Our 2009-2010 Spring Concert...
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 8 p.m. (Faith Presbyterian)
Tuesday, April 27, 2010 @ 8 p.m. (Turner Auditorium)
English Choral Gems
Registration and Rehearsal
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 6:30 p.m.
Room CH 165, Communications and Humanities Building
Tallahassee Community College
444 Appleyard Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895
Tickets are available from any Tallahassee Civic Chorale member
or by calling (850) 942-1893.
English Choral Gems:
The Anglican Anthem and English Choral Literature
In choosing a program to represent English choral repertoire of note within the framework of accessibility for a community choir setting, one is immediately drawn to the wealth of repertoire in the genre of the anthem. The anthem, with its roots in 15th century devotions to the Virgin Mary, has remained throughout music history a beloved and highly user-friendly form of choral compositional. Whether firmly resounding in the Anglican cathedrals of today’s Sunday services or in the more formalized and modernized versions of modern vocal concert music, it is a clear and accessible form for choral musicians and composers alike. Steeped in historical significance, rich in harmonic and expressive complexities, never-ending in new applications and permutations, the anthem is truly a staple of sacred vocal music, and the “bread and butter” of Anglican Church music. Whereas motets, madrigals and the various threads of secular music and opera have complex, interconnected developments, the historical impulses that in large part directed the development of anthems make them, in one facet, more simple. Through the historical limitations that influenced the development of the anthem, a clear form developed that has at its basis, accessibility.
Definition and Source
The term "anthem" is derived from the Greek αντιφωνα through the Saxon antefn, a word that originally had the same meaning as antiphony. In English Church Music a polyphonic setting for performance by the choir is called an anthem, a corruption or derivation of the word antiphon. A full anthem employs a cappella choral voices in a through-composed setting with phrase-by-phrase polyphonic treatments of the test, in the same manner as the Latin motet. A verse anthem opposes solo singers accompanied by organ or other instruments against the choir.
The early anthem developed as a replacement for the Catholic ‘votive antiphon’ commonly sung as an appendix to the main office to the Blessed Virgin Mary or other saints. In the 15th and early 16th centuries popular devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary was such that a Commemoration was sung at least daily. In some institutions the Lady antiphon was sung with elaborate polyphony and became the focus of the ceremony; thus modern scholars have coined the term ‘votive antiphon’.
1517 - The Reformation
Music history was completely at the affect of the political and religious upheavals of the 16th century. Luther’s Reformation Proclamation threw back the doors on man’s relationship with the Divine. When that relationship was no longer in the hands of Holy Mother the Church, instead falling into the hearts and decision making processes of “every man”, which was Luther’s motivation for the Reformation, it fell as well into the political machine and power structure of society itself.
In 1547, King Henry VIII’s successor, his young son, King Edward VI, made a “Royal Visit,” to the main cathedrals of England and forbad the use of the organ and of the singing of Latin antiphons, responsories or sequences. They (the church leaders who spoke through the mouthpiece of a child King) decided that anthems be said or sung in English if they focused on the Lord. The antiphon form, however, remained and it is due to this connection between Latin antiphon sung within the Office and English anthem sung as an appendage to Matins or Evensong in the Commemoration, that the anthems owes its place in the liturgy of the Anglican Church.
The period of the early anthems spanned from before the Reformation itself for approximately 150 years, from 1500 to roughly 1650. In liturgical function, early anthems were the Protestant equivalent of the Roman Catholic motet. They were characteristically sacred texts in English, with text source as the Bible or later, the Book of Common Prayer.
Perhaps part of the accessibility of anthems is, as indicated by their inclusion in many different kinds of devotional anthologies, that they formed an integral part of home devotions as well as their use in Anglican services. The composition of sacred music with vernacular texts rather than Latin was a defining musical contribution of the Reformation. The vernacular accessibility of the anthem accomplished, in spite of the imposed musical limitations, what the Anglican Church Fathers had wanted, meaningfulness. The English texts made them easy to “take home” after a service. The use of anthems for home devotional use, an oft discounted feature of the anthem during this period, is a strong indicator of its success and accessibility for the worship of the common man, who continued on in spite of whatever political unrest, scandal or war was shaping the development of the anthem within the Anglican Church itself.
