Light's Glittering Morn

This year's Easter anthem was written by one of the most influential American composers and teachers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Horatio W. Parker (1863-1919). Born in Auburndale, Massachusetts, Parker spent much of his illustrious career in the Boston area. His first appointment as an organist came in 1879 at St. Paul's in Dedham, MA after studying organ for only two years. He later accepted a similar position at St. John's Church, Roxbury in Boston while studying with some of the prominent Boston musicians of the day, John Orth (piano), Stephen Emery (theory), and George Chadwick (composition). In 1882, Parker went to Munich, Germany to study both composition and organ with Joseph Rheinberger. After perfecting his craft, Parker returned to United States and assumed his first major church position as organist-choirmaster of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, one of the oldest and most important Episcopal parishes in the New York metropolitan area. By 1888, Parker had another opportunity to move up to a more fashionable position - this time the Church of the Holy Trinity at Madison Avenue and 42nd Street across from Grand Central Station. It was here at Holy Trinity that Parker composed his choral masterpiece, Hora Novissima, an oratorio which was premiered by the Church Choral Society of New York. After this success, Parker assumed the position of organist-choirmaster at Boston's Trinity Church, Copley Square in 1893 before he was elected Professor of Theory at Yale University in 1894. Parker remained at Yale for 26 years where he taught a multitude of courses including harmony, counterpoint, music history, instrumentation, free composition, advanced orchestration and conducting. He later became the director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Dean of Yale's School of Music. He taught some of the significant American composers of the next generation: Charles Ives, David Stanley Smith, Roger Sessions and Quincy Porter. Parker left Trinity Church, Boston in 1902 for his final church position at The Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas in New York City while maintaining his professorship at Yale. He was one of the founders of the American Guild of Organists in 1896 and served as its national president from 1909-1909. Parker was one of a few American composers whose music was popular in England and America, receiving commissions from British choral festivals for extended works. We will hear his Easter anthem, Light's Glittering Morn Bedecks the Sky, a victorious exclamation of Easter for organ, brass, and choir that is constructed around William H. Monk's adaptation of Palestrina's Gloria Patri et Filio which appears in Hymnal 1982 as Hymn 208, "The strife is o'er, the battle done" (Victory).