A Few More of Our Favorite Things
by Cory Mendenhall
1. Gustav Holst: The Planets: London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus On iTunes
This orchestral suite is, in my opinion, Holst’s finest instrumental work. I love listening to this suite on long drives, or when working marathon days in my classroom. The distinctly memorable and noble tune found in the fourth movement, “Jupiter,” is arguably one of the world’s most profound melodies.
2. Anton Bruckner: Os Justi: found on track 12 of Eventide by voces8 On iTunes
I love the chain of suspensions found in this beautiful motet, featuring compelling patterns of dissonance and resolution. The text talks of an immovable, stalwart resolve, taken from one of my favorite passages found in Psalms 37:30-31: “The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of God is in his heart, and his feet do not falter.” I also appreciate Bruckner’s appreciation of, and subscription to the Cecilian Movement…a movement in choral music during Bruckner’s time (1896) which supported reform and restoration of Renaissance polyphony and Gregorian Chant…certainly the foundation of all compelling choral music we enjoy today.
3. Bach: St. Matthew Passion: English Baroque Soloists, John Elliot Gardiner & monteverdi Choir On iTunes
listen to this work each year at Easter time. Emotionally dramatic, and deeply powerful.
4. O Magnum Mysterium, Morten Lauridsen: found on track 7 of The Dale Warland Singers: Lux Arumque album On iTunes
One of my favorite settings of this beautifully poignant text: “O great mystery and wonderful sacrament that even the animals saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger.” I have had some wonderful experiences as both a singer and conductor of this piece.
5. Durufle: Requiem: found on “Faure: Requiem & Durufle: Requiem,” Atlanta Symphony Chorus, Atlanta Symphony, Robert Shaw On iTunes
As a choral musician and organist, this work is one of my favorites which I feel captures the essence of effective registration specific to both voice and the organ. This is one of my most favorite meditative works!