Hymn of the Week: ‘The Palms’

Hymn of the Week: ‘The Palms’ March 24, 2018

This is a triumphant piece of choral music, and a perennial feature at my parish on Palm Sunday.

The composer, Jean-Baptiste Faure, was an acclaimed opera singer in the 19th century, who also happened to write music:

Faure composed several enduring songs, including a “Sancta Maria”, “Les Rameaux” (“The Palms”) and “Crucifix”. (These latter two songs were recorded by Enrico Caruso, among others.) In 1876 he dedicated his valse-légende “Stella” to his sometime leading lady at the Paris Opéra, Gabrielle Krauss.

An avid collector of impressionist art, Faure sat for multiple portraits by Édouard Manet and owned 67 canvases by that painter, including the masterpiece Le déjeuner sur l’herbe and The Fifer. He also owned Le pont d’Argenteuil and 62 other works by Claude Monet. Part of his collection (which also contained paintings by DegasSisleyPissarroIngres and Prud’hon) was kept at his villa “Les Roches” in Étretat, whose famous cliffs he commissioned Claude Monet to paint 40 times.

I like this version from some years back, recorded at the Crystal Cathedral (now the Christ Cathedral) in Anaheim:

For something different, here’s a very old recording of Enrico Caruso:

 


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