While this arrangement was easy to transcribe and record, I had a much harder time finding room for my second verse solo “Hymnprovisation”. There’s a lot of freedom in the simple harmonies of chant. When you start getting more chord changes in there, it becomes more complicated for improvisation.
I always think of improvisation sort of like navigating an obstacle course. With Chant, you basically have a straight track with maybe one obstacle in the middle. With modern arrangements (and jazz), it becomes a steeple chase.
I have come to almost dread these Edmund White arrangements of Medieval chant.
First, they’re a pain to transcribe. There is inevitably some mis-match between the beats in the different parts, which forces me to use my own judgement.
Second, the hymns, as written, have no measures. So, the “meter” such that it exists I can only divine based upon the length of the musical phrases, rather than actual written measures. In this case, it means I have to divy it up several different meters. It starts in 6/8. Moves to 5/8 for a measure. Then goes to 7/8 for a few. Has a measure of 8/8. Then two of 6/8. One measure of 5/8. And it finishes in 7/8. It’s almost as bad as a Rush song.
Anyway, all that counting is tough, especially at the relatively slow pace of a medieval chant. It’s one thing to mis half a beat when you’re cruising along with a ton of little notes, but when your travelling at 72bpm, it just sounds sloppy. It’s kind of a zen mode where you have to count very slowly and carefully.
Anyway, usually what happens is there is usually a short motif which all the parts perform in unison, which sort of provides the framework upon which these pieces hang. In this case, it is two quarter notes at the end of each phrase.
So, they take a lot of work, compared to more modern (Ha!) hymns in the book, and several days to get myself into the proper frame of mind to be able to perform all 4 parts accurately 3 times through.
But, I do really enjoy them, once I get in the mind set.
I did a bit of “Hymnprovisation” on the second time through, and am pretty pleased with how it turned out.
This is the first hymn of the section in celebration of Holy Week, the days between Palm Sunday and Good Friday.
She takes a while to get there, but I like her closing sentiments a lot:
But in time, I got used to this new world, and more accepting of myself. I still go to holiday parties, although I tend to arrive early and leave when everyone starts talking really loudly, but I don’t struggle with that sense of radioactive weirdness anymore. I feel at home in my body, and in the world, in a way I did not for many years.
So if you’re struggling to stay sober, hang in there. Because that feeling of comfort — of no longer being wracked by shame for who you are or what you did — is a gift the bottle can never give you. But it is a gift you can give yourself.
With only two years of New Years’ Sober Eves under my belt, I’m still working on it, but I feel like I’m getting there.
But, back to today, 12.31.2016.
The best things about New Years’ Eve are surrounding yourself with good friends and family, hanging out, talking, eating, and agreeing to work together towards a better next year.
Please turn to number 74 and join with the clarinets in “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”.
First Line: All Glory, Laud, and Honor
Name: ST. THEODULPH (VALET WILL ICH DIR GEBEN).
Meter: 7 6, 7 6. D.
Music: Melchior Teschner, 1585-1635
Text: Theodulph of Orleans, cir 760-821
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-66
Theodulf of Orléans (c. 750(/60) – 18 December 821) was a writer, poet and the Bishop of Orléans (c. 798 to 818) during the reign of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious. He was a key member of the Carolingian Renaissance and an important figure during the many reforms of the church under Charlemagne, as well as almost certainly the author of the Libri Carolini, “much the fullest statement of the Western attitude to representational art that has been left to us by the Middle Ages”. He is mainly remembered for this and the survival of the private oratory or chapel made for his villa at Germigny-des-Prés, with a mosaic probably from about 806.
Theodulf brought fresh ideas and an open mind to the period known as the Carolingian Renaissance. He believed in always keeping the door open and never refusing pilgrims, travelers or the poor if they needed a meal or a place to stay for the night. He believed that you had to offer the less fortunate a seat at your dinner table if you one day wished to have a seat at the banquet of God. These ideas were highly influenced by his readings of Augustine. He often referred to himself as the poor traveler or stranger, being born in Spain and of Visigothic descent, and being accepted with open arms by the royal court of Charlemagne.
Though, as usual, he fell afoul of Monarchs, in this case the French variety, was exiled to a monastery at Angers, and died attempting to return to Orleans.
“”Valet will ich dir geben” (“I want to bid you farewell” or I shall say farewell to thee) is a Lutheran hymn, written by Valerius Herberger in 1613 with a melody by Melchior Teschner. A Sterbelied (hymn for the dying), it is part of the current German hymnal.”
By the way, at Hymn 74, this is the last of the three tunes for Palm Sunday, but, more importantly, about the half way point for the hymns specifically dedicated to occasions of the Church Year. Woo!
