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Songs of Thanks and Praise

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Welcome to Harmonia . . . I’m Angela Mariani. Today, the Thanksgiving holiday can mean many things to a multitude of people. This was not necessarily the case for those who celebrated it over two hundred years ago. This week, we sample some of the music one might have heard at Thanksgiving in early America. From Spanish settlers in Florida to Moravians in North Carolina to the father of American Choral music, we’ll hear songs of thanks and praise. Plus, our featured release showcases music brought to the new world by the passengers on the Mayflower.

[Theme music fades]

MUSIC TRACK
William Lawes – Consort Music
Fretwork
Warner Classics 2005/ B013QDBVWS
William Lawes
Tr. 16 Fantasie for 3 Lyra Viols, VdGS No. 573 (4:49)

Music of William Lawes. A Fantasie for three Lyra Viols--the smallest of the bass viols--performed here by members of Fretwork form their 2005 collection of Lawes’ consort music.

Although Thanksgiving Day did not become a national holiday until the second half of the 19th Century, we’ve been giving thanks at the end of the harvest season for over four hundred years. Today, the holiday is generally considered a secular one, yet early Americans gave thanks to God for the many blessings they received.

The earliest recorded Thanksgiving ceremony took place in 1565 at a Spanish settlement located in modern-day St. Augustine, Florida – the settlers gave thanks for their safe arrival. Nearly six decades later, the first Pilgrims gave thanks after their first harvest in the New World. Although modest, that initial harvest’s success was due to the help of Squanto, a Native American who taught the Pilgrims how to fish and grow corn.

Giving praise and thanks to God is a common theme in early American song. Texts are drawn from the Bible or newly inspired. Themes usually evoke the sights and sounds of the early American experience.

MUSIC TRACKS
Home to Thanksgiving: Songs of Thanks and Praise
Paul Hillier and various ensembles
HMX 1992/1994/1995/1996/1998 /B000QQWFYC
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; Goostly Psalmes/Anglo-American Psalmody 1550-1800]
Tr. 1: Rainbow / ’Tis by thy strength the mountains stand – Timothy Swan (2:00)
Tr. 2: Colchester / O ‘twas a joyful sound to hear – William Tans’ur (1:30)
[Theatre of Voices; Carols from the Old and New Worlds, vol. 1]
Tr. 3: The Apple Tree – Jeremiah Ingalls (2:20)
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; Goostly Psalmes/Anglo-American Psalmody 1550-1800]
Tr. 5: Schenectady / From all that dwells below the skies – Nehemiah Shumway (1:08)
Tr. 12: Worcester / How beauteous are their feet – Abraham Wood (1:57)
[Theatre of Voices; Carols from the Old and New Worlds, vol. 2]
Tr. 17: Give good gifts one to another – Mount Lebanon hymnal, New York, 1893 (1:38)

We heard communal songs and hymns from early America. Paul Hillier directed His Majestie’s Clerkes and Theater of Voices in songs of thanks and praise by a number of American composers.

The Moravians were a religious community in which giving thanks to God played an important role. Like in a number of early American communities, music was integral part of their services. One type of Moravian service, known as a lovefeast, was primarily made up of music. Lovefeasts celebrated regular events as well as special occasions, sometimes even political ones.

The kind of music heard at Moravian lovefeasts was rich and varied, and could include some of the latest music from Europe or works from composers within the community. The composers who wrote music were usually skilled amateurs who set texts in both English and German.

MUSIC TRACKS
Lost Music of Early America
Music of the Moravians
Boston Baroque/Martin Pearlman
Telarc 1998 / B00000C2HQ
Tr. 20: Hymn Kommt, danket dem Helden (1:14)
Tr. 21: Das ist ein Tag - Christian Gregor (:46)
Tr. 22: Ich will immer harren - Johann Friedrich Peter (1:27)
Tr. 24: Die Frucht des Geistes ist Liebe – Johann Christian Geisler (2:12)

Boston Baroque (directed by Martin Pearlman) performed music for the Moravians of early America. Composers included Christian Gregor, Johann Friedrich Peter, and Johann Christian Geisler. 

You can hear highlights from recent and archival concert recordings of early music on Harmonia Uncut -- our biweekly podcast, curated and hosted by Wendy Gillespie. Listen online at harmonia early music dot org and through iTunes. 

[theme music up]                                                                                                                                

You’re listening to Harmonia . . .  I’m Angela Mariani. 

[theme music fades]

Theme Music Bed: Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royale, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 / B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: 

MUSIC TRACK
Viva Napoli
Doulce memoire/Denis Raisin-Dadre
Astree 2000 / B00004SZ38
Tr. 18: Bizzaria d’amore, Furioso EXCERPT  (2:36)

Welcome back to Harmonia.  We’re celebrating Thanksgiving with songs from early America. 

