Saturday, March 31, 2007

just because.

more here.

Flower of Beauty, John Clements

john clements, originally uploaded by philipco.

It was really hard to find, but here are the dates for John Clements, who composed "Flower of Beauty" and "There is Sweet Music."

Born: 1910
Died: 1986

(b. 1910 - d. 1986)

Thanks to John Helgen, who provided me with the source. You can check it on the British Music Information Centre website. The database MUSICA appears to be wrong, listing the dates for John Clements, actor, who was born in the same year.

Friday, March 30, 2007

i thank you god

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of allnothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Home from Judging Outstanding Atlanta Choirs

Finally home from judging . . . and the girls were already asleep. (i hate to miss any goodnight kiss and prayers).

The high school choirs I heard and worked with were tremendous. One of the best was Pebblebrook HS (and I've blogged about them before here). Anyone graduating in choral music education would do well to check out the outstanding level of choral music in the Atlanta area. Great high schools, incredibly sharp students, wonderful music education administration.

One of the best parts about judging is meeting new friends . . . and I met the choir director from Berry College, Harry Musselwhite. I tell you, the guy had me laughing out loud on numerous occasions . . . and I'm not the kind that loses it quite so completely but he was simply hilarious. We had a great time trading stories and talking shop.

Other than my incredible family, I am happiest around other choral directors. It's a small club, but a great group of people.

Monday, March 26, 2007

'Tis the Judging Season

It's that judging season again and I'm spending the next two days in Burnt Hickory Baptist Church judging a choral festival. Actually, I'm not a judge. I'm a clinician.

There are four judges that will score the choir. I take every other choir back to a room and give them a 15-minute "clinic." I think it is a great idea for how to do district festivals.

I'll be meeting some new people and hearing choirs I haven't heard before . . . it should be interesting.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

i thank you god (gwyneth walker)

Katie Smith sent me this email today:

I found this very interesting, and thought you might, too. It's a great explanation of the poem/music relationship, and gave the piece (which I wasn't particularly found of) a lot more meaning for me.

By "this" she was referring to this musical-spiritual analysis of the composer in the piece "i thank you god" by Gwyneth Walker.

An excerpt:

The goal of this piece was to create vastness and grandeur. In terms of its overall structure, it started with C Minor, in a low range, and ventured forth, at first in small steps (to D, to Bb), then in large steps (the chordal progression outlined above) until it reached its farthest tonal “expedition,” the Second Harmonic Pole, G flat. Having established itself in this remote realm, it was then able to arrive triumphantly at C Major, in a high range.

We often find deeper meanings in pieces the longer we live with them. After you've done it many times (find the deeper meanings), you begin to perceive them faster.

I was moved by this piece when I first heard it performed by Stetson University's choir last year in Deland, Florida. The poetry, of course, is top notch and very well known in the USA. This work by Walker is well known among the top women's choirs.

Have patience with music. Great pieces sometimes reveal themselves over time.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dubra and Gloria Patri

Rihards Dubra and the Gloria Patri.

Tell me if you like this work.

See the picture of the score and listen to the recording. I have a full copy of the piece and I wonder what the choir thinks of it.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Today's rehearsal


I was proud of you today. You sang with energy and excitement. It looks like you love what you do and like you love one another. I know I'm a little bit of a nut (well, maybe a lot) and one of the reasons is because I really like being with you.

You are top notch musicians.
You are wonderful people.

I'm a lucky guy.

Rise up, my fair one, and come away

I thought you might like to see the text of "Rise up" in context. There is a "puritan" commentary of the text here. Many people list this choral work as a favorite for weddings . . . not that I'm promoting the idea of marriage to young college students . . .

From the Song of Solomon:

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.

His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

Healy Willan

From a brief bio:
b. 1880, Balham, London; d. 1968, Toronto

Healey Willan began his musical training at age eight, with studies at St. Saviour's Choir School, Eastbourne. After leaving the school in 1895, he began working as an organist and choirmaster in and around London, including at St. John the Baptist, Holland Road, in 1903. Willan became a member of the London Gregorian Association—a society committed to the preservation and revival of Gregorian Plainchant—in 1910.

Although his formative years were spent in England, Willan spent most of his life in Canada and is best known as a Canadian composer and professor. In 1913 he began teaching at the Toronto Conservatory as head of the theory department, and the next year he was appointed a lecturer in music at the University of Toronto. He later became vice-principal of the conservatory, as well as university organist, music director of the Hart House Theatre, and precentor at St. Mary Magdalene. In 1934, Willan founded the Tudor Singers, a Canadian vocal group he conducted until it disbanded in 1939.

