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Selections will be made from the following:

Of the Father’s Love Begotten – arr. Terry  Schlenker

Ave Maria – arr. J. Edmund Hughes

Gloria from Missa Puer Natus est nobis – Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585)

O Magnum Mysterium – Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)
O Magnum Mysterium
– René Clausen (b. 1953)

Three Spanish Christmas Carols of the 16th Century – anonymous
1. ¡Dadme albricias, hijos d’Eva!

2. E la don don, Verges Maria

3. Riu, Riu, Chiu

Carol of the Bells – arr. David Maddux

*Lo, How a Rose – arr. Daniel E. Gawthrop

Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) – Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)
O Magnum Mysterium
– Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943)

*Hacia Belén va un Borrico – arr. Robert Shaw & Alice Parker

*How Far is it to Bethlehem – arr. James McCullough

*Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day -arr. Sir David Willcocks

Away in a Manger – arr. Michael McGlynn

Angels We Have Heard On High – arr. Drew Collins

*Each of these pieces are featured on our new recording, “Of A Rose: A Chorale Christmas.”

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Of the Father’s Love Begotten – arr. Terry  Schlenker

Terry Schlenker came to music via an unexpected route.  Although he holds a Master’s Degree in Composition from the Lamont School of Music in Denver, and has received many awards and commissions, his first profession was an embryologist, and for twelve years he directed one of the world’s most successful in-vitro fertilization laboratories.  The lure of music proved too strong, however, and he now works in the lab on a part-time basis, in order to dedicate more of his time to composition.  Of the Father’s Love Begotten is a particularly beautiful chant melody of the ancient Church; the best known version is found in the Piae Cantiones.  The melody has been married to a text by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, a medieval Spanish lawyer who renounced (and denounced) his profession and retired to a life of ascenticism and religious devotion.  Of the Father’s Love Begotten is found in his Cathemerinon of 405 A.D., and is a portion of a thirty-seven stanza poem for the sanctification of the various hours of the day.

Ave Maria – arr. J. Edmund Hughes

J. Edmund Hughes received his degrees from the University of Arizona, with additional doctoral studies at the University of Southern California.  A well-known educator, he was chosen the Arizona Music Educator of the Year in 2005, and has taught at numerous institutions, including Phoenix College, California State University-Fresno, and within the Tucson Unified School District.  He recently retired from the faculty of Chandler-Gilbert Community College and was Director of Music at Velda Rose United Methodist Church in Mesa.  He is much in demand as a clinician and conductor, and his choirs have been invited to perform at conventions for the American Choral Director’s Association, the Music Educator’s National Conference, and the Arizona Music Educator’s Association.  His setting of Ave Maria, based on the familiar chant melody, ends with a freeform coda as individual singers call out to the Virgin in a swirl of sound.

Gloria from Missa Puer Natus est nobis – Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585)

Thomas Tallis is one of the towering figures of the English Renaissance, serving under no less than four Tudor monarchs, and this in spite of his Catholic faith (the brief reign of “Bloody” Mary Tudor must have been, for him at least, something of a welcome respite).  Fragments of his lost Mass on Puer natus est nobis have been reconstructed by Sally Dunkley and David Wulstan, and the preface to the edition contains much fascinating information:  “[Scholar] Jeremy Noble has suggested that the Mass may have been written in 1554, the year of Queen Mary’s marriage to Philip of Spain; the choice of cantus firmus may have been doubly significant, for the Queen was through to be pregnant towards the end of that year.”  Poor Mary Tudor is a tragic figure, as well as a bloody one; desperately in love with her disinterested husband, who had married her only for dynastic reasons, she was to suffer two false pregnancies, which are now thought to have been manifestations of the cancer which finally took her life.  Abandoned by Philip, who had sailed away to war with no intention of returning, Mary finally was forced to acknowledge that she would die without an heir, leaving her detested sister, Elizabeth I, to inherit the throne.

