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Queen of Peace Program Notes – Cincinnati Camerata

    Program notes by Connor Annable

    Veni Emmanuel
    Music: composed in 2022 by Ben Owen (b. 1993)
    Text: 8th century “O Antiphons” metrical paraphrase, tr. John Mason Neale (1818-1866)
    Unpublished, 2022

    The text of the carol O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is a metrical paraphrase of the O Antiphons, texts sung as Magnificat antiphons during vespers services on the last seven days of Advent. It is most often sung in English-speaking countries to a translation by the 19th century Anglican priest and hymnwriter John Mason Neale. This weekend’s concerts feature an arrangement for mixed chorus and large handbell ensemble recently composed by Cincinnati Camerata’s Artistic Director, Ben Owen.

    Magnificat from Gloucester Service
    Music: composed in 1946 by Herbert Howells (1892-1983)
    Text: Luke 1:46-55 & the Lesser Doxology
    Published: Novello & Company Ltd © 1947/2000

    Herbert Howells (1892-1983) is often regarded as one of the most revered and prolific British composers of choral music in the 20th century. In addition to secular and sacred anthems and large scale choral-orchestral works that are still performed and recorded today, Howells composed nearly 30 mass and canticle settings for use in Anglican choral services. This weekend’s concerts feature the 1946 Magnificat (Song of Mary) which Howells composed for the choir of his hometown cathedral, the Cathedral Church of St. Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity in Gloucester.

    Bogoroditse Devo, raduysia
    Music: composed in the late 18th century by Artemy Vedel (1767-1808)
    Text: Dismissal Troparion at Vespers; Luke 1:42

    Artemy Vedel (c. 1767-1808) is known by modern scholars of Orthodox church music as one of the Golden Three of Ukrainian classical music in the 18th century. Starting in 1791, Vedel came into the service of Andrei Levanidov, a general in the Imperial Russian Army, to lead the regimental chapel and choir in Kyiv, where he experienced his most furtive and creative period as a composer. However, by 1799, Vedel was sent to St. Petersburg, having fallen under suspicion of taking part in a conspiracy against Tsar Nicolas I and threatening the Russian royal family. As a result, he spent close to a decade imprisoned in an asylum and was forbidden from composing, with the authorities further banning performances of Vedel’s music in sacred settings, an edict which continued into the Soviet era. Vedel’s setting of Bogoroditse Devo, raduysia is one of over 100 compositions by Vedel which survive.

    Bogoroditse Devo, raduysia
    Music: composed and revised in 1914/1918 by Viktor Kalinnikov (1870-1927)
    Text: Dismissal Troparion at Vespers; Luke 1:42

    Viktor Kalinnikov (1870-1927) was the younger brother of Vasily Kalinnikov, best known today as a composer of symphonies and other orchestral pieces. The younger Kalinnikov was most active as a teacher, working at the Moscow Synodal School of Church Singing (with its renowned men and boys choir) from 1897 to 1923. As a composer, Kalinnikov’s output was fairly small, consisting primarily of 24 short choral works. His setting of the prayer Bogoroditse Devo, raduysia dates from 1914 and was revised four years later. Listen for figurations in the bass line representing the tolling of bells.

    Bogoroditse Devo, raduysia
    Music: composed between 2007 by Elena Yunek (b. 1985)
    Text: Dismissal Troparion at Vespers; Luke 1:42

    Born in 1985 in the Ukranian city of Stryi, Elena Yunek studied choral conducting at Kharkiv National Kotlyarevsky University of Culture and Arts, graduating in 2008. Since 2015, she has served as a professor in the choral conducting program at the Samara State Institute of Culture in Samara, Russia. Yunek’s most significant compositions include settings of the traditional Russian Orthodox Vespers and All Night Vigil services as well as arrangements of Russian and Ukrainian folksongs. She composed the third setting of Bogoroditse Devo, raduysia featured in this weekend’s concerts in 2007.

    Under the Mid-autumn Moon
    Music: composed in 2014 by Kai-Young Chan
    Text: Su Dong-po (1037-1101)

    Kai-Young Chan is a Hong Kong-based composer who has written prolifically for orchestral, vocal and chamber forces. Previously a Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his PhD in Music Composition, Chan currently teaches as an assistant professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Under the Mid-autumn Moon sets a Cantonese poem by the 11th century calligrapher, essayist, poet and pharmacist Su Dong-Po. In Chinese culture, the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival falls on August 15 on the lunar calendar, and full moons represent the dual ideas of reunion and thoughts for family and friends.