One can hardly talk about 18th-century America without making mention of William Billings, one of the most prominent composers of the era. For a man who was untrained in music and who worked as a tanner, it is remarkable that Billings is regarded as the father of American choral music. Yet, his compositions were recognized in many a publication.

We’ll hear music of William Billings. The Thanksgiving anthem O praise the Lord of Heaven will be followed by two folk-hymns – Jordan and Chester. 

MUSIC TRACKS
Home to Thanksgiving: Songs of Thanks and Praise
Paul Hillier and various ensembles
HMX 1992/1994/1995/1996/1998 / B000QQWFYC
William Billings
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; “A Land Of Pure Delight,” William Billings]
Tr. 6: Thanksgiving Anthem O praise the Lord of Heaven (4:25)
Tr. 11: Jordan / There is a Land of pure Delight (2:52)
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; Goostly Psalmes/Anglo-American Psalmody 1550-1800]
Tr. 18: Chester / Let the tyrants shake their iron rod (2:15)

Music of William Billings, the most prominent American composer from the 18th Century. Paul Hillier led the English ensemble His Majestie’s Clerkes. 

A few of America’s first presidents issued Thanksgiving proclamations, yet it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, that it became a national holiday. Lincoln’s proclamation was addressed directly to his fellow Americans:

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” 

MUSIC TRACK
An American Journey: Bound for the Promised Land
The Waverly Consort/Michael Jaffee
Angel 1996 / B000002SLU
Tr. 3: The Promised Land/The Traveller (4:07)
 
MUSIC TRACK
Home to Thanksgiving: Songs of Thanks and Prai se
Paul Hillier and various ensembles
HMX 1992/1994/1995/1996/1998 / B000QQWFYC
Tr. 19: Evening Hymn The day is past and gone (3:48)
 
Songs from early America. His Majestie’s Clerkes performed The day is past and gone, and before that, The Waverly Consort interpreted The Promised Land and The Traveller.

Our featured release this week is a collection of music from the ensemble Passamezzo that fits well on a menu of Thanksgiving music.

In the late Summer of 1620, a ship named the Mayflower left England. In addition to thirty-six crew members, this ship carried 102 passengers: Separatists, merchants, their families, servants and apprentices, all seeking a fresh start in the New World. Some of these passengers travelled with books of music, that give us insight into what might have been sung on board during the Mayflower’s long journey.

The first of these books was the 1612 edition of Henry Ainsworth’s Book of Psalmes Englished both in Prose and Metre. Ainsworth wrote his own translations for the psalms and included unharmonized melodies. His book continued to be used for worship in Plymouth, Salem, and other parts of Early Modern America until the late Seventeenth Century. The title of our featured release, They that in Ships unto the Sea down go, comes from Ainsworth’s translation of Psalm 107.

MUSIC TRACK
They that in Ships to the Sea down go: Music for the Mayflower
Passamezzo
Resonus Classics 2020 / B087C7ZGTX
Anon. (ed. Henry Ainsworth)
Tr. 20 Psalm 107 (3:01)

A setting Psalm 107 from Henry Ainsworth’s 1612 collection Psalmes Englished both in Prose and Metre, performed by members of Passamezzo, from their collection of music commemorating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower, They that in Ships to the Sea down go.

The second book of music carried on the Mayflower was another psalter, Richard Allison’s The Psalmes of David in Meter, published in 1599. Like many of the songbooks from that time, this book is laid out in a ‘table-book’ format that was popular for domestic musicmaking, so that the musicians and singers could sit around the book and sing or play from its different sides. In contrast to Henry Ainsworth’s single line settings, the music in Allison’s psalter is more elaborate. It is harmonized for four voices  and includes lute and cittern tablature for each psalm. 

MUSIC TRACK
They that in Ships to the Sea down go: Music for the Mayflower
Passamezzo
Resonus Classics 2020 / B087C7ZGTX
Anon. (ed. Henry Ainsworth)
Tr. 5 The Lamentation (3:51)

The Lamentation, set by Henry Ainsworth, performed by members of Passamezzo from their 202 release They that in Ships to the Sea down go: Music for the Mayflower.

[Fade in theme music]

Harmonia is a production of WFIU. Support comes from Early Music America: a national organization that advocates and supports the historical performance of music of the past, the community of artists who create it, and the listeners whose lives are enriched by it...on the web at EarlyMusicAmerica-DOT-org.

