Hymn to Matter

I recently spotted that Kenneth Leighton set Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s “Hymn to Matter” to music, in a composition for baritone, chorus, and orchestra or piano. I’ve been looking to see if there is a recording of the piece, but have yet to find one. I’m surprised that there aren’t more settings of Teilhard de Chardin’s texts to music, and that those which exist are not more popular in our time.

Also of interest to those seeking modern composers’ settings of texts that articulate a spirituality that embraces science are Robert Ward’s “Sacred Songs for Pantheists” – which are in no sense exclusively for those with such a religious view, since they are settings of poems by Catholic poet Gerald Manley Hopkins. While there is no online shareable version, there are at least two commercial recordings. Ward is a modern composer whose music I like very much, and who deserves to be better known.

Have any readers of this blog heard either of these compositions?

  • http://shiphrah99.etsy.com Shiphrah99

    Upon reading your title, the first thing that popped into my head was “Stabat Matter.” :-)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I love it! I really feel like making a setting of my own now and calling it that!!!

  • Brian P.

    Not here! My church is more likely to sing Hillsong schmaltz than to mention Fr Teilhard from the non-pulpit. There’s like one guy who loves GMH, but–oh yeah–he left.

  • Stu

    There is a recording of Hymn to Matter by the National Youth Choir of Scotland. It’s entitled “A Burns Sequence”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Thanks! I’m trying to get hold of it…


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