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Daniel Shaw: Missa Brevis

Daniel Shaw: Missa Brevis

Refinersfire is proud to introduce Missa Brevis from composer, conductor, and choir director Daniel Shaw. The artistry of Mr. Shaw and The Composer’s Choir has been a featured element on several previous releases from Refinersfire, and it is a particular pleasure to present the unique and beautiful voice of his original compositions along side of […]

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Canon for Maundy Thursday

Canon Cover
The “Canon for Maundy Thursday” is the final fourteen minutes of a piece of music begun five months earlier. That statement requires some explanation. In 2001, the church where my wife and I were serving as church musicians in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, began construction of a new sanctuary. In tandem with that construction, I began the composition of a series of liturgical cycles, specifically written for that parish’s members and the properties of the new building. Although the project was abandoned and left incomplete, two cantatas, four ceremonial processionals, a kyrie, gloria, sanctus and agnus dei (the “Sinai Mass”), as well as a number of anthems and hymns, were finished and performed in the services.

The cycle began with a cantata for the first Sunday of Advent, scored for tenor, trombone, and piano (the parish had several virtuoso musicians in membership and the cantatas were written specifically for them). A setting of the Old Testament scripture, the cantata took the place in the liturgy typically reserved for the scripture’s reading. It was followed immediately by a psalm, sung by the congregation to this traditional modified Anglican psalm tone.Canon Psalm Tone
This same tone was used by the congregation for singing the psalms through the rest of Advent. On Christmas Eve it was replaced by another psalm tone that was used through Christmas (the psalm was read during Epiphany). But on Ash Wednesday, this tone returned and was used for all the psalms sung by the congregation through Lent.

The Maundy Thursday liturgy included the ceremony of the “washing of the feet”, a ritual in which the clergy and some members of the congregation reenacted Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet, recounted in John 13:17, a part of the service that can be somewhat lengthy and has minimal congregational involvement. The “Canon for Maundy Thursday” was written for this part of the liturgy. The piece assumes the presence of a congregation that is familiar not only with the psalm tone that is the canon’s foundation, but also a congregation that carries with it the memories of all the psalms they have sung to that tone since the first Sunday of Advent five months earlier, and not only the texts of those earlier psalms but also the services of which those psalms were a part. It is in this way that the “Canon” is the final minutes of a
piece begun in late November: it is the musical and theological conclusion of the liturgies that have preceded it. And it is the last choral and concerted music heard by the congregation until the “Resurrexi” introit and following processional hymn that begin the service on Easter Sunday.

First Prebyterian Nashville

Recorded at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville

The text, John 15: 1-17, dictates the shape of the piece. The section of scripture culminates in its final sentence, verse 17, where Jesus reiterates his new “commandment,” or in Latin, “law” (“Hæc mando vobis: ut diligatis invicem”). In counterpoint, “canon” is a kind of musical law where one voice follows another in strict imitation. Using the harmony of the psalm tone as a foundation, the three violins enter in canon with each other, the “dux”, or leading voice of the canon, lasting over ninety measures. In the first verse, Jesus refers to himself metaphorically as a “vine” and the voices of the canon “grow” out of the literal musical “ground” of the psalm tone, twisting around each other like the tendrils of a vine as the piece progresses, the dux moving from the greatest possible simplicity at its beginning (it only has two pitches) to cascading sixteenth notes at its close.

In verse twelve, Jesus first pronounces his commandment, “That ye love one another.” But the command is ironic. Love, any kind of love — between lovers, between friends, between God and His creatures — cannot be commanded, it cannot be forced. To be love, it must be spontaneous and given freely. Anything else is not true love. To exegete the spontaneity required by love, at this point the violins cease their mechanistic canon, breaking into free, melodic counterpoint while the chorus breaks from the strict confines of the psalm tone, erupting into ecstatic utterance. The piece is constructed according to spiraling Golden Mean principles and the end of the canon and the beginning of the free counterpoint marks the Golden Mean of the full work.

Each of the repetitions of the psalm tone is eight measures long, except one.
In verse thirteen, Jesus points to the laying down of one’s life for another as evidence of the greatest possible love. To lay down one’s life is to voluntarily cut it short and that repetition is one measure shorter than the rest. It is also the only place in the canon with a chromatic accidental, a lowered-leading tone in the bass.

