Forest Hill & 43rd Street
Richmond, VA 23225

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known

Weekly Music Notes

Nov. 10, 2019: “Remembrance” by David Boelzner

A special note: Today’s prelude and anthem are dedicated to those who served. A note about the Offertory music: I entitled the offertory piece for alto saxophone and piano “Remembrance,” not for any specific recollection but because of its general mood; so it certainly fits for remembrance of veterans. But in writing it, my first composition for sax, I was reminded of a long-ago revelation: I had always thought of the sax as a jazz instrument, associated with those wailing solos a la Coltrane, but I heard a student at North Texas play the instrument so sweetly that I found a new appreciation for it as a lyrical instrument. Warren plays it that way, which is what motivated me to write the piece the way I did.  – D.Boelzner

Oct. 3, 2019: “Non nobis, Domine” by William Byrd/setting by Douglas E. Wagner

Today’s anthem: The composer of our anthem, “Non nobis, Domine,” was William Byrd (d. 1623). an interesting character from the Elizabethan era in England. If you recall your English history, the 16th century was a time of shifting religious belief for the monarch and thus for the official religion of the nation. Henry VIII broke with Rome over his divorce from Katherine of Aragon and made the English church Protestant; his daughter (“Bloody”) Mary converted back to Catholicism, but when she died, Edward’s brief reign and then Elizabeth’s much longer one returned to Protestantism. Byrd managed to survive and even prosper under Elizabeth even though he maintained Catholic loyalties and wrote many settings of Latin texts, including this one.  – D Boelzner

Sept. 15, 2019: St. Columba (arr. by Robin Milford)

A note about the Prelude: Good Shepherd parishioners will easily recognize the tune on which Danny’s prelude is based. St. Columba by name, it is the Irish tune that we frequently sing on Good Shepherd Sunday for hymn 645, “The king of love my shepherd is.” Robin Milford (d. 1959), who made the arrangement, was an English composer, primarily of orchestral and choir music, who studied with two giants of English 20th century music, Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams, the latter a very prominent presence in our hymnal.– D. Boelzner

Aug. 18, 2019: Calvin Hampton, organist/composer

A note about the Offertory Hymn: The women’s chorale makes its summer appearance the week, singing “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,” (469), one of the exquisite hymns by American organist and composer Calvin Hampton. (He also wrote a setting of “O, Master, let me walk with thee,” (659), which we’ve sung numerous times, sometimes featuring a young lady playing a viola obbligato.) Hampton’s music is both inventive and hauntingly beautiful. He died tragically young, in 1984, of AIDS. -D. Boelzner

June 30, 2019: “Andantino in the style of Martini” by Fritz Kreisler

Today’s Music: The offertory, played by Randy Allen and Mark Koontz, is Fritz Kreisler’s Andantino in the style of Martini. Kreisler was a renowned Austrian virtuoso violinist and composer in the early 20th century. He wrote several pieces ostensibly in the style of Baroque composers such as Martini, which were for a time mistakenly attributed to those earlier composers before Kreisler owned up to having written them. Martini was a well-known violinist and teacher in the 18th century, whose students included the young Mozart. Any confusion about Kreisler’s piece is a little hard to understand, because the piece is not really in a Baroque style but instead is a Romantic era vehicle for Kreisler’s famous lyrical melody. David Boelzner

June 23, 2019: “Meditations on St. Keverne” by David Boelzner

Today’s Music: The offertory is one of (currently) three pieces that I call “meditations” on favorite hymn tunes, this one on Craig Sellar Lang’s tune St. Keverne, which we sing to “From glory to glory” (Hymn 326). The tune, its rhythm slightly changed, appears three times, each one in a different setting. The first begins chant-like, with “hollow” open fifths in the harmony, then moves to a delicate passage in the high register, resolving with a marching bass line. The second iteration is contrapuntal (one melody line moving against another). The third repetition begins with the thinnest of textures but builds to a climax to end the piece. David Boelzner

June 16, 2019: “Listen to the Wind” by Dick Hickman

Today’s Music: The Anthem today is “Listen to the Wind,” which represents my attempt, written in 2017, to express in song the miracle of Pentecost (which of course was last Sunday). It is based on Acts, Chapter 2, verses 1-21. The last verse of the song is a direct quotation from Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of his historic pilgrimage to Poland in June, 1979. At an outdoor mass on Pentecost for hundreds of thousands of believers in Krakow, 40 rears ago, he inspired the Polish people and the world when he declared: “Let your spirit descend and renew the face of the earth, the face of this land!” His words were a turning point in the fall of the Soviet Empire, marking the renewal of the faith in Poland and the beginning of the triumph of the spirit over communism.  Dick Hickman

June 9, 2019: “The Holy Spirit”, #515, composed by George Henry Day

Today’s Music: Hymn 515, (“The Holy Spirit”), is new to our congregation, at least in recent memory. Its composer was George Henry Day (1883-1966), who became a professional musician after beginning a career as an auditor for a manufacturing company. He was appointed choirmaster at St. Peter’s in New York City’s Chelsea Square, but continued his auditor’s job for two more years while taking music courses, graduating from New York College of Music in 1915. The hymn very explicitly changes mode from F minor to F major for its second half, with the melody nearly identical in each section. David Boelzner

June 2, 2019: “Rise, crowned with light” by J. Healey Willan

Today’s Music: The anthem, “Rise, crowned with light,” is by English-born Canadian organist and composer J. Healey Willan (1880-1968). After working as an organist in England, Willan emigrated to Canada in 1913 and eventually established himself as “the dean of Canadian composers.” He was the first non-English musician to be awarded the Lambeth Doctorate by the Archbishop of Canterbury, he appeared on a Canadian postage stamp, and there is a small park named for him adjacent to the church where he worked principally, St. Mary Magdalene’s in Toronto. He was interested in plainchant and in high church Anglo-Catholic worship.  David Boelzner