Beach: The Canticle of the Sun
Series: American Music Publisher: A-R Editions
The Canticle of the Sun
Edited by Betty Buchanan
A057 Beach: The Canticle of the Sun
978-0-89579-583-0 Full Score (2006) 9x12, xviii + 91 pp.
In The Canticle of the Sun, Amy Beach (1867–1944) sets a text penned in the thirteenth century by St. Francis of Assisi. The poet gives honor and blessing to "my Lord God with all His creatures": the heavenly bodies, air, water, and fire. He praises the earth and its bounty. Then the poet turns to humanity, praising those who love and forgive. Even the death of the body is praised, for the second death has no power over those who walk in the will of God. An SATB chorus, SMTB solo voices, and orchestra are interwoven in a symphonic style in this twenty-two-minute cantata. While rooted in the Romantic tonal tradition, this twentieth-century work marks a new direction in Beach's style, with expressionistic treatment of melody and harmony. Premiered in 1928 with organ and in 1930 with orchestra, the Canticle had an immediate success with audiences. While written for a festival choir with orchestra, its accessibility to smaller choirs accompanied by organ insured continuing popularity.