Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A "Music at St. Mary's" note

From The Angelus, the St. Mary the Virgin weekly newsletter, referring to this Sunday, August 9:
FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is the Prélude from Suite pour orgue, Op. 5, by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986). The Suite, composed in 1932 and first performed at Saint Mary’s in 1946, is one the most magnificent works from the relatively small corpus that Duruflé published. The entire Suite will be performed as the prelude to Solemn Mass on the Eve of the Feast of the Assumption, Friday, August 14. The offertory hymn, “Come, risen Lord,” is sung to the tune Rosedale by Leo Sowerby (1895-1968). Sowerby was one of the most influential musicians of the twentieth century, and is commonly referred to as the “dean of American church music.” Early recognition came to him through his orchestral compositions, but it was during his tenure at Washington National Cathedral that he produced many of his church compositions. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1946. The Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei are sung to settings by Ruth Cunningham (b. 1956). At the ministration of Communion, Ms. Cunningham sings her setting of the Marian hymn O lilium convallium (“O lily of the valley”), to an accompaniment by Mr. Kennerley. James Kennerley

If you're in New York, you could do much, much worse than go hear Ruth Cunningham sing her own chant settings at Solemn Mass. (I think he's talking about Sunday, August 9th; it's a bit hard to tell if he means that, or the Friday following, the Feast of the Assumption - but that mass seems to have a different mass and motet associated with it, so I think it is indeed a reference to the 9th. Ruth Cunningham has a lovely, distinctive singing style - and her own music is always stunning.)

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