Musical Musings: July 10 – July 16, 2022

Music Notes – Sunday, July 10th

This week’s musician is Laura Silverman.

Laura Silverman received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano from The Cleveland Institute of Music and was a prize winner in both The Casadesus International Piano Competition (now The Cleveland International Piano Competition), and the J.S. Bach International Piano Competition. Ms. Silverman is on the faculties of both The University of Akron School of Music (Director of Collaborative Piano Studies) and The College of Wooster. Be sure to arrive early this Sunday for pre-service music from Laura, beginning at 10:10!

Pre-service Music: “Sweet Remembrance” from Songs Without Words – Mendelssohn

German composer, pianist, and conductor Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy (1809-1847), more commonly known simply as Felix Mendelssohn, was one of the most important musicians of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn’s most famous works include the concert overture A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the oratorio Elijah, the melody for the Christmas carol “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”, and Songs Without Words (Lieder ohne Worte) for piano. Between 1829-1845, Mendelssohn composed 8 separate volumes of Songs Without Words, each containing six pieces for solo piano. “Sweet Remembrance” (op. 19, no. 1) is the first song from the first volume of Mendelssohn’s famous collection of piano music.

Opening Hymn: Make Channels for the Streams of Love – American folk song/Trench   

“Make Channels for the Streams of Love” is a setting of the Appalachian hymn tune “Land of Rest”. Like many Appalachian melodies, that tune probably has its roots in Scottish or Irish folk music, but it was first published in the United States as a shape-note song in The Sacred Harp (1844). The melody was originally titled “New Prospect”, but soon took on the name of its best-known hymn setting, “O Land of Rest! For Thee I Sigh”. The tune appears three times in Singing the Living Tradition, as #70 “Heap High the Farmer’s Wintry Hoard”, #277 “When We Wend Homeward”, and as #299 “Make Channels for the Streams of Love”. The words we’ll sing on Sunday were written by Irish poet, author, and Anglican Archbishop Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-1886).

Centering Music: Sehnsüchtig (op. 7 no. 6) – Mendelssohn

See Pre-service Music above for information about Felix Mendelssohn. “Sehnsüchtig” (Longing) is the sixth of Mendelssohn’s Sieben Charakterstücke (Seven Character Pieces) for solo piano, composed during the mid-1820s.

Sung Meditation: Heart Opening Song – Partain

“Heart Opening Song” is an original composition by UUCC Minister Rev. Randy Partain. In Randy’s own words: “In May of 2022, I attended the Spiritual Directors International conference in Santa Fe. Pat McCabe led a morning ceremony each day. One morning, she introduced a “heart-opening song” drawn from her Diné (Navajo) tradition. Participating in this beautiful communal song, the thought occurred to me that it would be wonderful to bring this song back to the congregation I serve. This thought was immediately followed by an awareness of how inappropriate this appropriation would be. So, in the open-hearted space of that morning’s plenary session, I conceived a more appropriate heart opening song in preparation for our summer series on Connection.”

Offertory Music: Consolation No. 5 in E major – Liszt

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was a Hungarian pianist, composer, and music educator of the Romantic era. Liszt rose to fame as a virtuoso pianist, and although he wrote for a variety of performing forces, he is best known today for his piano compositions. Liszt’s compositions were highly experimental, exploring radical (for its time) harmonic language and angular, often virtuosic melodies. Consolation No. 5 in E major (Andantino) is from Liszt’s Six Consolations for Piano, composed during the late 1840s.

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: Fugue from Toccata in E minor (BWV 914) – Bach

The Toccata in E minor (BWV 914) is among the lesser-known keyboard compositions by Baroque master Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Believed to have been written in 1707 or 1708, it is considered to be in the early period of Bach’s compositional output, but nevertheless foreshadows many of the contrapuntal complexities that would become a hallmark of Bach’s later compositions for the harpsichord and organ. This work is frequently performed as part of Bach’s Seven Manualiter Toccatas (BWV 910-916), a collection of keyboard works from Bach’s early period. Manualiter is a term used in organ writing and composition designating a particular work or section to be played on the manuals only, with no pedals. Bach did not specify which instrument these early toccatas were meant for, and today these works are most often performed on the piano.

             -Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director