Happy birthday, Pavel

October 24, 2021

In honor of the birthday of Russian composer Pavel Grigorievich Chesnokov (1877-1944), here is “Salvation Is Created,” sung by the Te Deum Chamber Choir.


Today’s cultural moment

October 21, 2021


Sunday musical offering

October 17, 2021

When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I’ll bid farewell to every fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes.

Should earth against my soul engage
And hellish darts be hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan’s rage,
And face a frowning world.

Let cares like a wild deluge come,
And storms of sorrow fall;
May I but safely reach my home,
My God, my heaven, my all.

There I shall bathe my weary soul
In seas of heavenly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast.


Today’s cultural moment

October 14, 2021

In honor of the birthday of e. e. cummings (1894-1962), here is a choral setting by Dan Forrest of one of his poems, sung by the Atlanta Master Chorale.


Happy birthday, Giuseppe

October 10, 2021

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was one of the greatest composers of the nineteenth century, a century that produced a mind-boggling number of great composers. During his lifetime, Verdi was the most popular opera composer in Italy, and many of his operas continue to be staples of the repertoire more than a century after his death.

“Va pensiero” comes from the third act of Nabucco, composed in 1841. The text was inspired by Psalm 137 and recalls the story of the Hebrew exiles in Babylon during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar.


Happy birthday, William

October 7, 2021

William Billings was born in Boston on October 7, 1746. Although he had little formal schooling and was largely self-taught as a musician, he became the most popular choral composer of his day. The primitive state of copyright law at the time prevented Billings from making enough money as a composer to quit his day job as a tanner, but music was always his first love. He was very active as an itinerant singing master, and he composed more than three hundred choral works, most of them settings of sacred texts. This performance of “O Praise the Lord of Heaven” was recorded at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford, England.

O praise the Lord of heaven;
Praise Him in the height, praise Him in the depth.
O praise the Lord of heaven;
Praise Him all ye angels, praise Jehovah.

Praise Him, sun and moon and blazing comets;
Praise the Lord.
Let them praise the name of the Lord;
For He spoke the word and all were made;
He commanded and they were created.
Admire, adore.

Ye dragons whose contagious breath
People the dark abodes of death,
Change your dire hissings into heavenly songs,
And praise your Maker with your forked tongues.
O praise the Lord of Heaven.

Fire, hail, and snow, wind and storms,
Beasts and cattle, creeping insects, flying fowl,
Kings and princes, men and angels, praise the Lord.
Jew and Gentile, male and female, bond and free,
Earth and heaven, land and water, praise the Lord.
Young men and maids, old men and babes, praise the Lord.

Join creation, preservation, and redemption, join in one;
No exemption nor dissension,
One invention and intention reigns through the whole:

To praise the Lord.
Hallelujah, praise the Lord.


Sunday musical offering

October 3, 2021


Happy birthday, Charles

September 30, 2021

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) was born in Dublin and attended Queen’s College Cambridge on an organ scholarship. In 1882 he helped to found the Royal College of Music in London, where he taught composition for the rest of his life. Among his students were Arthur Bliss, John Ireland, Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Gustav Holst , George Butterworth, Frank Bridge, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Although Stanford composed music in many genres, he is best remembered for his sacred choral music. Beati quorum Via, a choral setting of Psalm 119:1, is the last of Stanford’s Three Latin Motets, published in 1905.

Beati quorum via integra est, qui ambulant in lege Domini.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.


Sunday musical offering

September 26, 2021

In honor of the birthday of John Chapman (1774-1845) — better known as Johnny Appleseed — here is an excerpt from the “Johnny Appleseed Suite” by Mark O’Connor.


Sunday musical offering

September 19, 2021


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