By mid-century (1549) the English liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer was adopted. Music was required to be written in a simple homophonic style so that the words could be clearly understood. The stringent harmonic guidelines were later softened to include some counterpoint. However, the result of the changes of liturgy and language gave rise of a new body of English church music.
The Elizabethan Injunctions (1559), based substantially on those of Edward VI (1548), add specific guidance on music in cathedrals and other churches with choirs. The first published collection of English service music, John Day’s Certaine Notes (London, 1560), uses ‘anthem’ and ‘prayer’ synonymously. By the beginning of the 17th century the term was well established, and widely used in both printed and manuscript collections to define a polyphonic composition set to an English text generally of the composer’s choosing and deriving from the Bible, the Prayer Book, or from a work of a religious or moral character.
In the first half of the 17th century England was under the rule of the Stuart Kings James I and Charles I. Under their reigns the full and verse anthem of the early Baroque continued to develop.
Post Restoration Anthems
During the English Civil War, (app. 1646 – 1660) choral services came to a standstill. After the Restoration, ca. 1660, a great deal of music composed before the war was found and put back into the services.
The Restoration period is often spoken of as the ‘Purcellian’ period, however, for Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) synthesized and developed all that was most successful in the work of his predecessors. His full anthem Hear My Prayer, O God (the opening section of a larger work never completed) represents a moving continuation of the 16th-century polyphonic style.
G. F. Handel and the Anglican Anthem
Handel’s Anglican music comprises a set of 11 anthems for the Duke of Chandos, the last and in many ways the grandest of the Restoration orchestral anthems (1716–18), and some ten other occasional anthems. Given that the British Royal family, by virtue of divorce and decree, had had such influence on the development of the anthem, it seems only fitting that the Coronation Anthems of Handel return to the Royal Family such a wealth of ceremonial beauty. The Coronation Anthems are typically Handel-esque in tone and treatment; formally structured on short motivic patterns, with contrasting periods of homophony and polyphony. Appropriate for the occasion, Handel makes heroic use of melismatic passages. Fast tempos with lush (for the Baroque period) orchestration are the norm for these works.
A “Trackless Desert”
The period from 1770 to 1817 has been described as a ‘trackless desert’ in terms of the development of the Anthem in England. Inspirational Anglican Church music was at an all time low during this time of adaptations. British composer and organist Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810 - 1876) was one church composer who helped to turn the tide during this period. Famous as an organist in his day, he composed almost exclusively for the Church of England.
The Anthem in America
As the anthem’s development reached a low point in England, its progression must include its new developments in Europe, as well as the transplanting and flourishing of the anthem in American. In both non-English musical settings, the anthem began to take on new forms of exploration and meaning.
The American anthem originated in the late 18th century. Its models were the English anthems that had begun to appear in American publications about the middle of the 18th century and in the collections of church music brought by immigrants or imported from England.
After independence was established, works by native composers quickly outnumbered the English models in American publications. The centre of anthem composition during the 18th century was New England, where the pioneer was William Billings (1746 – 1800). Forty-seven of his anthems appeared in his several collections of church music beginning with The New-England Psalm-Singer (1770) and ending with The Continental Harmony (1794).
The Renaissance of the Anglican Anthem: Modern Anthems
The two names most commonly associated with the 19th century English musical renaissance and the births of the modern anthem are those of Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848 – 1928) and Charles V. Stanford (1852 – 1924). Stanford was a noted composer, conductor and teacher of many British composers of next generation fame, including Ralph Vaughn William, Gustav Holst and Herbert Howells. Of note is Herbert Howells (1892 - 1983), a student of Stanford and Parry at Royal College of Music in London, who was well known for his large number of pieces for the Anglican Church. Many of his works were composed with the specialized acoustic signatures of specific cathedras in mind.
