On Sunday at 10:45 we hear music of historically the best English Cathedral composers - Herbert Howells, William Byrd and Henry Purcell. The two short preludes by 20th c. composer Herbert Howells comes from his collection of six short pieces published posthumously. They reflect the full mature Howells’ style of liberal use of modal melodies and harmonies, cross relations and an overall mood of the ethereal. Howells himself described his compositional style as trying to musically portray the visual sight of stained glass windows from Gloucester Cathedral where he sang as a choirboy. William Byrd was one of the most celebrated English composers in the Renaissance. His entire life was marked by Walt Whitmanesque contradictions such as his Roman Catholic sympathies while composing in the Anglican Court of Queen Elizabeth I. Although he did not receive widespread recognition in his lifetime nor was he punished for his ties to Rome, he was “too big to fail” being very well respected among both the Anglican Court and the Roman Catholic gentry. At the offertory the choir sings his short verse anthem based on Psalm 118, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes.” Byrd’s music has been sung in both English and Roman Catholic cathedrals uninterrupted for the past four centuries. Henry Purcell, also from the 17th century, is considered by many the finest composer of any British era, ancient and modern. Certainly Benjamin Britten thought so. Purcell was the court composer of William and Mary. The Queen often confided with him in personal matters and they became very close. When Queen Mary II died in 1694, Purcell died the following year. The communion music is a short organ piece by Purcell that he no doubt composed and played during his tenure at Westminster Abbey.
Next Sunday September 17 at 4:00 pm, South Hills Organists will be playing their favorite organ works at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Each recitalist will play 10-15 minutes on our wonderful Schantz organ. This year we welcome guests Aaron Sproul from St. Bernard, Cynthia Pock from First Lutheran, David Schaap from Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and Nicholas Will from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish. Free Will Donation