Thursday, November 22, 2018

Saint Cecilia's Day, November 22

"But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher:
When to her organ vocal breath was given,
An angel heard, and straight appeared 
Mistaking earth for heaven."

An early church martyr, the patron saint of musicians, the subject of many poems and music, not the least of which is John Dryden's "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day 1687."

The Italian composer G. B. Draghi wrote the first musical arrangement for “A Song for St. Cecilia's Day” in 1687. In the 1730s, G. F. Handel created superlative new musical scores for both of the St. Cecilia odes of Dryden. Watch this short excerpt of one verse from Handel's Ode, The Trumpet's Loud Clamour. Or watch the more famous full length composition by G.F. HĂ„NDEL: Ode for St. Cecilia's Day HWV 76 here.

A modern commission in 2008 was set to music for choir and organ by William Bolcom (click here to watch one version).

Photo: Saint Cecilia with an Angel, by Orazio Gentileschi

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