2017-07-10 Air

Air by Cecil Taylor, Buell Neidlinger, Sunny Murray, Archie Shepp, and Denis Charles.

Recorded in 1960, this album is additional material from the sessions for, “The World of Cecil Taylor”. The first two tracks, a trio with Taylor, Neidlinger, and Murray, are finger tapping, steering wheel pounding, goodness. A 23 year old Archie Shepp joins on track 3, and at first seems a bit lost, deploying idiomatic Jazz and Blues expressions. As he settles in, and begins to find his place in the maelstrom, things get interesting. By Take 24 of “Air” he’s really getting it.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #BuellNeidlinger #SunnyMurray #ArchieShepp #DenisCharles #Air

141 – For All the Saints

Please turn your hymnals to number 141 and join with the clarinets in, “For All the Saints”.

Number: 141
First Line: For All the Saints
Name: ST. MICHAEL (OLD 134th).
Meter: S.M.
Tempo: With dignity
Music: Genevan Psalter
Text: Richard Mant, 1776-1848

Clarinet Arrangement: 141-ForAllTheSaints

Having finished the hymns for “Trinity Sunday”, we are off to a sort of odds and ends section of the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal called, “Saints’ Days and Minor Festivals”.

Along with the tune for “Old 100th”, the tune for “Old 134th” is also attributed to French composer Louis Bourgeois.

Loys “Louis” Bourgeois (French: [buʁʒwa]; c. 1510 – 1559) was a French composer and music theorist of the Renaissance. He is most famous as one of the main compilers of Calvinisthymn tunes in the middle of the 16th century. One of the most famous melodies in all of Christendom, the Protestantdoxology known as the Old 100th, is commonly attributed to him.

Louis Bourgeois is the one most responsible for the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, the source for the hymns of both the Reformed Church in England and the Pilgrims in America. In the original versions by Bourgeois, the music is monophonic, in accordance with the dictates of John Calvin, who disapproved not only of counterpoint but of any multiple parts; Bourgeois though did also provide four-part harmonizations, but they were reserved for singing and playing at home. Many of the four-part settings are syllabic and chordal, a style which has survived in many Protestant church services to the present day.

Of the tunes in the Genevan Psalter, some are reminiscent of secular chansons, others are directly borrowed from the Strasbourg Psalter; The remainder were composed by successively Guillaume Franc, Louis Bourgeois and Pierre Davantès. By far the most famous of Bourgeois’ compositions is the tune known as the Old 100th.

This one definitely seems like a “Saints” sort of hymn.

Like Old 100th, this tune is pretty great and lends itself to rhythmic and harmonic re-interpretation. I’d dedicate this version below to one of my “Saints”, Saint Sonny Rollins, for his tune, “St Thomas”.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

140 – Father of Heaven

Please turn your hymnals to number 140 and join the clarinets in, “Father of Heaven”.

Number: 140
First Line: Father of Heaven
Name: RIVAULX.
Meter: L.M.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: John Bacchus Dykes, 1823-76
Text: Edward Cooper, 1770-1833

Clarinet Arrangement: 140-FatherOfHeaven

Woo, finished with Trinity Sunday hymns! Though, uh, oops, Trinity Sunday was June 11, so I am almost a month late.

Well, as they say, better late than never.

History

In the early Church, no special Office or day was assigned for the Holy Trinity. When the Arian heresy was spreading, the Fathers prepared an Office with canticles, responses, a Preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays. In the Sacramentary of St. Gregory the Great (P.L., LXXVIII, 116) there are prayers and the Preface of the Trinity. The Micrologies (P.L., CLI, 1020), written during the pontificate of Gregory VII (Nilles, II, 460), call the Sunday after Pentecost a Dominica vacans, with no special Office, but add that in some places they recited the Office of the Holy Trinity composed by Bishop Stephen of Liège (903-20). By others the Office was said on the Sunday before Advent. Alexander II (1061–1073), refused a petition for a special feast on the plea, that such a feast was not customary in the Roman Church which daily honoured the Holy Trinity by the Gloria Patri, etc., but he did not forbid the celebration where it already existed. John XXII (1316–1334) ordered the feast for the entire Church on the first Sunday after Pentecost. A new Office had been made by the Franciscan John Peckham, Canon of Lyons, later Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1292). The feast ranked as a double of the second class but was raised to the dignity of a primary of the first class, 24 July 1911, by Pius X (Acta Ap. Sedis, III, 351). Since it was after the first great Pentecost that the doctrine of the Trinity was proclaimed to the world, the feast becomingly follows that of Pentecost.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

139 – Glory Be to God the Father

Please turn your hymnals to number 139 and join with the clarinets in, “Glory be to God the Father”.