The Post-Romantic Anthem
The modern post-romantic harmonies of Europe permeated the anthem form worldwide. Large numbers of anthems continued to be published in America after 1900. Worth of mention as American anthem composers of this period are Everett Titcomb (1885 – 1968) and Leo Sowerby (1895 – 1968), as well as British immigrant Tertius Noble (1867 – 1953) and naturalized US citizen Healey Willan (1880 – 1968).
In general, late 20th century composers have tended to compose anthems only in response to commissions and for special occasions, using the anthem in its basic form while increasing the numbers of performers, length of work, harmonic modernism and orchestra and organ backup forces. Howell’s Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing, written shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, was dedicated to Kennedy's memory, and is considered by many to be perhaps his finest a cappella anthem. Examples of 20th century anthem writing include Edward Elgar's (1857 – 1934) Great is the Lord and Give unto the Lord, Benjamin Britten's (1913- 1976) Rejoice in the Lamb, and Ralph Vaughan Williams' (1872 – 1958) O taste and see, written for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. After 1970 Jonathan Harvey (1968) and John Tavener (1944) achieved a significant and welcome revaluation of the spiritual nature and musical style of the anthem. Tavener’s Song for Athene (1994) has received worldwide attention as a result of its use at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales (1997).
Tonight’s concert features five anthems, three of British origin and two American: Lloyd Pfautsch, Consecrate the Place and Day from Triptych, Purcell, Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences, Tallis, If Ye Love Me, Handel’s Coronation Anthem, Let Thy Hand be Strengthened, and Billings, Chester.
Pfautsch – 3.
Consecrate the Place and Day from Triptych
Lloyd Pfautsch (1921 – 2003) was a longtime professor of sacred music and director of choral activities at Southern Methodist University. Widely revered as one of the United States’ most respected university choral conductors and teachers, Mr. Pfautsch was also a widely published composer.
Consecrate the Place and Day from Triptych is a modern anthem based on text by Joseph Addison (1672 – 1719). The work was commissioned by the State College of Arkansas for the dedication of its new Fine Arts Center in 1968. In a traditional sonata form, Consecrate the Place and Day is marked with beautiful chromaticisms, paired voices between men and women’s sections and lush sonorities. The middle section is a canon between men and women’s section, its lilting melodic structure and tempo marking helping to deliver text filled with text paintings of rough winds, mournful signs and gladness. The message of dedication to ‘Cecelia’ is a reference to “St Cecelia”, the patron saint of music.
Purcell: Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences
Henry Purcell, (1659-1695) was considered by many to be the finest and most original composer of his day. Although he lived a very short life he was able to enjoy and make full use of the renewed flowering of music after the Restoration of the Monarchy. In the Chapel Royal young Purcell studied with Dr. John Blow. The elder musician, recognizing the greater genius of the young Purcell, stepped aside and Purcell succeeded him at Westminster. After Purcell's death in 1695 Blow returned to the post, and later wrote Ode on the Death of Purcell.
As the son of a musician at Court, a chorister at the Chapel Royal, and the holder of continuing royal appointments until his death, Purcell worked in Westminster for three different Kings over twenty-five years. In addition to his royal duties Purcell also devoted much of his talent to writing operas, or rather musical dramas, and incidental stage music; but he also wrote chamber music in the form of harpsichord suites and trio sonatas, and became involved with the growing London public concert scene.
The breadth and depth of Purcell’s compositional oeuvre is notable, especially given his short life. Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements time in his writing, at the same devising a uniquely English style of Baroque music. In addition to Purcell’s anthems, long held in esteem in the great music of the church, he was also known as an orchestral composer via his music for the theatre and as a chamber music composer due to his fantasies and sonata and his keyboard works. Dido and Aeneas, is an enduring masterpiece in opera, and Purcell's songs represent a sensitivity texts that has been rarely been matched in music history.
