Michael Accurso’s Recital Program


Alleluia

 Michael Accurso – Conductor

 PROGRAM

My Song Shall be Alway, HWV 252,                       George Friderich Handel  (1685 – 1759)

“Chandos Anthem No. 7” (c. 1718)

I.     Symphony
II.     My song shall be always
III.    For who is he among the clouds
IV.    God is very greatly to be feared
V.     The heavens are thine
VI.    Righteousness and equity are the habitations of thy seat
VII.  Blessed is the people, O Lord
VIII. Thou art the glory

 Clarisa Ramos and Halle McGuire, soprano soloists
Suzanne Kim-Villano, alto soloist
Andrew Jennings, tenor soloist
Jonathan Kim, baritone soloist

The Lamb (1982)                                                                             John Tavener (b. 1944)

Cum Vidisset Jesus (2012)                                                        James MacMillan (b. 1959)

Alleluia (2011)                                                                                  Eric Whitacre (b. 1970)

Anna Cooper, soprano soloist and William George, baritone soloist

Psalm 148 Lord, who hast made us for Thine own, H 117       Gustav Holst (1874 – 1934)

Choir

Katherine Burchfield                  Michelle Bythrow
Anna Cooper                             Jeffrey Cooper
Mitchell Garcia                           William George
Andrew Jennings                       Jonathan Kim
Suzanne Kim-Villano                  Halle McGuire
Nathaniel Myers                         Clarisa Ramos
Dana Samardzick                      Nicole Simental
Brenda Smith                             James Crawford Wiley
J.J. Wright

 Orchestra

Daniel Stein, concertmaster
Catherine Hackbarth, violin
Gavin Hsu, cello
Darrel Tidaback, double bass
Lindsay Flowers, oboe
Aaron Kortze, organ
Jisun Kalil, rehearsal accompanist

PROGRAM NOTES


My song shall be alway is one of a collection of eleven anthems that make up a collection known as the Chandos Anthems. Handel wrote the Chandos Anthems during his tenure as composer-in-residence at the house and chapel of Cannons, the home of James Brydges, Earl of Carnarvon and 1st Duke of Chandos. The musical resources at Handel’s disposal were slim in this environment. My song shall be alway is one of the first Chandos Anthems to be written for a choir of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Previously, the anthems were written for a choir of soprano, tenor, and bass. We see the parallel of a missing alto texture in the orchestra as many of the anthems were scored for two violins, basso continuo, and obbligato instrument, in this case, a single oboe. The overall style of this piece is similar to a Lutheran cantata, comprising of an opening symphony followed by a combination of solo arias, a recitative, and short choral movements. Handel borrows much of the musical material for this anthem from earlier works, most noticeably the Caroline Te Deum (1714) and the Brockes Passion (1715). The text of this piece comes from Psalm 89.

British composer, John Tavener, wrote The Lamb in 1982 in the passenger seat of his mother’s car. The text is a poem by nineteenth century poet, William Blake. This poem counteracts another poem by Blake called, The Tyger. These poems together represent the dichotomy of the idea that religion has both good and terrible associations. The Lamb refers to the child Jesus. Tavener uses a wide array of twentieth century musical idioms, such as bi-tonality, irregular rhythm, and inverted and retrograde melodies, simultaneously to create the unique texture, which has his musical signature in it.

Earlier this year, Sacred Music at Notre Dame, commissioned Scottish composer, James MacMillan, one of the world’s leading Catholic contemporary choral composers, to write Cum vidisset Jesus to be presented as a gift to the Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. The text of the piece comes from an antiphon from the office of vespers for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which occurs on September 15. This setting of the text, uses melodic material from the chant that is portrayed with Renaissance musical idioms through a lens of twentieth century harmony. The world premiere of the piece was this past September 15 here at the University of Notre Dame. Many of the performers in this afternoon’s production were a part of the premiere.

American born composer, Eric Whitacre, is currently the Composer in Residence at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. While at the university he composed Alleluia for the college choir, under the direction of David Skinner. It was first performed this past June. In reference to the piece, the composer writes, “I’m not an atheist, but I’m not a Christian either, and for my entire career I have resisted setting texts that could be used in a liturgical context. After spending the 2010 Michaelmas term in Cambridge, singing with Dr. David Skinner and his marvelous Chapel Choir, I began to see the deep wisdom in the liturgical service. I found myself suddenly open to the history and the beauty of the poetry, and it was the single word Alleluia, ‘praise God’, that most enchanted me. It seemed the perfect fit for the music of my wind symphony work October, which to me is a simple and humble meditation on the glory of Autumn.”

Psalm 148 is the second of two psalms that were composed by Gustav Holst. Holst had very little choral sacred output as a result of his ambivalent mindset towards church orthodoxy but these both found a niche in the repertoire of the church. This piece was written in a transitional moment for Holst. Just prior to the composition of the psalms, he had completed the final pieces of his Sanskrit works, which were ultimately a failure, however, the next piece that Holst was to write, The Planets, would become arguably his most famous and successful pieces. Psalm 148 was originally written for string orchestra but has also been set for organ or brass accompaniment. The melodic material in this piece is the famous 17th century Jesuit German hymn tune, LASST UNS ERFREUEN. The most famous setting of this hymn, which is still most commonly used today, is that of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who was a close personal friend of Holst. I think it may be possible that Vaughan Williams’ setting of the hymn may have been influential on Holst during the process of his composition of Psalm 148.

 TEXT AND TRANSLATIONS 

My song shall be alway

My song shall be alway of the loving kindness of the Lord;
with my mouth will I ever be  showing thy truth
from one generation to  another.
The Heavens shall praise thy wondrous works,
and thy truth in the  congregation of the saints.

For who is he among the clouds that shall be compared unto the Lord?
And what is he among the Gods that shall be like unto the Lord?

God is very greatly to be feared in the counsel
of the saints, and to be had in reverence of  all that are round about him.
O Lord, God of hosts, who is like unto thee?
Thy truth, most mighty Lord, is on every side.

The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine;
thou has laid the foundation of the round  world.

Righteousness and equity are the habitation of thy seat;
mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Blessed is the people, O Lord, that can rejoice in thee;
they shall walk in the light of thy countenance.

Thou art the glory of their strength. Alleluia.

The Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.
I, a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Cum Vidisset Jesus

Cum vidisset Jesus matrem stantem juxta crucem,  et discipulum  quem diligebat,
dicit matri suæ: Mulier, ecce filius tuus. Deinde dicit discipulo: Ecce mater tua.

When Jesus therefore had seen His Mother and the disciple whom He loved standing near the cross, He said to His Mother: Woman,  behold your son.  After that, He said to the disciple: Behold your mother.

Alleluia

Alleluia, Amen.

Lord, who hast made us for Thine own

Lord, Who hast made us for thine own,
Hear as we sing before Thy throne. Alleluia.
Accept Thy children’s reverent praise
For all Thy wondrous works and ways. Alleluia.

Waves, rolling in on every shore,
Pause at His footfall and adore. Alleluia.
Ye torrents rushing from the hills,
Bless Him Whose hand your fountains fills. Alleluia.

Earth, ever through the power divine,
Seedtime and harvest shall be thine. Alleluia.
Sweet flowers that perfume all the air,
Thank Him that He hath made you fair. Alleluia.

Burn lamps of night, with constant flame,
Shine to the honor of His name. Alleluia.
Thou sun, whom all the lands obey,
Renew his praise from day to day. Alleluia.

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