The DeKalb Choral Guild
P.O. Box 1931
A Mid-Winters Concert for Lovers
Mary Evelyn Root, Director
In conjunction with Arts & Ideas at Oglethorpe University
Saturday, February 19, 2000
This is My Song by Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)
Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriens by Maurice Duruflé
A Feast of Lanterns by Carolyn Jennings
Sing Me to Heaven by Daniel W. Gawthrop (b. 1949)
Eriskay Love Lilt, Hebridean folk song, arr. Simon Carrington
I Love My Love, Cornish folk song, arr. Gustav Holst
The English Ghost, English folk song, arr. Ralph Vaughn Williams
Annie Laurie, Scottish tune attributed to Lady John Scott, arr. Robert Shaw and Alice Parker
Beautiful Dreamer by Stephen Foster (1826-1864), arr. Robert
Shaw and Alice Parker
from Celebrations, Opus 103 by Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987)
by Michalene Gorney
"This Is My Song" is a harmonization of the well-known melody from the orchestral tone poem, Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius. The DeKalb Choral Guild proudly adopted this piece as its theme during the 1997-98 season. This particular harmonization is a composite of versions found in The Church Hymnary (Revised, 1927), The Hymnal (Presbyterian, 1933), and Sibelius' own piano score for Finlandia.
Maurice Duruflé, born in Louviers, France, became a chorister and student at Rouen Cathedral at the age of 10. There he studied piano, organ, and theory, and developed a love for Gregorian Chant and its modal harmonies which became essential to his music. After studying at the Paris Conservatoire, he became known as a as a teacher, a skilled organist, a virtuoso improviser, and a composer of organ and choral music, the latter despite the fact that he wrote only 14 compositions. Each of the Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriens, Op. 10, begins with, and is unified by, its original Chant melody, set with Duruflé's own unique style of harmonization.
In "A Feast of Lanterns", Carolyn Jennings takes as her inspiration the poetry of Yuan Mei (1716-1798), a Chinese poet of the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty, which lasted from 1644 to 1911.
Daniel Gawthrop, born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, performed vocal and instrumental music as a youth, and studied organ and composition at Michigan State University and Brigham Young University. He has received several grants and commissions and is active as a composer, broadcaster, clinician, church musician, conductor, teacher, and writer. Gawthrop has set many texts by the poet Jane Griner, who is also his wife. Among them are Bright Journeys: Songs of Love and Light, performed twice on these concerts, and "Sing Me to Heaven," heard tonight. In the Spring, 1998, program of I Cantori di Carmel, this piece is described as "a lovely balance of 19th century harmonic colors and touches of 20th century dissonance" with an "unfailing allegiance to the nuances of the text."
Folk music has been defined as that body of music which encompasses the everyday lives, loves, dreams, and traditions of a community. "Eriskay Love Lilt" comes from the Hebrides, a group of islands off the western coast of Scotland, "I love my love," "The Lover's Ghost," (also known as "Well met, my own true Love"), and "Annie Laurie" also hail from the British Isles. "Annie Laurie" is a Scottish ballad attributed to Lady John Scott. The words were written in 1685 by William Douglas of Fingland, whose love was the daughter of the First Baronet of Maxwelton, whose name is immortalized in this song. "Beautiful Dreamer," though not technically a folksong, is "folk-like" in nature, and was written by Stephen Foster late in his life. Destitute, broken by changing times and the need to produce hack-writing to survive, he still managed to capture this last lyrical gleam of inspiration.
Vincent Persechetti was a remarkable American composer who defined the "modernity" of classical music by combining supposedly incompatible idioms of Classicism, Romanticism, and the 20th Century. Persichetti managed to avoid musical politics, yet found himself in the midst of controversy when commissioned to write a work for Richard Nixon's presidential inauguration in 1973, a year in which the Vietnam war was much in the news. His chosen text, the second inaugural address of Abraham Lincoln, passionately denounced war, and objections to the text led to the a last-minute cancellation of the scheduled performance. It is interesting to note that Persichetti, in Celebrations, chose texts by Walt Whitman, who also denounced war, to engage in of a celebration of the human spirit and a vision of America as the place from which the "seed [of] perfection" would spread.