133a – O Trinity Of Blessed Light

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.
Meter: Irregular
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

Saxophone Arrangement: 133-OTrinityOfBlessedLight

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.

Aurelius Ambrosius (ItalianSant’Ambrogio [ˌsantamˈbrɔːdʒo]), better known in English as Saint Ambrose (/ˈæmbrz/c. 340 – 4 April 397), was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was the Roman governor of Liguria and Emilia, headquartered in Milan, before being made bishop of Milan by popular acclamation in 374. Ambrose was a staunch opponent of Arianism, and has been accused of fostering persecutions of Arians, Jews, and pagans.

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.

Ambrose was one of the four original Doctors of the Church, and is the patron saint of Milan. He is notable for his influence on Augustine of Hippo.

Under Ambrose’s major influence, emperors GratianValentinian II and Theodosius I carried on a persecution of Paganism.[23][24][25][26] Under Ambrose’s influence, Theodosius issued the 391 “Theodosian decrees,” which with increasing intensity outlawed Pagan practises,[24][27] and the Altar of Victory was removed by Gratian. Ambrose prevailed upon Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius to reject requests to restore the Altar.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

2017-06-22 Chicago Tenor Duets

Chicago Tenor Duets by Evan Parker / Joe McPhee.

The stars in my saxophone constellation from my teens into my twenties were: Johnny Hodges/LesterYoung -> John Coltrane/Eric Dolphy -> Evan Parker.

I’d always see Joe Mcphee’s albums on HatArt at the record store, but for some reason he didn’t really enter my area of interest. I guess he didn’t get as much press in the magazines I was reading at the time.

I was missing out, and am trying to make up for my oversight by listening to more of his recorded output these days.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #EvanParker #JoeMcPhee

2017-06-21 Tie the Stone to the Wheel

Tie the Stone to the Wheel by Evan Parker / Seymour Wright.

Saxophone duos between UK free improv titan Evan Parker and his disciple Seymour Wright. So I basically spent the drive mentally cataloguing which sounds I knew how to make on the saxophone and which sounds I did not. One of them is really good at extended flutter tonguing, which I can’t do very well.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #EvanParker #SeymourWright

2017-06-20 Asian Fields Variations

Asian Fields Variations by Louis Sclavis, Dominique Pifarély, and Vincent Courtois.

Theme and variation in folk and classical-ish modes by a clarinet, cello, and violin trio. Louis Sclavis is one of my favorite living jazz and improv woodwind players. His tone and thought process on clarinet and bass clarinet are impeccable. And bass clarinet & cello are the peanut butter and chocolate of instrumental combinations. Wonderful.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #LouisSclavis #DominiquePifarély #VincentCourtois

2017-06-19 Daylight Ghosts

Daylight Ghosts by Craig Taborn.

I feel like the ghosts of Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi, (and maybe even a little Dave Brubeck,) are hovering over this release from Mr Taborn. Everything seems so pleasant and relaxed, as if a benign, warm, Southern California sun is beaming down kindly.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #DaveKing #ChrisLightcap #ChrisSpeed #CraigTaborn

132 – All Glory be to God on High

Please turn your hymnals to number 132 and join with the Saxophones in, “All Glory be to God on High”.

Number: 132
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.

Saxophone Arrangement: 132-AllGloryBeToGodOnHigh

For being such an old hymn, circa 1541, this is pretty cool.

I like the harmonies and chords!

And, even with 3 sharps, applied some hymprovisation to the second time through.

Nikolaus Decius (also DegiusDeegTech a Curia, and Nickel von Hof;[1] c. 1485 – 21 March 1541[2] (others say 1546[3]) was a German monk, hymn-writer and composer.

He was probably born in Hof in Upper FranconiaBavaria, around 1485. He studied at the University of Leipzig and obtained a master’s degree at Wittenburg Universityin 1523 and became a monk.[4] Although a monk, he was an advocate of the Protestant Reformation and a disciple of Martin Luther.[4] He was Probst of the cloister at Steterburg from 1519 until July 1522 when he was appointed a master in the St. Katherine and Egidien School in Braunschweig.[2][5] He wrote in 1523 “Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr“, a German paraphrase of the Latin Gloria, adapted by Luther in 1525.[6] Decius’s version was first sung on Easter Day at Braunschweig on 5 April 1523.[7]Decius’s Low German version first appeared in print in Gesang Buch by Joachim Sluter, printed in 1525.[7]

