[Milton-L] Hodie

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Thu Dec 29 17:10:48 EST 2011


A tricky question, or at least a very broad one, but for a pretty fair
rendering of heavenly music, with a wedding of voice and verse, I'd
recommend another Vaughan Williams piece, the end of his *Pilgrim's Progress
*, when Christian arrives at the heavenly city. Reaching a bit further, I
might add the end of Mahler's 8th Symphony ("The Symphony of a Thousand"),
with its vast setting of Goethe's *Faust*: "Alles vergaengliche ist nur ein
Gleichnis." Of course, there's no reason why the aesthetic wedding Milton's
writes of, or indeed heavenly music, should be monumental. For a stiller,
smaller voice, one might try "'Tis Nature's voice" from Purcell's *Ode to
St. Cecilia*.

Hannibal




On Sat, Dec 24, 2011 at 5:17 PM, Michael Gillum <mgillum at unca.edu> wrote:

> Recent musical posts move me to ask what commonly available pieces might
> be used to represent the sort of thing Milton writes about in "At a Solemn
> Music"? I thought of "Zadok the Priest" by Henry Lawes (not the Purcell
> one), but it's thematically inappropriate (divine right monarchy). It was
> written for the coronation of Charles II and also performed at James II's.
>
> Best Christmas and holiday wishes.
>
> Michael
>
> On Sat, Dec 24, 2011 at 2:30 AM, Nancy Charlton <nbcharlton at comcast.net>wrote:
>
>>  I just finished watching the annual Christmas concert from St Olaf
>> College on my local PBS station, one of the loveliest events of the season
>> for several years now.
>>
>> The highlight of this one was a magnificent performance of "Ring Out, Ye
>> Crystal Spheres" from Ralph Vaughan Williams' oratorio "Hodie".  The
>> nine-fold symphony and Heav'n's deep organ were in full force and melodious
>> time with a huge massed choir and orchestra that included some unusual
>> percussion.  Unlike some massed choirs, this one did not overwhelm by sheer
>> body count but delivered a deeply felt and splendidly executed reading of
>> this too-seldom performed music. And their diction was perfect: even my
>> deficient ears picked up all the words (though I suppose it didn't hurt
>> that I know the poem almost verbatim).
>>
>> I don't know whether it is now online or will be, but it is available on
>> CD, DVD and Blu-Ray. It will be rebroadcast locally sometime in the middle
>> of a night. It's worth staying up for.
>>
>> Tidings of comfort and joy ---
>>
>> Nancy Charlton
>>
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>
>
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-- 
Hannibal Hamlin
Associate Professor of English
Editor, *Reformation*
Co-curator, *Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King
James Bible*
http://www.manifoldgreatness.org/
The Ohio State University
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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