Sunday, 26 December 2010

somthing about Christmas songs: Mendelssohn & William Cummings

Mendelssohn: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, brass fanfare by Willcocks (King's College Choir)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkWhfTK037w
This hymn has a 'strange' history. The music was from a cantata of Mendelssohn, not for the celebration of X'mas. The words were from John Wesley the founding father of the Methodist Church. The cantata was premiered on June 24 1840 in an open area (a sort of street music??). Special orchestration was therefore needed for creating the appropriate accoustic effect.

Further to my message above, I just wanted to add that it was an English musician, William Cummings, who fitted John Wesley's words into the second movement of Mendelssohn's canata after he died. It was indeed a twist. Yet some said that Wesley envisioned his words should be sung in a tune similiar to his hymn "Christ the Lord is risen today" well in the 18th Century. You can hear this hymn at the following:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdgvIAxPV0s&feature=related


I might be biased, but this piece indeed sounds like a good match with "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". I wonder whether you feel the same.

by my teacher: Ho Mun

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