Please turn to number 29 and join with the clarinets in “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light”.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 8 8, 7 7.
Music: Johann Schop, cir 1600-65
Harm. J. S. Bach, 1685-1750
Text: Johann Rist, 1607-67
Tr. St. 1, composite
Tr. St. 2, Arthur Tozer Russell, 1806-74
Whew, another barn burner from that joker, J. S. Bach.
Like the last Bach arrangement, I stuck with the Soprano clarinets for this one, though I did multitrack the “Soprano” part several times.
But then I went back and added in the bass clarinet:
Which do you prefer?
These Baroque pieces are pretty challenging, at least compared to most of the hymns. Lots of counterpoint going on in the Tenor and Bass parts, often making those parts harder to play than the melody part.
Please turn to number 28 and join with the clarinets in, “The Happy Christmas”.
Music: Carl C.N. Balle, 1806-55
Text: Nikolai F.S. Grudtvig, 1783-1872
Tr. Charles Porterfield Krauth, 1823-83
Not much to say about this one, it’s not one I remember. It’s kind of pretty and a bit folky, but no Sea Chanty. Transposed for clarinet, it did end up having 6 sharps, which is kind of annoying. Tough to remember e sharp is actually just f natural.
Please turn your hymnals to number 27 (Second Tune) and join with the clarinets in “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
Name: Christmas Carol.
Meter: 8 6, 8 6, 7 6, 8 6.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: Henry Walford Davies, 1869-1941
Text: Phillips Brooks, 1835-93
A second version of this hymn. I’d say it’s Baroque-like, except that Baroque, with the tune being written some time between 1869 and 1941, was long past its expiration date when this version was written.
This is what I can find about this version:
Two versions also exist by H. Walford Davies, called “Wengen”, and “Christmas carol”. “Wengen” was published in Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1922, meanwhile “Christmas Carol” is usually performed only by choirs rather than as a congregational hymn. This is because the first two verses are for treble voices with organ accompaniment, with only the final verse as a chorale/refrain harmony. This setting includes a recitative from the Gospel of Luke at the beginning, and cuts verses 2 and 4 of the original 5-verse carol. This version is often performed at the service of Nine Lessons and Carols in Kings College, Cambridge.
Please turn your hymnals to number 27 and join with the clarinets in “O Little Town of Bethlehem (First Tune)”.
Name: ST. LOUIS (REDNER).
Meter: 8 6, 8 6, 7 6, 8 6.
Music: Lewis Henry Redner, 1831-1908
Text: Phillips Brooks, 1835-93
It is a beautiful hymn.
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
The first time I got to playing this, it was really late in the evening. Somehow I ended up playing it through very quickly and was experimenting with a certain attack on the notes. Turned out kind of cool, even though it wasn’t what I was thinking for the actual hymn.
After experimenting with that track for a couple days, I went back and redid it more traditionally.
From the wikipedia article regarding “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”:
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is a Christmas carol that first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems, having been written by Charles Wesley. Wesley had requested and received slow and solemn music for his lyrics, not the joyful tune expected today.
There were some alternate melodies, so I actually ended up with 1 Clarinet playing the “soprano” part, 2 Clarinets doing the “alto” parts, 1 Clarinet playing the “tenor” part, and 2 Bass clarinets doing the “bass” parts in the final recording. Total of 6 clarinet parts. I’ve been tweaking the Audacity “Church” Reverb effect presets so that it has less effect on the levels of the tune.
Please turn your Service Book and Hymnal to number 24 and join with the clarinets in “While Shepherd’s Watched Their Flocks by Night”.
Music: Gottfried Wilhelm Fink, 1783-1846
Text: Nahum Tate, 1652-1715
“Wow, dude, like when the Angel of the Lord came down to announce Jesus’ birth to the Shepherds, man, SHEPHERDS! they must have been like, quaking in their boots and totally freaked out!”
“Oh man, you’re so right! They must have been OUT of their minds!”
“Give me another toke, I’m going to write a poem about it!”
While Shepherds watched their flock by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
‘Fear not,’ said he, for mighty dread
Had Seized their troubled mind;
‘Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
‘To you, in David’s town this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign:
The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid’
Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song:
‘All glory be to God on high,
And to earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from heaven to men
Begin and never cease!’
Anyway, I was playing the melody and thinking, jeeze, this seems familiar, I feel like playing it faster, it seems kind of ‘folky’. I paced it at 90, then felt compelled to play it double time.
After recording it, I realized, “Oh right, wait, isn’t this melody REALLY similar to Hymn 14, ‘Rejoice All Ye Believers”?’ Huh, I guess Gottfried Wilhelm Fink was also familiar with “Swedish Folk Melody”. Nice to know my instincts are based around melody.
I haven’t been super please with the Bass Clarinet on the tenor parts. That range of the Bass Clarinet is just a little too assertive for a tenor part. This time I transposed it down and octave and played it on Soprano Clarinet. I did play the Bass Part on Bass Clarinet.
Please turn your hymnals to number 21 and join with the clarinets in “All Praise to Thee” aka “Tallis’ Canon”.
Name: TALLIS’ CANON.
Tempo: With dignity
Music: Thomas Tallis, cir 1505-85
Text: Latin Hymns of XI cent.
German Hymn of XIV Cent.
Martin Luther, 1483-1546
Tr. Anonymous, 1858
I got a little obsessed with the arrangement of Tallis’ Canon and ended up with a fairly complex thing. Basically, the Canon is running against itself at two speeds. (I was really tempted to run another melody at 2x the faster speed, but that would be bebop.)
First I did the round with 4 beats per half note in two parts at a very slow tempo, basically half note equals 40 bpm, and recorded all the parts on bass clarinet.