Sing, O Ye Heavens: Moravian Music

Photograph: Rollins College, Florida. 

Music of the Moravians is the CD recommendation for the week.  This music is performed by the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra under the baton of John V. Sinclair.  I located this CD when I was searching for Moravian music and it turned out to be one of my better finds.  If you have no love of religious music, this CD is not for you.  However, it you enjoy choir music with excellent orchestral support, this CD has many surprises in store as there are numerous rich compositions.

Rollins College, provided support for the creation of this CD.  My wife and I were on the campus in late winter when the above photograph was captured.

Below is the single review that was posted on Amazon.

"You can get product information for this recording at the website for the Moravian Music Foundation, where you can also purchase a new copy for $16.00 plus shipping and handling. This is a collection of Moravian anthems performed by the Bach Festival Society. By Moravian I mean the followers of Jon Hus who established the Unitas Fratrum, the oldest currently active Protestant church, on the estate of Nicolas Ludwig von Zinzendorf in the countryside of Moravia in the early 18th Century. Their seclusion meant they had to provide for themselves their music of worship, which has resulted in hundreds of years worth of anthems, chorales, hymns and chamber music from a culture rich in musical heritage. When the Moravians came to North America to evangelize the native Americans, they established the communities of Bethlehem, PA and Winston-Salem, NC. They brought with them hand-copied manuscripts bearing the musical works of some of their contemporaries whom they admired, composers like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. They kept a pipeline going between themselves and their European brethren, publicly performing "new" music months, even years, before its debut in the concert halls of New York and other cities.

This CD is a collection of some of the original anthems written by ministers and laymen of the Moravian Church, heavily inspired by the contemporary movements of their time, but largely unknown to the world outside of their small communities. Often a composer would take what was called the "watchword for the week" – a verse of Scripture to live by and meditate on between Sundays – and set it to music to be used during worship. The Moravian Music Foundation maintains and publishes this collection, and many others."

For some strange reason, this CD is being sold used for $40 and up, even though it's not hard to find and can be purchased new for $16 from the Moravian Music Foundation's website. Classical music lovers, I would recommend buying this album new on this site for $18 or from the Foundation's website. It is a wonderful collection of some of the best "hidden jewels" in music history."