Based on verses from Jeremiah 15:15-21,“Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences,” is a prime example of an English sacred anthem. The anthem, a reflection and plea for mercy from God’s people to the Lord, uses word painting and chromaticism to reflect the pleading and intensity of the prayer. While text driven throughout both homophonic and polyphonic sections, the text declamation determines the harmonic rhythm in the more chordal sections. The range of tonal centers throughout emphasizes the range of emotions of the intercession plea.
Tallis: If Ye Love Me
Thomas Tallis (1505 – 1585) was perhaps one of the greatest compositional minds to come from England. A leader in the early development of the anthem, in 1532, he was the organist of Benedictine Priory of Dover. After singing for three years at Canterbury Cathedral, in 1543 he became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, where he served as singer, organist and composer until his death in 1585.
During the pre-reformation Tallis composed masses, motets, and other forms using Latin text. However, as was one of the first composers for the Anglican Church, Tallis transformed his compositional style using a more syllabic treatment of the text instead of the melismatic style that was characteristic of church music prior to the reformation. Tallis was highly successful in navigating the changing tides in terms of royal moods and wishes concerning the function of music in an unstable religious landscape. As such, Tallis achieved the first exclusive license in England to publish and print music from Queen Elizabeth in 1575.
If ye love me is a representative anthem in this genre of post-Reformation church music. Structurally set in an ABB form, If ye love me employs syllable to note text treatment throughout, facilitating text comprehension. Mood and meaning are expressed throughout in multiple examples of word painting.
Billings: When Jesus Wept, and Chester
William Billings (1746 - 1800) was an American composer and teacher of choral singing. The son of a Boston shopkeeper, he was apprenticed to a tanner and worked in the leather trade for much of his life. Although a man of considerable physical disabilities, he still managed to gain a high reputation as a teacher of singing, becoming a leader in many of Boston’s most fashionable churches. In 1774, Billings married Lucy Swan, with whom he had nine children.
In the late 1780’s Billings’ financial situation took several bad turns, such that he was forced to mortgage his prestigious Bostonian home and attempted as well to sell all of his music to cover his debts. Boston choristers arranged for the publication of a final tune book, The Continental Harmony, as a fundraiser for his desperate situation. The last five years of his life were covered in debt and obscurity; Billings’ wife had died in 1795 leaving his with six children under the age of 18. He is thought to have been buried in an unmarked grave in the Boston Common cemetery.
Billing’s musical output consists of fifty-one fugueing tunes, fifty-two anthems, approximately 230 hymns and four canons. When Jesus Wept, “A Canon of 4 in 1”, from The New-England Psalm Singer, is Billings’ most famous canon, and is also thought to be his most famous piece of music.
Chester is a prime example of a hymn-patriotic anthem by Billings. Based on American Revolutionary war sentiments, it is an SATB homophonic work with added harmonization in the last verse. Compositionally, Chester demonstrated Billings approach to composition, putting melody in the tenor voice and then adding bass and then women’s parts. Chester was decidedly popular during the American Revolution, only Yankee Doodle was better known. The title reflected a curious practice Billings had of naming his works after decidedly unrelated cities.
The simplicity of American compositions during this period holds a stark contrast with European schools of composition of the late eighteenth century. What was demonstrated during this period however, was the deep connection with nationalistic values as translated to musical form and function. Billings, who dedicated his life to music, is a prime example of the fervor for both music and our country of early American composers.
Let Thy Hand be Strengthened, from the Coronation Anthems – George F. Handel
One of the final acts of King George I was to sign an act naturalizing Handel in 1726. One of Handel’s first commission as a British citizen was to then write the music for the coronation of King George II and Queen Caroline one year later. Handel’s four Coronation Anthems premiered at Westminster Abbey on September 11, 1727. The order of the anthems as they were at the first performance is uncertain. The Coronation Anthems have received great proclaim and have been performed at every British coronation since the time of King George II.
The Coronation Anthems are typically Handelesque in tone and treatment; formally structured on short motivic patterns, with contrasting periods of homophony and polyphony. As previously mentioned, and appropriate for the occasion, Handel makes heroic use of melismatic passages. Fast tempos with lush (for the Baroque period) orchestration are the norm for these works.
