Serene Sunday: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

My friend Elsa arrived to belatedly celebrate her birthday which she shares with a certain person.  When asked for her serene choice, she suggested Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.  Let’s see what Wiki has to say:

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring is the most common English title of the 10th movement of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. A transcription by the English pianist Myra Hess (1890–1965) was published in 1926 for piano solo and in 1934 for piano duet.   The British organist Peter Hurford made his organ transcription for the chorale movement as well. Today, it is often performed at wedding ceremonies slowly and reverently, in defiance of the effect suggested by Bach in his original scoring, for voices with trumpet, oboes, strings, and continuo. Written during his first year in Leipzig, Germany, this chorale movement is one of Bach’s most enduring works.”

Enjoy.

 

 

Serene Sunday: Orinoco Flow

Since a friend of mine likes Enya, I decided to showcase one of her first “breakthrough” global hits recorded in 1988.  According to my pal Wiki, “”Orinoco Flow” peaked at #1 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, where it stayed at the top of the music charts for three weeks. In the US, the song peaked at #24 in early 1989. The song was also highly popular in the early 1990s and was featured on many pop music compilations.”

Hope your Sunday is serene.

 

Serene Sunday: Hair

Good morning star shine!  For some reason songs from Hair are stuck in my head… hmmm, wonder why?  Particularly one mentioned by our Fitzg.  So, Fitg, this is *your* fault.  Let’s see what the venerable Wiki has to say:

“Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Radoand Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical’s profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of “rock musical”, using a racially integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a “Be-In” finale.  Hair tells the story of the “tribe”, a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War.

After an Off-Broadway debut in October 1967 at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and a subsequent run in a midtown discothèque space, the show opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances. Simultaneous productions in cities across the United States and Europe followed shortly thereafter, including a successful London production that ran for 1,997 performances. Since then, numerous productions have been staged around the world, spawning dozens of recordings of the musical, including the 3 million-selling original Broadway cast recording. Some of the songs from its score became Top 10 hits, and a feature film adaptation was released in 1979. A Broadway revival opened on March 31, 2009, earning strong reviews and winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for best revival of a musical. In 2008, Time magazine wrote, “Today Hair seems, if anything, more daring than ever.”

Bet you didn’t know all that.   Here I was confusing it with Oh! Calcutta!, another musical infamous for full frontal nudity.  I recall wanting to see Hair as a child but my parents heard about the naked cast climbing over the seats, so that was vetoed.

A popular group in the 1960’s, the 5th Dimension recorded two songs together  from the musical, Aquarius and Let in the Sunshine.  Released in 1969, the single held the number one position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and was certified Platinum.   Wow, I feel old.

Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EegRh8Z4H-o

Serene Sunday – Peace Train

Serene Sunday is interrupted to report from sunny, hot Chicago.  The NATO summit meeting is starting today at McCormick Place, just 9 blocks south from me.  Meanwhile, in Grant Park, the protesters are expected to hold a rally and then march south on Michigan Avenue a block away, to the site of the summit.  Needless to say, the area is a bit anxious.

So far, demonstration have been pretty peaceful with a few scrums with police.  But nobody knows what could happen if more violent elements join.  Downtown and the South Loop has been preparing for this like the coming of WWIII.  Police and private security are crawling all over the place.  My building is on semi-lockdown.  If we aren’t instantly recognized, we need ID to get in and out, pedestrians and motorists. Anything that can used to throw or smash have been removed.  All the streets around me are now blocked off.  Lake Shore Drive is closed which is almost unheard of.  Many of the businesses have boarded over their windows. Choppers are flying back and forth.   I’ve not seen anything like this.

Right now it seems like everybody is out walking the dogs and milling around in pockets.  Nobody knows what will happen.  Hopefully it will be a non-event.

In the meantime, enjoy Peace Train by Cat Stevens.

 

Serene Sunday – The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is a central prayer of Christianity, based on Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.  Albert Hay Malotte set it to music in 1935.  Many artists have recorded it but this rendition performed in 1967 is my favorite by far.  From the first note,  Barbra Streisand’s voice somehow captures me and keeps me riveted until the last note.  Her voice in its heyday was so melodious and beautiful, I find it hard to describe.  The simple words of the prayer combined with her voice and the orchestral backup is unbeatable.