In the final verse, the violins reveal — in three octaves — the melody that has always been nascent in the psalm tone harmonization but never clearly presented while the chorus, for the first times, sings the verse in unison. But in the second half of the verse the choir breaks into a new harmony and the measure that was deleted from the setting of verse thirteen is added back, lengthening the standard eight measure variation by one measure. With love nothing is truly lost. The music ends as it began, with the simple two note incipit of the dux and the psalm tone, but ornamented by simple descending D Major scales.


RaphaelA native of Houston, Texas, conductor Raphael Bundage received his training at Texan Christian University and The Eastman School of Music.  Before entering Eastman, Dr. Bundage was supervisor of choral music in the Texas Public School System and while at Eastman he directed of the Eastman Chamber Chorus and served as the assistant director of the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Chorus.  Currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities and Opera at Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Bundage also serves as the Director of Music at Nashville’s First Presbyterian Church and is the State Director of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.
NB at Organ
Nicholas Bergin is the Organist at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville. He graduated in May of 2012 with a Master’s degree in organ performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied with Janette Fishell and was awarded the prestigious Barbara and David Jacobs Fellowship. In 2011, he served as the Interim Assistant Organist at Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, and during the fall of 2010, he worked as the Organ Scholar at the Church of St. Michael and St. George in St. Louis, Missouri. Nicholas is a graduate of Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory, where he studied organ with Donald Sutherland and piano with Seth Knopp. While growing up in Houston, he studied piano with Timothy Hester and attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

John Hill

Recording Engineer John Hill’s recording of the Metropolis Symphony (by Michael Daugherty) performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra garnered five Grammy® nominations in 2010.  At the 53rd Annual Awards Ceremony in Feb. 2011, Mr. Hill won two awards in the categories of Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Orchestral Performance.  He was also nominated the previous year for his recording of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges (again with the NSO) for Best Classical Album. Professor of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, Mr. Hill earned his B. Mus. from Wilfrid Laurier University and his M. Mus. (Sound Recording) from McGill University in Montreal.  Before coming to MTSU, Hill was an Associate Professor of Music at California State University Dominguez Hills, a professional audio associate at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada and the Co-Director of the Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Institute at the Aspen Music Festival.

Chamber Choir

The MTSU Schola Cantorum is the university’s select choral ensemble, made up primarily of undergraduate and graduate students in voice.  Conducted by Raphael Bundage, the ensemble regularly performs the most important works of the choral repertory and tours in the American Southeast as well as Europe.  Here the ensemble is seen before a performance at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Dakota_Wind2

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of REFINERSFIRE.

Arbores serit – motet in eight parts for Krzysztof Penderecki on his 80th birthday

Arbores Serit - Michael LintonThe motet “Arbores serit”, as many of my recent works, grew out of extended conversations and correspondences with Cody Franchetti and very much bears his stamp.  In talking about teaching, Franchetti reminded me of this passage from the first volume of Cicero’s Tusculanae Disputationes (“the Tusculan Disputations”).  Arbores serit diligens agricola, quarum aspiciet baccam ipse nunquam (The diligent gardener plants trees, not one fruit of which he will ever see).   Certainly, a better charge for a teacher, or an artist, cannot be imagined.  The work must be done, even if the reward is both unimagined and impossible.

Christopher Hibma, Michael Linton, & Krzysztof Penderecki

Three generations of student / teacher: Christopher Hibma, Michael Linton, & Krzysztof Penderecki

Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion propelled me to be a composer when I heard its recording as a college freshman in Illinois (I believe I was the first person at my school to take the LP out of it case and hear it).  Later, in Connecticut, his teaching stretched my imagination and my Christmas Cantata, written much under his happy influence, was dedicated to him.  On his 80th birthday, it is a pleasure to honor the Maestro with this motet.  Penderecki loves trees and has planted and husbanded hundreds on his estate in Poland.  Penderecki’s music will endure, but like those trees which shall continue to flourish, his influence through his students and their students and theirs too, shall echo long after his own voice has been silenced.
— Michael Linton

 

St. Luke Passion


Penderecki - St. Luke Passion

St. Luke Passion: graphic score with original sketch

Symphony No. 8


Conducted by the maestro himself, this mammoth of a choral symphony could be an answer to Mahler’s 8th, “Symphony of a Thousand”.

