Music notes for Sunday, January 17
The organ prelude and offertory this week are by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), who was an English composer and conductor of mixed race birth (not to be confused with the 19th-century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge). Coleridge-Taylor achieved such success that he was referred to by white New York musicians as the “African Mahler” when he had three tours of the United States in the early 1900s. He was particularly known for his three cantatas on the epic poem "Song of Hiawatha" by American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Coleridge-Taylor premiered the first section in 1898, when he was 22.
He married an Englishwoman, Jessie Walmisley, and both their children had musical careers. Their son Hiawatha adapted his father’s music for a variety of performances. Their daughter Avril Coleridge-Taylor became a composer-conductor.
Although primarily known for one of the three Hiawatha cantatas, Hiawatha’s Wedding feast, Coleridge-Taylor was a fairly prolific composer whose output includes a violin concerto, a variety of chamber music, several songs and even some sacred music. His "Melody" for organ is one of a set of three pieces for the instrument published in 1898. The “melody” is heard at the outset in the top voice but migrates to the tenor range and is subject to different types of variation and harmonic changes before a truncated recapitulation quietly closes the piece. The offertory is a short anthem for four-part choir using a straightforward harmonic language that allows the text to be fully heard while giving it expression. The text is verse 10 of psalm 98: “O ye that love the Lord, see that ye hate the thing which is evil: the Lord preserveth the souls of his saints, he shall deliver them from the hand of the ungodly.”
(Information and image from Wikipedia)
Music is an integral part of worship at St. Paul's. During our virtual worship, music selections draw from a diverse range of styles within the Anglican / Episcopal tradition. Preludes include a noteworthy or unusual piece and the offertory switches between pieces by the St. Paul's music team and those by others, offering a range of styles, genres, composers, text writers, and performers. When we worship in the Sanctuary, our 10 a.m. Rite II Holy Eucharist service features the St. Paul's Choir, singing service music, hymns, and anthems of old and new, accompanied by our three-manual, 67-rank, 46-stop Rodgers organ.