Celebrate Earth Day with Benjamin Britten's cantata, Rejoice in the Lamb, and Phillip Stopford's Festival Benedicite, the canticle Song of the Three Children found in the book of Daniel (Apocrypha) at 4:00 p.m. on April 22. The opening phrase of the Benedicite is "O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord." It then proceeds to name many of them: Angels, heavens, sun and moon, winter and summer, light and darkness, etc., etc. Each proclamation ends with the phrase, "Praise him, and magnify him forever." Stopford manages to set all this repetitive text with beautiful harmony and melody that carries the text magnificiently.
The Britten cantata text is not so traditional--in fact, far from it! The following notes come primarily from a sermon preached before a presentation at the Cathedral of St. Philip (Episcopal) in Atlanta, GA, by Dr. Dale Adelmann, Canon for Music. I reached out to him for permission to use it, which he gladly gave.
In Rejoice in the Lamb, Britten sets selected excerpts of a 1200-line poem by the 18th-century poet, Christopher Smart. Smart was actually in a mental asylum when he wrote it. The text gets a little weird, but it is definitely not crazy! Britten begins by using Christopher Smart's invocation of man and beast - "all "nations and languages, and every creature" - to rejoice in God, to "give the glory to the Lord, and the Lamb." Britten does this not bombastically, however, but with a quiet, awe-filled, expectant excitement.
This segues into a characteristically Christian - if musically rambunctious - invocation of "˜those who have gone before' to join us in praising God, but the people that Smart invokes are definitely not the saints we expect. Instead, he rattles off a list of obscure Old Testament figures, who you can all Google later, if you're curious. This is probably the skeptic's first opportunity to write the whole text off as crazy, yet the poet's genius shines through with a felicitous image of God - God's self as "the perfection of excellence." Smart's text also describes God as the Creator of all, who himself "is the Artist inimitable."
To be continued next week!
MoPAM Time! June 17-22! Now is the time to apply for scholarships for MoPAM this summer. Here's the link:
Scroll to the bottom of the page for the scholarship application. Remember, YOU have to apply for the scholarship. I can't do it for you. I will write letters of recommendation and help with registration after you've applied. I just noticed that there was a very early deadline, which hasn't been the case, so please do it NOW! They are still accepting applications until the money is gone. Do it now!!
Meet out new organist: Jiyoon Jeong
Jiyoon Jeong was born in Seoul, South Korea. She completed her bachelor’s degree in piano at Sookmyung Women’s University in 2008. She earned her Master’s degree from Yonsei University in 2012.
She received an abundance of prizes and awards in her native Korea, including First Prizes at the 10th Seoul National Competition, the National Students Music Competition and the Music Education Magazine Piano Competition. She won First Prize at the Sookmyung Women’s University of Music Piano Concerto Competition and the Seoul National Symphony Orchestra Competition allowing her to perform with the Sookmyung Women’s University Orchestra and Seoul National Symphony Orchestra.
Jiyoon Jeong has a teaching certificate and extensive teaching experience. She learned Suzuki Piano Pedagogy and earned a Talent and Aptitude of Music Education Teacher Certificate. Also, she worked at Erum Music Institute for 4 years.
She is very talented as an accompanist, and accompanies Hanuri Opera Company, Laluce Choir, Glee Male Choir, Singing Teachers Choir, and Fine Art Ensemble.
Jiyoon Jeong is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of North Texas under Adam Wodnicki and is a teaching assistant for the UNT Opera.
Welcome, Jiyoon! And also welcome her husband, Hyeonu Heo, who has joined the bass section of the choir!
Looking forward: In honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, Trinity, St Andrew Presbyterian, First Presbyterian and Christ the Servant Lutheran will present a Celebrate Reformation Hymn Festival on Sunday afternoon, October 29 at St. Andrew Presbyterian at 3:30. We will sing hymns from both the Reformed tradition and the Lutheran tradition, with a hymn from a "non-conformist" English poet, Isaac Watts, thrown in for good measure. Readings from Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, etc., will round out the celebration. An offering will be taken to support Our Daily Bread.