Johann Pachelbel's Magnificat in D Major
4 songs by William Billings: "Aurora", "Philadelphia", "I Am the Rose of Sharon" & "Chester"
In a concert that could be described as "Choral Music From the Old World and the New World," the Shedd Choral Society presents Johann Pachelbel's "Magnificat" in D Major and four songs of America's first great classical composer, William Billings.
Pachelbel's Canon in D is a staple of weddings today, but Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706) was in his day famous as an organist and teacher. His great chorale preludes were influential for composers like Buxtehude and Bach. His setting of the Magnificat is a joyous and splendid work of Baroque music.
And in a young America, William Billings (1746-1800) wrote commanding, lively hymns and anthems in church music, invigorating what were then rather stern and grave hymns. He formed singing schools composed throughout his life, and left us with one of western music's greatest canons: "When Jesus Wept." His anthem "Chester" rivaled "Yankee Doodle" in popularity. Billings' tunes are the roots of American music: fresh, poignant, bracing and durable.