The other night Mrs. Flannestad and I were visiting Old Bus Tavern and bartender Rachel Leiderman was excited to have us try something she was working on, a spiced nut milk.
We tried it and were blown away. Both Mrs. Flannestad and I were of the opinion, “Why would you drink gross, gloppy, egg nog, when you could instead drink delicious spicy nut milk?”
So I sent Rachel a note a couple days later and asked her to let me come in and watch her make it. Rachel got her starting place from a recipe on Bon Appetit: Basic Nut Milk and added some tweaks inspired by local Nut Milk Purveyors Living Apothecary.
Rachel is still working on the process and deciding whether she will make it for the bar menu, but stop by and ask her for it. If she doesn’t have Nut Milk made, she can always make something else tasty, alcoholic or not.
NUT NOG (Since “Spiced Nut Milk” sounds like something you squeeze out of a grumpy old walnut tree, so I am making an executive decision to call this beverage “Nut Nog”. Get it?)
1 Cup Nuts (Rachel used a blend of almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds)
4 tsp Agave Nectar
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 TBSP Rolled Oats
3 dates, chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Tumeric, peeled and chopped (wear rubber gloves when cleaning and chopping, will stain your hands.)
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Cloves, ground
1 tsp Allspice, ground
4 Cups Hot Water
Equipment: Blender (preferably Vitamix or similar), Fine Strainer, Nut Bag.
Step 1. Soak Your Nuts.
Cover the nuts with water by 2 inches and leave to soak overnight. Drain nuts and rinse.
Step 2. Grind Your Nuts.
Add nuts and remaining dry ingredients to bowl of blender (preferably high powered, as in VitaMix or similar). Begin grinding ingredients and pour in hot water as you go. When you can no longer see nut pieces, stop grinding.
Step 3. Squeeze Your Nuts.
Pour mixture through fine strainer, and press to extract as much liquid as possible. Remove nut and spice solids and compost or feed to your livestock (Mmmm, tasty, spiced ham!). If you don’t mind it a bit gritty, you can stop here. Otherwise, line strainer with nut milk bag and strain liquid again. Allow to drain, this will take a while. Squeeze solids nut milk bag to extract as much liquid as possible.
Step 4. Enjoy Your Nut Nog.
Serve warm or cold, garnished with freshly grated nutmeg. Makes about 3 cups. Refrigerated, it will keep for several days.
Graham Elias George (11 April 1912 – 9 December 1993) was a Canadian composer, music theorist, organist, choirconductor, and music educator of English birth. An associate of the Canadian Music Centre, his compositional output consists largely of choral works, many written for Anglican liturgical use. He also wrote three ballets, four operas, and some symphonic music. In 1938 he won the Jean Lallemand Prize for his Variations on an Original Theme. At first he employed traditional tertial harmony, but the influence of Hindemith led him to introduce quartal-quintal harmony as integral to his style. Successful completion of RCCO/RCO diplomas and external degrees had demanded he attain very considerable expertise in counterpoint, and so his neoclassic deployment of contrapuntal devices such as imitation, canon and fugue is hardly accidental.
The hymn is supposed to be sung in unison, so instead of just including the vocal parts, the arrangement includes what I assume are the organ parts. Teasing out all the chords in the organ parts into serial clarinet parts, I end up with 1 Soprano part, 3 alto parts, 2 tenor parts, and 2 bass parts. To imitate the unison, I recorded the melody/soprano part 4 times.
John Bacchus Dykes was born March 10, 1823, at Kingston upon Hull in England. He was a “natural” musician, and became the organist at his father’s church when only ten years old. At age 12, Dykes became assistant organist at St. John’s Church in Hull, where his grandfather was vicar.
The burden of caring for his large parish without help, together with the strain of the controversy with the bishop, took its toll on him and he died at only 53, on January 22, 1876 at Ticehurst, Sussex, England. He was buried at St. Oswald’s. After his death at St. Leonard’s-on-Sea, his great popularity was seen when his admirers raised 10,000 pounds to benefit his family.
In his music, as in his ecclesiastical work, he was less dogmatic than many of his contemporaries about the theological controversies of the day — he often responded to requests for tunes for non-Anglican hymns. In addition to his gift for writing music, he played the organ, piano, violin, and horn. He is thought to be the most representative and successful composer of Victorian hymn tunes. His tunes are standard repertory for all the major hymnals in the United States, after being first introduced 100 years ago in Baker’s “Hymns Ancient Modern.”
I guess this is a Spanish Chant which was arranged by Benjamin Carr.
Benjamin Carr (September 12, 1768 – May 24, 1831) was an American composer, singer, teacher, and music publisher.
Born in London, he was the son of Joseph Carr and older brother of Thomas Carr. He was also the nephew of his namesake Benjamin Carr (1731–80), who ran an instrument-making and repair shop in London for over 20 years.