Number: 139
First Line: Glory Be to God the Father
Name: ST. NICHOLAS.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: Johann Cruger, 1598-1662
Text: Horatius Bonar, 1808-89

Clarinet Arrangement: 139-GloryBeToGodtheFather

In my opinion, there is nothing that sounds better on a bunch of clarinets than a good minor dirge.

Beautiful, just beautiful.

Both Bonar and Cruger had more than their share of beauty, tragedy, and hardship to capture in song.

Horatius Bonar [pronunciation?] (19 December 1808 – 31 July 1889), a contemporary and acquaintance of Robert Murray M’cheyne was a Scottish churchman and poet. He is principally remembered as a prodigious hymn-writer.

The son of James Bonar, Solicitor of Excise for Scotland, he was born and educated in Edinburgh. He came from a long line of ministers who have served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland. He had married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents.

In 1853 Bonar earned the Doctor of Divinity degree at the University of Aberdeen.

Bonar’s wife, Jane Catherine Bonar, died in 1876. He died 31 July 1889. They are buried together in the Canongate Kirkyard in the lair of Alexander Bonar, near the bottom of the eastern extension.

Johann Crüger (9 April 1598 – 23 February 1662) was a German composer of well-known hymns. He was also the editor of the most widely used Lutheran hymnal of the 17th century, Praxis pietatis melica.

In 1628, he married the widow of a city councilman. During the Thirty Years’ War, Crüger and his family endured many hardships including hunger.[2] He fell ill with plague, and almost died of that disease, losing five children and his wife in 1636. In 1637, having recovered from the disease, he got married a second time, to the 17-year-old daughter of an innkeeper, with whom he had fourteen children, most of whom died at a young age.[2] One of his daughters married the court painter Michael Conrad Hirt, who made a portrait of Crüger in 1663.[1] Crüger died in Berlin.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

2017-07-07 Amorphae

Amorphae by Ben Monder, Pete Rende, Andrew Cyrille, and Paul Motian.

This album of solos, duets, and trios from Mr Monder &Co has been on my “to listen” list for quite a while. On this release, Monder operates in roughly the same reverb and chorus drenched wide screen universe as players like Bill Frisell and David Torn. Not quite as “folksy” as Frisell and using more “classical music” inspired melody and harmony than Torn, Monder seldom “shreds”. Instead building his solos to curtains of shimmering abstract sound.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #BenMonder #PeteRende #AndrewCyrille #PaulMotian #Amorphae

138 – Most Ancient of All Mysteries

Please turn your hymnals to number 138 and join with the clarinets in, “Most Ancient of All Mysteries”.

Number: 138
First Line: Most Ancient of All Mysteries
Name: ST. FLAVIAN.
Meter: C.M.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: John Day’s Psalter, 1562
Text: Frederick William Faber, 1814-63

Clarinet Arrangement: 138-MostAncientOfAllMysteries

On the other hand, this is not a particularly interesting hymn. It’s not bad or anything, just not particularly harmonically interesting.

The lyrics, from Francis William Faber, however, are nicely poetic.

1 Most ancient of all mysteries,
Before Thy throne we lie;
Have mercy now, most merciful,
Most holy Trinity.

2 When heav’n and earth were yet unmade,
When time was yet unknown,
Thou in Thy bliss and majesty
Didst live and love alone.

3 Thou wert not born; there was no fount
From which Thy Being flowed;
There is no end which Thou canst reach;
But Thou art simply God.

4 How wonderful creation is,
The work which Thou didst bless,
And O what then must Thou be like,
Eternal loveliness!

5 O listen then, most pitiful,
To Thy poor creature’s heart:
It blesses Thee that Thou art God,
That Thou art what Thou art.

