Sunday musical offering

October 21, 2018

Sunday musical offering

October 14, 2018

“Baba Yetu” is The Lord’s Prayer in Swahili, set to music by Christopher Tin. It’s performed here by the choir of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Happy birthday, Camille

October 9, 2018

Camille Saint-Saëns was born in Paris on October 9, 1835. He was a musical prodigy who began playing piano at the age of three, was composing at the age of five, and made his debut as a concert pianist at the age of ten. In addition to having perfect pitch, he also had a phenomenal memory; for example, he was able to play all thirty-two of Beethoven’s piano sonatas from memory. While in his teens he trained as an organist at the Paris Conservatory, after which he worked as a church organist to pay the bills while he was establishing himself as a composer and performer. No less an authority than Franz Liszt declared Saint-Saëns to be the finest organist in the world.

In the course of a long and productive life, Saint-Saëns visited twenty-seven countries on five continents and gave countless performances. He composed hundreds of works in a variety of genres, from symphonies and operas to pieces for solo keyboard and almost everything in between. Here is one of his enduringly popular works, the tone poem Danse Macabre, composed in 1874.

Happy birthday, William

October 7, 2018

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.

Happy birthday, Charles

September 30, 2018

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 23, 2018

Sunday musical offering

September 16, 2018

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