpus   Edward Elgar

The choir is back from its Summer Break

Ave verum corpus  is traditionally a communion hymn written by Pope Innocent VI, set to music by many composers over the years.

Edward Elgar (1857-1937) was born in a village close to Worcester.  His father had a music shop in Worcester and tuned pianos. Elgar was mostly self taught.  His influence grew in the 1880's and 1890's  despite his being a Roman Catholic in a largely Anglican community. In 1889 he married one of his pupils, Caroline Alice Roberts, against opposition from her family. She played a major part in his career development.

Elgar is one of the great English composers, who has left a legacy of great orchestral and choral works.