053b.BrightestAndBest

Please turn to number 53 (Second Tune) and join with the winds in singing, “Brightest and Best”.

Number: 53
First Line: Brightest and Best
Name: LIEBSTER IMMANUEL.
Meter: 11 10, 11 10
Music: Himmels-Lust, Leipzig, 1675
Harm. J. S. Bach, 1685-1750
Text: Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

Something about Baroque Music always makes me think of Soprano Sax. I guess it is it’s similarity in tone to the English Horn and Oboe. Though, cough, really the Soprano Sax didn’t get invented until the 1840s. And the Clarinet didn’t exist in something like its current form until around the same time.

This is an older setting of this hymn (1675!), which has been tarted up a bit by that joker Johann Sebastian Bach.

Johann Sebastian Bach[a] (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He enriched established German styles through his skill in counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and the adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach’s compositions include the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, the Mass in B minor, two Passions, and over three hundred cantatas of which around two hundred survive.[3] His music is revered for its technical command, artistic beauty, and intellectual depth.

Here’s the clarinet arrangement: 053b-brightestandbest

This Hymn struck me as a little odd. It kind of doesn’t have a typical chord sequence, and it doesn’t end particularly satisfyingly. Took me a while to find the dynamics and also to get my mind around the tonal palette.

Since Baroque tunes are fairly busy, I didn’t double any except the Soprano/Melody part, which I played on both Soprano Clarinet and Soprano Sax. I added an Audacity “Medium Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

053a.BrightestAndBest

Please turn to number 53 (First Tune) and join with the clarinets in, “Brightest and Best”.

Number: 53
First Line: Brightest and Best
Name: Morning Star.
Meter: 11 10, 11 10.
Tempo: With devotion
Music: James P. Harding, 1860-1911
Text: Reginald Heber, 1783-1826

Well, according to the wikipedia article on this Brightest and Best:

Brightest and Best” (occasionally rendered by its first line, “Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning“) is a Christian hymn written in 1811 by the Anglican bishop Reginald Heber to be sung at the feast ofEpiphany.[1] It appeared in Heber’s widow’s compilation of hymns entitled Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Service of the Church Year in 1827. It can be sung to a number of tunes, including “Morning Star” by James P. Harding, “Epiphany” by Joseph Thrupp, and “Star in the East” by William Walker. It appears in The Lutheran Hymnal, and appeared in the 1966 Methodist hymnal. It has been recorded by a number of artists, including Glen Campbell, Joanne Hogg and Kathy Mattea (on her album Good News).

Glenn Campbell! Well, there you go.

I initially didn’t like it, despite its apparent familiarity, but after a while it kind of grew on me. Hypnotic, so much so, that I kept getting lost in the phrasing and forgetting how many times through I had already played it.

Transposed for clarinets, it does end up with 5 sharps, which is slightly annoying, and with some very challenging fingering transitions.

Clarinet arrangement: 053-brightest_and_best

Clarinets only, three times through. Doubled each part across the sound field. Applied Audacity “Medium Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

052.AsWithGladness

Please turn to number 52 and join with the clarinets in “As With Gladness”.

First Line: As With Gladness Men of Old
Name: DIX (Treuer Heiland).
Meter: 7 7, 7 7, 7 7.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: Conrad Kocher, 1786-1872
Text: William Chatterton Dix, 1837-98

Regarding William Chatterton Dix, from the Wikipedia Article:

William Chatterton Dix (14 June 1837 – 9 September 1898) was an English writer of hymns and carols. He was born in Bristol, the son of John Dix, a local surgeon, who wrote The Life of Chatterton the poet, a book of Pen Pictures of Popular English Preachers and other works….Few modern writers have shown so signal a gift as his for the difficult art of hymn-writing. His original hymns are found in most modern hymn-books…At the age of 29 he was struck with a near fatal illness and consequently suffered months confined to his bed. During this time he became severely depressed. Yet it is from this period that many of his hymns date. He died at Cheddar, Somerset, England, and was buried at his parish church.

Here’s the text from this hymn, named after Mr Dix.

As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold;
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward beaming bright;
So, most gracious God, may we
Evermore be led to thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly manger bed,
There to bend the knee before
Him whom heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that manger rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sins alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright
Need they no created light;
Thou its light, its job, its crown
Thou its sun which goes not down;
There for ever may we sing
Alleluias to our King. Amen.

There are some important turns of phrase in there, that will, in fact, echo down the years and into gospel and other musics!

Here is the clarinet arrangement: 052-aswithgladness

Speaking of Gospel, the phrasing of this one ends up being a sort of call and response form, which is kind of cool. The usual procedure: double each part, three times through, audacity “Medium Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

The Crafty Fox, 10.14.2016

Mrs Flannestad and I were not feeling particularly social, so we decided to try somewhere we hadn’t visited before. Well, and we were also both craving Fish & Chips, an item, which, at least executed well, is not particularly common in the SF Bay Area.

The Crafty Fox seemed like an interesting choice, and, indeed, it does appear to be quite popular with the well dressed tech set for an after work drink. Tables filtered in, had a round, and filtered back out.

However, not feeling social, does not mean that the reluctant teetotaler is off the job!

You will be pleased to know, at The Crafty Fox, I did ask the bartender, “What are your non-alcoholic options?” To which he replied, “We have Root Beer on draft, Mexican Coca-Cola, and Fizzy Water.”

Is the Root Beer, perhaps, Devil’s Canyon Root Beer? My favorite of all Root Beers?

Why, yes, yes it is!

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051.EarthHasManyANobleCity

Please turn to number 51 and join with the clarinets in “Earth Has Many a Noble City”.

