Two delightful carols by the eighteenth-century American composer William Billings, sung by Quire Cleveland.
Almost everyone who has done any serious choral singing knows the name of William Billings, who 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 him 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 was influential in furthering the singing-school tradition of American folk culture. He wrote more than three hundred choral works, most of them settings of sacred texts. “O Praise the Lord of Heaven” is one of my favorites; this performance by VocalEssence was recorded at the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford, England.