Sunday, July 07, 2019

Chester (William Billings, 1778)

I wasn't able to put together a patriotic playlist this time--too sick.  But last night I recorded myself playing William Billing's great patriotic anthem, Chester.  Billings, a choral composer and songbook publisher, was a self-taught genius regarded, for a century or so following his death, as some kind of a joke--now, as far as I know, he's considered one of our first major composers.  I concur.

I used two organ patches on my Casio WK-3800 and added a bit of acoustic simulation, though the Casio patches are nice and full by themselves.  I got the public domain music (in standard hymnal SATB form) at the great Cyber Hymnal site.  I did a few modifications to the harmony where things clashed--otherwise, I played as written.  It's astonishing how hard it is to find out-of-copyright stuff on line in anything but paid form, and I deeply appreciate sites like The Cyber Hymnal. More than I can possibly say.

DOWNLOAD: Chester (Billings)

Lee Hartsfeld, Casio WK-3800



Buster said...

Thanks, Lee - I much enjoyed your rendition. Your bronchitis has not affected your playing, I see!

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Thanks, Buster!

rev.b said...

To tell you the truth Lee, I enjoyed this a lot more than I probably would a collection of all too familiar July 4th fair. To quote Michael Nesmith, "...and the same thing goes for Christmas!" At this point I'm more interested in unfamiliar music applied to any given holiday rether than the well worn tunes eveyyone knows and either loves or hates. Much appreciated.

Lee Hartsfeld said...

Rev. B,

Glad you enjoyed. "Chester" is one of those semi-known pieces, to use a phrase I just made up. The shame is that Billings isn't a household name.