Make a Joyful Noise: Mainstreams and Backwaters of American Psalmody, 1770-1840
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.

Oregon State University Choir

Make a Joyful Noise: Mainstreams and Backwaters of American Psalmody, 1770-1840

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Track Listing

An Anthem of Praise
Supply Belcher
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Chesterfield
William Billings
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Newburgh
Amos Munson
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Crucifixion
M. Kyes
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Invitation
Jacob Kimball
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Montague
Timothy Swan
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Providence
Daniel Read
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New Jordan
Anonymous
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The Dying Christian's Last Farewell
William Billings
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Washington
William Billings
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Sunderland
Joseph Strong
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Heroism
Supply Belcher
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Richmond
William Billings
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Macedonia
Oliver Holden
Buy
Ode On Martydom
Oliver King
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Summons
Truman S. Wetmore
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Middletown
Amos Bull
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