Musical Musings 09-17: Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Holly Near, and a Karin Tooley original!


Music Notes – Sunday, September 17th:  

This Sunday’s musicians are UUCC Music Director Mike Carney and UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley


Opening Hymn: #188 Come, Come, Whoever You Are – Ungar/Rumi

#188 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, “Come, Come, Whoever You Are” has been a favorite gathering song for many years in thousands of UU worship services and events. The words, welcoming all without condition or exclusion, are from the renowned 13th century poet and mystic Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273). The overlapping round melody was written by poet, musician and UU minister Rev. Dr. Lynn Ungar (b. 1963), who currently serves as minister for lifespan learning and editor of Quest for the Church of the Larger Fellowship.


Centering Music: Andante Cantabile (II) from String Quartet No. 1, Op. 11 – Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a composer of the Romantic period and remains the most universally celebrated and recognized Russian composer of all time. Tchaikovsky famously composed ballet scores, symphonies, operas, and many other musical forms. Composed during 1871, the String Quartet No. 1 (Op. 11) was the first of three string quartets written by Tchaikovsky. The second movement (Andante cantabile) is the best-known of the four movements within this quartet, and its primary melody was based on a folk song Tchaikovsky had heard a plasterer singing and whistling while working on his sister’s house in the town of Kamienka (now part of Ukraine).


Special Music: I Am Willing – Near

Born in Ukiah, CA in 1949, Holly Near began singing in high school, and soon built on her performing career with acting parts on Mod Squad, Room 222, and The Partridge Family, and later as a cast member of the Broadway musical Hair. In 1972, Holly was one of the first women to create an independent record company, paving the way for other female recording artists like Ani DiFranco. Often cited as one of the founders of the Women’s Music movement, she not only led the way for outspoken women in the music world, but also worked for peace and multicultural consciousness. Another significant arena of Holly’s activism is the LGBTQ community, and in 1976 she became one of the first celebrities to discuss her sexual orientation openly. Throughout her long career Holly has worked with a wide array of musicians, including Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, and many others. She has received honors from the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, the National Organization for Women, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences; she was named Ms. Magazine’s Woman of the Year and received the Legends of Women’s Music Award. (from “I Am Willing” originally appeared on Holly Near’s 2003 album Cris & Holly, a collaborative project with fellow folk artist and activist Cris Williamson (b. 1947). “I Am Willing” has since become one of Holly’s best-loved songs and has been performed all around the world. This powerful song was featured prominently at the 2023 UU General Assembly in Pittsburgh.


Offertory music: Menuet (II) from Sonatine – Ravel

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was a French composer and pianist who is often associated with the impressionist movement. Throughout his career, Ravel wrote music for a wide variety of performing forces and incorporated musical elements from jazz, baroque and world music, among other styles. “Menuet” is the middle movement of Sonatine, a three-part piano composition first published in 1906.


Closing Hymn: #131 Love Will Guide Us – Rogers 

Sally Rogers is an award-winning folk musician, songwriter, and children’s arts educator. 2019 marked Sally’s 40th year as a songwriter, performer, and educator, and she is still steaming ahead, warming hearts and minds wherever she goes. Her songs “Lovely Agnes” and “Touch of the Master’s Hand” have frequently been mistaken for traditional, while “Love Will Guide Us” and “Circle of the Sun” are now anthems for rituals of passage and protest (from Rogers’ gospel-inspired “Love Will Guide Us” is #131 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal and is a favorite of many UUs.


Postlude: Allemande – Tooley

Our postlude this Sunday is an original composition by UUCC Pianist Karin Tooley, who will perform her own work in our service. In the composer’s own words: “I composed the Allemande for a music theory assignment when I was a sophomore at CIM. The contrapuntal style of J.S. Bach was always my nemesis and not my strong suit. When my long-distance boyfriend at the time dumped me, I threw myself into the assignment and spent the entire Fall Break refining it. I succeeded in cheering myself up while still following the rules of eighteenth-century counterpoint!”

                                                    -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director