First Line: Earth Has Many a Noble City
Name: STUTTGART.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7.
Tempo: With dignity
Music: Christian Friedrich Witt, 1660-1716
Text: Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, 348-413
Tr. Edward Caswall, 1814-78

With this hymn, we cross from the “Christmas” section of the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal into the Epiphany section.

This hymn is fairly perfect. A sort of template for “Hymn-Ness” with its brevity and concise precision.

Clarinet Arrangement: 051-earthhasmanyanoblecity

The usual, each clarinet part doubled and mixed across the sound field. Audacity “Medium Room” Reverb effect applied.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

The Cavalier, 10.11.2016

Apparently, The Cavalier is another restaurant that feels that the listing of any non-alcoholic options on their dinner menu is a waste of space.

So, I won’t waste much space on them.

(To be fair, they do list “Fresh Juices and Refreshers” on their Lunch, Brunch, and Breakfast menus. Not sure why they fall out of consideration for the dinner menu.)

Restaurant/Cocktails=Bar/Food?

An interesting phenomena of recent years has been the bar with really tasty food.

When we first moved to San Francisco, circa the early 90s, the restaurant and cocktail worlds were pretty separate.

You could get awesome food in many restaurants, but rarely in those same restaurants could you get good cocktails. Actually, often you couldn’t get ANY cocktails at all. Wine was King in upscale dining. And while you could get good cocktails in bars, rarely could you get food much more advanced than fries and an adequate burger.

I hate to single out one person and one restaurant, but I think when the Slanted Door added cocktails and allowed Thad Vogler to bring his vision of upscale cocktails in upscale dining locations to that restaurant, and every other restaurant he worked in after, it was the shot heard ’round the world, at least in the Bay Area.

Suddenly, you could get a good drink that wasn’t wine in a fancy restaurant.

More recently that idea has been turned on its head by bars like Alembic, Trick Dog, Old Bus, and Tosca Cafe, some of which have been making the Chronicle annual Best Restaurants list. Suddenly, you can get not just an OK burger in a BAR, but REALLY good food.

However, having REALLY good food in a bar means that people who wouldn’t ordinarily be going out to bars to drink/drank/drunk with their friends, like, say, ME, have a reason to visit those selfsame bars.

And while I know Trick Dog has always made a point of having non-alcoholic options, (thanks to fellow traveler Josh Harris,) Tosca Cafe shows that this isn’t always the case at this arguably new form of bar/restaurant.

IF you are going to the trouble to have food which might attract a larger audience than your average bar, THEN perhaps you should also provide some beverage menu options for those of us who might not otherwise be attracted to hang out in your bar.

Make-Out Room, 10.3.2016

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When you order, “Ice water and change for a twenty” and you get “Ice water and a Jameson Whiskey on the rocks with soda and a lime wedge”.

I didn’t even know that was a thing. Who would order their Jameson Whiskey with a lime wedge garnish?

Maybe I look a lot like another person whose regular order is “Jameson on the rocks with soda and a lime wedge”?

That’s about all I can think of.

What’s Up With the Hymns?

Apparently, this whole “Lutheran Hymn” thing puzzles quite a few people, so I thought I might write a little post about it.

First off, I grew up in a small town in South Western Wisconsin which was mostly populated by Norwegian and Lutherans. I grew up singing these hymns every Sunday. When I was old enough, I joined the children’s choir and continued in church choirs through most of high school.

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs and interviews with musicians, and a lot of them talk about their very early inspirations.

Many of those musicians were lucky enough to have grown up going to African American Gospel churches or to belong to some ethnic group with an interesting folk music tradition.

However, as mentioned, I grew up going to a Lutheran church in Wisconsin. That is my tradition, and in a lot of ways, my “folk” music. That, and “Old Tyme Gospel Music”. But perhaps more about that later.

I find the basic harmonies and melodies of these old hymns, especially the more open ones, to be quite moving and powerful.

When I was looking around for some music to learn and play on the clarinet, I thought to myself, “Hey self! It might be funny to track down a Lutheran Hymnal, and learn those old hymns on the clarinet.” Get re-in touch with the memories and feelings of my youth, good and bad.

As a bonus, the hymns are neither particularly challenging nor long, which is, in fact, a big bonus for someone with a full time job who is also trying to (re) learn Jazz and to play the clarinet and sax.

I can transcribe, transpose, and record all 4 parts of the hymn in a few hours, and it is good for me to learn the recording, mixing, and arranging software. Most important, I am re-learning to play harmony parts with other instruments, even though I am playing all the instruments myself.

So, that’s what’s up with the hymns.

I hope you enjoy them a little bit, and that they might remind you of something of your past or present, good or bad.

050.JesusNameOfWondrousLove

Please turn to number 50 and join with the clarinets in “Jesus’ Name of Wondrous Love”.

First Line: Jesus’ Name of Wondrous Love
Name: UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Meter: 7 7, 7 7.
Tempo: Slowly, with dignity
Music: Henry John Gauntlett, 1805-76
Text: William Walsham How, 1823-97

The first, and only hymn, from the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, celebrating “Circumcision and Name of Jesus”.

I am not sure if it is specifically to celebrate Jesus’ circumcision or any circumcision.

Clarinet Arrangement: 50-jesusnameofwondrouslove

Jesus, Name of wondrous love!
Human Name of God above;
Pleading only this we flee,
Helpless, O our God, to thee. Amen.

Kind of a bleak, masochistic, hymn, but at least it is mercifully, and appropriately, SHORT.

Doubled clarinets on all parts, with the usual “Large Room” audacity Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal