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Second Cantata – (Christmas Day)

Second Cantatacantata
The Second Cantata (“Christmas”) was completed in 1978 and premiered ten years later by Kathleen Shimeta at New York’s Merkin Hall. It is dedicated to Krzysztof Penderecki. Unlike the first, third, and fourth cantatas (“Good Friday,” “Advent One”, and “Easter”) it is not a liturgical piece but is instead intended for a recital performance. Although the texts are by the English metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan (1622-1695), the cantata is in many ways a meditation on the second question of the 1563 Heidelberg Catechism. Generally, the first movement focuses upon the Catechism’s first answers and the second movement upon its last:

Question 2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?
Answer: Three; (a) the first, how great my sins and miseries are; (b) the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; (c) the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance.

The first movement opens with a quotation, played on LP, from the fourth movement of Bach’s Cantata No. 80, “Komm in mein Herzenshaus, Herr Jesu” (Come in my heart’s house, Lord Jesus). The quote returns in the body of the movement, performed by the trumpet, where it introduces the movement’s cadenza. It returns at the movement’s close. Throughout the movement, sections of Bach’s Cantata 140 (“Wachet Auf”), as well as Richard Strauss’ Rosenkavalier, appear as part of the musical texture.

Whereas the first movement can be seen as centering on the Bach quotations, the second movement centers on a lullaby (“One born in a manager. . .”). On either end, the lullaby is buttressed by a set of musical “wheels” that circle each other like the orbits of the heavens Vaughan references in his text. As the movement progresses the pitches in these wheels are gradually eliminated until at the end only a pair trichords remain.


Wendy WhiteMezzo soprano Wendy White has sung in over forty productions at the Metropolitan Opera, including the title role in Carmen, Fenena in Nabucco, Dame Quickly in Falstaff, Brangene in Tristan und Isolde, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress, Maddalena in Rigoletto, both Bersi and Madelon in Andrea Chenier, Isabella in L’Italiana in Algieri, Erda in Goetterdaemerung, as well as Cieca in La Gioconda and her performances in Nabucco, Chenier, Figaro, Wozzeck, Il Trittico, Cenerentola, and Madama Butterfly have been broadcast by PBS in its “Live from the Met” series. Miss White’s recordings have included Nabucco, Luisa Miller, La Traviata, Rake’s Progress, Oedipus Rex, and Songfest; her performance in A Quiet Place (conducted by the composer Leonard Bernstein) earned her a Grammy nomination. Miss White has appeared as a soloist the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Washington National Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Symphony, and the Netherlands Radio Orchestra, under the direction of conductors Leonard Bernstein, James Levine, Leonard Slatkin, Seiji Ozawa, Christoph von Dohnanyi, John Williams, Lorin Maazel, and Zubin Mehta.

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Recording of Christmas Cantata from Michael Linton on Vimeo.

Directed by Karen Louisa Linton

Conductor Jerry Blackstone Jerry Blackstone is Director of Choirs and Chair of the Conducting Department at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance where he conducts the Chamber Choir, teaches conducting at the graduate level, and administers a choral program of eleven choirs. In February 2006, he received two Grammy Awards (“Best Choral Performance” and “Best Classical Album”) as chorus master for the critically acclaimed Naxos recording of William Bolcom’s monumental Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Internationally recognized as of his generation’s leading conductors, Mr. Blackstone is also a strong advocate for the training of young musicians, serving as Director of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance’s summer programs for high school students and adults.

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Winter’s Song – this year’s carol

Winter Desktop - from www.wallpapers6.com

The Linton family has a tradition of finishing Christmas dinner by singing a new carol written by Michael. Since it was just written we don’t yet have a recording, but we thought it would be fun to post the score for those of you who might like to join in on the tradition. The text is written by Joseph Bottum whose best-selling Kindle book “The Christmas Plains” can be found here.

From all of at Refinersfire Merry Christmas!
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A Child’s Carol

A Childs Carol - RefinersfireIn this beautiful and delicate carol, the soprano portrays both the boy and his patient mother, ending with the mother’s gentle lullaby.

Peter Dale (born 21 August 1938) is a British poet, translator and educator.  As well as writing the text used here, he is also the poet of the second of the “Three Marion Carols“.


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,” “Three Songs of Separation” and “Dakota Wind” also appear on Refinersfire. She is the daughter of composer Mike Linton and pianist Janet Gustafson Linton.

 

 

 

Dakota_Wind4ENGINEER Michael Fleming is a former music producer for WGBH Radio Boston, whose credits range from sound editorial and premastering work to producing recordings and broadcasts for numerous solo artists and ensembles, ranging from the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Nashville Opera to jazz pianist Jan Jarczyk and Nashville singer- songwriter Phil Lee. He is a violinist and holds degrees in physics and sound recording from Carleton College and McGill University’s Tonmeister program. A member of the Middle Tennessee State University’s Recording Industry faculty since 2004, Fleming was the engineer and sound designer for Refinersfire’s Christmas: Cantata No. 2 , The Silver Swan, Three Songs of SeparationThree Marian Carols and Dakota Wind.

 

 

Dakota_Wind2COMPOSER Mike Linton lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and teaches freshman and sophomore level music theory at Middle Tennessee State University.

Jerry Blackstone conducts Handel's Messiah

America’s Messiah

For musicians, Christmas means Messiah. This is not a comment upon musicians’ religiosity, but rather upon their finances. Messiah, Handel’s Messiah, is to America’s choral societies and orchestras what La Bohème is to its opera houses and Nutcracker to its ballets: the guaranteed full house that can bankroll a whole season of deficits. Between Thanksgiving […]

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

Three Marian Carols

Second CantataThe Marian Carols were written for Mary Hopper and the ladies of the Wheaton College Women’s Chorale upon the suggestion of poet Joseph Bottum. Of the four carols in the quartet, three are included here, named after the composer/harpist Carol McClure, the historian Wilfred McClay, and Mr. Bottom.
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Looking for Mary in Christmas Carols

Who is Mary in our carols? Most folks don’t read a lot of theology in December, but we do a lot of singing. Who is Mary here?

 

“3 Marian Carols” – on the same CD as Cantata for Christmas Day

Mary Hopper

 

 

Mary Hopper is professor of Choral Music and Conducting at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music (Wheaton, IL) where she conducts both the Men’s Glee Club and the Women’s Chorale. A graduate of Wheaton College and the University of Iowa, Ms Hopper is an internationally known clinician and past president of the American Choral Directors Association.

 

 

 

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