 

Serene Sunday – Chances Are

Hello Dear Reader.  I’ve been fighting with Winston, still, this past week.  Right now, he’s run off with his tail between his legs.  So, I’m seizing this window of opportunity to post Serene Sunday.  It just so happens I got a request while chatting in ArmitageWorld last night.  The chatter loves Johnny Mathis’s smooth lush vocals and requested a specific song.  Said she, “Of course, I think of the words as they pertain to RA!”  So, this is for you (you know who you are).

Here is Johnny Mathis singing “Chances Are.”  According to good ole Wikipedia,  “It was listed on Billboard‘s “Most Played by Jockeys” survey for Johnny Mathis, charting in 1957, and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. The song reached No. 4 on Billboard‘s Best Sellers in Stores survey, along with its flip “The Twelfth of Never.”

Here are some lovely pics to make your day serene indeed.  Enjoy everybody.

 

 

All pictures courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com

 

Serene Sunday – Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen

Winston hasn’t been behaving.  He’s been running amok and taking all my attention the past few days.  Unfortunately, the to-do broke my proud running of streak of daily blogs since September.  Sad, but true.  There’s no help for it but to get up, dust myself off, and start again.  While the little monster is corralled in his kennel, this feels like a good day to present today’s song.

Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen is an old slave spiritual recorded by many artists.  Louis Armstrong’s version is best known.  Marian Anderson recorded it in 1925 and Lena Horne in 1946.

 

Here is a version by Sam Cooke who set several spirituals to Rhythm & Blues.

 

 

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah!
Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down
Oh, yes, Lord
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, yes, Lord
Although you see me going ‘long so
Oh, yes, Lord
I have my trials here below
Oh, yes, Lord
If you get there before I do
Oh, yes, Lord
Tell all-a my friends I’m coming too
Oh, yes, Lord
* The second line (“Nobody knows my sorrow”) is changed in some renditions to be “Nobody knows but Jesus”.

Serene Sunday – Amen

Sorry, I was captivated again by the damndest search terms landing on my blog.  But I’ve learned my lesson this time and won’t compound the problem by listing them again.  So, you’re just have to wonder.  Heheheh.

Getting back to some serenity, the following song popped into my head.  Amen was a written by Jeston Hairston for the Sidney Poitier film Lillies of the Field in 1963.  It was popularized by the Impressions.  It reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Single chart in 1964.

 

Here is a modern version by Take 6 I particularly like.

 

 

Serene Sunday – O Holy Night

Since my Christmas surprise begins next Sunday and runs for eight days, this is the last holiday Serene Sunday this month.  So, I’ll end with my favorite Christmas carol, O Holy Night.  According to my fave go-to wealth of information, Wiki:

O Holy Night” (“Cantique de Noël“) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau (1808–1877), a wine merchant and poet, who had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem. Unitarian ministerJohn Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music, created a singing edition based on Cappeau’s French text in 1855. In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of mankind’s redemption.

I’ve always loved this carol, not for the words, but for the slow beautiful melody usually performed with strings and a very good vocalist.  My iPod has at least 15 renditions of various artists ranging from simple to power singing.  Here are my top three favorites by Johnny Mathis, Josh Groban, and Celine Dion.  Which one do you prefer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0inp9eRMovM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PmI1yGKvQg

 

Serene Sunday – Ave Maria

Ave Maria is not a Christmas song although it’s played mostly during the holiday season.  As Jazzbaby stated on her blog, there are two versions, the Shubert and the Bach-Gounod version.  My favorite is the Gounod sung by one my favorite voices, Johnny Mathis.

