Hora Novissima
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If you like Dvorak, this big oratorio will be a delightful discovery.

Horatio Parker was born in Auburndale, Massachusetts on September 15, 1863. Although today he is remembered primarily as the teacher of Charles Ives, his music was well-known nationwide and in England during his day. He also had an excellent reputation as an organist-choirmaster, conductor, and teacher-administrator. He began the study of music at the age of 14 with piano and organ lessons from his mother, who was also librettist for some of his mature choral works. He studied composition with George Chadwick and attended the Hochschule fÜr Musik in Munich where he studied with Josef Rheinberger. Parker became Dean of the School of Music at Yale University and conductor of the New Haven Symphony in 1894, positions he retained until his death in 1919. Hora Novissima, written in 1893, remains Parker's most inspired, popular, and best work. The venerable critic Philip Hale summed up how Americans were to feel about their native oratorio for the next 25 years, as choral societies gave it performance after performance throughout the country. He said: "A future historian will point back to a young man [who] appeared with a choral work of long breath that showed not only a mastery of the technique of composition, but spontaneous, flowing, and warmly colored melody, a keen sense of values in rhythm and in instrumentation, and the imagination of the born, inspired poet." Hora Novissima is a contemplative rather than a dramatic oratorio. It is a reflection on the Christian heritage through the words of a medieval monk, Bernard of Cluny, from whose monumental poem, De Contemptu Mundi, Hora is taken.
Horatio Parker, composer
Hora Novissima
Abendmusik Chorus, Nebraska Wesleyan University Choir, Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, John Levick, conductor, Anna Soranno, soprano, Julie Simson, mezzo

Horatio Parker, composer
Concerto in E Flat Minor for Organ and Orchestra, Op. 55
Stephen Krahn, organ, Nebraska Chamber Orchestra, John Levick, conductor

"A first hearing of this 1893 oratorio reveals reasons for its popularity... the four soloists give solid performances as do the combined choruses and orchestra." (InTune)
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