In 1526, Decius became preacher at the Church of St. Nicholas in Stettin at the same time as Paulus von Rhode was appointed preacher at St. James’s in Stettin.[2] In 1535 he became pastor of St. Nicholas and died there in March 1541 after a suspected poisoning.[2] Shortly before his death he wrote the hymn “O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig” (O Lamb of God, innocent) sung on a tune from the 13th century. Decius’s version was first published in Anton Cornivus‘s Christliche Kirchen-Ordnung in 1542.[4]Johann Sebastian Bach used it as a cantus firmus in the opening chorus of his St Matthew Passion. It was translated into English by Arthur Tozer Russell in the 19th century.[4]

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

2017-06-17 Collider

Collider by The DKV Thing (double) Trio.

The DKV trio, (Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler, Ken Vandermark) vs. The Thing, (Ingebrig Håker Flaten, Mats Gustafsson, Paal Nilssen-Love). It’s hard to pick what part of this album I like the best. The intricate, and often funky, polyrhythms generated between Drake and Nilssen-Love? The awesome low end and Arco work of Håker Flaten and Kessler? The virile, competitive, skronk-fest between Vandermark and Gustafsson? I hate to use a hackneyed phrase like, “It’s All Good,” but, it is ALL great. If this album doesn’t wake you up, you’re probably dead. (Also, it’s awesome that the Google dictionary has added “skronk-fest” to its auto-complete.)

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #HamidDrake #IngebrigHåkerFlaten #MatsGustafsson #KentKessler #PaalNilssenLove #KenVandermark #TheThing #DKVTrio

2017-06-15 The Nearer The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat

The Nearer The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat by Brötzmann/Miller/Moholo.

There is no shortage of great album titles among the Brötzmann records for FMP. Brain of a Dog in Section, Nipples, Machine Gun, Half a Dog Can’t Piss, etc. The Nearer The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat is particularly great, and a particularly great album. Recorded in 1979, a meeting between Brötzmann and two expat South African players, Louis Moholo and Harry Miller, proved especially fruitful. The sensitivity of Moholo and Miller allows Brötzmann to occasionally take his foot off the gas and play melodically, building drama and tension.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #freimusicproduktion #FMP #DestinationOUT #PeterBrötzmann#LouisMoholo #HarryMiller

131 – Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty

Please turn your hymnals to number 131 and join with the saxophones in, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”.

Number: 131
First Line: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty
Name: NICAEA.
Meter: Irregular.
Tempo: Joyfully, with dignity
Music: John Bacchus Dykes, 1823-76
Text: Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

Clarinet Arrangement: 131-HolyHolyHolyLordGodAlmighty

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”.

Holy, Holy, Holy!” is a Christianhymn written by Reginald Heber (1783–1826).[1][2][3] Its lyrics speak specifically of the Holy Trinity,[2][3] having been written for use on Trinity Sunday.[3] It quotes the Sanctus of the Latin Mass, which translated into English begins “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God of Hosts”. The text also paraphrases Revelation 4:1–11John Bacchus Dykes composed the tune Nicaea for this hymn in 1861.[1][2][3] The tune name is a tribute to the First Council of Nicaeawhich formalized the doctrine of the Trinity in 325.[2][3]

This sort of thing:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity

Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea,
Cherubin and seraphim falling down before thee,
Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

130 – Holy Spirit, Truth Divine

Please turn your hymnals to number 130 and join with the saxophones in, “Holy Spirit, Truth Divine”.

Number: 130
First Line: Holy Spirit, Truth Divine
Name: SONG 13.
Meter: 7 7, 7 7.
Tempo: Quietly
Music: Orlando Gibbons, 1583-1625
Text: Samuel Longfellow, 1819-92

Clarinet Arrangement: 130b-HolySpiritTruthDivine

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.

A bit more about Samuel Longfellow:

Samuel Longfellow was born June 18, 1819, in Portland, Maine, the last of eight children of Stephen and Zilpah (Wadsworth) Longfellow.[1] His older brother was the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He attended Harvard Collegeand graduated in 1839 ranked eighth in a class of 61.[2] He went on to study at Harvard Divinity School, where his classmates included Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Samuel Johnson, with whom he would later collaborate in his hymn writing.

He is considered part of the second-generation of transcendentalists;[3] after becoming a Unitarian pastor, he adapted the transcendental philosophy he had encountered in divinity school into his hymns and sermons.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal