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Monday, October 08, 2007

Musical Musings - [mostly] United States of North America Edition

American Composer Listener-Participant Musical Musings

Like many members of this community, I have a formal background in music and regularly play the piano (sometimes organ) in church and elsewhere around town, so I've linked to scores for some of the music I enjoy playing, and almost for sure you'll be able to find bound or single hard copies or possibly an online PDF at nominal cost for most of the rest.

As I started this month's Musical Musings, I noticed most of the music came from a specific place, so initially I decided to focus on geography rather than genre, and I also opted for a short chronological span--the last half of the last century. Whether as listener or performer, much of the music I resonate with and keep returning to comes from those decades, and I ran with my instincts! Given that we all became increasingly familiar with non-Western expressions in the fine and popular arts that often ran parallel to alternative expressions of the church as the 2oth century aged, my inclusive, multicultural side longed for this Musical Musings to reflect more diversity, but in the end, it really doesn't much at all. I've included music many of you likely know and possibly some none of you have heard. For the "albums," I've mentioned my favorite tracks, but you might find another more appealing. For each category I've invented a possible heading without specific comments about the individual tracks, but whatever your previous preferences, set your imagination free!

CDs/Songs: for worship and devotion

Leah Taylor - Faithful Friend
  • In Christ Alone, of Newsboys renown
  • Beyond the Tears
  • Falling Up
Darrell Evans - Trading My Sorrows: The Best of...From Latter-Day Saint Paul Cardall - Songs of Praise - with guests Steele Croswhite and Cheri Magill
  • Grateful
  • Agnus Dei
  • Green Hill
Rich Mullins - The World As Best I remember It, volume 1, 1991Mercy Me, Spoken For, 2002Samuel Barber: Prayers of Kierkegaard

Randall Thompson: The Peaceable Kingdom - excerpts from 1, 2 and 3 Isaiah juxtaposed and intertwined in a glorious cantata-style sequence for a cappella SATB chorus; I love it all, but esp recommend...
  • Say ye to the righteous - Youtube link
  • The paper reeds by the brook
  • Have ye not known? and
  • Ye shall have a song
secular vernacular variety assortment

David Benoit - Urban Daydreams, 1989Jewel Kilcher - Spirit, 1998Tracy Chapman - New Beginning - with wonderful photographs from the UC Santa Cruz Greenhousesconcert-hall array collection

Samuel Barber: Knoxville, Summer of 1915, 1947 - text taken from a prose poem by James Agee written in 1935, now included as the prologue to Agee's novel, A Death in the Family. If you sing and want to learn the piece to perform it; here's the vocal score with a piano reduction of the orchestral parts.

Roy Harris - Symphony No. 3, 1938 - 18 minutes long, 1 movement in 5 sections: raw, angular and elegant

Christopher Rouse - Phaethon, 1986 - started as a mini-concerto for orchestra to narrate part of the Greek myth, and turned out to be in memory of the Challenger's 7 astronauts

music to play for worship

Mark Hayes: Lord, Be Glorified - Keepsake EditionGlory to His Name! Charity Book Putnam
  • Glory to His Name/Holy Manna Medley
  • On Jordan's Stormy Banks--Southern Harmony's "Promised Land" - Youtube link
Stephen Nielson At the Piano
  • Fanfare
  • O For a Thousand Tongues
music to play mostly outside of worship
For piano scores I've linked to Sheet Music Plus, with its huge selection and fast, cheap shipping, too
Lukas Foss - Fantasy Rondo, 1944: I played this one-movement piece with its ever-changing key signatures, time signatures, textures and dynamics as prelude to worship on one Trinity Sunday; together with Leon Fleisher, Foss was on the piano faculty the summer I spent at Tanglewood; Scott Dunn plays Lukas Foss' Complete Piano works

Vincent Persichetti - 3rd Piano Sonata, Opus 22, 1943: Declaration - Episode - Psalm - amazing! I also love to play Persichetti's relatively austere Organ Sonata, Opus 86, 1960

Paul Creston
  • Prelude and Dance, Opus 29, #2
  • Prelude and Dance, Opus 29, #1
--Creston wrote a zillion pieces called "Prelude and Dance" for almost every instrument and instrumentation imaginable

...and two more...

Because I won't get to do this very often, in Latin, written by a German
Ernst Pepping - Te deum (1956) for soprano and baritone solos, SATB choir, woodwinds, brass, timpani, drums and strings. I got an ancient Deutsche Grammaphon recording on vinyl on eBay and couldn't find a CD anywhere I looked, but here's a Te Deum details page

from KiwiLand--New Zealander Douglas Lilburn brings us elegance with Aotearoa Overture
(here is a Youtube link of the Aetearoa Overture - go for the listening, not for the visual)


  1. Leah, what a comprehensive list! There is something for everyone on this list. You are familiar with a huge repertoire of music. Think I will go youtubing some to see if I can hear some of this music -- and I am sure there are music samples on Amazon and some of the web sites.

    I am familiar with the Randall Thompson as I have a CD with The Peaceable Kingdom -- I ordered it for Thompson's Alleluia and PK came with it.

  2. Wow. I'm heading out to visit the Shedd Aquarium and the Art Institute in Chi. but I look forward to reviewing these when I return! Thank you!!

  3. Cathy, if you have the time (are you home from school today?) to find some youtube or other samples, that'd be great; if you discover some good ones, would it be practical for you to include them in my post, or would the comments be more realistic? Just wondering...I like Thompson's "Alleluia," too, so I'm happy you mentioned it, as well as his "Song After Sundown" for solo piano, but to my knowledge the score's no longer in print and I couldn't find a recording.

  4. Leah, I am at the beach on Fall Break and can see the Gulf from the porch here -- wireless is a wonderful invention.

    I have added an Amazon Music store with the musical selections I could find and put them in one spot so if anyone wants to go perusing through it, have fun.

    Tried to put a widget in a posting, but it didn't seem to allow me to do that.

    Anyway, will try to go youtubing later - If I find anything, I'll add to the post.

  5. Have you no known?
    Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    You shall have a song,
    A song, and gladness of heart.


  6. What a lovely list!
    I really appreciate the effort you took here -- This is going to keep me entertained for hours.

  7. What a wonderful list! I love the Thompson piece, and singing Mark Hayes' arrangement of "Fairest Lord Jesus" (among others). Thanks for all the thought and effort you put into this.

  8. Wow, Cathy--you even found another recording of Foss' Fantasy Rondo, which has become The Trinity Sunday piece for me, though I don't expect to get to play it again soon. Speaking of Lukas Foss, ages ago when I was in High Desert City I played his "Scherzo Ricercato" for a Summer Sunday Special Music and afterwards someone informed me how unpleasanmt it was and how he wished I'd never played it. It's highly technical and kind of an accomplishment to learn and fun to be able to say you know it.

  9. I remember singing "The paper reeds by the brook." You take me back!

  10. Wow--great list! Since you mentioned Rich Mullins' Step by Step, I thought I'd add an alternative, Sometimes by Step.

  11. Thanks, Kievas--earlier today Cathy was emailing me Youtube samples and suggestions, and she'd found Sometimes By Step, but I told her I was talking about Step By Step. So happy you've added it, though!

  12. I think it is pretty cool Kievas found the very same link we were talking about earlier.

    It's amazing what is on Youtube, and it really is in its infancy still.

  13. Leah, you are amazing. Thank you so much for this incredible selection.

  14. This is great - I definitely plan on checking some of these artists out!


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