Michael Linton

 

 

 

 

 

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of Refinersfire.

 

Dan Shaw
Daniel Shaw is a conductor and composer and music teacher who specializes in small ensembles. He received degrees in music (B.A. Dartmouth College), choral conducting (M.M. Emory University) and music education (M.M. University of Toronto). Shaw is Founder and Artistic Director of the Connecticut-based Composer’s Choir, a group of eight professional singers which has performed and recorded over 45 works by over 20 composers from across the United States since its inception in 2010. Shaw is also Founder and Artistic Director of the American Radio Choir, a professional choir comprised of distinguished singers in New York City which is dedicated to recording and distributing new works by living American composers.

In addition to his post as Artistic Director of the New Haven Oratorio Choir, Shaw serves as Minister of Music at the St. Augustine Church in Seymour, CT. Previously held positions include Assistant Conductor of the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, Minister of Music at Middlefield Federated Church, Director of Choirs at the Zion Lutheran Church (Pittsburgh), and Director of Middle School Choirs at Trevor Day School (New York City). He has served on the faculties of Duquesne University and John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

Pange Lingua Gloriosi (Processional for Maundy Thursday)

Click to PurchaseOne of the most famous hymns of the late Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Pange lingua gloriosi is given here a thrilling new setting by composer Michael Linton. Scored for two antiphonal string orchestras, winds and organ and originally composed in 2003 to Joseph Bottum’s partial English translation, the hymn is here sung in its original Latin. Intended for use on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday of Holy Week on which The Last Supper is remembered), it is one of a set of three extended processionals Linton wrote for use by the volunteer singers in churches where he served as choir director.
aquinas


 

RaphaelA native of Houston, Texas, conductor Raphael Bundage received his training at Texan Christian University and The Eastman School of Music.  Before entering Eastman, Dr. Bundage was supervisor of choral music in the Texas Public School System and while at Eastman he directed of the Eastman Chamber Chorus and served as the assistant director of the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Chorus.  Currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities and Opera at Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Bundage also serves as the Director of Music at Nashville’s First Presbyterian Church and is the State Director of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

 

John Hill

Recording Engineer John Hill’s recording of the Metropolis Symphony (by Michael Daugherty) performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra garnered five Grammy® nominations in 2010.  At the 53rd Annual Awards Ceremony in Feb. 2011, Mr. Hill won two awards in the categories of Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Orchestral Performance.  He was also nominated the previous year for his recording of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges (again with the NSO) for Best Classical Album. Professor of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, Mr. Hill earned his B. Mus. from Wilfrid Laurier University and his M. Mus. (Sound Recording) from McGill University in Montreal.  Before coming to MTST, Hill was an Associate Professor of Music at California State University Dominguez Hills, a professional audio associate at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada and the Co-Director of the Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Institute at the Aspen Music Festival.

Chamber Choir

The MTSU Schola Cantorum is the university’s select choral ensemble, made up primarily of undergraduate and graduate students in voice.  Conducted by Raphael Bundage, the ensemble regularly performs the most important works of the choral repertory and tours in the American Southeast as well as Europe.  Here the ensemble is seen before a performance at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Dakota_Wind2

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of REFINERSFIRE.

Come, Rest

Come, Rest - CoverIn the communion liturgy of the Reformed Episcopal Church, the passage Matthew 21:28 is the first of the passages of “comfortable words” spoken by the minister to the congregation after the general confession (the others are John 3:16, I Timothy I:15 and I John 2:1-2), and while not intended use in that point of the service (the music is both too long and the scripture text is paraphrased and extended), I wrote the motet very much with that situation — and condition — in mind. It was composed over a couple of days in September, 2013 and given to Daniel Shaw and his Composers Choir who recorded it at the First Baptist Church of New Haven, Connecticut.

The music follows the highly sectionalized character of the text. The opening invitation (“Oh come”) and its following specification of condition (not everyone is invited, only those who find themselves “heavy laden”) is repeated four times, addressed to the four corners of the compass. The counterpoint becomes imitative with the introduction of the promise (“and I will give you”) which changes again, for obvious reasons, at “rest” (after a lengthy, quite literal “rest”). This “rest” for the basses and tenors becomes an ostinato over which the sopranos and altos carry the text of verses 29 and 30 (again paraphrased).

