Monday, February 1, 2010

A little gift of music for Candlemas:"When to the Temple Mary Went" J. Eccard

  • Johannes Eccard (1553-1611) was German and a one-time student of Lassus. This piece is a motet for 6 voices (SSATBB)
  • Before you listen to the recording, unless you already know the piece, I suggest a glance through the words first. To my ear they are beautiful and Eccard's setting matches them perfectly. The acoustic of St. Paul's is unhelpful to anyone who values enunciation, which is particularly important with the second half of the English version of this motet. The words and more details about the piece apppear below the video.

"The Presentation of Christ in the Temple" - translated from the German by Rev. J. Troutbeck

When to the temple Mary went and brought the Holy Child,
Him did the anged Simeon see, as it had been revealed.
He took up Jesus in his arms and blessing God he said;
In peace I now depart, my Saviour having seen,
The Hope of Israel, the Hope of Israel,
The Light of men.
Help now thy servants, gracious Lord
That we may ever be
As once the faithful Simeon was
Rejoicing but in Thee;
And when we must from earth departure take
May gently fall asleep,
May gently fall asleep
And with Thee wake.

I learned the piece in the mid 1980s. It was one of the few sung in English by the RC church choir to which I belonged. The version we used was from 'Select Vocal Part Music of Various Schools' Edited (and marked for use of the Bach Choir) by Otto Goldschmidt. Our MD was a member of the Bach Choir and I think he got it from the Bach Choir Magazine No.2. It's probably more easily available these days. Perhaps Leutgeb could tell me whether this is the composer Goldschmidt, who married the 'Swedish Nightingale', Jenny Lind. I think it's reasonable to assume that Rev. Troutbeck is the well-known Anglican translator who was once Precentor of Westminster Abbey. He died in 1899.

1 comment:

Londiniensis said...

Thank you for this. I had not been aware of it before.