Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us -- Bishop Ussher's date of the creation of the world was 6,018 years ago today

Want to know the exact time the world was created? James Ussher (1581-1656), 17th-century Anglican archbishop of Armagh and vice-chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, figured it out. And it was Oct. 23, 2004 BCE. Not the 22nd, and not the 24th. But Oct. 23. Today.

So ... happy birthday, world!

How did Bishop Usher get such a precise date? Well, he didn't just count up all the "begats" and generations in the bible (although he did take Nebuchadnezar and the day the sun stood still when Joshua fit the battle of Jericho into account). Instead he relied on a complex set of astronomical calculations that sought to reconcile the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It's complicated. Here's how Wikipedia explains it in its article on the "Julian day," a related astronomical calculation that dates back to the 1500s and is still used to time orbits in space and to compare dates in different calendars. And here's how Bishop Ussher explained his final calculation in a book called The Annals of the World, published in 1658:

… from thence I gathered the creation of the world did fall out upon the 710 year of the Julian Period, by placing its beginning in autumn: but for as much as the first day of the world began with the evening of the first day of the week, I have observed that the Sunday, which in the year 710 aforesaid came nearest the Autumnal Æquinox, by astronomical tables (notwithstanding the stay of the sun in the dayes of Joshua, and the going back of it in the dayes c Ezekiah) happened upon the 23 day of the Julian October; from thence concluded that from the evening preceding that first day of the Julian year, both the first day of the creation and the first motion of time are to be deduced.
Ussher is quoted in more detail on a webpage by Donald Simanek of Lock Haven University. And Ussher's methodology is discussed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ussher_chronology. Included is the quote, which strikes me as both generous and wise, by evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould:

I shall be defending Ussher's chronology as an honorable effort for its time and arguing that our usual ridicule only records a lamentable small-mindedness based on mistaken use of present criteria to judge a distant and different past. ... Ussher represented the best of scholarship in his time. He was part of a substantial research tradition, a large community of intellectuals working toward a common goal under an accepted methodology[.]

Friday, October 17, 2014

Augustana Synod -- misc. liturgical notes

Memoirs of the Lutheran Liturgical Association, Vols. 1-7 (Pittsburgh: Lutheran Liturgical Association, 1906) (Google eBook). "The Swedish Liturgies" by the Rev. Prof. N. Forsander, D.D., 2:15-27.

Table of contents for all 7 volumes pp. v-viii. Also histories of Danish and Norwegian liturgies. Google eBooks

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

"Mo Ghile Mear" and Seán Ó Riada -- w/ lyrics in Irish and English

So this afternoon I'm looking for lyrics to "Mo Ghile Mear" I can take to tonight's session of the Prairieland Strings, and I surf into an article by Irish sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird that details Seán Ó Riada's role in developing the modern arrangement of the song for his Cór Chúil Aodha (choir of the Chúil Aodha district in County Cork). Turns out it was crucial; in a very substantial way, the song is Ó Riada's legacy to Ireland -- and all the rest of us.

Then -- what a lovely bonus! -- I find a YouTube video of Ó Riada's daughter, Liadh Ní Riada, winning a seat for Ireland's nationalist Sinn Féin party in the European Parliament back in May. Her supporters sing "Mo Ghile Mear" at 2:18 after the deciding votes are announced.

Link here for the lyrics I was looking for, in Irish and English:

From YouTube, footage of: (1) Liadh Ní Riada's victory celebration; and performances by (2) Iarla Ó Lionáird and (3) the Cór Chúil Aodha:

  1. Liadh Ní Riada elected MEP for Ireland South.
    Published on May 27, 2014. Liadh Ní Riada elected MEP for Ireland South. Video footage from the count centre as declaration was announced. Watch out for the great and emotional rendition of Mo Ghile Mear near the end [beginning at 2:18].

    Liadh Ní Riada is Sinn Féin’s National Gaeilge Officer. A good bio on the partry's website at http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/27886. It stands to reason she would be Sinn Féin, given her father's role in reviving Irish traditional music.

  2. Iarla 0'Lionaird and Steve Cooney -Mo Ghile Mear.
    Published on Jul 29, 2012 Iarla O'Lionaird and Steve Cooney at Abbeystrewery church - July 27 2012- a celebration of the life and works of Canon James Goodman.

  3. Mo Ghile Mear - Cór Chúil Aodha agus Peadar Ó Riada
    Uploaded on Mar 24, 2010. Notes in Irish Gaelic. [Peadar Ó Riada is Seán Ó Riada's son and director of the Cór Chúíl Aodha.]

Paraphrasing Ó Lionáird's article, Wikipedia says: "The lyrics and verse of the song more commonly performed today comes from the Cúil Aodha Gaeltacht in County Cork. The air was documented by a man named Dómhnall Ó Buachalla and the words are edited from two of Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill's songs: Bímse Buan ar Buairt Gach Ló and another without a title. Dónal Ó Liatháin gave an account of how it was formed to the sean-nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird."