Although listed as the fourth coronation anthem, Let Thy Hand be Strengthened, is actually the first Coronation Anthem to be presented at the investiture service, sung after the entry of the King and his recognition by the King by his people. The performance order of the four Coronation Anthems is 4, 1, 2 and 3. The text, originally thought to an excerpt from Psalms 89: 13, 14, has actually been found part of the Latin based Coronation Rite itself. The texts were translated into English in the early 17th Century.
One of the most accessible of the four Coronation Anthems Let Thy Hand be Strengthened is based on two contrasting motivic elements. With representative sections of homophony and subdued polyphony, this full anthem is set in G Major with a middle movement in e minor. It is scored for organ, strings, oboes and bassoons.
Morley: Sing We and Chant it
Born in Norwich, Thomas Morley (1557-1602) was a student of William Byrd and is known particularly for his secular music. He received a degree in music from Oxford University, worked as an organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral and in 1592 entered the Chapel Royal as composer and organist.
The lighter madrigal style that flourished in Italy in the 1580s enjoyed great popularity in England in the 1580s and 90s, though in terms of numbers of publications the madrigal was a very much smaller phenomenon in England than in Italy. Italian madrigals had been available in England in manuscript copies in earlier decades, but it was in the 1580s that the genre began to flourish in print.
The popularity of these Italian madrigals in translation, combined with developments in English poetry encouraged English composers to write madrigals with settings of English verse. Such songs are typically lighthearted in tone, setting pastoral and amorous texts, employing a mixture of light imitative and chordal writing.
Thomas Morley was the master of the English madrigal style. His books of Canzonets, Madrigalls, and Balletts, published in the 1590s, contain a mixture of his own works as well transcriptions of pieces by Italians madrigalists. Morley's own lively, light style was taken up by other English composers, and in 1601 Morley published The Triumphes of Oriana, an anthology of madrigals by English composers in honor of Elizabeth I.
Morley’s Sing We and Chant It advises us to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of friendship and youth. It evidences the influence of the Italian balletti style in its use of “fa-la-la” refrains.
Freedom is Coming
Freedom is Coming is a very well known South African protest song, made available to western choirs through this arrangement by Henry Leck. Stemming from an oral tradition, protest songs chronicle the struggles of black South Africans against apartheid.
For the first time in the history of the twenty-four year history of the Civic Chorale, tonight we feature a choral ensemble exclusively of TCC students on stage.
Berlin: I Love a Piano
Written in 1919, Berlin’s I Love a Piano is a straight-ahead ragtime piano tune. Judy Garland’s rendition of this song in classic film Easter Parade made I Love a Piano a popular showstopper for most of the 20th Century. We are featuring our marvelous l.h.g.* accompanist/composer/arranger Dr. Jim Amend in this fun, fun, fun number!
(*long haired genius)
Whitacre: Seal Lullaby
Eric Whitacre, contemporary choral composer and arranger, wrote Seal Lullaby for an animated feature film project that was ultimately never completed. The Town Singers commissioned this current choral arrangement in 2008.
Based on the story “The Seal Lullaby” by Rudyard Kipling, Whitacre describes the story as “classic Kipling, dark and rich and not al all condescending to kids. Best of all, Kipling begins his tale with the mother seal singing to her young pup.”
Whitacre dedicated this work to friend and mentor Stephen Schwartz, legendary musical theatre composer (Pippin, Godspell, Wicked).
Martin: The Awakening
Joseph Martin, native of North Carolina, is an active composer, performer and church musician. He is the Director of Sacred Publications for Shawnee Press, Inc., with over 1000 works currently in print. The Awakening, commissioned by the Texan Choral Directors Association for their 40th anniversary celebration, celebrates life and the flow of life that music vivifies in all of us. “Let music never die in me, forever let my spirit sing…Let music live!”
Corporate Sponsors for the 2009-2010 Season
The Tallahassee Civic Chorale wishes to thank the following businesses and civic organizations for their generous support during the 2009-2010 concert season: