Saturday, April 24, 2010

Beautiful music by John Rutter


After subjecting treating you in recent posts to a ditty by a banjo-playing Lord Pudding substitute and an unbelievable solo by Barney Fife, finding music of quality and virtuosity has been a bit difficult. But I believe I have found some. The musical performances in today’s post should make you forget all about those earlier ones.

Here are several very old sets of words that have been set to music by a man named John Rutter. Click on the titles below to hear his beautiful music.

1. “Pie Jesu Domine, eis requiem” (performed by the Monteverdi Choir)

Here are the Latin words they sang, and an English translation:

Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem,
Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem,
Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem, sempiternam.

Blessed Lord Jesus, grant them rest,
Blessed Lord Jesus, grant them rest,
Blessed Lord Jesus, grant them eternal rest.


2. “The Lord bless you and keep you” (performed by St. Paul Cathedral Choir, London)

The words, originally in Hebrew, are from one of the oldest books in the world, the book of Numbers (the fourth of five books in the Torah), chapter 6, verses 24-26. They are more than three thousand years old:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
To shine upon you and be gracious
And be gracious unto you
The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
The Lord lift His countenance upon you
And give you peace, and give you peace;
And give you peace, and give you peace,
Amen.


3. "For the beauty of the earth" (performed by St. Paul Cathedral choir, London)

The words were written by British hymnist and poet F. S. Pierpoint (1835-1917) and first appeared in Orby Shipley’s Lyra Eucharistica, second edition, in 1864.

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.


4. "What sweeter music" (performed by King’s College Choir, Cambridge)

The words were written by Robert Herrick (1591-1674) and were originally published under the title “A Christmas Caroll, sung to the King in the Presence at White-Hall”:

What sweeter musick can we bring
Than a Caroll, for to sing
The Birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the Voice! Awake the String!
Dark and dull night, flie hence away,
And give the honour to this Day,
That sees December turn’d to May.

Why does the chilling Winter’s morne
Smile, like a field beset with corne?
Or smell like a Meadow newly-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden? Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
’Tis He is born, whose quickening Birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To Heaven, and the under-Earth.

We see Him come, and know him ours,
Who, with His Sun-shine and His showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The Darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we finde a roome
To welcome Him. The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the heart:

Which we will give Him; and bequeath
This Hollie, and this Ivie Wreath
To do Him honour, who’s our King,
And Lord of all this Revelling.

What sweeter musick can we bring,
Than a caroll for to sing
The Birth of this our heavenly King?


Read about John Rutter here and see his photo here.

5 comments:

Pat - Arkansas said...

Lovely! Thank you.

Elizabeth said...

A wonderful post and a wonderful tribute to a lovely man. I've had the priviledge of meeting John Rutter several times and he is not only gifted but filled with a humble and gracious spirit. Thank you, Robert. x

Putz said...

i just absloutely melt when number one is played and sung especially by charlotte church from england>>>i swer i swoone, i swoone i swear>>.well i do who ever wrote that was a genius,

jinksy said...

Memories of singing the second one gives me peace, anyway - even if not my listeners!

rhymeswithplague said...

Pat, I thought so too, and you're welcome!

Elizabeth, how wonderful that you have met John Rutter several times!

Putz, the point of the post was to let you know that the person who wrote the beautiful music was John Rutter.

jinksy, I'm sure you have a lovely singing voice if you have been involved in the singing of Rutter's works!