 

He also does the  Schubert version, too.  Which one do you prefer?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8ciI0nAWFY

 

Serene Sunday – Mary’s Little Boy

Getting a late Sunday start, here is a Christmas song by the incomparable Harry Belafonte, Mary’s Little Boy. I was first drawn as a child by the poignant melody of Belafonte’s voice.  Written in 1956, it was first recorded for his Christmas album and went to #1 on the UK Billboard charts in 1957.  It remains a classic today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGQsy8pN48U

 

Serene Sunday – Winter Wonderland

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow!  That makes this snow bunny quite happy. So starting off the Serene Sundays of holiday music is Winter Wonderland sung by Johnny Mathis.  It was part of one of the most famous Christmas albums every recorded, Merry Christmas.  Recorded in 1958, it was Mathis’s seventh album but first Christmas album.  Percy Faith was the musical director.  Winter Wonderland itself is a winter tune but treated as a Christmastime song.  It was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Through the decades it has been recorded by over 150 different artists and is considered a holiday pop standard.

 

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He’ll say: Are you married?
We’ll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you’re in town.

Later on, we’ll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we’ve made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he’s a circus clown
We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain’t it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

 

 

Serene Sunday – Down by the Riverside

When I was child, I recalled watching the great Mahalia Jackson on the Flip Wilson show.  She sang a renditions of the gospel spiritual, Down by the Riverside that had the crowd singing and clapping along.  I finally found the piece on YouTube and it brought back memories.

Down by the Riverside dates prior to the Civil War when slaves sang it as a work song adding lines from other spirituals.    It was first published in Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag in 1927 and has been recorded many times since then.

 

  1. Gonna lay down my burden,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside.
    Gonna lay down my burden,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside.

Chorus:
I ain’t go study war no more,
study war no more,
ain’t go study war no more.
I ain’t go study war no more,
study war no more,
ain’t go study oh war no more.

  1. Gonna lay down my sword and shield
    Down by the riverside…

Chorus

  1. Gonna try on my long white robe
    Down by the riverside…

Chorus

  1. Gonna try on my starry crown
    Down by the riverside…

Chorus

  1. Gonna put on my golden shoes
    Down by the riverside…

Chorus

  1. Gonna talk with the Prince of Peace
    Down by the riverside…

Chorus

  1. Gonna shake hands around the world
    Down by the riverside…

Chorus

 

Serene Sunday – Rejoice in the Sun

The film Silent Running, produced in 1972, impressed me as a child.  The movie depicted a future in which all planet life had become extinct. The remaining was saved and maintained in greenhouse-like geodesic domes orbiting in space for eventual reforestation of Earth.  It followed the actions of a scientist, who fought to maintain the forestry against callous corporate interests, accompanied by his robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie.  Joan Baez sings Rejoice in the Sun, a lovely, simple, but haunting melody of what it might happen on Earth if we don’t pay attention.  This movie is a stirring cautionary tale I highly recommend.

 

 

Fields of children running wild in the sun
Like a forest is your child growing wild in the sun
Doomed in his innocence in the sun

Gather your children to your side in the sun
Tell them all they love will die,
Tell them why in the sun

Tell them it’s not too late
Cultivate one by one
Tell them to harvest and rejoice in the sun

 

Serene Sunday – Oh Happy Day

Did you know that Oh Happy Day was the 1967 gospel arrangement of an 18th century hymn?  English clergyman Phillips Doddridge first wrote the song in the mid 18th century.  It was rewritten several times and given a new melody into the 20th century.  In 1969, the Edwin Hawkins gospel singers turned it into an international hit.  It enjoyed renewed popularity after Sister Act 2 in 1993.  The lead singer was 15 year old Ryan Toby.
This is a cheerful uplifting song which never fails to get my foot tapping and put a smile on my face. Enjoy.

Serene Sunday – How Great Thou Art

Last week, a commenter shared a video: Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill singing How Great Thou Art.  I’m not one for country and western music, but this rendition blew me away.  How Great Thou Art is a Christian hymn set to Swedish folk music.  Carl Gustav Boberg composed it in Sweden in 1885.  A British missionary translated it into English, adding two original verses.  The hymn was popularized during the Billy Graham crusades.  It apparently ranks second behind Amazing Grace in favorite hymns.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLLMzr3PFgk

Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

And when I think of God,
His son not sparing,
Sent Him to die,
I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden
gladly bearing He bled and died
to take away my sin

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

When Christ shall come
With shouts of acclamation
And lead me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

How great Thou art
How great Thou art…