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Early American Choral Music Vol. 1. His Majestie's Clerkes


Price: CDN$ 11.19 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 1 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: harmonia mundi
  • ASIN: B000059WLJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #186,148 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Product Description

Amazon.ca

William Billings (1746-1800) was one of the first important composers born in America. A leather tanner by trade who taught himself composition, Billings left behind some lovely, unique music that contains early indications of American musical independence. It often doesn't sound like European models. Today, Billings's music survives mostly in Southern shape-note singing, with its exciting raw tone and rhythmic vitality. But as Paul Hillier's selection demonstrates, Billings shouldn't just be characterized as musical folk artist. The "Funeral Anthem: Samuel the Priest" has harmonies so poignant that they remind us of Bach, and the brief "David's Lamentation" is a superb piece of musical characterization, heartbreakingly effective. Despite the ensemble's name, it's thoroughly American. The performances find a good middle ground between sounding too folksy and sounding too cultivated, and the group's diction is clear enough that we can do without the texts, which came with the original edition. This is a lovely disc, which will come to most listeners as a revelation. It's also an outstanding bargain. --Leslie Gerber

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Format: Audio CD
This CD was issued originally as "A Land of Pure Delight" on the Harmonia Mundi label. Billings was the first major American composer, an apparently self taught composer with a distinctive and powerful style. A real American original, Billings' work has several interesting features. He did wonderful things writing for choirs and some of his work seems to sound like earlier, polyphonic music. This recording has features a selection of fine pieces. Lovely performances.
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Format: Audio CD
I am fairly new to this series, but I now own 3 cds in this series: Anna Mag. Bach Book, Festive barouque christmas and now this one. I have been looking for a cd with this kind of music, and now my search is done. I enjoy this cd very much, but the only down side is that this cd is too short.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
A great find--worth more than its price Sept. 2 2004
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is all music by William Billings, one of the giant figures of early American church music. It is sung by a fine group that specializes in early music. The music is often hearty and pleasing, and the textual themes deal with early colonial life (e.g., harvest & the coming winter) and sometimes complex theology (e.g., pietistic interpretations of the Song of Solomon). The overall sound of the music is straightfoward, as it was no doubt to appeal to the common folk (new world Protestants). But don't let that fool you--there's high quality construction in these hymns that elevates them above folk music. Some of the songs really grab you & stay with you. This is a gift & an important part of our American heritage & culture.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Interesting and Lovely Music Feb. 24 2004
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This CD was issued originally as "A Land of Pure Delight" on the Harmonia Mundi label. Billings was the first major American composer, an apparently self taught composer with a distinctive and powerful style. A real American original, Billings' work has several interesting features. He did wonderful things writing for choirs and some of his work seems to sound like earlier, polyphonic music. This recording has features a selection of fine pieces. Lovely performances.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
this was our country's music c.30 decades ago! Oct. 16 2001
By Daniel Ponder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am fairly new to this series, but I now own 3 cds in this series: Anna Mag. Bach Book, Festive barouque christmas and now this one. I have been looking for a cd with this kind of music, and now my search is done. I enjoy this cd very much, but the only down side is that this cd is too short.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Delightful Recording July 24 2005
By Peggy Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Since buying this a week or so ago, it has rarely left my CD player, and is equally pleasurable at the start or end of the day. The performances are energetic and moving, and make me long for my former days with a cathedral choir, when #16 was one of our favorites. With each hearing, I find more to delight me. (While I agree that the diction is good enough that lyrics on the liner notes aren't strictly necessary, they would have been a nice addition.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dynamic choral music of the New World Jan. 12 2011
By Booker T. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These CDs should appeal to the following types of adventurous listeners: choral music fans who want something fresh and not too far removed from "folk" music; Christian music listeners who may want something a little more eccentric and heartfelt than your typical CCM fare; anybody who likes "Brother Where Art Thou" and songs such as Amazing Grace, Wondrous Love, and Simple Gifts. The wording in particular ("dragons with contagious breath") grabs the listener's attention like a piece of colonial folk art. Volume 1 and 2 are excellent. "Jordan" is a particular favorite of mine, with a perfect encapsulation of religious yearning, as well as the mini-epic "Who is this that cometh from edom?" that features a stunning litany of the names of the son of God, followed by a harrowing crucifixion narrative, and a triumphant conclusion. My only quibble is something that I can't quite put a finger on with the treble voices, which sound a tad harsh to me. But no mind - these recordings are old favorites and I keep returning to them.


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