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Sunday Music Musings June 26, 2021

June 27, 2021

As you know by now, I’ve been working hard to achieve equity in my programming of woman composers, and I have spent the last year learning as much new repertoire as I can and following the latest research. We have a thousand years to catch up with! Here is a cool meme I found on social media about equity.

credit: Sam Spencer

One amazing woman I stumbled across is Eugenie-Emilie Juliette Folville (1870 – 1946), Belgian pianist, violinist, music educator, conductor and composer. There are two free organ scores on ISMLP (The International Music Score Library Project) including our Prelude Verset. Folville had a successful career on the concert stage, and in 1897 took a position teaching piano at the Royal Conservatory of Liège. She lived for several years in London, and during World War II she lived and performed in Bournemouth. She died in Dourgne (France). She wrote many orchestral works, plus choral and keyboard works, which she signed as J. Folville – one can imagine why. This organ work is a free meditation on the opening notes of the communion chant “Tantum Ergo.” Here is a link to the Gregorian chant.

J. Folville

For our setting of the psalm “Out of the Depths” our cantor will sing a version from the hymnal, with the famous old German melody attributed to Martin Luther (1483-1546) which has always been associated with psalm 130, as its opening descending 5th embodies a descent “to the depths.” The HYMNAL #151 version is harmonized by the great German baroque composer Johann Schein (1586-1630).The original German paraphrase is poetically rendered into English by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), a British woman known for her English translations of German hymns, her piety and devotional life, and at the same time, her sympathy for the cause of women’s rights. In 1845 she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany where she learned German and German hymnody. There are 10 hymn translations by Winkworth in the Hymnal 1982, including “Now Thank We All Our God.”

I was looking for an offertory focused on healing and found in the supplemental hymnal “Wonder, Love and Praise” Heal Me Hands of Jesus by Carl Haywood (b.1949). The tune SHARPE was written especially for this hymnal, and named for a magnificent bass-baritone Sean Sharpe who studied with Dr. Haywood at Norfolk State University, sang in his choir at Grace Church, Norfolk, and sadly, died young. Haywood, a native of Portsmouth, Virginia, holds a Master of Sacred Music (organ) and Master of Music (choral conducting) degrees from Southern Methodist University, where he studied with Lloyd Pfautsch, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California, where he studied with Halsey Stevens. Dr. Haywood has sustained a long tenure at Norfolk State University, where he is Director of Choral Activities and conducts the NSU Concert Choir and the Spartan Chorale. Dr. Haywood frequently serves as a clinician, adjudicator, guest conductor, and lecturer for schools, colleges, and churches throughout the country. He also serves as a National Conductor for the 105 Voices of History, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Choir.

Dr. Carl Haywood

The text is by Michael Perry (1942-1996), a British clergyman and one of the leading Angilcan hymnodists of the 20th century.

If you can only sing one hymn on a Sunday, The Church’s One Foundation (AURELIA) is certainly a favorite. The words are by Samuel John Stone (1839-1900), another British clergyman, and the wonderful tune is by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876). Samuel Sebastian Wesley was born in London, the illegitimate son of composer Samuel Wesley and his maid, Sarah Suter, and the grandson of Charles Wesley. After singing in the choir of the Chapel Royal (he was said by William Hawes, Master of the Children, to have been ‘the best boy he had ever had’), he embarked on a career as a musician, becoming organist of Hereford Cathedral in 1832. He moved to Exeter Cathedral three years later, and later held conflict-laden appointments at Leeds Parish Church, Winchester Cathedral and Gloucester Cathedral. Famous as an organist in his day, he composed almost exclusively for the Church of England. Wesley strove to improve the standards of church music in a period when they were rather lacking; his ideas were published as A Few Words on Cathedral Music and the Music System of the Church (1849). This tune was originially sung to the words “Jerusalem the Golden” from whence the tune name “Aurelia” comes.

S.S.Wesley’s plaque at Winchester Cathedral

Pablo Casals (1876 – 1973) is considered one of the greatest cellists of all time. He made many recordings throughout his career of solo, chamber, and orchestral music, including some as conductor, but he is perhaps best remembered for the recordings of the Bach Cello Suites he made from 1936 to 1939. Born in Catalonia, Spain, his father, an organist and choir director, gave him his earliest music instruction. His international career, which took him from Paris, London, to the U.S. and Puerto Rico, is beyond the scope of this blog, but you can read more here.

As well as being a cellist, Casals was a conductor and composer. Many of his pieces were written  for the Boy Choir at the Monastery in Montserrat, Spain. Eucharistica was written in Catalan, but Elizabeth will sing the English translation.

Our postlude, The Emperor’s Fanfare is a joyful celebratory piece by another Catalan composer, Antonio Francisco Javier José Soler Ramos, usually known as Padre Antonio Soler (1729 –1783).  Soler’s works span the late Baroque and early Classical music eras. He is best known for his many keyboard sonatas.

This week we had one last children’s choir rehearsal, followed by some socializing families and kids in a pool! Wow it felt great to be together. Before rehearsal we had some fun with solfege hopscotch!

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