Links: Thanksgiving set to music

Unsplash Michal Czyz c.jpeg

Piano keys (Unsplash/Michal Czyz)
(Unsplash/Michal Czyz)

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Most of us will have more time than usual on this holiday because of the reduced gatherings, so all of my links today are to music about thanksgiving.

From the late 17th century, one of the more famous versions of the "Te Deum" is the D-major rendition, of Marc-Antoine Charpentier — he wrote five other settings! He must have been very grateful indeed. The opening is orchestral and shows the power of music to convey emotion without need of words. Listen here.

From the mid-18th century, here is Georg Frideric Handel's version in honor of the Allied victory at the Battle of Dettingen. The battle had little effect on the power relations at the time, but the music is still glorious.

Händel - Te Deum for the victory of Dettingen HWV 283

"Te Deum" for the victory of Dettingen HWV 283, posted on EuroArtsChannel's YouTube channel Sept. 22, 2018

Also from that era is Johann Sebastian Bach's marvelous chorale prelude on the tune "Nun dankett alle Gott" or "Now thank we all our God." Here is it performed on the organ with a trumpet solo articulating the hymn melody.

Trompete und Orgel: Johann-Sebastian Bach, Choral "Nun danket alle Gott aus Kantate BWV 79

"Now Thank We All Our God" posted on trumpeter Martin Schröder's YouTube channel, marsc1do, Aug 9, 2015

From a bit later in the 18th century, we get "Grosser Gott," which we sing in English to the words "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name." Here it is performed in St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna at the funeral of Otto von Hapsburg. Listen here.

Another hymn we sing this time of year is "Let All Things Now Living;" the words are from the early 20th century, but the tune is an old Welsh melody from the 18th century. Here it is sung by the choir at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Let All things Now Living

"Let All Things Now Living" at First Plymouth Church of Lincoln Nebraska, Jan. 24, 2016, posted to the church's YouTube channel, First-Plymouth Church Lincoln Nebraska-Videos, Feb. 1, 2016

Finally, a late 19th century "Te Deum" by the great Anton Bruckner, which surely brought a smile and a "You're welcome" from the lips of the Almighty. Listen here.

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Michael Sean Winters

Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.


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