William Billings

Composer(s): William Billings
Album Title: Wake Ev'ry Breath 
Cat. No.: 80539
Genre: Classical
Description: Wake Ev’ry Breath

William Appling Singers & Orchestra

For most of his professional life William Billings (1746-1800) was America’s most famous musician. The publication of his first tunebook in 1770, The New England Psalm-Singer, a collection of more than one hundred works, is considered a seminal event in the history of American music. After almost a century of neglect, the rediscovery of his music by prominent composers such as Cowell, Schuman, Ives, and Cage led to a renewed appreciation for the majestic beauty and unquenchable vitality of his music.

He composed in a number of different forms common in eighteenth-century church music-psalm-tunes, hymn-tunes, fuging-tunes, anthems, set-pieces and canons. Wake Ev’ry Breath brings together thirteen works which demonstrate the full range of Billings’s compositional style and expressive palette. The ecstatic outpourings of the true believer rub shoulders with the revolutionary fervour of the patriot (Retrospect, Chester and America)-all informed by an acute sensitivity to the text wedded to a fertile harmonic imagination.

Wake Ev’ry Breath; Africa; Mourn, Mourn; New Boston/Hingham; I Am the Rose of Sharon; Retrospect; Chester/America; Euroclydon; Chesterfield; Creation; Cobham; Jordan; As the Hart Panteth 
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