Music Notes - The Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C
The penultimate Sunday in Lent sees our choral music reflect on the importance of the bread of heaven in our communion motet by César Franck, and connection with Christ through the blessed sacrament of the Eucharist in our Offertory Anthem by Italian composer, Giovanni Croce. Our celebration of works by female-identifying composers as our preludes concludes Women’s History Month with a beautiful work by living composer, Pei-lun Vicky Chang.
Born in Taiwan, Dr. Pei-lun Vicky Chang (b. 1966) is a graduate of the Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei; the Manhattan School of Music, NYC; and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, OH. She is currently Music Director at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lancaster, NY.
From her Suite for Organ, Raining Night’s Flowers is a beautiful work in four sections, based on the Taiwanese folk song “Woo-yah-hwui”. In the score, the composer describes her work as follows:
“The piece can be divided into four parts. First, a short introduction, the melody is generated by the first and last phrase of the folk tune, and both are highly ornamented. Second, there is a simple hymnal style, in which the entire folk tune is placed on the soprano line. Third, there is development … the descending triplets passages resembling the raindrops while it modulates into a different key. At the end, it is a trio in canon with a little coda.”
I first discovered her works when looking for those of living composers to perform at the Inaugural Recital of the Organ at Philadelphia Cathedral back in October 2021. You can hear my performance of this piece from that recital by clicking below:
This Sunday sees us continue the trend of Renaissance composers of polyphony with excellent names. This week, Ioanne a Cruce Clodiensis, Zuanne Chiozotto known by his friends as Giovanni Croce (1557-1609) is a Late Renaissance Italian composer of the Venetian school, known particularly for his madrigal writing alongside the likes of Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1554/1557-1612) and Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643).
Croce took the position of maestro di cappella at St. Mark’s, Venice in 1603. Famed for its strong choral tradition, the quality of music declined under Croce’s tenure–due to his ill health rather than lack of musicianship! He would die in-post in 1609 to be succeeded eventually by Monteverdi.
Sunday’s Offertory Anthem comes from his 1597 Motetti a 4 voci, libro primo (Tr. Motets in 4 voices, book one) published by the Vincenti press in Venice. From Latin Prose, its text can also be found as an Antiphon to the Magnificat in the Vespers service of Corpus Christi and is believed to be by Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). O Sacrum Convivium is a profound expression the Eucharistic celebration (the banquet) within the Paschal Mystery:
O sacred banquet!
in which Christ is received,
the memory of his Passion is renewed,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory to us is given.
Fun Fact: Croce is credited to be one of the first composers to have his works published with figured bass; that is numbers under the bass line to indicate to a keyboard player which chords should be used to accompany the work, marking Basso per sonare nell'organo or “Bass for playing on the organ”.
For many, if you said the name César Franck (1822-1890) to them, they may scratch their heads. However, if you hummed the first few measures of Panis Angelicus, they would undoubtedly recognize the melody if not that it is written by the oft-forgotten, Belgian composer, César Franck. In the year of the 200th anniversary of his birth, Franck is a composer of great importance in Europe, being influenced and influencing some of the greatest composers, while writing some outstanding music himself!
Franck was a somewhat precocious child, being able to play any of the preludes and fugues from the Well-Tempered Clavier by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) by the age of 14, as well as being a contender in our “best names” competition: César Auguste Jean Guillaume Hubert Franck.
Though it is said that this motet is taken from his Mass for Three Voices, Op. 12, (1860) the Panis Angelicus was finished 12 years later and was a late addition to the whole work. The text is another by Thomas Aquinas, also written for Corpus Christi, and is taken from the penultimate stanza of his Sacris solemniis. This well-known work demonstrates Franck’s innate ability in composition and melodic development.
Director of Music
Director of Music
(215) 247-7466 ext. 105
Tyrone (he/him) writes, “I am beyond excited to have been appointed as the next Director of Music at St. Martin-in-the-Fields and I cannot wait to begin working with you all. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work in such a faithful, progressive, and musical church with such a wonderful tradition. My husband, Sean and I look forward very much to meeting you all.”
A prize-winning organist and conductor, Mr. Tyrone Whiting is a graduate of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and the Royal College of Music, both in London, UK.
In September 2017, Tyrone was appointed Director of Music at Grace Church in Newark, New Jersey, USA and began work there in February 2018. At Grace Church, Tyrone extended the Chorister Choir School program, developed and expanded the adult choir, and founded a brand-new adult chamber choir, Brick City Chorus, raising the profile of music at Grace Church and the Arts in Newark, NJ.
He has been fortunate to perform at some of the top churches and venues including Westminster Abbey, the Royal Albert Hall, St. Sulpice and Le Mans cathedral in France, as well as featuring in Trinity Wall Street’s Pipes at One series last summer.
Prior to Tyrone’s arrival in the USA, he was Director of Music at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Battersea from 2012 to early 2018. At St. Mary’s, Tyrone established a biennial recital series as well as a new fully funded choral scholarship program, and conducted several large-scale concerts including Mozart and Fauré’s requiems, J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion, and Stainer’s Crucifixion. Collaborative work included conducting a recent commission by prominent British composer Simon Bainbridge written for the Choir of St. Mary’s, as well as working as accompanist for the Philharmonia Chorus under conductors Stefan Bevier and Yaron Traub.
Passionate about teaching, Tyrone was awarded the Licentiateship diploma of Trinity College, London (LTCL) in Instrumental/Vocal Teaching with a high distinction and worked in and around London as a teacher of organ, piano, and theory. He was formerly Head of Music at Elmhurst Independent School for Boys for 3 years and worked as an animateur in London schools and the London Mozart Players.
As a pianist, Tyrone has studied with Philip Fowke, Andrew Zolinsky, and Alvin Moisey. He performs often as a soloist, accompanist, and répétiteur, holding the Licentiateship diploma of the Royal School of Music (LRSM) in Piano Performance.
More information about Tyrone can be found at www.tyronewhiting.com.
Welcome to Music Notes, a weekly blog discussing the music in support of our weekly worship services! Each week, we will explore the history, context, and relationship to liturgy which our service music has.
Music is an integral fundamental part of the worship and life of St. Martin’s. A typical Sunday Eucharist will include two anthems, and a psalm sung by the choir, as well a congregational mass setting (sometimes choral settings are used) and hymns. Congregational singing is an important part of our worship; music adds heightened meaning to texts and scripture and is a wonderful medium for expressing the inexpressible in times of joy and gladness, or in time of difficulty and sadness.