Refinersfire is releasing “O Come” on December 31, 2013, just days after the taping of the Carmina Catulli, and there is an almost fated appropriateness to the timing.
Musically, it exemplifies the fact that in my music words always come first, the music growing out of the words and being an exegesis of them. In this I am a composer in the tradition of Marenzio, Bach, Schumann, and so many others. And while, at first glace, these almost contemporary classical texts (Catullus and the writer of Matthew are separated by a century) could not be more different, there is a thematic relationship between them — at least to me. In his brilliance, honesty, courage and volcanic passion for life, the one thing that Catullus searches for yet cannot find is true rest. The song cycle ends with the unresolved agony of “Odi et amo.” And in the twelfth song “Multas per gentes”, there is a written out silence of three measures, the final measure extended by a fermata. Here, Catullus, in the face of death, cries out and receives back only the horrifying silence of the abyss. “O Come” includes a parallel silence of four measures, but here the silence is answered by the ostinato “rest” and the gentle invitation to take on Christ’s easy yoke and light burden.

The motet is dedicated to my brother Phil, a Presbyterian minister and missionary

— Mike Linton

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Oh Come - cover art“O Come, All Ye Faithful” was written in 1987 as the processional hymn for the Christmas Eve service at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield, Connecticut.

St. Timothy’s was a small, but affluent, country parish (the CEO of IBM was a former vestry warden) and many women of the congregation attended the midnight service in ball gowns, their husbands accompanying them in white tie and tails.  Diana Erdmann, a lyric soprano who had appeared with a number of opera companies, was a member of the parish and the arrangement, with its newly composed fourth verse and the following descant, were written for her and the quiet, but luxurious, service. — Michael Linton


Dakota_Wind3Soprano Elizabeth Linton is a native of Connecticut and has studied in both music and nursing at Middle Tennessee State University. Most recently she has spent time nursing in East Africa and singing the role of the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute in Siena, Italy. Her performances of “The Silver Swan,” “Cantata No. 2,” “Three Songs of Separation” and “Dakota Wind” also appear on Refinersfire. She is the daughter of composer Mike Linton and pianist Janet Gustafson Linton.

 

 

RaphaelA native of Houston, Texas, conductor Raphael Bundage received his training at Texan Christian University and The Eastman School of Music.  Before entering Eastman, Dr. Bundage was supervisor of choral music in the Texas Public School System and while at Eastman he directed of the Eastman Chamber Chorus and served as the assistant director of the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Chorus.  Currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities and Opera at Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Bundage also serves as the Director of Music at Nashville’s First Presbyterian Church and is the State Director of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

 

John Hill

Recording Engineer John Hill’s recording of the Metropolis Symphony (by Michael Daugherty) performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra garnered five Grammy® nominations in 2010.  At the 53rd Annual Awards Ceremony in Feb. 2011, Mr. Hill won two awards in the categories of Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Orchestral Performance.  He was also nominated the previous year for his recording of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges (again with the NSO) for Best Classical Album. Professor of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, Mr. Hill earned his B. Mus. from Wilfrid Laurier University and his M. Mus. (Sound Recording) from McGill University in Montreal.  Before coming to MTST, Hill was an Associate Professor of Music at California State University Dominguez Hills, a professional audio associate at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada and the Co-Director of the Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Institute at the Aspen Music Festival.

 

Chamber Choir

The MTSU Schola Cantorum is the university’s select choral ensemble, made up primarily of undergraduate and graduate students in voice.  Conducted by Raphael Bundage, the ensemble regularly performs the most important works of the choral repertory and tours in the American Southeast as well as Europe.  Here the ensemble is seen before a performance at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

 

 

 

 

Dakota_Wind2

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of REFINERSFIRE.

The King Shall Come (Processional for the Second Sunday of Advent)

RoyPort_ChristEach Christmas, our family has a tradition of finishing our Christmas dinner by singing a new carol.  The tune “Delahunt” (named in honor of the Baptist pastor Joe Delanunt) was written to accompany John Brownlie’s text for the Christmas of 1993. Several years later it was arranged for strings, chorus, and organ and used as a processional for the second Sunday of Advent. — Mike Linton

 

The picture used as the cover art is of “Christ in Majesty” at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., designed by Jan Henryk Rosen.


