Felice Giardini was born in Turin. When it became clear that he was a child prodigy, his father sent him to Milan. There he studied singing, harpsichord and violin but it was on the latter that he became a famous virtuoso. By the age of 12, he was already playing in theater orchestras. In a famous incident about this time, Giardini, who was serving as assistant concertmaster (i.e. leader of the orchestra) during an opera, played a solo passage for violin which the composer Niccolò Jommelli had written. He decided to show off his skills and improvised several bravura variations which Jommelli had not written. Although the audience applauded loudly, Jommelli, who happened to be there, was not pleased and suddenly stood up and slapped the young man in the face. Giardini, years later, remarked, “it was the most instructive lesson I ever received from a great artist.”
Please turn your hymnals to number 135 and join with the clarinets in, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts”.
First Line: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts
Name: ST. ATHANASIUS.
Meter: 7 7, 7 7, 7 7.
Tempo: With dignity, in moderate time
Music: Edward John Hopkins, 1818-1901
Text: Christopher Wordsworth, 1807–1885
Pretty generic hymn stuff here from Dr Hopkins, even with some unusually close harmonies at points. Apparently, he was something of a prodigy on the Church Organ, getting his first appointment at only 16.
Dr. Edward John Hopkins FRCO (30 June 1818 – 4 February 1901) was an English organist and composer.He was born on 30 June 1818 in Westminster. He was the eldest son of George Hopkins, a clarinet player who played with the orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Two of his brothers, John and Thomas Hopkins, also became organists – John at Rochester Cathedral and Thomas at St Saviour’s Church, York. His uncle Edward Hopkins was also an outstanding clarinettist and bandmaster of the Scots Guards in 1815.
In 1826 he became a chorister of the Chapel Royal under William Hawes and sang at the coronation of King William IV in Westminster Abbey in 1830. At the same time, he sang in the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, having to manage his double schedule with great dexterity. On Sunday evenings, he would play the outgoing voluntary for his organ teacher Thomas Forbes Walmisley, the father of Thomas Attwood Walmisley, at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields. He left the Chapel Royal in 1834 and started studying organ construction at two organ factories.
His first organist appointment was at Mitcham Church. He played in a blind audition against several other organists and won first place in the auditions. The committee, on seeing that he was only sixteen, were reluctant to appoint him but his friend James Turle, the organist at Westminster Abbey, where Hopkins had played as a stand-in for Turle, informed them of the fact and he was appointed.
Please turn your hymnals to number 134 and join with the clarinets in, “Father Most Holy”.
First Line: Father Most Holy
Name: CHRISTE SANCTORUM.
Meter: 11 11, 11 5.
Tempo: Unison, in moderate time
Music: XVIII cent. French Church Melody
Harm. by R. Vaughn Williams, 1872-1958
Text: Latin Hymn, cir. X cent.
Tr. Percy Dearmer, 1867-1936
Text and harmony from THE ENGLISH HYMNAL, Oxford University Press
Fortunately, the Bass Clarinet is back at home, as this would have been a tough one to tackle on the Sax. Far too many notes below Bb. In addition, it’s a complex organ arrangement meant to accompany a unison choir or congregation, so in many places there are 6 notes sounding at once. A six part sax choir might sound good in theory, but in practice, it’s tough.
Anyway, this is a lovely arrangement by the famous English composer, R. Vaughn Williams.
Ralph Vaughan Williams OM (Listeni/ˈreɪf ˌvɔːn ˈwɪljəmz/[n 1] 12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer and folk song collector. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over nearly fifty years. Strongly influenced by Tudor music and English folk-song, his output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century.
Vaughan Williams was born to a well-to-do family with strong moral views and a progressive social outlook. Throughout his life he sought to be of service to his fellow citizens, and believed in making music as available as possible to everybody. He wrote many works for amateur and student performance. He was musically a late developer, not finding his true voice until his late thirties; his studies in 1907–08 with the French composer Maurice Ravel helped him clarify the textures of his music.
Vaughan Williams is among the best-known British symphonists, noted for his very wide range of moods, from stormy and impassioned to tranquil, from mysterious to exuberant. Among the most familiar of his other concert works are Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and The Lark Ascending (1914). His vocal works include hymns, folk-song arrangements and large-scale choral pieces. He wrote eight works for stage performance between 1919 and 1951. Although none of his operas became popular repertoire pieces, his ballet Job: A Masque for Dancing (1930) was successful and has been frequently staged.
Two episodes made notably deep impressions in Vaughan Williams’s personal life. The First World War, in which he served in the army, had a lasting emotional effect. Twenty years later, though in his sixties and devotedly married, he was reinvigorated by a love affair with a much younger woman, who later became his second wife. He went on composing through his seventies and eighties, producing his last symphony months before his death at the age of eighty-five. His works have continued to be a staple of the British concert repertoire, and all his major compositions and many of the minor ones have been recorded.
Please turn your hymnals to number 133 (Third Tune) and join with the Saxophones in, “O Trinity of Blessed Light”.
Number: 133 (Third Tune)
First Line: O Trinity of Blessed Light
Music: John Bishop, 1665-1737
Text: Ascribed to St. Ambrose, 340-397
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1816-66
Please turn your hymnals to number 133 (Second Tune) and join with the Saxophones in, “O Trinity Of Blessed Light”.
Number: 133 (Second Tune)
First Line: O Trinity of Blessed Light
Name: AETERNA CHRISTI MUNERA.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Rouen Church Melody
Text: Ascribed to St. Ambrose, 340-97
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-66
Rouen, apparently, is an city in France, and the capital of Normandy.
