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Early American Choral Music Vol 2 / Hillier, His Majesties Clerkes


Release Date: 04/09/2002 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 3957128   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Tans'urJohn FarmerJohn DowlandAbraham Wood,   ... 
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Gusto and polish." - Classic CD "Superb performances" - InTune "Stylishly and thoughtfully performed." - The New York Times "...A fascinating survey of almost three centuries of communal singing, performed with sweetness, devotion and even a touch of earthy enthusiasm where required." - Time Out New York

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This anthology represents two-and-a-half centuries of church music designed for congregational singing on both sides of the Atlantic. The majority of pieces here are American, where there was no competition from established cathedral and collegiate traditions and thus these rugged psalms, hymns and spiritual songs became the foundation
Read more of early American music as developed by the colonial settlers, more important in American music than the isolated examples here by Dowland, Parsons or Farmer were in England.

The leading player in the Colonies was William Billings (1746-1800), as is indicated by the lavishly produced four-volume edition of his collected works. He was a tanner by trade who also ran singing schools and published collections of psalms and musical primers. His Chester, published in 1778, was a popular patriotic hymn to his own text celebrating independence. Its second verse names the defeated English generals, proving conclusively that “New England’s God forever reigns”. Equally impressive, but in minor mode, is Chesterfield in up to eight parts and with a real basso profundo anchored on low D and touching C.

Billings’s Who is this that cometh from Eden?, sharing some text with Handel’s Messiah, is more ambitious and dramatic. In all these pieces the predominant texture is homophonic but, especially in the fuguing tunes, the outbursts of imitative counterpoint are exciting.

Many of the hymns plumb the depths of sadness: not just Dowland’s characteristic Humble complaint but also Wood’s Brevity, Jenks’s Decay and West’s Evening Hymn.

These are polished performances in every way, based on the notated sources, although the amateur performing tradition of the period must have sounded very different. Tunes are often in the tenor, which could have been more clearly indicated in the notes and sometimes in performance, and the nationality of some of the composers is not made clear. But overall the disc very attractively demonstrates the vitality of American music before the nineteenth century.

-- Peter Dickinson, GRAMOPHONE ( Review of original release, HM 907128)
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Works on This Recording

1. Colchester "O 'twas a joyful sound to hear" by William Tans'ur
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Worcester, England 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: English 
2. O Lord of whom I do depend "The Humble Suit" by John Farmer
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: English 
3. Mr. Henry Noell his funerall Psalms by John Dowland
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1596/1597; England 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: English 
4. Man, born of woman "Brevity" by Abraham Wood
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1800; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: English 
5. O God, to rescue me "Southwell" by Anonymous
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1761; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: English 
6. How long wilt thou forget me Lord "Watford" by Benjamin West
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: circa 1760; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: English 
7. The beauty of Isr'el is slain by William Knapp
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1768; Boston, Massachusett 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: English 
8. Great God, how frail "Thomas-town" by William Billings
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1794; Boston, Massachusett 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: English 
9. Let tyrants shake their iron rod by William Billings
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 2 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: English 
10. Chesterfield by William Billings
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1770; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: English 
11. Who is this that cometh from Edom by William Billings
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1781; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 6 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: English 
12. How beauteous are their feet "Worcester" by Abraham Wood
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1788; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: English 
13. Death like an overflowing stream "Amanda" by Justin Morgan
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1790; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: English 
14. Early my God without delay "Montgomery" by Justin Morgan
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1793; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: English 
15. Windham by Daniel Read
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1800; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: English 
16. Ode on Music by Oliver Holden
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1792; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: English 
17. O if the Lord would come "All Saints" by Amariah Hall
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1794; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: English 
18. Rainbow "'Tis by thy strength the mountains stand" by Timothy Swan
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1785; Worcester, England 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: English 
19. Schenectady "From all that dwell below the skies" by Nehemiah Shumway
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1805; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: English 
20. Greenwich by Daniel Read
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1797; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: English 
21. My days are as the grass "Decay" by Stephen Jenks
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1805; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: English 
22. Evening Hymn by Elisha West
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1802; USA 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: English 
23. O Lord turne not away thy face "The Lamentation" by William Parsons
Conductor:  Paul Hillier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  His Majesties Clerkes
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
Date of Recording: 1994 
Venue:  SeaburyWestern Seminary Chapel, Evanston 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: English 

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