Ó Riada performs the melody on the harpsichord in the CD Ó Riada's Farewell (click here for a brief audio clip), but it took the form in which we now know it after his death in 1971 as an anthem for Cóir Chúil Aodha:

In Ó Lionáird's article in the Journal of Music published in Galway, Ó Liatháin is quoted as saying "it became the song that would be sung at the end of the night and people really loved it." Ó Liatháin added:

Well the thing about it was that it was Gaolach [Gaelic in a tribal as opposed to a linguistic sense] and nationalistic and manly and that it consisted of all these things. … the melody itself … had a marching rhythm, there was the sense of … referring back to times of heroism and triumph in Ireland and … I suppose it fitted into the atmosphere at the time since the situation in the North was quite troublesome. And then Ó Riada himself was dead and there was… there was a certain sadness to that period… (Brackets and ellipses in the original.)

Ó Lionáird continues the story

Prior to its arrival the choir habitually ended a night’s song in public performance with a humorous song – ‘Scoil Bharr d’Inse’. It would soon be usurped by what was now being called ‘Gile Mear’ – a Cúil Aodha song! It was accorded an additional life when its air started to be played at funerals as the coffin made its journey shouldered from the altar to the hearse. It in effect became the Cóir Chúil Aodha anthem. -
See more at: http://journalofmusic.com/focus/o-riadas-vision#sthash.ez1Feook.dpuf.

Earlier posts:

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Gustav II Adolf's Krigspsalm / "Fear not, O little flock" / Förfäras ej du lilla hop

In both of Lars Paul Esbjorn's handwritten notebooks of psalmodikon tablature (sifferskrift) in the Esbjorn Family Papers, Box 14, MSS 1, Special Collections, Tredway Library, Augustana College, are versions of the "Krigspsalm" (war hymn) attributed to King Gustav II Adolf. Better known as Gustavus Adolphus, he was a national hero of Sweden during the 1800s and Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota was named for him. It is No. 378 in Wallin's 1819 psalmbook, No. 390 in the Augustana Synod's 1901 service book and hymnal.

Förfäras ej, du lilla hop --
Tune used in Haeffner's chorale book -- posted by YouTube user Jens Fredborg, played on piano w/ lyrics, in Swedish, of first stanza

The basics are in the Swedish edition of Wikipedia at http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Förfäras_ej_du_lilla_hop:

Förfäras ej du lilla hop är inledningsraden på "Gustaf Adolfs fältpsalm", som sägs ha sjungits av Gustav II Adolf och hans här inför slaget vid Lützen 1632. Den ursprungliga tyska texten, Verzage nicht, du Häuflein klein av Johann Michael Altenburg. Översättaren är okänd. Den svenska texten har tre 6-radiga verser i den version som bearbetades av Johan Olof Wallin.

Melodin är en medeltida folkmelodi med tyskt ursprung, nedtecknad 1530 i Ain schöns newes Christlichs Lyed.

The hymn is known as Gustavus Adolphus' "swan song" because he is said to have led his troops in singing it before his death in the Battle of Lützen during the Thirty Years War. Excerpt from The Story of Our Hymns by E.E. Ryden, available online at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/ryden/hymnstory.p2.c11.html in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, gives the traditional story:

On the morning of November 6, 1632, the two armies faced each other in battle array. Dr. Fabricius, chaplain of the Swedish army, had been commanded by Gustavus to lead his troops in worship. The king himself raised the strains of “Be not dismayed, thou little flock,” and led the army in singing the stirring hymn. Then he knelt in fervent prayer.

A heavy fog prevented the Protestant forces from moving forward to the attack, and, while they were waiting for the fog to lift, Gustavus ordered the musicians to play Luther’s hymn, “A mighty Fortress is our God.” The whole army joined with a shout. The king then mounted his charger, and, drawing his sword, rode back and forth in front of the lines, speaking words of encouragement to his men.

As the sun began to break through the fog, Gustavus himself offered a prayer, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, help me today to do battle for the glory of Thy holy name,” and then shouted, “Now forward to the attack in the name of our God!” The army answered, “God with us!” and rushed forward, the king galloping in the lead.

Ryden was an Augustana Synod pastor, hymnologist and editor of The Lutheran Companion. Good bio on ArchiveGrid website at http://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/collection/data/309274052. Including this: "He served as secretary of the Joint Commission on a Common Hymnal, which in conjunction with the Joint Commission on a Common Liturgy created the Service Book and Hymnal which represented the collaborative work of the eight Lutheran church bodies that comprised the National Lutheran Council. Previously, Ryden served on the Augustana committee that created its 1925 hymnal. In addition to this hymnal, he also co-wrote Augustana's Junior Hymnal in 1930 and its revision in 1960. Several of his original hymns and hymn texts were used in past hymnals and in the current Evangelical Lutheran Church in America hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship, three of his hymn texts are included."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A "yes" vote for the Skye Boat Song this week at Clayville

Scots may have voted against independence in this month's referendum (but read this before you make up your mind about that). By coincidence -- and by request -- we are going to be taking up a song from the Scottish rebellion of 1745-46 for the Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music at 10 a.m. Saturday. It's called the Skye Boat Song, and it's a fantastic piece of music 3/4 time. It can be played as a waltz, but it's more of a slow air.

