It’s the birthday of Edvard Grieg (1842-1907), who composed “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen” in 1896, the year he and his wife celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Originally composed for piano, it’s played here by the Chicago Harp Quartet.
In honor of the birthday of Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), here is Z. Randall Stroope’s choral setting of Yeat’s poem “The Cloths of Heaven.”
Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Hail the day that sees Him rise, Alleluia!
To His throne above the skies, Alleluia!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia!
Enters now the highest heaven, Alleluia!
There for Him the triumph waits, Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates, Alleluia!
He has conquered death and sin, Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in, Alleluia!
See, He lifts His hands above, Alleluia!
See, He shows the prints of love, Alleluia!
Hark, His gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
Blessings on His church below, Alleluia!
Lord, beyond our mortal sight, Alleluia!
Raise our hearts to reach Thy light, Alleluia!
There Thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heaven of heavens in Thee, Alleluia!
Julia Ward was born in New York City on May 27, 1819. She was an intelligent, inquisitive child who read voraciously, studied philosophy and literature, and became fluent in seven languages. In 1843 she married Samuel Gridley Howe, a physician and social reformer who founded the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston. While raising six children, Julia managed to write poetry, plays, and essays in her spare time. She was inspired to write “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” after a trip to Washington, DC in 1861 during which she and her husband met President Lincoln. The song was published in the Atlantic Monthly in February of 1862 and soon became wildly popular. When Julia died in 1910 at the age of 91, thousands of people attended her memorial service and sang the hymn in her memory.
American composer and pianist William Bolcom (b. 1938) wrote “Lime Jello Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise” in 1980 for his wife and collaborator, Joan Morris, and the two of them have been performing it together ever since.