O Sing the Glories

Article excerpt

O sing the glories Seventeen anthems composed or arranged by Alice Parker GIA Publications, 7404 S Mason Avenue, Chicago, IL 60638. CD-633, 2005.

Often recordings of anthems have been turned down for review in The Hymn, since it is a publication that addresses the diverse aspects of congregational song. While this recording includes some anthem settings that are perhaps not likely choices for congregational song, one does find here both important texts for congregational singing, and tunes that have been written specifically for congregational use. Hence, this easily justifies the inclusion of a review here. This is a collection of anthem compositions and arrangements completed by Alice Parker between 1978 and 2001. Most of the pieces appear to have been commissioned.

In the liner notes for the CD booklet Parker has provided the raison d'être for each of her compositions or arrangements, and she often addresses her compositional process or method and her motivations. This is quite helpful to the listener, who is enabled to envision what is behind her approach to a text.

The selections of texts are by a broad range of authors: Thomas Pestel (1584-1659), George Wither (1588-1667), Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Charles Wesley (1707-1788), R. H. Robinson (1842-1892), August Riche (1819-1906), George Bourne (1840-1925), Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000), Jane Marshall (b. 1924), and Carl P. Daw, Jr. (b. 1944). In addition, there are settings of three biblical paraphrases: Psalm 36:5-9, Psalm 100:3-5, Isaiah 51:2-3. Two anonymous texts also appear in this collection: "Now brethren, though we part" and the Civil War-inspired "Destructive sword! how oft hast thou."

Parker has written arrangements for a number of hymn tunes: ives from The Plymouth collection of hymns and tunes (1855), DAYTON from The Brethren's tune and hymn hook (1872), lake enon also from the Brethren hymnal, darwall's 148th (1770), and bryn CALFARIA (1854). …