Willan’s considerable output includes orchestral, choral, organ and piano, and chamber works, as well as music for plays and one opera. He is best known for his organ and sacred works, which show evidence of his love for plainsong and Renaissance music. For example, many of his liturgical compositions are based on church modes that date back 500 years. Also, his vocal lines are more melismatic and his style more contrapuntal and rhythmically free than those of his contemporaries. Willan’s larger choral works, however, were very Romantic in nature. His rich harmonic palette and luxuriant, soaring melodies stand as testament to his admiration of both Brahms and Wagner. His music represents a unique and beautiful combination of styles: both an homage to the sacred music of five centuries ago and a reflection of the innovations of the Romantic/post-Romantic period in which he lived.

Dziedot dzimu, dziedot augu and Alfreds Kalniņš

A great piece of Latvian music about singing. See a picture of the score here.

The composer was Alfred Kalniņš (1879 - 1951). His biography:

The founder of Latvian national opera and the finest early 20th century Latvian composer of solo songs. He has also enriched a variety of genres – piano, organ, orchestral, ballet and choral music, as well as arrangements of folk music – with his romantically unrestrained use of poetic imagery and subtly picturesque treatment of the folk idiom. A pupil of Anatoly Lyadov at the St.Petersburg Conservatory (1897–1900), Kalniņš preferred the delicate expression of moods in miniatures, an approach whose roots and analogues can also be traced to the national schools of Northern European composers – in the works of E.Grieg, S.Palmgren, and E.Melartin.

In the 1920s Kalniņš worked for a short time at the Latvian National Opera, mounted the first performances of his operas Baņuta (1920) and Salinieki (1926), and gave organ recitals. During this period his national romantic musical style became even more picturesque, refined and expressionistic. His development continued during his years in New York (1927–33), when his orchestral, piano and organ works were influenced also by constructivism, although this did not affect his choral music.

Numbering over 100, his works for choir are often narrative and ballad-like, lyrical-epic in nature, with a dramatic pathos and a joyful enthusiasm inspired by the social struggle of his time. In the period up to 1918 Kalniņs' choral works sometimes touch on the genre of the Latvian romantic ballad, but in his poetic perception he also makes use of idyllic pastoral scenes, painted in his own dreamy or mournful fashion, where nature often appears as a personification of his native land.

Most of his over 120 folk song arrangements for voice and piano were written in the 1920s, whereas the 1930s and 1940s saw the creation of his most important choral arrangements, about 40 in all. In his arrangements Kalniņš respects the harmonies based on natural folkloric scales, yet he also employs chromatic elements for harmonic colour and favours a rich choral texture.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Si, ch'io vorrei morire

See the FONT inspired by the Madrigal.

Or do some heavy reading on the Monteverdi Madriglas.

A better translation of the text:

Si, ch'io vorrei morire

Sì, ch'io vorrei morire,
ora ch'io bacio, amore,
la bella bocca del mio amato core.
Ahi, cara e dolce lingua,
datemi tanto umore,
che di dolcezza in questo sen m'estingua!
Ahi, vita mia, a questo bianco seno,
deh, stringetem fin ch'iovenga meno!
Ahi bocca, ahi baci, ahi lingua; torn' a dire:
Sì, ch'io vorei morire!


Yes, I would like to die

Yes, I would like to die,
now that I'm kissing, sweetheart,
the luscious lips of my darling beloved.
Ah! dear, dainty tongue,
give me so much of your liquid
that I die of delight on your breast!
Ah, my love, ah, crush me
to this white breast until I faint!
Ah mouth, ah kisses, ah tongue, I say again: Yes, I would like to die!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ginastera’s Lamentations of Jeremiah

Using the Online Vulgate and BibleGateway, I figured out what verses Ginastera used for the first movement of his Lamentations of Jeremiah. Here's the verses he used and the English translation.

Lamentations 1:12 O vos omnes qui transitis per viam adtendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus quoniam vindemiavit me ut locutus est Dominus in die irae furoris sui

1:20 vide Domine quoniam tribulor venter meus conturbatus est subversum est cor meum in memet ipsa quoniam amaritudine plena sum foris interfecit gladius et domi mors similis est

Lamentations 1:16 idcirco ego plorans et oculus meus deducens aquam quia longe factus est a me consolator convertens animam meam facti sunt filii mei perditi quoniam invaluit inimicus

Lamentations 3:66 persequeris in furore et conteres eos sub caelis Domine

Lamentations 1:12 "Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?

Lamentations 1:20 "See, O LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death.

Lamentations 1:16 "This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed."

Lamentations 3:66 Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the LORD.

Si ch'io vorrei morire

Wow. Translation of a piece I heard at ACDA and am strongly considering for our April concert:
Sì, ch’io vorrei morire

Lie with me beneath the olive tree
and there, my love, give me your mouth’s dark flower,
let your tongue explore mine like a bee,
leave upon my lips a smear of nectar.
Untie your hair - let the black be sudden
on the white slopes of your shoulders and your breasts;
urge my hands to ramble in your gardens,
encourage me to try their curious scents.
As I love you, I would like to die,
and as the bliss builds on the brink of pain
and your soul begins to rage and sigh,
to perish with you in this shadowed heaven
where the silver leaves shall let us lie
all night, hidden from the wild moon.