Here is a gorgeous live performance from the 2008 Wheaton College Illinois Christmas Festival with Mary Hopper conducting.


RaphaelA native of Houston, Texas, conductor Raphael Bundage received his training at Texan Christian University and The Eastman School of Music.  Before entering Eastman, Dr. Bundage was supervisor of choral music in the Texas Public School System and while at Eastman he directed of the Eastman Chamber Chorus and served as the assistant director of the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Chorus.  Currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities and Opera at Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Bundage also serves as the Director of Music at Nashville’s First Presbyterian Church and is the State Director of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

 

John Hill

Recording Engineer John Hill’s recording of the Metropolis Symphony (by Michael Daugherty) performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra garnered five Grammy® nominations in 2010.  At the 53rd Annual Awards Ceremony in Feb. 2011, Mr. Hill won two awards in the categories of Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Orchestral Performance.  He was also nominated the previous year for his recording of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges (again with the NSO) for Best Classical Album. Professor of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, Mr. Hill earned his B. Mus. from Wilfrid Laurier University and his M. Mus. (Sound Recording) from McGill University in Montreal.  Before coming to MTST, Hill was an Associate Professor of Music at California State University Dominguez Hills, a professional audio associate at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada and the Co-Director of the Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Institute at the Aspen Music Festival.

Chamber Choir

The MTSU Schola Cantorum is the university’s select choral ensemble, made up primarily of undergraduate and graduate students in voice.  Conducted by Raphael Bundage, the ensemble regularly performs the most important works of the choral repertory and tours in the American Southeast as well as Europe.  Here the ensemble is seen before a performance at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

 

 

 

 

Dakota_Wind2

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of REFINERSFIRE.

The King Shall Come

The King Shall ComeEach Christmas, our family has a tradition of finishing our Christmas dinner by singing a new carol.  The tune “Delahunt” (named in honor of the Baptist pastor Joe Delanunt) was written to accompany John Brownlie’s text for the Christmas of 1993. Several years later it was arranged for strings, chorus, and organ and used as a processional for the second Sunday of Advent. — Mike Linton

 

The picture used as the cover art is of “Christ in Majesty” at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., designed by Jan Henryk Rosen.


Here is a gorgeous live performance from the 2008 Wheaton College Illinois Christmas Festival with Mary Hopper conducting.


RaphaelA native of Houston, Texas, conductor Raphael Bundage received his training at Texan Christian University and The Eastman School of Music.  Before entering Eastman, Dr. Bundage was supervisor of choral music in the Texas Public School System and while at Eastman he directed of the Eastman Chamber Chorus and served as the assistant director of the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Chorus.  Currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities and Opera at Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. Bundage also serves as the Director of Music at Nashville’s First Presbyterian Church and is the State Director of the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.

 

John Hill

Recording Engineer John Hill’s recording of the Metropolis Symphony (by Michael Daugherty) performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra garnered five Grammy® nominations in 2010.  At the 53rd Annual Awards Ceremony in Feb. 2011, Mr. Hill won two awards in the categories of Best Engineered Album, Classical and Best Orchestral Performance.  He was also nominated the previous year for his recording of Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges (again with the NSO) for Best Classical Album. Professor of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, Mr. Hill earned his B. Mus. from Wilfrid Laurier University and his M. Mus. (Sound Recording) from McGill University in Montreal.  Before coming to MTST, Hill was an Associate Professor of Music at California State University Dominguez Hills, a professional audio associate at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada and the Co-Director of the Edgar Stanton Audio Recording Institute at the Aspen Music Festival.

Chamber Choir

The MTSU Schola Cantorum is the university’s select choral ensemble, made up primarily of undergraduate and graduate students in voice.  Conducted by Raphael Bundage, the ensemble regularly performs the most important works of the choral repertory and tours in the American Southeast as well as Europe.  Here the ensemble is seen before a performance at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

 

 

 

 

 

Dakota_Wind2

Composer Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.   He is one of the founding members of REFINERSFIRE.

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