    Fold Your Wings
    Music: composed in 2019 by Ellen Ruth Harrison (b. 1956)
    Text: from Scribe and Track by Norman Finkelstein (b. 1954)

    Ellen Ruth Harrison serves as Adjunct Professor of Composition at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, chair of music theory and composition in the CCM Preparatory division, and as a member of the alto section in Cincinnati Camerata. Fold Your Wings sets lines from two poems by Norman Finkelstein, recently-retired from the English department faculty at Xavier University in Cincinnati. The piece was commissioned by the CCM Harmony Fund, which promotes work in drama and music to fight for social justice and against hate and prejudice.

    Stars I Shall Find
    Music: composed in 2003 by David Dickau (b. 1953)
    Text: Sara Teasdale (1874-1933)
    Published: Walton Music Corporation © 2003

    David C. Dickau (b. 1953) served for nearly 30 years as director of choral activities at Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN. Now living in Idaho, he is still active as a composer, conductor, clinician and teacher. Dickau’s 2003 choral work Stars I Shall Find sets one of the most well-known poems by Sara Teasdale, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1917 for her poetry collection Love Songs.

    The First Noel
    Music: Cathy Moklebust (b. 1958)
    Published: Jeffers Handbell Supply, Inc. © 2012

    Cathy Moklebust (b. 1958) is one of today’s most popular handbell music composers with over 400 compositions and arrangements in print. Based in Brookings, South Dakota, she is in national demand as a handbell clinician, festival conductor, and commission composer. The First Noel (2012) is one of nine commissions she has composed for the Raleigh Ringers, who are among the foremost professional handbell choirs in America. In this weekend’s performances, Queen City Bronze brings the score to life with six octaves of handbells and tone chimes under the direction of Jennifer Cauhorn.

    Program note by Ben Owen

    Serenísima una noche
    Music and text: Gerónimo Gonzáles (fl. ca. 1633-1661)
    Composed: 17th Century
    Unpublished edition by Michael Delfín

    Very little is known about the life of Geronimo Gonzales, except for being remembered as the composer ofSerenísima una noche. Among the most popular Spanish carols to emerge during the 16th-17th centuries, it is also known as a villancico, a song form typically associated with rustic or folk themes. Period copies of Geronimo Gonzales’ manuscripts are commonly found in former Spanish colonies in Central and South America. The earliest Serenísima una noche manuscript was found in a convent in Puebla, Mexico in the 1970’s, and other pieces by Gonzalez have been preserved at the Cathedral in Lima, Peru.

    Guuterput qutsinnermiu
    Music and text: Rasmus Berthelsen (1827-1901)
    Arrangement: Ben Owen (b. 1993)

    The melody of the traditional Greenlandic Christmas hymn Guuterput qutsinnermiu was composed in 1852 by Greenland’s first published native Inuit composer, Rasmus Berthelsen (1827-1901). According to Berthelsen, the melody came to him as he fell asleep: “I heard a soft and beautiful song and there was no mistaking it. My body was filled with peace that extended far beyond myself. I wasn’t asleep, but I wasn’t sure I was awake either […] When it dawned on me that it was the song the angels sang to the shepherds when the Savior was born, I stood up. I sat down in my office and immediately started writing the song and the melody.” Guuterput qutsinnermiu is representative of the Inuit and Nordic Protestant influences in Greenlandic hymnody, as it is sung homophonically, a cappella, and at a slow tempo. In Greenland, singing Guuterput qutsinnermiu is a beloved Christmastime tradition and is often compared to the Western church tradition of singing Silent Night by candlelight. This weekend’s concerts feature an arrangement by Cincinnati Camerata’s Artistic Director, Ben Owen, which has been carefully crafted to adhere and respectfully respond to Greenlandic traditional norms.

    Gloria from Mass in E-flat
    Music: composed in 1886 by Amy Beach (1867-1944)
    Text: Latin Mass Proper, Luke 2:14
    Published: Arthur P. Schmidt, 1890 (via

    Amy Beach (1867-1944) is primarily remembered today for being the first female American composer to publish large-scale compositions and the first to publish a symphony (her Gaelic Symphony of 1895). Two additional Beach firsts are heard in the music which closes tonight’s program. Her Mass in E-flat, Op. 5, from which we hear a setting of words from the Gloria, dates from 1886. Premiered by the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston in 1892, it is considered among Beach’s first major successes as a composer as well as being the first mass setting published and performed by an American woman.