135 – Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts

Please turn your hymnals to number 135 and join with the clarinets in, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts”.

Number: 135
First Line: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts
Meter: 7 7, 7 7, 7 7.
Tempo: With dignity, in moderate time
Music: Edward John Hopkins, 1818-1901
Text: Christopher Wordsworth, 1807–1885

Clarinet Arrangement: 135-HolyHolyHolyLordGodOfHosts

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.[1] He was born on 30 June 1818 in Westminster.[2] 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.[3]

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.[3] He left the Chapel Royal in 1834 and started studying organ construction at two organ factories.[3]

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.[3]

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

2017-06-29 I Forgot to Breathe

I Forgot to Breathe by Lean Left.

Aka, The Ex Guitars Meet Vandermark/Nilssen-Love.

Another perspective from EXEYE on the intersection between rock-ish concepts/players and improvisation. With the influence of Vandermark and Nilssen-Love, this skews more towards Free/Energy playing than EXEYE’s dark metal infused scree. Lean Left is definitely skronkier, but the woodwind players in both ensembles face similar problems of being heard over loud guitars and drums. Though, on this release, the guitars manage to restrain themselves and play quietly on a couple tunes. Invigorating way to start the morning.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #LeanLeft #PaalNilssenLove #KenVandermark #TerrieEx #AndyMoor #CatalyticSound #TrostRecords

2017-06-28 13 Friendly Numbers

13 Friendly Numbers by John Butcher.

Solo (-ish, some overdubbing,) pieces for Soprano and Tenor Sax. Not a lot of conventional Sax playing here. In fact, on some of the “Numbers”, Butcher seems to avoid producing “normal” sounds from his Sax entirely. What I like, though, is that there is a light heartedness and humor about it, you often don’t get in improvised music . If anything, it reminds me of the surreal music from the British tv show “Clangers”. 

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #JohnButcher #13FriendlyNumbers #CatalyticSound

2017-06-27 Hazel

Hazel by Æthenor.

The defining feature of this release by Æthenor is the drumming of Mr Noble. Guitars, vocals, and keyboards shimmer in and out of phase, Calder-esque, while Mr Noble’s propulsive drumming rumbles on underneath. Enjoyable.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #Æthenor #Aethenor #StephenOMalley #DanielOSullivan #KristofferRygg #SteveNoble

134 – Father Most Holy

Please turn your hymnals to number 134 and join with the clarinets in, “Father Most Holy”.

Number: 134
First Line: Father Most Holy
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

Clarinet Arrangement: 134-FatherMostHoly

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.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

2017-06-26 Addis

Addis by Xavier Charles & Terrie Ex.

This record starts with a few moments of natural sounds. Birdcalls, muffled conversation, sound of the breeze, remote traffic, livestock. Slowly the musicians come in, imitating the background sounds and playing as elements in the larger soundscape. I love this idea. That music is part of nature and the environment, not separate from it. Or maybe, nature IS art.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TerrieEx #XavierCharles

133c – O Trinity of Blessed Light

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
Meter: L.M.
Tempo: Slowly
Music: John Bishop, 1665-1737
Text: Ascribed to St. Ambrose, 340-397
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1816-66

Saxophone Arrangement: 133c-OTrinityOfBlessedLight

Final setting of St. Ambrose’s Poem, “O Trinity of Blessed Light”.

I mean, when else do you get to use “Paraclete” in a poem, other than on Trinity Sunday?

Paraclete (Gr. παράκλητος, Lat. paracletus) means advocate or helper. In Christianity, the term “paraclete” most commonly refers to the Holy Spirit.

O Trinity of Blessed Light,
O Unity of princely might,
The fiery sun now goes his way;
Shed thou within our hearts thy ray.

To thee our morning song of praise,
To thee our evening prayer we raise;
Thy glory suppliant we adore
For ever and forever more.

All laud to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to thee,
lAll glory, as is ever meet,
To God the holy Paraclete. Amen.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

133b – O Trinity of Blessed Light

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
Meter: L.M.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Rouen Church Melody
Text: Ascribed to St. Ambrose, 340-97
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-66

Saxophone Arrangement: 133b-OTrinityBlessedLight

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.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

2017-06-23 ExEyE

Ex Eye by Ex Eye.

A Colin Stetson solo concert a couple years ago was one of the loudest concerts I’ve ever seen, and he was wearing a Liturgy t-shirt at the time, so Ex Eye’s direction isn’t exactly a surprise.

However, the challenge of fitting Stetson’s sax concept of extended arpeggiation into more traditional heavy metal frameworks is apparent on some of the tracks. That is, no matter how loud he plays, harmonically, he fades into the background under the weight of guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums.

Less traditional tracks, like “Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc” are where Ex Eye, and Stetson, shine.

In any case, an excellent album, and I’m looking forward to seeing Ex Eye next week at The Chapel here in SF.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #GregFox #ShahzadIsmaily #ColinStetson #TobySummerfield #EXEYE