FRIEND WEEK! Sacred Sunday: “And I Saw A New Heaven,” Edgar Bainton. Submitted by Sara.

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Yankette’s Reaction:

Oh, stick a fork in me.  This piece might – might – be more fun to sing than listen to, but nevertheless, it’s a sucker-punch.  It starts so mildly, but by the end, you’re completely wrung out.  It’s a masterwork.

Shameless friend promotion!  Sara is the best singer I have ever sung with, in my life, ever, and probably always will be.  She also happens to be an astoundingly cool person.  So listen to her singing and then put her in any and every musical production you have going.  Trust me.

Sara’s Justification:

Here is Edgar Bainton’s “And I saw a new heaven.” If you’re Anglican you’ve probably heard it; if you’ve been involved in church music at all you’ve most likely sung it. I am of the opinion that most British choral music that has stood the test of time is pretty darn good, but I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that this anthem might be the best one ever. It’s written in the same lush late-romantic style as pieces by Bainton’s better-known contemporaries, like Vaughan Williams, but what I think makes this one so special is that it doesn’t draw on any of Vaughan Williams’ sensible British folksiness. There is a sense throughout the anthem – in both its dynamic and textual heights and most hushed moments – of an otherworldly ecstasy that cannot be matched in the rest of the choral repertoire from this period. Listening bliss. Enjoy!

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