Since I’m going to see King Crimson in a couple weeks, I thought I should check in on what they are up to. Predictable key changes, inane lyrics delivered in an an overly sincere manner, sub-Kenny G lite-jazz Soprano Sax, and a modicum of Frippertronics. Thinking I should have listened to their recent output BEFORE buying a ticket. The price of nostalgia.
Bass clarinet is in the shop for some work, so for a week, or so, it’s going to be Saxophone Hymns! Some arranging and recording challenges, as they are louder and don’t quite have the same range as clarinets, but it will be a good chance to practice more Sax.
Dorset has its own ‘Shrubsolian composer’ – what the pop music world would call a ‘one-hit wonder’. His name is William Knapp, and his ‘one tune’ is arguably even more memorable than ‘Miles Lane’: it has to this day the reputation of being one of the easiest and most comfortable tunes for a congregation to sing. A remarkable feature of the tune is that, except in one place, it proceeds ‘by step’ (that is, one note up or down), and it is this that makes it so singable. The eminent theologian Dr James Moffatt described it as ‘one of the best congregational tunes ever written’. Knapp called it ‘Wareham’ after the town where he was born. Thanks to him, the town’s name has been perpetuated in hymn-books all over the world for nearly three hundred years.
With various vocal and instrumental collaborators providing long tones over Colpitts’ propulsive drum arrangements, the contrast between the two gives this album a trippy, psychedelic feel. I want more. <--Gratuitous Can Reference.
#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #KidMillions #JohnColpitts #ManForever #LaurieAnderson #YoLaTengo #MaryLattimore #GratuitousCanReference
Please turn your hymnals to number 126 and join with the clarinets in, “Come, O Come, Thou Quickening Spirit”.
First Line: Come, O Come, Thou Quickening Spirit
Name: KOMM, O KOMM, DU GEIST DES LEBENS.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 7 7.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Meiningen Gesangbuch, 1693
Text: Heinrich Held, cir. 1659
Tr. Edward Traill Horn III, 1909-
It appears that this book was harmonized by J. S. Bach’s son, Johann.
KOMM, O KOMM, DU GEIST DES LEBENS
Harmonizer: Johann Christoph Bach; Composer: G. Joseph Breslau
Johann Bach was known as “The London Bach” or “John Bach”!
Johann Christian Bach was born to Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena Bach in Leipzig, Germany. His distinguished father was already 50 at the time of his birth, which would perhaps contribute to the sharp differences between his music and that of his father. Even so, his father first instructed him in music and that instruction continued until his death in 1750. After his father’s death, he worked (and lived) with his second-oldest half brother Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, who was twenty-one years his senior and considered at the time to be the most musically gifted of Bach’s sons.
He enjoyed a promising career, first as a composer then as a performer playing alongside Carl Friedrich Abel, the notable player of the viola da gamba. He composed cantatas, chamber music, keyboard and orchestral works, operas and symphonies.
Bach lived in Italy for many years starting in 1756, studying with Padre Martini in Bologna. He became organist at the Milan cathedral in 1760. During his time in Italy, he converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism and devoted much time to the composition of church music, including two Masses, a Requiem and a Te Deum. His first major work was a Mass, which received an excellent performance and acclaim in 1757. In 1762, Bach travelled to London to première three operas at the King’s Theatre, including Orione on 19 February 1763. That established his reputation in England, and he became music master to Queen Charlotte. He met soprano Cecilia Grassi in 1766 and married her shortly thereafter. She was his junior by eleven years. They had no children.
By the late 1770s, his music was no longer popular and his fortunes declined. His steward had embezzled almost all his wealth and Bach died in considerable debt in London on New Year’s Day, 1782. Queen Charlotte covered the expenses of the estate and provided a life pension for Bach’s widow. He was buried in the graveyard of St. Pancras Old Church, London.
Regarding the text, the author was “Silesian” which is an often disputed area on the borders of Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
Held, Heinrich, was son of Valentin Held of Guhrau, Silesia. He studied at the Universities of Königsberg (c. 1637-40), Frankfurt a. Oder (1643), and Leyden. He was also in residence at Rostock in 1647. He became a licentiate of law, and settled as a lawyer in his native place, where he died about 1659, or at least before Michaelmas, 1661 (Koch, iii. 55-56; Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie., xi. 680; Bode, p. 87, &c).
One of the best Silesian hymnwriters, he was taught in the school of affliction, having many trials to suffer in those times of war. His only extant poetical work is his Deutscher Gedichte Vortrab, Frankfurt a. Oder, 1643. Only one hymn from that volume came into German use. Much more important are his other hymns, which are known to us through Crüger’s Praxis, and other hymnbooks of the period. Mützell, 1858, includes Nos. 254-272 under his name.
John Dikeman, Jon Rune Strøm and Tollef Østvang choose as the name of their trio the title of an Albert Ayler’s composition, “Universal Indians”, because of its double symbolism. The purpose was to inspire their playing in the free jazz patrimony of the likes of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Ayler himself, and for all effects art and culture in our time are more and more global adoptions (“universal”) of singularities(“indians”). But in what refers to symbols they go even further – in “Skullduggery” they have the partnership of another one of the “new thing” mavericks, Joe McPhee. Now, you may ask: is this a nostalgic celebration of the past, with the same kind of revisionist perspectives we find in present recuperations of the bebop formats? No. That wouldn’t be possible with the involvement of someone like McPhee, even if the American relocated in Amsterdam and the two Norwegian improvisers wanted it, and they don’t. Their guest is widely known for his achievements in renewing the free subgenre, and in his path he made important contributions to other music practices, namely Pauline Olivero’s deep listening electro-acoustic concepts, Nihilist Spasm Band’s radical brand of noise and the jam rock of The Thing with Cato Salsa Experience. This CD reflects that openness and what you have here is the free jazz after free jazz. Intrigued enough?
