Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.



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Subject Topic: May Composer - Hymnals &Pilgrims Progress Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Helen
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Posted: May 01 2007 at 9:10pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

For the month of May , I thought it would be interesting to highlight a modern English composer (1872-1958) whose name we find in our church hymnals:
Ralph Vaughn Williams

*******
[ETA: My links here are not working even though I changed each one. If you are interested in the links, may I invite you to my blog post
where the links are working.]
*****


(I’ve noticed on some sites that Ralph is pronounced RAFE.)

Here’s an example of a popular hymn in which the words are supplied by St. Francis and the music is by Williams:
HYMN

Williams was involved with revising the Anglican hymnal. Here’s a link to the BBC site and a two minute interview with Ralph Vaughn Williams himself speaking about his contributions to the revisions in the Anglican hymnal.

BBC Radio

Here’s the list of Williams’ hymns from the cyberhymnal.

I picked out two more which are rather well known:

HYMN 1

HYMN 2


Perhaps a way to get the children involved is to have them look through their hymnals after Mass to find church songs written by Ralph Vaughn Williams. (I haven't tried this with my children, but my husband and I have been playing this game.:)

Surprisingly, I first heard of Vaughn Williams when watching the last installment in Andre Previn’s series:
Sounds Magnificent, Story of the Symphony
“Shostokovich”


Previn’s talk begin and ends with Shostokovich but he also spends a great deal of time talking about the English composer Vaughn Williams.

Previn says that Vaughn Williams is a nationalistic composer incorporating many English folk songs into his music. Previn believes that Williams' 4th & 6th symphony travel well (he called them the more “violent” symphonies). Previn personally prefers the melancholic and introspective music and he highlighted the
slow movement of the 5th symphony. He says the “Englishness” is there as soon as you hear the first cord.

If you are reading Pilgrim's Progress, this symphony may interest you.
Williams' "acknowledged what he called 'dramatic connections' with Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, originally prefacing the thrid movement, the Romanza,with a quotation from that book:
'Upon this place stood aross and a little below a sepulcher. Then he said, 'he hath given me rest by His sorrows and life by his death."


From the booklet in the Complete Collection of Vaugh williams Andre Previn and the London Symphony Orchestra)

An interestng note, the Pastoral Symphony was written after Williams' volunteer service during World War I. The composer drove an ambulance. It is said that Williams never spoke of his time in France during the war but he composed the Third Symphony which reflects in music his impression of the French landscape during war.

To me, the London Symphony (Number 2)sounds a lot like Phantom of the Opera in parts. Williams said the work is written by a Londoner not that the music is about London. But many read into the work the impression of the city of London awakening in the morning and then bustling with activity.

Finally, Williams’ work is marked by using a variety of different modes rather than the traditional major/minor mode.

One can also turn to Bernstein's series Young People's Concerts to understand the music of Vaughn Williams better.
What is a Mode? (Disc 7)
Musical Atoms: A Study of Intervals (Disc 6)
Bernstein explains Williams' Symphony number 4 and its use of "seconds."


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Helen
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Posted: May 01 2007 at 9:11pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

To sum up:
May composer
Vaughn Williams

Symphony number 5

Church Hymns

Symphony Number 2 (if you like Phantom of the Opera)

If you want to also pick up from last month:
Lark Ascending

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Posted: May 01 2007 at 9:26pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

Here's another link:
NPRN Composer of the Month

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Posted: May 04 2007 at 9:13pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

One thing that I wanted to add to this study. Originally, Williams included the verse from Pilgrims Progress with the Fifth Symphony. Later on, he removed the verse.

Many of the hymns are traditional English melodies which Williams arranged or provided the harmony. I'm not exactly sure what that means. But, his name is in our hymnal at Church.

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Chari
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Posted: May 04 2007 at 11:04pm | IP Logged Quote Chari

Great and thorough research, Helen! And, all for US! You are very generous!

Much appreciation!

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Posted: May 05 2007 at 7:40am | IP Logged Quote Helen

Your welcome!!

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Posted: May 05 2007 at 8:58am | IP Logged Quote Helen

I realize that I usually run away when a compliment comes my way. I struggle with saying "you're welcome." It's so bad that I think I misspelled the word in my previous post.

Talk about needing practice - sheesh!

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Posted: May 05 2007 at 10:49am | IP Logged Quote Chari



Helen, I have had to learn the same thing myself.....I AM getting better at it. I have friends who help me

I will try to help you , in order to return their favor

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Posted: May 06 2007 at 3:36am | IP Logged Quote Kathryn UK

Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleaves is lovely.

I also found this Mass in G Minor.

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Posted: May 11 2007 at 9:02am | IP Logged Quote stefoodie

Found a book by Michael Hurd (Vaughan Williams from "The Great Composers Series") -- a bit long, 70+ pages, probably good for middle school age. I'm reading it aloud to the kids, until they complain that they're bored, then we switch to listening to his music. We love Fantasia on Greensleeves! I've been playing it every morning to wake up the kids. Thank you so much, Helen and everyone!

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Posted: May 11 2007 at 6:57pm | IP Logged Quote Helen

stefoodie wrote:
Found a book by Michael Hurd (Vaughan Williams from "The Great Composers Series")
Thanks for the suggestion Stef. I like to have "music" books to read.

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