6 Most ancient of all mysteries,
Still at thy throne we lie;
Have mercy now, most merciful,
Most holy Trinity.

Francis William Faber

Faber was born in 1814 at Calverley, then within the Parish of Calverley in the West Riding of Yorkshire,[1] where his grandfather, Thomas Faber, was the vicar. His father served the local bishop of the Church of England as his secretary.[2]

Faber attended grammar school at Bishop Auckland in County Durham for a short time, but a large portion of his boyhood was spent in Westmorland. He afterwards attended the Harrow School for five years, followed by enrollment in 1832 at Balliol College at the University of Oxford. In 1834, he obtained a scholarship at the University College, from which he graduated. In 1836 he won the Newdigate Prize for a poem on “The Knights of St John,” which elicited special praise from John Keble. Among his college friends were Arthur Penrhyn Stanley and Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne. After graduation he was elected a fellow of the college.

Faber’s family was of Huguenot descent, and Calvinist beliefs were strongly held by them. When Faber had come to Oxford, he was exposed to the Anglo-Catholicpreaching of the Oxford Movement which was beginning to develop in the Church of England. One of its most prominent proponents was the popular preacher John Henry Newman, vicar of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Faber struggled with these divergent forms of Christian beliefs and life. In order to relieve his tension, he would take long vacations in the Lake District, where he would write poetry. There he was befriended by another poet, William Wordsworth. He finally abandoned the Calvinistic views of his youth and became an enthusiastic follower of Newman.[2][3]

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

137 – Ancient of Days

Please turn your hymnals to number 137 and join with the clarinets in, “Ancient of Days”.

Number: 137
First Line: Ancient of Days
Name: ANCIENT OF DAYS. (ALBANY)
Meter: 11 10, 11 10.
Tempo: In unison, with dignity
Music: John Albert Jeffrey, 1855-1929
Text: William Croswell Doane, 1832-1913

Clarinet Arrangement: 137-AncientOfDays

Fairly rhythmically and harmonically interesting, this one gave me something to chew on and develop over its short course. Not often you see dotted eighth notes and 16th notes in hymns!

Jeffery (sometimes misspelled as Jeffrey) began playing the organ at St. Anne’s Cathedral in Plymouth at age 14, taking over his father’s position. He emigrated to America in 1876 and settled in Albany, New York. He developed a chorus and directed the music at St. Agnes School, and played the organ at the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral. He left for Yonkers, New York, in 1893, and served at the First Presbyterian Church. Later, he taught music at the New England Conservatory.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

136 – Come Thou Almighty King

Please turn your hymnals to number 136 and join the clarinets in, “Come Thou Almighty King”.

Number: 136
First Line: Come Thou Almighty King
Name: MOSCOW.
Meter: 6 6 4, 6 6 6 4.
Tempo: Joyfully
Music: Felice de Giardini, 1716-96
Text: Authorship Uncertain
Whitefield’s Collection, 1757 a.

This is an interesting hymn. A tad more musically interesting than most. It moves from contrasting harmony parts, to a unison refrain, and back to harmony.

Quite pleasant!

Felice Giardini (April 12, 1716 – June 8, 1796) was an Italiancomposer and violinist.

Felice Giardini was born in Turin.[1] 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.”

Clarinet Arrangement: 136-ComeThouAlmightKing

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

2017-07-06 Nightfall

Nightfall by Quercus.

ECM has always been eclectic in it’s releases. This atmospheric mashup of Jazz, Classical, and UK Folk music isn’t exactly the exception, as the rule. June Tabor is a great folk vocalist and her partners in Quercus are Huw Warren and Iain Ballamy, Piano and Saxophone, respectively. If I had any complaints, it might be that Nightfall is just a tad too pleasant.

#JuneTabor #IainBallamy #HuwWarren #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-07-05 Lucky Strikes

Lucky Strikes by The Lucky Thompson Quartet.

Most people trace the modern Soprano Sax tone, flute-like, mellow, and largely without vibrato, to the playing of Lucky Thompson. Eschewing the harsh tone and wide vibrato of early players like Bechet, Thompson set the stage for immensely commercially popular players like Grover Washington Jr and the much maligned Kenny Gorelick. Also, as far as I know, just about the only Bebop Soprano player.

A pretty strictly Bebop affair, great work here from the whole group. I think, especially, the expressive cymbal work from Connie Kay stands out.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #LuckyThompson #HankJones #RichardDavis #ConnieKay