OUR MUSIC TODAY
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2020
Comprising a little echo from our Christmas choral prelude and a recent Ross Arts concert, our anthem and organ works today were written or arranged by four great English musicians – two from the Renaissance and two from the 20th century. In the prelude William Byrd (1543-1623) paid respects to his younger colleague John Dowland (1563-1626), whose melody was again reworked in “Lachrymae” for viola and piano by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). Our anthem, on a 17th-century French tune, was arranged by Gustav Holst (1874-1934) – now perhaps most famous for his orchestral suite, “The Planets”.
St. John’s Chancel Choir: Our Chancel Choir is open and welcoming to all adults and high-schoolers, as well as any middle schoolers who can read music well enough and would like to learn the art of choral singing. The choir meets on Thursday evenings at 7pm.
St. John’s Children’s Choir: Our congregation is blessed with a number of gifted and lively young singers who make up this choir. The choir is open to elementary-school children and is preparing for a handful of appearances at the 10am service – culminating with Easter Sunday and beyond. We practice each Sunday (important!) after the 10am service while parents are enjoying the coffee hour. Prospective members please contact David Montgomery (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the schedule and further information!
CHRISTMAS 2019, BELOW
The 2019 St. John’s Christmas Choir sings the Choral Prelude, Christmas Eve.
Benjamin Britten: from A Ceremony of Carols (text: Antiphon to the Magnificat)
Hodie Christus natus est; Hodie Salvator apparuit:
Hodie in terra canunt angeli Laetantur archangeli
Hodie exsulant justi dicentes: Gloria in excelsis Deo,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves (text: William Dix, 19th c.)
Peter Warlock: Adam lay ybounden (text: 15th c. English)
Ne had the apple taken been,the apple taken been,
Ne had never Our Lady, a-been heaven’s queen.
Blessed be the time that apple taken was!
Therefore we may singen Deo gratias!
Peter Warlock (text: Bruce Blunt), from Bethlehem Down. Betsy Bennett-Smith, soprano
When He is king they will clothe him in gravesheets,
Myrrh for embalming, and wood for a crown,
He that lies now in the soft arms of Mary
Sleeping so lightly on Bethlehem Down.
Here he has peace and a short while for dreaming,
Close huddled oxen to keep him from cold,
Mary for love, and for lullaby music
Songs of a shepherd by Bethlehem fold.
Gustav Holst (Richard Proulx / text: Michael Perry), O God, beyond all praising (on Thaxted)
Adolphe Adam (English text: J.S. Dwight), O Holy Night. Betsy Bennett-Smith, soprano
Franz Xaver Gruber/Carl Reinecke (Joseph Mohr) Silent Night (congregational hymn)
In 1961 the Aeolian-Skinner Company of Boston installed the two-manual, 34-stop forerunner of our present sanctuary organ. In 2001 J. Nelson and Company enriched the instrument by the addition of 61 digitally-sampled voices and a 3-manual console from the Allen Company in Pennsylvania, allowing the performance of repertoire ranging in style from baroque to contemporary. The dedicatory concert of the present organ was given by the late Dr. Philip Hahn, then Music Director at St. John’s. Images of the instrument may be viewed here.