(I’m still working through the backlog I had hoped to shift by Easter, and I’m still trying to tell myself that having lots of music I need to add to the site is a great problem to have…)
This week I’ve added four pieces by Sheena Phillips to the Easter page. The site already had some of her work, but it’s good to be able to add some more, and fill out what was a rather sparse-looking Easter page. They’re very definitely on the “special occasions” side of things, involving not only organ but also brass.
A word to the wise: if you’re going to have some brass join you for Easter Day, and you want them to play at the same time as the organ, do check your organ is at A440 first. The one I used to play at St Andrew’s Leytonstone isn’t, it’s about 18 cents sharp, and it would have sounded absolutely dreadful to add an instrument tuned to standard pitch.
I’m — slowly — working through my data entry backlog, and finally at a point where I can start adding music to the site again.
Today I added a hymn with words and music written by Dorothea Baker. The words are based loosely on the Nunc dimittis, making it suitable for Evensong, Compline or Candlemas; I’ve added it to the Evensong category on the site, because I figure that’s where people will be looking for Candlemas stuff anyway.
Here’s an mp3 recording, which you can download if the embedded player isn’t working:
And here’s a .pdf to download:
PDF of ‘Windella’ by Dorothea Baker
I am fond of the serene simplicity of this hymn, and it shouldn’t be hard for a congregation to pick up. Though it’s scored for SATB, it might be prudent to sing it in unison unless you have basses who can sing a bottom E comfortably.
I would really love to include more hymns on this site in general: congregations may grumble a bit about new hymns, but once people have become accustomed to the idea of not always using the same hymnal it can be a great way to introduce new music. Some of this, of course, will come down to me buying a few of the newer hymnals and making some recommendations; but if you know of hymns with music by women that you’d like to see included on this site, then please use the music submission form to let me know about them.
The readings for this Sunday are:
2 Kings 2:1-12 is the ascension of Elijah into heaven, with poor Elisha following him around and then eventually left behind.
Psalm 50:1-6 is God calling to the heavens and earth to gather the faithful together.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 is about how it is that some people seem to see the light of the Gospel and others don’t; about the way in which Christians should not “proclaim ourselves” but rather proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord.
Mark 9:2-9 is the Transfiguration.
One of my own pieces, a setting of a poem by Marnanel Thurman, would be appropriate for this Sunday. It’s for flexible choir, it can be sung unison with or without solos or up to SAB. The music is available from CPDL and there is a demo recording on Youtube.
What’s seen is seen, and cannot be unknown;
and so he turned my soul, and turns it still.
We’d walked a while, just him and us alone;
we’d wandered up some ordinary hill.
The air was cold. The conversation died.
I wondered if I’d left the stove alight.
The curtains of the world were torn aside,
and naked glory overwhelmed my sight;
and oh, the voice, that called to him by name,
so comforting, so terrible to hear:
that man I knew, the same, yet not the same,
touches my arm, and tells me not to fear;
but as I raise my eyes, the light is gone,
and life, and something more, must carry on.
If you’re after something more traditional, any setting of O Nata Lux would be good. I don’t currently have one in the database, though, so if you know of one composed by a woman, do use the submit music form to let me know about it.
Some non-Cecilia’s List deadlines and a winter bug slowed me right down, and I ended up skipping Candlemas (2nd February) and the Sunday afterward (4th February) here, both of which I actually have some good recommendations for. I’m trying to get caught up this week before going away so that I don’t get further behind and end up feeling even more overwhelmed. So far I’m about halfway through the easy part of my data entry backlog. And I do have music of my own for Ash Wednesday, at least.
This week I was sent a wonderful list of music by women, thanks to the Multitude of Voyces project. I promptly fell down a rabbit hole of listening to lots of music instead of updating my database… hence this post is a day late.
When I finally pried myself away from the Tube of You, I added some work by Canadian composer Ruth Watson Henderson to the site, and I added a new page for works I haven’t sorted into categories yet.
Here’s Ruth Watson Henderson’s Missa Brevis:
[Listen to Missa Brevis by Ruth Watson Henderson on Youtube]
I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from updating the database, so there won’t be “new music this week” posts on Tuesday 26th December or Tuesday 2nd January. I do still intend to make music recommendations, though.
During an already-busy time of year for church musicians (even ones like me who don’t have a steady post), something came up this past week that demanded a lot of my time and attention.
As a result I haven’t added very much music to the site this week. Just one piece, in fact: this rather lovely setting of “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Justine Koontz, for unison voices with piano accompaniment.
I’m also changing the format of the listings slightly, using H6 (heading six) tags within the lists to make individual works easier to find for people using assistive screenreaders. I haven’t updated absolutely everything just yet, so please bear with me while the site looks a bit mis-matched.
Finally, please do use the music submission form if you’d like to suggest music for me to include on the site. I’ve updated it slightly to allow for you to submit someone else’s work.
I’m doing some testing of formatting to make the site more accessible to people using assistive tech. Proper update later today!
Mary’s Whys. Williams, Helen.
Words by Sarah Lutton. English, SATB with or without children’s choir, organ, 3:00, easy to medium difficulty. [Listen to mp3] [Download score from Canossa Choral Music] Inspired by Luke 1:26-38. Sarah Lutton’s poem imagines Mary’s response to being asked to bear the Son of God. Suitable for Mothering Sunday, the Annunciation or the Fourth Sunday of Advent. May be downloaded and used in Christian worship without charge. For other use please contact Canossa Choral music.
All systems are go! Well, very nearly.
I’m still editing the pages for Eucharist and Evensong, but as of 00.01 on 22nd November, the pages for Advent, Christmas, Easter and Lent are live! Do have a look around, and let me know what you think.
I am starting small with this so there are only a handful of composers so far, but I’ll be adding new music every week.
Addendum: As of 00:55, Eucharist and Evensong are live too. I’m tired enough to be making really silly mistakes, but tomorrow I’ll do some posts featuring some of my favourite music from this first selection, highlight some other initiatives that are relevant to women in church music, and maybe even make some silly pictures.
It turns out there are a lot of composers who want to be involved in this project! I’ve heard from so many of you, from people who’ve written one hymn or anthem, to people whose music is sung or played regularly and have agents to handle communicating with projects like this.
This is really good news and I am keeping a list of every suggestion and request from composers and non-composers alike. I want this to be as useful and relevant a resource as possible, and comprehensive information is really important for that.
That said: I am a PhD student, and a composer myself, with all the workload that involves. Out of necessity, I’m going to have to start small with this site, and gradually build it up. I’ve already received more suggestions than I can possibly include before the launch date of 22nd November, especially when I need to go to multiple websites and sift through catalogues in a variety of formats. This is exactly the problem I’m trying to solve for people who choose music for church services!
To help streamline the data collection process, I’ve made a music submission page where you can suggest works for inclusion in the directory.
In the meantime, between now and 22nd November I will focus on making sure there are some works referenced in every one of the starting categories (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Eucharist and Evensong), so that the site will be useful for people who are choosing music. After that, I will be adding new music every week, and new categories as necessary.