Please turn your hymnals to number 125 and join with the clarinets in “Love of the Father”.
First Line: Love of the Father
Name: SONG 22.
Meter: 10 10, 10 10.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Orlando Gibbons, 1583-1625
Text: Latin Hymn, XII cent.
Paraphrase, Robert Bridges, 1844-1930
From The Yattendon Hymnal, edited by Robert Bridges
Apparently, Orlando Gibbons was a well enough known composer of his time that his reputation lingered even up until relatively modern times, when he was championed by pianist and performer Glenn Gould.
Gibbons was born in 1583 (most likely in December) and baptised on Christmas Day at Oxford, where his father William Gibbons was working as a wait. Between 1596 and 1598 he sang in the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, where his brother Edward Gibbons (1568–1650), eldest of the four sons of William Gibbons, was master of the choristers. The second brother Ellis Gibbons (1573–1603) was also a promising composer, but died young. Orlando entered the university as a sizar in 1598 and achieved the degree of Bachelor of Music in 1606. That same year he married Elizabeth Patten, daughter of a Yeoman of the Vestry, and they went on to have seven children (Gibbons himself was the seventh of 10 children).
King James I appointed him a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, where he served as an organist from at least 1615 until his death. In 1623 he became senior organist at the Chapel Royal, with Thomas Tomkins as junior organist. He also held positions as keyboard player in the privy chamber of the court of Prince Charles (later King Charles I), and organist at Westminster Abbey. He died at age 41 in Canterbury of apoplexy, and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. His death was a shock to his peers and brought about a post-mortem, though the cause of death aroused less comment than the haste of his burial and his body not being returned to London. His wife, Elizabeth, died a little over a year later, in her mid-30s, leaving Orlando’s eldest brother, Edward, to care for the orphaned children. Of these children only the eldest son, Christopher Gibbons, was to become a musician.
In the 20th century, the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould championed Gibbons’s music, and named him as his favourite composer. Gould wrote of Gibbons’s hymns and anthems: “ever since my teen-age years this music … has moved me more deeply than any other sound experience I can think of.” In one interview, Gould compared Gibbons to Beethoven and Webern:
“…despite the requisite quota of scales and shakes in such half-hearted virtuoso vehicles as the Salisbury Galliard, one is never quite able to counter the impression of music of supreme beauty that lacks its ideal means of reproduction. Like Beethoven in his last quartets, or Webern at almost any time, Gibbons is an artist of such intractable commitment that, in the keyboard field, at least, his works work better in one’s memory, or on paper, than they ever can through the intercession of a sounding-board.”
I’m not a huge fan of Dykes’ tunes, but MELITA is pretty good, at least in a triumphant, Anglican, kind of way.
The setting here is by John B. Dykes (PHH 147), originally composed as a setting for William Whiting’s “Eternal Father, Strong to Save.” Published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861) with that text, MELITA is often referred to as the “navy hymn.” The tune is named after the island of Malta where Paul was shipwrecked.
A fine tune, MELITA is marked by good use of melodic sequences and a harmony that features several dominant sevenths (both are Dykes’s trademarks). Sing in harmony; because the lines flow into each other in almost breathless fashion, use a stately tempo.
Some more details regarding Bacchus Dykes from wikipedia:
Dykes’s defeat [He was of the “Anglo-Catholic-Ritualist” persuasion and at the time Protestantism and “Anti-Papism” was on the rise in the UK. ed.] was followed by a gradual deterioration in his physical and mental health, necessitating absence (which was to prove permanent) from St. Oswald’s from March 1875. Rest and the bracing Swiss air proving unavailing, Dykes eventually went to recover on the south coast of England where, on 22 January 1876, he died aged 52. However, Fowler’s assertion  that he died at St. Leonard’s on Sea is false: he died in the asylum at Ticehurst, some 18 miles distant. More significantly, his assertion that Dykes’s ill-health was a consequence of overwork, exacerbated by his clash with Bishop Baring, has recently been questioned; one scholar suggests that the medical evidence points to his having succumbed to tertiary syphilis, and speculates that Dykes may have contracted the disease during his undergraduate years. He is buried in the ‘overflow’ churchyard of St. Oswald’s, a piece of land for whose acquisition and consecration he had been responsible a few years earlier. Touchingly, he shares a grave with his youngest daughter, Mabel, who died, aged 10, of scarlet fever in 1870. Dykes’s grave is now the only marked grave in what, in recent years, has been transformed into a children’s playground.
Roulette of the Cradle by Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House.
This is the sort of music that your more hide bound “Jazz” traditionalists tend to hate. That is, while sections do occasionally “swing”, large swaths are more influenced by some of the more expressionistic aspects of 20th Century Classical music. Skittering polyrhythms, tone clusters, etc. Personally, I enjoy that the instrumentalists and composer cast a wider net than simply Ragtime, Blues, and “Jazz” for their inspiration. Also, great song titles.
A set of 16 composed and improvised duos between Kris Davis and a variety of collaborators: Don Byron, Tim Berne, Marcus Gilmore, Billy Drummond, Angelica Sanchez, Craig Taborn, Julian Lage, and Bill Frisell. All the pieces have their own charm, but I am especially fond of the piano duos with Craig Taborn.