Sunday 30th January 2022
The Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967) was much influenced by folk music, and became heavily involved in education and in reviving choral music in Hungary. This Missa brevis is a reworking of an earlier organ Mass, completed in 1943 whilst he was seeking refuge in the cellar of a Budapest convent. The work received its premiere on 11 February 1945 in a large converted cloakroom!
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) was trained at Queen’s College, Cambridge and later became organist at Trinity College, Cambridge and conductor of CUMS. He was appointed to the Trinity post at the age of twenty-one, and subsequently became professor of music at Cambridge at a youthful thirty-five. Through his professorship at the RCM Stanford was instrumental in the revival of British musical fortunes in the early years of the twentieth century, and although a relatively small part of his massive output, his sacred music remains well loved and frequently performed. His Evening Canticles in A were originally conceived with orchestral accompaniment and were written in 1880 for the Festival of the Sons of the Clergy at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace : according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation; Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people. To be a light to lighten the Gentiles; and to be the glory of thy people Israel (Luke 2.29-32)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be; world without end. Amen.
Johannes Eccard (1553 - 1611) was a student of Lassus, and his style shows elements of restrained counterpoint, whilst at the same time looking forward to the expressivity the baroque age. His music is usually rich and sonorous - often scored for more than four voices (six parts in this case). A protestant composer, this ‘chorale-motet’ is typical of a seventeenth-century German musical style. An English version of the original, When to the temple Mary went, is one of several pieces translated by the Reverend J Troutbeck, who with both John Stainer and Frederick Bridge brought music by European composers to these shores in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
When to the temple Mary went,
And brought the Holy Child,
Him did the aged Simeon see,
As it had been revealed.
He took up Jesus in his arms
And blessing God he said:
In peace I now depart, my Saviour having seen,
The Hope of Israel, the Light of men.
Help now thy servants, gracious Lord,
That we may ever be
As once the faithful Simeon was,
Rejoicing but in Thee;
And when we must from earth departure take,
May gently fall asleep and with Thee wake.