O Magnum Mysterium – Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)

Tomás Luis de Victoria (the name is often spelled “Vittoria,” in the Italian fashion, due to his long musical training there) is one of the most famous Spanish composers of the Renaissance.  He received much of his musical training at the Jesuit Collegio Germanico in Rome, where he certainly would have met Palestrina (then employed at the Seminario Romano) and may well have studied with him.  While still a young man, he was ordained to the priesthood, and sometime around 1587 he was appointed by Philip II to the court of his sister, the Dowager Empress Maria.  As maestro of the Empress’s convent choir, Victoria was well paid, and the priests were well treated, including being allowed personal servants and a month-long holiday each year.  This luxurious state of affairs gave Victoria the time and ability to carefully oversee the publications of his works, which, in addition to bringing him fame at home, were hugely popular in such far-flung regions as Mexico City (where the part-books fell apart from overuse) and Bogotá, Colombia.  His setting of O Magnum Mysterium is one of his most famous works.

O Magnum Mysterium – René Clausen (b. 1953)

Since 1986, René Clausen has served as director of the internationally renowned Concordia Choir of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.  He is also the Artistic Director of the PBS specials, Concordia Christmas Concerts, which have won a loyal following.  He is in demand as a guest conductor and as a composer, writing for choirs, soloists, orchestras, stage works, and film.  His setting of O Magnum Mysterium begins with a hushed unison that quickly expands into a rich 8-voice setting.

Three Spanish Christmas Carols of the 16th Century – anonymous

1. ¡Dadme albricias, hijos d’Eva!
2. E la don don, Verges Maria

3. Riu, Riu, Chiu

The source of Three Spanish Christmas Carols of the 16th Century is cited as the Villancicos de diuersos Autores… Venice, 1556. The editions are by Noah Greenburg, the co-founder of the New York Pro Musica and were recorded in the 1950’s and were released on the Decca label.

Carol of the Bells – arr. David Maddux

The beloved Carol of the Bells, which is a Ukrainian folk melody, was written in 1916 by Mykola Leontovych and was not originally a Christmas song.  Rather, it was known as a Shchedryk (from the Ukrainian shchedryj,  meaning “beautiful” or “generous”), and would have been sung as a “well-wishing” carol on New Year’s Day.  The shchedryk, or swallow, is a harbinger of spring, and in the original lyrics it visits the master of the home to describe the good fortune awaiting him in the new year (including a wife with dark eyebrows.)  The familiar Christmas lyrics were supplied by Peter Wilhousky in 1936.

*Lo, How a Rose – arr. Daniel E. Gawthrop

Daniel E. Gawthrop is quickly becoming a staple composer in the modern choral repertoire, as his rich harmonic language and limpid melodies are universally appealing. A native of Indiana, he spent his youth in choirs and also studied trombone, piano, and organ, finally focusing on organ studies for his university degrees.  His career has included three years as Composer-in-Residence to the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra (VA); grants from The Barlow Endowment for Musical Composition; premieres from numerous choral groups and the American Choral Directors Association; and premieres from among such prominent ensembles as The United States Air Force Singing Sergeants, The Gregg Smith Singers, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming is truly one of the venerable hymns of the ancient church, probably dating back to the 15th century. Its text is a reference to the famous prophecy in Isaiah of Jesus’s lineage, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse . . . . “ The tree of Jesse is often depicted as a rose in medieval icons.

Serenity (O Magnum Mysterium) – Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)

Ola Gjeilo’s setting of the ancient text O Magnum Mysterium is generally performed under the alternative title Serenity –an allusion to the composer’s verbal instruction at the top of the score.  The chant, a responsory for the matins service on Christmas Day, evokes all the wonder and fascination of the incarnation of Christ, a pageant of veiled power and majesty, yet one unfolded before lowly farm animals unable to sing his praises.  Accompanied by a solo cello, this lush setting brims with what Ola describes as a “passionate peacefulness – a peacefulness that is not passive, but filled with warmth, faith, passion and gentle intent.”

