Make A Joyful Noise

Composer(s): Daniel Read, Supply Belcher, Joseph Strong, Timothy Swan, William Billings, Truman S. Wetmore, Amos Bull, Anonymous, Oliver Holden, Jacob Kimball, Oliver King, M. Kyes, Amos Munson
Album Title: Make A Joyful Noise - American Psalmody 1770- 1840 
Cat. No.: 80255
Genre: Classical
Description: American Psalmody 1770 - 1840

Choral music is the bedrock of American music. Its roots lie in the hymns and fuging tunes which were the foundation of early Colonial religious and musical life. Their rediscovery and subsequent reappraisal has led to a genuine appreciation of their musical beauty and unquenchable vitality. Composers such as Ives, Cowell, and even Cage have acknowledged their musical significance by either directly or indirectly quoting them in their music.

The seventeen selections on this disc are drawn from the repertory of the New England school of composers, in whose hands this music achieved its full flowering. Chief among those represented is William Billings, undoubtedly the most well-known and accomplished of his contemporaries. Four of the selections bear his distinguished stamp: Chesterfield, a radiantly rapt and ecstatic hymn; The Dying Christian's Last Farewell, an enormously expressive meditation on death and resurrection; Washington, a virtuosic fuging tune of energetic splendor; and Richmond, set to a text inspired by the Song of Solomon, with suitably subtle erotic undertones.

Other highlights are Daniel Read's Providence, the anonymous setting of New Jordan, a work of simple beauty that speaks of the bliss that awaits the faithful after death, and M. Kyes's Crucifixion, word-painting of the highest order, encompassing an enormous expressive range. The arrestingly named
Supply Belcher, nicknamed the "Handel of Maine," supplies An Anthem of Praise, and Heroism, set to a pounding rhythm that underscores its martial text.
Amos Bull's Middletown, a buoyant resurrection hymn, brings the collection to a rousing conclusion.

These warm and stylish performances capture the simple but profound faith expressed in this justly rediscovered music. This disc is essential to anyone interested in the origins of American music and especially lovers of choral music.

The accompanying 40-page booklet contains an extensive essay on the history of New England psalmody, complete lyrics, and a selected bibliography. 
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