He studied organ with Charles Wesley and composition with Samuel Arnold. In 1793 he traveled to Philadelphia with a stage company, and a year later went with the same company to New York, where he stayed until 1797. Later that year he moved to Philadelphia, where he became a prominent member of the city’s musical life. He was “decidedly the most important and prolific music publisher in America during the 1790s (as well as one of its most distinguished composers), conducting, in addition to his Philadelphia business, a New York branch from 1794 to 1797, when it was acquired by James Hewitt“.
He was well known as a teacher of keyboard and singing, and he served as organist and choirmaster at St Augustine’s Catholic Church (1801–31) and at St Peter’s Episcopal Church (1816–31). In 1820 he was one of the principal founders of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and he is known as the “Father of Philadelphia Music”.Mrs. French, who had achieved a degree of fame as a singer, was one of his students.
The text is pretty grim, a catalog of Christ’s suffering and ultimate triumph. It is a bit odd, sort of an invocation.
1 Savior, when in dust to Thee
Low we bow the adoring knee;
When, repentant, to the skies
Scarce we lift our weeping eyes;
O, by all Thy pains and woe
Suffered once for man below,
Bending from Thy throne on high,
Hear our penitential cry!
2 By Thy helpless infant years,
By Thy life of want and tears,
By Thy days of deep distress
In the savage wilderness,
By the dread, mysterious hour
Of the insulting tempter’s pow’r,
Turn, O turn, a fav’ring eye;
Hear our penitential cry!
3 By thine hour of dire despair,
By thine agony of prayer,
By the cross, the nail, the thorn,
Piercing spear, and torturing scorn,
By the gloom that veiled the skies
O’er the dreadful sacrifice,
Listen to our humble sigh;
Hear our penitential cry!
4 By Thy deep expiring groan,
By the sad sepulchral stone,
By the vault whose dark abode
Held in vain the rising God,
O, from earth to heav’n restored,
Mighty, re-ascended Lord,
Bending from Thy throne on high,
Hear our penitential cry!
“Adapted and harmonized by J.S. Bach” always makes for a bit of a challenge. I upped the challenge to myself by doing a little “hymprovisation” and variation on the second and third times through.
This hymn is a single verse:
Print thine image pure and holy,
On my heart, O Lord of Grace;
So that nothing high nor lowly,
Thy blest likeness can efface.
Let the clear inscription be:
Jesus, crucified for me,
And the Lord of all creation,
Is my refuge and salvation.
“Print Thine image on my heart” is such an odd turn of phrase and Kingo is such an odd name, I had to look him up.
Thomas Hansen Kingo (15 December 1634 – 14 October 1703 Odense) was a Danish bishop, poet and hymn-writer born at Slangerup, near Copenhagen. His work marked the high point of Danish baroque poetry.
He belonged to a rather poor family partly of Scottish origin and was educated a clergyman. In his youth, Kingo wrote a series of poems picturing humorous scenes in village life and a pastoral love poem, Chrysillis. He studied theology at the University of Copenhagen, graduating in 1654, and for some time acted as private tutor. In 1661 he was appointed vicar to the pastor at Kirke Helsinge, and in 1668 he was ordained a minister at his native town, where his poetic activity began.
At first he essayed patriotic poems, but later devoted himself almost entirely to writing hymns, and in 1674 the first part of his Aandelige Siunge-Koor (“Spiritual Song Choir”) appeared; followed in 1681 by a second part. This work consists of a collection of beautiful hymns several of which are still popular in the Danish Church.
In 1677 Kingo was appointed bishop of Funen. Charged by the government with the compilation of a new hymn-book, he edited (1699) the so-called Kingo’s Psalmebog which contains eighty-five of his own compositions, and which is still used in various parts of Denmark and Norway. Some parts of the Danish rural population were firmly sticking to his hymns during the pietist and rationalist period contributing to their survival.
Though not the first Danish hymn writer Kingo must be considered the first real important one and also among the Danish poets of the 17th Century he is generally a leading figure. His hymns are born by a forceful and often Old Testamental wrath and renunciation of the world switching with Christian mildness and confidence. Both elements are thrown in relief by his private thrift and fighting nature. His worldly poems and patriotic songs are often long-winded and marked by outer effects but in short version he is unequalled, as in his both plain and worthy commemorative poem of the naval hero Niels Juel.
Hm, apparently, writing hymns for the church is more dangerous than I previously suspected. Girolamo Savonarola was hung and burned, while Nikolaus Decius is suspected to have been killed by poisoning just after he wrote this hymn.
Nikolaus Decius (also Degius, Deeg, Tech a Curia, and Nickel von Hof; c. 1485 – 21 March 1541 (others say 1546) was a German monk, hymn-writer and composer.