Rose of Sharon
100 Years of American Music
harmonia mundi HMC 902085
American “early” music from the 18th and 19th centuries: the program takes its name from a passage from the Song of Solomon which was set by William Billings in his 1778 book, “The Singing Master’s Assistant.”
Billings, widely considered to be the “father of American choral music”, dedicated himself to the betterment of the level of singing in the United States. Singing Schools spread all over New England and played an important role in the development of an independent music tradition in America.Hundreds of songs from the pen of Jeremiah Ingalls, Daniel Read and William Walker which were written in the early 19th century were published in the wonderful collections “The Sacred Harp” and “Southern Harmony”. The music sounds archaic, often with the melody in the tenor voice, and they are notated in Shape Notes—a popular method used to learn sight-singing. The texts are personally interpreted bible stories.Some songs of the Shakers and spirituals round out the program such as “Simple Gifts” presented with the same simplicity that has brought Shaker furniture such renown: a capella and without ornament.
Performers: Joel Frederiksen – bass, guitar and musical direction / Michaela Riener – soprano Kamila Mazalová – Alt / Timothy Leigh Evans – tenor / Karen Walthinsen – violin / Andreas Haas – flute / Axel Wolf – guitar / Domen Marincic – cello