Last week, I played an arrangement of Amazing Grace that is, more or less, a transcription of an orchestrated version that’s on simple hymns (currently a digital album, soon an audio CD). I’m going to try to make as many of my arrangements on simple hymns into piano solos as I can since it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to perform them with an orchestra but I definitely will get to perform them as piano solos! This solo piano version is available for purchase on SheetMusicPlus. But, for a couple week you’re welcome to download a complimentary copy below!
My arrangements of 19 tunes from the 1835 hymn collection, “Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion,” are now available as a downloadable digital album on Bandcamp. It’s still available for free streaming on SoundCloud. For those who prefer a more tangible form, an audio CD will be available on Amazon sometime in the next 6 weeks–link to come. Many thanks to all who have helped with this project, especially Nathan, my son and a graphic designer in Atlanta who did all the project artwork.
Another piece from tomorrow’s service celebrating Hispanic Heritage.
Offered as part of the celebration of Hispanic Heritage month,
This coming Sunday, October 3, 2021, Lakewood UCC will be celebrating Hispanic Heritage. The music for Sunday will be as follows:
GATHERING MUSIC: Pues si vivimos — Marty Haugen
PRELUDE: Danza de la Rosa (Escenas Poeticas) — Enrique Granados
MUSICAL REFLECTION: Rumores de la Caleta (Malagueña) — Isaac Albéniz
MUSICAL INTERLUDE: Danzas Españolas (Playera Op. 5, #5) — Enrique Granados
OFFERTORY: Danzas Españolas (Playera Op. 5, #1)— Enrique Granados
PREPARATION FOR COMMUNION: Pescador de Hombres — Cesáreo Gabaráin
POSTLUDE: Danza Española (Seis Danzas Españolas) — Isaac Albéniz
Later this week, I’ll post one of the above Albéniz pieces and one of the Granados. For today’s post, here are the two hymns (Pues si vivimos by Marty Haugen and Pescador de Hombres by Cesáreo Gabaráin) that I recorded earlier last year.
Earlier this week I posted a preview of 3 pieces by the early 20th Century, American composer Arthur Farwell which were settings of Native-American melodies I’ll be playing on Sunday’s celebration of Native-American ministry. That post is https://lakewooducc.org/2021/09/22/3-native-american-melodies-as-set-by-arthur-farwell/.
This morning’s post is a setting of my own of a Native-American melody. I’ve posted this video before but wanted to let you know I’ll be playing it as part of Sunday’s celebration.
This coming Sunday, Lakewood UCC celebrates UCC’s Native American Ministries. As part of that liturgy, all the music for the service is based on Native American melodies: 2 hymns, 3 songs set by the American composer, Arthur Farwell (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Farwell, https://songofamerica.net/composer/farwell-arthur/, and https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200035729), and one setting of my own. I’ll post my own setting—one I’ve posted before—later this week, but today’s post are the 3 Farwell settings combined into one video.
The Native American melodies (of primarily the Omaha tribe)) harmonized by Arthur Farwell were drawn from the late 19th Century 20 year research of Alice C. Fletcher, holder of the Thaw Fellowship, Peabody Museum, Harvard University.
Creative folk (musicians, authors, graphic artists, dancers, etc.) create amid a world of 7,874,965,825 ideas of what we should and shouldn’t do! It’s hard enough discerning what we believe ourselves, but the cultural noise gets deafening and discouraging sometimes. One bit of that cultural noise is the prohibition against “cultural approbation.” To make matters worse—regard that issue—white supremacists have taken up against the issue. One is damned if one does support cultural sensitivity or damned if one doesn’t!
Unless we wish to discard Debussy’s pieces based on the traits of Spanish music, Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Ravel’s music based on Asian scales, Beethoven’s “Turkish March” in his 9th Symphony, and on and on and on…then, everyone needs to find their own comfort zone as to where the boundaries are regarding the setting of “folk” material. (I realize even the term, “folk,” has a colonialist tinge to it.)
My own feeling is that if a setting of other material is…
- fully acknowledges the source,
- isn’t intended to represent itself as anything other than what it is, and
- makes its own contribution to the material artistically,
…then it doesn’t deserve to be condemned for cultural approbation.
I believe Farwell’s setting (and hopefully my own) fall into the “approved” category.
Here’s some info about the UCC’s Native American Ministry. I especially like the first one!
“The 29th General Synod of the United Church of Christ approved a Resolution of Witness calling for the UCC to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which authorized the genocide of native people and the theft of native lands. In that Resolution we recognize the complicity of the Churches, including the UCC, in the perpetration of these injustices.”https://www.ucc.org/event/american-indian-sunday-usa/2021-09-26/
“The Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM) is the voice for American Indian people in the UCC. CAIM provides Christian ministry and witness to American Indians and to the wider church. Justice issues that affect American Indian life are communicated to the whole UCC by CAIM. “https://www.ucc.org/giving/ways-to-give/our-churchs-wider-mission/neighbors-in-need/faq_what_is_caim-2/
A while back I wrote three preludes based on the hymn tune, St. Anne, better known as “Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past.” This is the 2nd movement of that set. The hymn tune is stated twice. During the first half of the prelude, the melody (in G major) is the top note of the chords in triple meter (it’s usually in quadruple meter), in the second half of the piece, the melody’s in the top note of the chords in the right hand. The melody’s easier to hear in the second half.
This is one of the movements of a collection of pieces I wrote for use during Lent on year at Lakewood UCC. The collection is titled Meditations & Reflections. The sheet music for the whole collection or for individual movements is available at SheetMusicPlus. The audio CD for the entire collections is available at BandCamp.
I’m enjoying getting back in the groove of using my little home studio after not having it available I’m enjoying getting back in the groove of using my little home studio after not having it available while we moved and after Lakewood went back to in-person services from only cyber. But absence really does make the heart grow fonder: I’ve come to realize just how much making music means to me! So, even though they’re not required at Lakewood, I’ve started back up making them for the pleasure of making them and hopefully for the pleasure of listeners.
This is the final tune in my current project of arrangements of tunes from Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion (CD title is Simple Hymns, pairing it with last year’s project, Simple Songs).
The music begins with the piano alone, playing what seems to be the melody of the hymn tune, except it’s not. It’s actually a countermelody. Then the strings come in–first the violins, then the cellos–playing what feels like a counter-melody, but it’s actually the real hymn-tune melody.
Things finally straighten out halfway through the arrangement and the piano plays the real hymn-tune melody by itself, followed by the strings playing versions of the original countermelody.