Holiday Prelude Concert
Fall 2013 Concert Notes
Compiled by Ginnie Carey
Tina Johns Heidrich, Conductor
Joe Jacovino, Accompanist
Connecticut Master Chorale Holiday Brass and Steel
Sunday November 24, 2013 3:00 pm
First Congregational Church, Danbury, Connecticut
- Review - CD & Clips -
The Sound of a Bell – Robert Sterling, lyrics by Claire CloningerWe ring in the season with peals of joy and an abundance of praise announcing the glorious birth of the King! It is not surprising that the composer and the lyricist of this joyfully enthusiastic piece have each won many awards for the music they have created both separately and together.
Noe! Noe! – French carol; arr. Mack WilbergAn exuberant setting of an old French carol from Les Noels Bressans combines a dynamic organ accompaniment with jubilant choral voices in the distinctive style of Dr. Wilberg, the Music Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This new translation was written by David Warner.
The Colors of Christmas – John RutterAnother treasure from John Rutter, a tender, expressive description of the colors associated with the birth in Bethlehem and the hope that they will shine all over the earth. John Rutter's love of Christmas carols began when he was a boy soprano in grade school, so it is not surprising that he first became well known for carols that he composed as a teenager while still a student. He has often expressed his belief that carols are so popular because of their ability to awaken happy memories, and this lovely carol certainly fulfills that insight.
Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending – 18th-century English melody; lyrics by Charles Wesley and J. Cennick; arr. John RutterCharles Wesley and J. Cennick; arr. John Rutter (1945 - ). The words for this old standard were first written by John Cennick and published in his Collection of Sacred Hymns in 1752. Charles Wesley altered the words, republished it in 1758 and set it to the hymn tune "Helmsley". John Rutter wrote the wonderful fanfare introduction and created this majestic arrangement, including the second verse harmony originally written by the noted composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872- 1958).
Lo in a Manger – Stephen Chatman, lyrics by Stephen Chatman and Gregory ButlerAn internationally known Canadian composer, Dr. Chatman is Professor of Composition at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. This lyrical description of the Christmas birth premiered in December 1987 with the Vancouver Cantata Singers and the Vancouver Symphony.
How Great Our Joy – Craig CourtneyThe lyrics of this familiar carol were written by the German Jesuit poet Frederich von Spee (1591 - 1635) and originally published in 1625. At some point his words were set to a traditional German melody. This translation in English has been given an elegant, flowing arrangement for men by the creative Mr. Courtney.
Celtic Advent Carol – David Angerman and Michael BarrettWith lyrics by Michael Barrett and music by David Angerman and Michael Barrett, this unique Advent carol beautifully expresses the anticipation and joy of Advent preparations for the Christmas celebration and features a lovely flute accompaniment.
1916 - 1999
Robert Russel Bennett
1894 - 1981
The Many Moods of Christmas, Suite Three– Robert Shaw and Robert Russell BennettA standard in Christmas literature, Robert Shaw's colorful Christmas medley of familiar carols includes What Child Is This?, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella, and Angels We Have Heard On High. There are actually four Many Moods of Christmas suites that were arranged by this talented duo around 1970, combining traditional carols and creating unusual harmonies and rhythms to blend them together. The incomparable Robert Shaw has often been cited as America's greatest choral conductor, with a remarkable career that included the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The recordings he made during his 21 years in Atlanta won eleven Grammy awards. Robert Russell Bennett was best known for his orchestrations of popular Broadway and Hollywood musicals. Upon Bennett's death Robert Shaw lauded him as "without peer in his field."
A Caribbean Noel – Shayla BlakeBased on a traditional Puerto Rican melody, Shayla Blake has written new words and music and created this lively arrangement for Christmas.
Don Besig - b. 1936
Nancy Price - b. 1947
Sing a Joyful Alleluia – Don Besig; lyrics by by Don Besig and Nancy PriceThis musical team has had great success working together for many years and this piece, which is written in the style of a Latin American dance carol, is a great example of their versatility. Mr. Besig taught music in public schools in Western New York for 31 years and is now director of music at a church in Fairport, New York. Ms. Price is a former student of his, who has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ithaca College and is also involved in the music program at the same church in Fairport.
CHRISTMAS IN THE SOUTH SEAS:
1914 - 1988
The Andrews Sisters
Christmas Island – Lyle Moraine; arr. Alan BillingsleyLyle Moraine was best known for writing this song, which was recorded by the Andrews Sisters accompanied by Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians and became a huge hit. It is interesting to note that it has also been recorded by such diverse singers as Leon Redbone, Jimmy Buffett and Bob Dylan. Alan Billingsley is a multi-talented writer/arranger and studio musician who has written and arranged over 100 jingles for clients including McDonald's and United Airlines.
Suliram – Audrey SnyderA popular traditional Indonesian lullaby has been expertly crafted by Ms. Snyder to be sung in both Indonesian and English.
Felipe P. de Leon
1912 - 1992
1910 - 2002
Pasko Na Naman – Felipe P. de Leon; lyrics by Levi Celerio; arr. George HernandezChristmas is the most important holiday for Filipinos and is also the longest celebration in the Philippines. This lively piece reflecting the excitement of the holiday is one of the most popular Christmas songs, composed by Felipe de Leon, who was named a Philippines National Artist in 1997. Levi Celerio, the lyricist, was chosen as the National Artist in Literature and Music in 1997. The arranger, George Hernandez, is the founder, director and conductor of the Saringhimig Singers in the San Francisco area.
Up above My Head – arr. Andrea RamseyA traditional Christmas Gospel melody, originally recorded by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight, this song has had a varied life. It was also recorded as a duet by Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray, and Al Hirt released a version, as did Elvis Presley. This unusual arrangement is by Andrea Ramsey, who is on the music faculty at The Ohio State University and also conducts the University Chorus.
Victor C. Johnson
A Hanukkah Remembrance – Victor C. JohnsonOn each side of the dreidel used in Hanukkah celebrations is a Hebrew letter. Together the four letters stand for the phrase Nes gadol haya sham (A great miracle happened there) which is intertwined with English lyrics in this sensitive, reflective melody. Victor C. Johnson had his first choral composition published when he was a sophomore in high school, and has gone on to become an award winning composer, arranger and conductor.
All Good Gifts – Stephen Schwartz; arr. Richard WaltersFrom the musical "Godspell" comes this popular song of thanksgiving by Stephen Schwartz, an American musical theater lyricist and composer who has had a career spanning four decades in which he also wrote "Pippin" and "Wicked" among many others. The choral arrangement is by Richard Walters.
Talkin' About Jesus – Rebecca J. Peck; arr. Tom Fettke and Thomas GrassiRebecca Peck has written what will surely become a standard in the genre. She incorporates a portion of the classic Who Is He In Yonder Stall? by Benjamin R. Hanby (1833-1867) into her own original text, telling the good news of the Christmas story and the baby Jesus as only great Southern Gospel music can!