Sopranoville: Works for Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone. Sam Newsome.
That title sounds so academic for such an enjoyable album! While these pieces are a sort of catalog of every sound it is possible to get from a Soprano Sax, it is Mr Newsome’s artistic creativity and vision that stand out.
And not only that, but as a teetotaler, the following is quite interesting, to me personally.
Owen, William (‘William Owen of Prysgol,’ 1813-1893), musician; b. 12? Dec. 1813 [in Lônpopty], Bangor, the son of William and Ellen Owen. The father was a quarryman at Cae Braich-y-cafn quarry, Bethesda, and the son began to work in the same quarry when he was ten years old. He learnt music at classes held by Robert Williams (Cae Aseth), at Carneddi, and from William Roberts, Tyn-y-maes, the composer of the hymn-tune ‘Andalusia.’ He wrote his first hymn-tune when he was 18 — it was published in Y Drysorfa for June 1841. After the family had [removed] to [Caesguborwen], Bangor, [sometimes called Cilmelyn] — they had spent some years [at Tŷhen] near the quarry — William Owen formed a temperance choir which sang ‘Cwymp Babilon,’ the work of the conductor, at the Caernarvon temperance festival, 1849. In 1852, with the help of some friends at Bethesda, he published Y Perl Cerddorol yn cynnwys tonau ac anthemau, cysegredig a moesol; of this 3,000 copies were sold, A solfa edition appeared in 1886 of which 4,000 copies were sold. He composed several temperance pieces, some of which were sung in the Eryri temperance festivals held at Caernarvon castle. His anthem, ‘Ffynnon Ddisglair,’ and the hymn-tunes ALMA and DEEMSTER became popular, but it was the hymn-tune called BRYN CALFARIA which made the composer famous; this continues to have a considerable vogue in Wales and in England. He married the daughter of the house called Prysgol and went there to live; he also became precentor at Caeathro C.M. chapel. He died 20 July 1893, and was buried in Caeathro chapel burial ground.
Please turn your hymnals to number 114 (First Tune) and join with the clarinets in, “Look, Ye Saints, The Sight is Glorious”.
Number: 114 (First Tune)
First Line: Look, Ye Saints, The Sight is Glorious
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 4 4 7.
Music: Henry James Gauntlett, 1805-76
Text: Thomas Kelly, 1769-1854
The use of unison parts for the first line and harmony for the response is fairly dramatic, at least for hymn writing.
Some interesting tidbits regarding the author of the text.
Kelly, Thomas, B.A., son of Thomas Kelly, a Judge of the Irish Court of Common Pleas, was born in Dublin, July 13, 1769, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was designed for the Bar, and entered the Temple, London, with that intention; but having undergone a very marked spiritual change he took Holy Orders in 1792. His earnest evangelical preaching in Dublin led Archbishop Fowler to inhibit him and his companion preacher, Rowland Hill, from preaching in the city. For some time he preached in two unconsecrated buildings in Dublin, Plunket Street, and the Bethesda, and then, having seceded from the Established Church, he erected places of worship at Athy, Portarlington, Wexford, &c, in which he conducted divine worship and preached. He died May 14, 1854. Miller, in his Singers & Songs of the Church, 1869, p. 338 (from which some of the foregoing details are taken), says:—
“Mr. Kelly was a man of great and varied learning, skilled in the Oriental tongues, and an excellent Bible critic. He was possessed also of musical talent, and composed and published a work that was received witli favour, consisting of music adapted to every form of metre in his hymn-book. Naturally of an amiable disposition and thorough in his Christian piety, Mr. Kelly became the friend of good men, and the advocate of every worthy, benevolent, and religious cause. He was admired alike for his zeal and his humility; and his liberality found ample scope in Ireland, especially during the year of famine.”
As a hymn-writer Kelly was most successful. As a rule his strength appears in hymns of Praise and in metres not generally adopted by the older hymn writers. His “Come, see the place where Jesus lay” (from “He’s gone, see where His body lay”),”From Egypt lately come”; “Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious”; “On the mountain’s top appearing”; “The Head that once was crowned with thorns”; “Through the day Thy love has spared us”; and “We sing the praise of Him Who died,” rank with the first hymns in the English language. Several of his hymns of great merit still remain unknown through so many modern editors being apparently adverse to original investigation.
Mr Colin Stetson continues to pursue his vision for solo woodwind and contact mic’d vocal performance. On this release, he seems to be concentrating on, and crystalizing, the vocal and rhythmic aspects of his work. Many of the pieces also have a wider, symphonic-pastoral scope, and more dynamic variation, than the “Judges” series he did for Constellation Records. Epic, in every sense of the word.
Please turn to number 113 and join with the clarinets in “Let All the Multitudes of Light”.
First Line: Let All the Multitudes of Light
Name: NUN FREUT EUCH.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 8 8 7.
Tempo: With dignity
Music: Geistliche Lieder, Wittenberg, 1535
Text: Frederick Brodie Macnutt, 1873-1949
By permission of Mrs. F. B. Macnutt
Unfortunately, the rest of the hymn, and the rest of the verses, are just not that interesting, at least if you are a humanist, like myself.
Let all the multitudes of light,
Their songs in concert raising,
With earth’s triumphal hymns unite,
The risen Saviour praising..
Ye heavens, his festival proclaim!
Our King returneth whence he came,
With victory amazing.
For us he bore the bitter Tree,
To death’s dark realm descending;
Our foe he slew, and set us free,
Man’s ancient bondage ending.
No more the tyrant’s chains oppress;
O conquering Love, thy name we bless,
With thee to heaven ascending.
Jesus, to thee be endless praise,
For this thy great salvation;
O holy Father, thine always
Be thanks and adoration;
Spirit of life and light, to thee
Eternal praise and glory be:
One God of all creation!
Some information regarding Mr MacNutt from wikipedia.
Macnutt married twice, firstly to Hettie Sina Bullock (1973-1945) and shortly after her death to Evelyn May Oliver (1898-1981). He had two children by Hettie: Derrick Somerset (1902-1971) and Margaret Hester (1906-1939).
Though highly rated as a composer by his English contemporaries, Smart is now largely forgotten, save for his hymn tuneRegent Square, which retains considerable popularity, and which is commonly performed with the words “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation”, “Light’s Abode, Celestial Salem”, or “Angels from the Realms of Glory“. His many compositions for the organ (some of which have been occasionally revived in recent years) were described as “effective and melodious, if not strikingly original” by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which also praised his part songs. A cantata by him, The Bride of Dunkerron was written for the Birmingham Festival of 1864; another cantata was a version of the play King René’s Daughter (1871). The oratorioJacob was created for Glasgow in 1873; and his opera Bertha was produced with some success at the Haymarket in 1855.