Rouen (French pronunciation: [ʁwɑ̃]; Frankish: Rodomo; Latin: Rotomagus) is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries.
The population of the metropolitan area (in French: agglomération) at the 2007 census was 532,559, with the city proper having an estimated population of 110,276. People from Rouen are known as Rouennais.
Please turn your hymnals to number 133 (First Tune) and join with the clarinets in, “O Trinity of Blessed Light”.
Number: 133 (First Tune)
First Line: O Trinity, O Blessed Light
Name: O LUX BEATA TRINITAS.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Plainsong Melody, Mode VIII
Arr. by Ernest White, 1899-
Text: Ascribed to St. Ambrose, 340-97
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-66
There were a lot of challenging thing with this hymn. In the Tenor Sax parts, the lower of the two spends pretty much the whole song on the lowest few notes of the saxophone. It is very difficult to play those quietly and accurately. And when it isn’t on the bottom few notes, it inexplicably jumps up to G sharp from those notes. The whole thing was basically a pinky nightmare. The lower Soprano Sax part is challenging, well, because all you are doing is basically holding one note for l0-12 beats, over the whole of the phrase. The melody part isn’t bad, it proceeds mostly stepwise up and down, but it is in 4 sharps.
Traditionally, Ambrose is credited with promoting “antiphonal chant”, a style of chanting in which one side of the choir responds alternately to the other, as well as with composing Veni redemptor gentium, an Advent hymn.
Please turn your hymnals to number 132 and join with the Saxophones in, “All Glory be to God on High”.
First Line: All Glory be to God on High
Name: ALLEIN GOTT IN DER HÖH.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 8 8 7.
Tempo: Joyfully, with breadth
Music: Nikolaus Decius, 1541
Text: Ascribed to Nikolaus Decius, 1541
Tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1829-78 a.
This is another VERY well known and familiar hymn and I quite enjoyed playing it. However, it is slightly annoying that it has 4 sharps for concert, which means it has 6 sharps when transposed for bflat instruments, which is A LOT of sharps. As I’ve mentioned before, it messes b sharp and e sharp sort of mess with my head, since they are C and F, respectively.
This is the first of the hymns in celebration of “Trinity Sunday”.
Since this is the last hymn for Pentecost, I thought it might be a good idea to explain it a bit.
Pentecost Sunday (June 4) marks the day most Christians believe the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Jesus after his death, resurrection and ascension. The story comes from the New Testament Book of Acts: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Jesus’ followers were amazed — they could speak languages they never knew before and they could understand others they had never heard. The Apostle Peter stood up and preached his first sermon — so many Christians think of this holiday as the “birthday” of the church.
I’ve always thought Pentecost was a little “psychedelic”, what with the speaking in tongues and flames over people’s heads.
So, I had an idea to try to make this arrangement a little psychedelic. I don’t think I quite got to psychedelic, it’s a bit more ritualistic or new wave-ish. Sort of a more relaxed version of something Killing Joke would do. Anyway.
I wrote a drum part in the arranging program I use, MuseScore, exported it to a midi file, then imported the midi track into Garageband. Then I did the same with an electric bass part. The nifty thing about midi instruments is a) you don’t have to buy them b) you don’t have to play them c) you don’t have to respect the physical limitations of the instrument or the player. So, yeah, that bass guitar part is about an octave below what a “normal” electric bass guitar can play.
The text for this hymn was written by Samuel Longfellow, who was a Unitarian pastor and hymn writer, and they are quite nice and not particularly specifically religious.
Holy Spirit, truth divine,
Dawn upon this soul of mine;
Word of God, and inward light,
Wake my spirit, clear my sight.
Holy Spirit, love divine,
Glow within this heart of mine;
Kindle every high desire,
Perish self in thy pure fire.
Holy Spirit, power divine,
Fill and nerve this will of mine;
By thee may I strongly live,
Bravely bear, and nobly strive.
Holy Spirit, peace divine,
Still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm this tossing sea,
Stayed in thy tranquility.
Holy Spirit, right divine,
King within my conscious reign;
Be my law, and I shall be,
Firmly bound, for ever free. Amen.
He is considered part of the second-generation of transcendentalists; after becoming a Unitarian pastor, he adapted the transcendental philosophy he had encountered in divinity school into his hymns and sermons.
This is a very familiar sounding hymn! Maybe the most familiar sounding of any of the Pentecost hymns.
MORECAMBE was composed in 1870 by Frederick C. Atkinson (b. Norwich, England, 1841; d. East Dereham, England, 1896) as a setting for Henry Lyte’s “Abide with Me” (442). It was first published in G. S. Barrett and E.J. Hopkins’s Congregational Church Hymnal (1887). The tune is named for a coastal town on Morecambe Bay near Lancaster, England, a town not far from Bradford, where Atkinson served as organist.
As a boy Atkinson was a chorister and assistant organist at Norwich Cathedral. In 1867 he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Cambridge and then served as organist and choirmaster in St. Luke’s Church, Manningham, Bradford. He also held that position at Norwich Cathedral and at St. Mary’s Parish Church in Lewisham. Atkinson wrote hymn tunes, anthems, and complete Anglican services, as well as songs and piano pieces.
MORECAMBE has a good melodic contour and a strong rise to its climax but then concludes rather weakly. (See comments on the generic group of tunes that includes MORECAMBE at PHH 276.) Try singing this fervent prayer to MORESTEAD (295), a tune with a very different character that will shed new light on the text.