O Magnum Mysterium – Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943)

The incarnation of Christ has always had a fascination for composers, which Morten Lauridsen neatly capsulizes:  “For centuries, composers have been inspired by the beautiful text, with its juxtaposition of the birth of the new-born King amongst the lowly animals and shepherds.”  Lauridsen is native of the Northwest, where he spent his formative years in Portland, Oregon before migrating to California for his collegiate training.  He joined the faculty of USC in 1967, now serving as Chair of the Department of Composition, and he also has served as Composer in Residence to the Los Angeles Master Chorale. He describes his own lush setting of the O Magnum Mysterium text thusly:  “This affirmation of God’s grace to the meek and the adoration of the Blessed Virgin are celebrated in my setting through a quiet song of profound inner joy.”

*Hacia Belén va un Borrico – arr. Robert Shaw & Alice Parker

Recorded in 1951 by the Robert Shaw Chorale for RCA, Hacia Belén va un Borrico is part of a series of carols from around the world where “secular meet those which we call religious.” In Shaw’s liner notes from the LP he describes these carols: “…in Spain, gypsies are in attendance at the manger, a little donkey laden with chocolate trots toward Bethlehem, and kings bring a tower as gift for the Christ – child.”

*How Far is it to Bethlehem – arr. James McCullough

James McCullough, a practical man, spent much of his career as Head of the Curriculum Materials Research and Resource Center at Boston State College, while composing and performing on the side. Later, he was fortunate enough to be able to earn his living as a musician, with appointments to the New England Conservatory of Music and as Arts Administrator of the Music Literature, and Folk Life programs at the Massachusetts Council for the Arts, Humanities, and Sciences. How Far Is It To Bethlehem? is dedicated to the Harvard University Choir and sets a text by Frances Chesterton, wife of the great Victorian author and fervent Catholic apologist, G.K. Chesterton. Indeed, the religious portion of his career owes her a great debt of thanks, as she coaxed him from Unitarianism to Anglicanism, and his joy was complete when she finally joined him in his ultimate conversion to Catholicism.

*Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day -arr. Sir David Willcocks

Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day was first published in 1833 but is far older than that. Scholars believe it dates back to the medieval Cornish mystery plays presented during the Christmas season. The tune is lovely but it is the imagery of man as the true and eternally wooed love of Christ that makes this a carol.

Away in a Manger – arr. Michael McGlynn

Michael McGlynn is a passionate advocate for native and for classical Irish music, both of which he felt were being under-represented in the choral world.  To this end, he founded Ańuna in 1987, which first came to international prominence when the group partnered with Riverdance through 1996.  McGlynn is also an accomplished arranger, and has a strong interest in medieval music.  Away in a Manger has often been erroneously attributed to Martin Luther, but he wrote neither the words, nor any of the forty-one (!) tunes to which it has been sung across the years.  The first two verses are anonymous, having first been published in the Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families in Philadelphia in 1885; the third verse first appeared in print in 1892 in Gabriel’s Vineyard Songs.  The song is generally sung to one of two tunes, depending on whether the music comes from American or English tradition, but both of these commonly-known melodies were written by Americans.  The version generally used in America was written by James R. Murray, who sincerely believed that he was setting one of Luther’s poems, and, in fact, titled it Luther’s Cradle Hymn, although the tune name is Mueller.  The English version, with the tune name of Cradle Song, was written by William J. Kirkpatrick, a prolific composer of hymn tunes.

Angels We Have Heard On High – arr. Drew Collins

Drew Collins studied at Concordia College, Boston University, and Cincinnati Conservatory, and has made a name for himself as a choral specialist.  In demand as an educator, conductor, and composer, he is equally interested in supporting the art by commissioning works from other composers, and is a regular contributor to the Choral Director Magazine.  His setting of Angels We Have Heard on High, which uses modal harmonies rather than the expected major scale, is slightly off-kilter due to its asymmetrical rhythmic setting.

– Kathryn Parke

The program notes for our concerts are written by a great friend of Charles Bruffy and the Chorale, Kathryn Parke.  A soprano who specializes in early music, she taught for many years at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg Kansas.  In addition to performance and research, her musical interests include composition and arranging, and her pieces have been performed by the PSU Choirs, the Early Music Consort of Kansas City, and several District Honor Choirs.  She has written the liner notes for the majority of the Chorale’s recent CDs.