Pearl Shangkuan, director of choral activities at Calvin University and director of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, reflects on her top ten bilingual sacred choral pieces.
Some of the pieces recommended include:
4. “Noche anunciada / Night Long-Awaited,” arranged by Carlos Colón. The original music is by Ariel Ramirez, an Argentine composer and music director best known for his “Missa Criolla” who was a chief proponent of Argentine folk music.
5. “Restáuranos, oh Dios / Restore Us, O God,” by Carlos Colón. This is a setting of Psalm 80, arranged for either a two-part treble or mixed choir by the composer himself, Carlos Colón, assistant director for Worship and Chapel of the Office of Spiritual Life at Baylor University.
7. “Alegre luz / O Gladsome Light,” by Carlos Colón (G-9793, GIA Publications). This new musical setting uses the text of the Phos Hilaron, an evening hymn drawn from ancient Christian custom, especially Byzantine and Ambrosian rites, and referenced as far back as AD 379 by St. Basil the Great.
This song is inspired by the words of Psalms 120 and 121. I originally set only 120 but I added Psalm 121 for the second verse, because I think that Psalm 121 is the reorientation toward hope from the rawness of 120.
I called the tune Rio Frío because I wrote it during a trip to the Texas hill country, and I was near the river with that name.
For more information on the GIA’s multicultural hymnal Santo, Santo, Santo please visit Giamusic.com
God wants to train us in the school of prayer and for this effect has given us this beautiful gift right in the middle of the Scriptures: the Book of Psalms. The Psalms are the book of prayer of the Hebrew people, and they were also adopted by the Christian Church who sees in them a prophetic exaltation of Jesus the Messiah.
We may ask, are the Psalms prayers or hymns? The answer of course is yes to both, as these prayers can be chanted, sung, or spoken. We all have observed how children learn to speak by imitating their parents and their siblings. Likewise, the Psalms are words that God gives to us so that we can speak them back to him. They are our training prayers for the healing for our souls.
Canción de Cuna (Craddle Song) by Guatemalan composer Enrique Solares (1910-1995). I met Maestro Solares in 1992, and he played this piece for me when he was nearly blind.
Entrevisté al Maestro Solares para mi tesis, y el bellamente tocó esta pieza para mí. Estaba casi ciego ya. Este es el tempo que él utilizó.
Dice Ana María, hija del compositor:
“Muchas gracias querido Carlos por este homenaje a mi adorado papá, don ENRIQUE SOLARES, diplomático, pianista y compositor guatemalteco, del cual yo soy su hija menor, junto a mi hermana mayor Ana Vera. Papá compuso esta dulce Canción de Cuna para el nacimiento de mi querida hermana mayor. Y cuando yo nací, tres años más tarde, pues siendo una bebé, me dormía con la misma melodía!! ! Nunca le perdoné a papá que no hubiera compuesto otra Canción de Cuna para mí solita! Mil gracias querido Carlos por este lindo regalo, para las dos! Espero que tu familia y tú estén bien de salud, dentro de esta locura que estamos viviendo!!!”