Music of three continents: Europe, North America and Africa
Music of Three Continents is a survey of choral music from Europe, North America and Africa. The works represent six countries and six languages: Austria (German), Italy (Latin), Nigeria (Igbo), South Africa (Xhosa and Zulu), the United States (English), and Wales (English). The oldest work, Giovanni Gabrieli's Jubilate Deo, was printed in 1615 and the newest work was composed for the recital.
Each chapter is devoted to an individual work and composer and contains elements of biography, socio-cultural and historical perspectives, theoretical analysis and performance consideration. The first chapter, Let the People Praise Thee, O God by William Mathias (1934-92), focuses on the elements of the composer's style that contributed to his success as a commissioned composer of the twentieth century. The second chapter, Jubilate Deo a 8 by Giovanni Gabrieli (1557-1612), consults a number of major scholars to point out discrepancies and develop a current understanding of Gabrieli's life and works and the performance practice of the period. The third chapter, Mirjams Siegesgesang by Franz Schubert (1797-1828), supports recent conclusions on Schubert's relationship to Beethoven, Handel and the study of counterpoint with examples from Handel's Israel in Egypt, and Schubert's own interpretation of the Exodus story. The fourth chapter, Two Northern Songs by Edward MacDowell (1860-1908), elucidates a transitional period in the composer's life when he was focused on developing an American identity in formal concert music. The last chapter, Lithisikiya: A Song of Hope from South Africa, examines the linguistic origins of an African call-and-response chorus.