Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Charles Wood

In my next time round in this wintry world I want to be a "Teacher of harmony & counterpoint", like Charles Wood.

Our organist David has sent me some information about a beautiful Anthem we are doing this Sunday with the choir at East Harling Church.

Called "O thou the central Orb", it has the most sensational imagery, (written by H R Bramley) in it of circling Angels & glorious light.

Here are the words.

"O Thou the Central Orb"

O thou, the central orb of righteous love,
Pure beam of the most high, eternal light
Of this our wintry world, thy radiance bright
Awakes new joy in faith, hope soars above.

Come, quickly come, and let thy glory shine,
Gilding our darksome heaven with rays divine.

Thy saints with holy lustre round thee move,
As stars about thy throne, set in the height
Of God’s ordaining counsel, as thy sight
Gives measured grace to each, thy power to prove.

Let thy bright beams disperse the gloom of sin,
Our nature all shall feel eternal day
In fellowship with thee, transforming clay
To souls erewhile unclean, now pure within.

H R Bramley

I can't stop singing it. Hopeully the obsession will pay off when we actually have to sing it on the weekend.
I don't have any pictures of Central Orb's but I do have one of the choir at S S Peter & Paul.

And one of Mard's latest cloud photos from Australia..fairly insiring too.

Here are David's notes from various sources...

Lionel Dakers, formerly Director of the Royal School of Church Music and editor of the
New Church Anthem Book (OUP 1992) and its accompanying handbook wrote :

‘This is one of the best and most rewarding examples of the romantic church music which emerged in England at the turn of the 19th / 20th centuries. The words are majestic and the spacious music even more so, emphasising the theme of God’s radiance awakening new joy in faith and leading on to a quick succession of various statements in which the music builds up in intensity and volume towards a great final climax. For most singers, organists and listeners alike, this is the epitome of church music romanticism at its most telling.
The richly sustained broad vocal lines are supported by an equally fine organ part. Projecting a warm and generous tonal texture with expressively- shaped contours is very much part and parcel of the scheme of things. The composer highlights the climaxes in an impressive and exciting way, the organ contributing greatly towards this. The ternary shape of the anthem lends itself to a colourful treatment in which the quieter, though no less urgent, middle section Come, quickly come is in marked contrast to the forceful outer movements. The final section is very fine, with the organ lending its weight to the build-up towards the triumphant Amen.’.

From Wikipedia
‘Charles Wood (June 15th 1866 – July 12th 1926) was an Irish composer and teacher. Born in Armagh, in present-day Northern Ireland, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Cambridge University, where he later taught harmony and counterpoint, becoming professor of music in 1924. For most of his career, he worked at Gonville and Caius College, first as ‘organist scholar’ and then as a fellow. He was instrumental in the reflowering of music there, though more as a teacher and organiser of musical events than as composer. Like his better known colleague and former teacher, Charles Villiers Stanford, he is chiefly remembered for his Anglican church music. He also wrote eight string quartets, co-edited three books of carols and was co-founder (in 1904) of the Irish Folk Song Society. His pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells.’
The Charles Wood Summer School was founded in 1994 in Armagh to promote his music and Irish connections.

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