Additional resources come from the William and Gayle Cook Music Library at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

We welcome your thoughts about any part of this program, or about early music in general. Contact us at harmonia early music dot org. And, you can follow our Facebook page and our updates on Twitter by searching for Harmonia Early Music.

The writer for this edition of Harmonia was Bernard Gordillo. Thanks to our studio engineer Michael Paskash, and our production team: Aaron Cain, Wendy Gillespie, LuAnn Johnson and John Bailey.

I’m Angela Mariani, inviting you to join us again for the next edition of Harmonia. 

[Theme music fades out]

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth"  painting

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" by Jennie A. Brownscombe, (1914) (Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Wikipedia)

Today the Thanksgiving holiday can mean many things to a multitude of people, but this was not necessarily the case for those who celebrated it over two hundred years ago. This hour, we sample some of the music one might have heard at Thanksgiving in early America. From Spanish settlers in Florida to Moravians in North Carolina to the father of American Choral music, we’ll hear songs of thanks and praise. Plus, our featured release showcases music brought to the new world by the passengers on the Mayflower.

PLAYLIST
 
MUSIC TRACK 
William Lawes – Consort Music
Fretwork
Warner Classics 2005/ B013QDBVWS
William Lawes
Tr. 16 Fantasie for 3 Lyra Viols, VdGS No. 573 (4:49)
 
Segment A:
 
MUSIC TRACKS 
Home to Thanksgiving: Songs of Thanks and Praise
Paul Hillier and various ensembles
HMX 1992/1994/1995/1996/1998 /B000QQWFYC
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; Goostly Psalmes/Anglo-American Psalmody 1550-1800]
Tr. 1: Rainbow / ’Tis by thy strength the mountains stand – Timothy Swan (2:00)
Tr. 2: Colchester / O ‘twas a joyful sound to hear – William Tans’ur (1:30)
[Theatre of Voices; Carols from the Old and New Worlds, vol. 1]
Tr. 3: The Apple Tree – Jeremiah Ingalls (2:20)
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; Goostly Psalmes/Anglo-American Psalmody 1550-1800]
Tr. 5: Schenectady / From all that dwells below the skies – Nehemiah Shumway (1:08)
Tr. 12: Worcester / How beauteous are their feet – Abraham Wood (1:57)
[Theatre of Voices; Carols from the Old and New Worlds, vol. 2]
Tr. 17: Give good gifts one to another – Mount Lebanon hymnal, New York, 1893 (1:38)
 
MUSIC TRACKS 
Lost Music of Early America
Music of the Moravians
Boston Baroque/Martin Pearlman 
Telarc 1998 / B00000C2HQ
Tr. 20: Hymn Kommt, danket dem Helden (1:14)
Tr. 21: Das ist ein Tag  - Christian Gregor (:46)
Tr. 22: Ich will immer harren - Johann Friedrich Peter (1:27)
Tr. 24: Die Frucht des Geistes ist Liebe – Johann Christian Geisler (2:12)
Theme Music Bed: Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royale, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 / B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal
 
:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: 
 
MUSIC TRACK
Viva Napoli
Doulce memoire/Denis Raisin-Dadre
Astree 2000 / B00004SZ38
Tr. 18: Bizzaria d’amore, Furioso EXCERPT  (2:36)
 
Segment B:
 
MUSIC TRACKS 
Home to Thanksgiving: Songs of Thanks and Praise
Paul Hillier and various ensembles
HMX 1992/1994/1995/1996/1998 / B000QQWFYC
William Billings
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; “A Land Of Pure Delight,” William Billings]
Tr. 6: Thanksgiving Anthem O praise the Lord of Heaven (4:25)
Tr. 11: Jordan / There is a Land of pure Delight (2:52)
[His Majestie’s Clerkes; Goostly Psalmes/Anglo-American Psalmody 1550-1800]
Tr. 18: Chester / Let the tyrants shake their iron rod (2:15)
 
MUSIC TRACK
An American Journey: Bound for the Promised Land
The Waverly Consort/Michael Jaffee
Angel 1996 / B000002SLU
Tr. 3: The Promised Land/The Traveller (4:07)
 
MUSIC TRACK
Home to Thanksgiving: Songs of Thanks and Prai se
Paul Hillier and various ensembles
HMX 1992/1994/1995/1996/1998 / B000QQWFYC
Tr. 19: Evening Hymn The day is past and gone(3:48)
Featured Release: 
 
MUSIC TRACK 
They that in Ships to the Sea down go: Music for the Mayflower
Passamezzo
Resonus Classics 2020 / B087C7ZGTX
Anon. (ed. Henry Ainsworth)
Tr. 20 Psalm 107  (3:01)
Tr. 5 The Lamentation  (3:51)
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