"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music.

I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. I get the most joy in life out of music."

~ Albert Einstein

Friday, December 22, 2017

Nativity Carol (John Rutter)

My introduction to John Rutter was in the recording, The Holly and the Ivy: Carols from Clare College. I love Christmas music and this album became a favorite and made me pay attention to the work of John Rutter who is one of the most notable composers and choral directors living today. Rutter has certainly made his mark in sacred choral music.  “Nativity Carol” is one of Rutter’s compositions and appears on The John Rutter Christmas Album.  It is performed here by the King’s College Choir, Cambridge


Thursday, December 21, 2017

O Little Town of Bethlehem (Vaughan WIlliams) King's College Cambridge

The beloved carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” was written by the Rev. Phillips Brooks for his Sunday School in 1868. He had spent Christmas in Bethlehem two years before. Brooks was born in Boston in 1835, graduated at Harvard College 1855, and was ordained in 1859. He served as rector at the Church of the Advent, Philadelphia, and later at Trinity Church, Boston.

Most congregations that sing this carol use the tune ST LOUIS, composed by Lewis Redner. Here we hear FOREST GREEN which is an English folk tune associated with the ballad "The Ploughboy's Dream." Ralph Vaughan Williams turned FOREST GREEN into a hymn tune for The English Hymnal (1906), using it as a setting for "O Little Town of Bethlehem." 

Vaughan Williams played a primary role in establishing English sacred music in the 20th century. Himself an agnostic, he took on the task of revising the English Hymnal and the result was both solid and magical. He had long collected English folk tunes and incorporated many of those tunes in hymns he composed for the hymnal.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Wexford Carol

One of my all-time favorite Christmas carols, performed by Clare College Choir under the direction of John Rutter.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Silent Devotion and Response, by Ernest Bloch

This is performed by students at Eastern New Mexico University, but I went searching for it because I heard it at Southside Baptist Church this morning as they recounted their interfaith partnership with with Temple Emanu-El.
It is Jewish sacred choral music by Ernest Bloch. The words are from Psalm 19, and they are words I often heard as the benediction by Rev Murray Seay at Dadeville First Baptist Church when I was a kid: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."