The best account (as so often happens) is in Wikipedia, which says it "recall[s] the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from Uist to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746." Don't believe the bad things you hear about Wikipedia!

According to Wikipedia, for all their romance about Scottish rebellion, the lyrics was written by the British aristocracy of the 1800s -- " by Sir Harold Boulton, 2nd Baronet, to an air collected in the 1870s by Anne Campbelle MacLeod (1855–1921), who became Lady Wilson by marriage to Sir James Wilson KSCI (1853–1926) in 1888." The air, or melody, is traditional, however, and it's lovely. It has been covered by everyone from James Galway and the Chieftans to Tom Jones and Rod Stewart. YouTube has covers by the Corries, the Scots Guards Pipe and Drums and the Tampa Bay Children's Chorus, among others.

A lead sheet is available on EverythingDulcimer.com at http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/tab/ (scroll down the alphabetical directory to the "rlwalker" version of "Skye Boat Song.") It's dulcimer tab, in DAD and DAA, but it has the melody line and chords for those of us who play other instruments. You can also print it out directly by linking here:

http://www.everythingdulcimer.com/tab/skyedul.pdf

There are several versions on YouTube, but the one that's probably the most instructive for us shows a local band called Carl Purdy and Friends at O'Donovan's Irish Pub in Augusta, Ga., Musicians include: Carl (harmony, Irish pennywhistle) and Erin (lead vocal, guitar). The woman who inquires at 1:50 who ordered the "burger with a side of mayonnaise" is surely a waitress and not part of the performance. Think of her as adding to the ambiance!

There's also a nice fingerpicked version on the mountain dulcimer by YouTube user dulcibard.

A classical arrangement -- Beautiful Classic Scottish Music - The Skye Boat Song - Relaxing Harp, Flute, Clarinet, Violin Solo: Beautiful instrumental Scottish folk music solo of the classic traditional Skye Boat - Speed Bonnie Boat song. Best Relaxing Harp and Peaceful Flute music. Mormon Tabernacle Choir Principal Flute, Jeannine Goeckeritz and Principal Harp, Tamara Oswald performing live an arrangement by Skaila Kanga and Clive Romney, joined by Becca Goeckeritz, violin, Daron Bradford, clarinet, and Scott Allen, bass. From the Oswald Goeckeritz Duo live concert "A Joyful Evening" at BYU Education Week. http://www.harpandflute.com.

And an a cappella performance by the UCD Choral Scholars at University College Dublin. If you'd like to hear the lyrics without a conversation about hamburgers in the background, this is the one to listen to!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hasselquist, Esbjörn, music and Augustana Seminary, misc. notes

d r a f t

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Ernst Olson, The Swedish Element in Illinois: Survey of the Past Seven Decades : with Life Sketches of Men of Today Chicago: Swedish-American Biographical Association, 1917, p. 130.


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C.J. Södergren, "A Brief History of the Augustana Synod," The Augustana Synod, A Brief Review of its History, 1860-1910. Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1910, p. 30.


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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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I.M. Anderson, "The Educational Institutions of the Augustana Synod," The Augustana Synod, A Brief Review of its History, 1860-1910. (Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1910), p. 99.

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I.M. Anderson, "The Educational Institutions of the Augustana Synod," The Augustana Synod, A Brief Review of its History, 1860-1910. (Rock Island: Augustana Book Concern, 1910), p. 103.


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Saturday, September 27, 2014

"Fem får og fire geder" (five sheep and four goats) -- a bouncy little traditional Danish fiddle tune

Here performed by Danish --- band Rannok at Live fra Café Bartof in Fredericksberg 23 Februar 2013 - "Dejodejo" CD release. The other tune, the reel, is titled "Den sidste ged" (the last goat).

And here, performed by Fiolministeriet (the Ministry of Fiddles) live in Solingen in 2011. I don't know what the second tune is. Both are from the Bast Brothers' tune collection (whatever that is), according to the notes on YouTube.

Nice review of Fiolministeriet on the Danish Roots website at http://www.danishroots.eu/fiolministeriet-the-fiddle-ministry/:

We meet one early spring evening in the pleasant little café in the foyer of a small hotel in Flensborg, on the German-Danish border. A fairly large group of Danish musicians and people from the international music business are talking animatedly when the street door opens and in step a trio of smiling young women carrying their musical instruments. An aura of success and self-confidence surrounds them. That’s because this is the young Danish trio Fiolministeriet (The Fiddle Ministry), and they are breaking through on the German folk music scene at this very point in time. The Fiddle Ministry play Danish and European music from the 18th century, arranged for violin, viola, cello, guitar and voice sang, and this evening they are returning to their hotel after yet another in a long series of concerts, yet another full house, yet another wild success. The gathering is for the German festival folkBALTICA, and in the weeks up to the festival, The Fiddle Ministry – violinist and singer, Ditte Fromseier, violinist Kirstine Sand and cellist Kirstine Petersen – have toured all over Germany, presenting their brand new debut album.