By Larry Beane
It is nearly November, the time of year when folks in Chicago enjoy falling leaves and the folks in New Orleans enjoy the departure of hurricane season! The Church begins November with All Saints Day and concludes the month with the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. In November, we end the previous church year with the last weeks of the year reminding us of the End of the Age, and with the beginning of the church year again calling to mind the beginning of the Last Days through the mystery of our Lord's incarnation. For Americans, November is also a time of thanksgiving - which in ecclesiastical terms, makes us think of the Eucharistic Feast.
November is indeed a special time of the Church's calendar.
A magnificent choir known as the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle (formerly the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter's in the Loop) has given the Church a wonderful musical gift for this sacred time of transition in the her calendar.
This album, Music for the November Feasts, is one of my favorite musical albums of all time - in any category. This is definitely a "desert island" CD. It is an ecumenical collection of sacred music covering centuries in a diverse mix of ecclesiastical musical styles: hymn and chant, English and Latin, old and new, a choir of men and women singing both a capella and with musical accompaniment.
I cannot recommend it enough!
Here is the Amazon link to download the album ($8.99) or any of its twenty-two tracks ($.99/each). Lutherans will especially enjoy seeing many favorites from their hymnals: such as By All Your Saints in Warfare (LSB 517, 518), Jerusalem My Happy Home (LSB 673), In the Midst of Earthly Life (LSB 755), Come Ye Thankful People, Come (LSB 892), Hail to the Lord's Anointed (LSB 398), Crown Him With Many Crowns (LSB 525), and the sainted professor Rev. Dr. Martin Franzmann's masterpiece O Kingly Love, which was not included in Lutheran Service Book, but was in Lutheran Worship (LW 346). Also, though not technically a Lutheran hymn, the great Anglican composer and chorister Dr. Healy Willan's majestic setting of the Te Deum Laudamus as sung in many Lutheran schools and churches - including the Kramer Chapel of Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne) - is part of this wonderful collection!
And if you appreciate Gregorian Chant and Latin, there are some haunting and inspiring tracks that proclaim the catholic timelessness and comforting transcendence of the Church of Jesus Christ and His Word.
And here is more from the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter's in the Loop (known today as the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter the Apostle).
As a postscript, I was honored to have the Schola's conductor, J. Michael Thompson, drop by and leave a kind comment on an old FH posting about Dr. Franzmann. Mr. Thompson, blessings on your work in the Lord's kingdom! You have a gift that is also a treasure!