YouTube introduced me to the music of William C. White, and whenever I am introduced to a new composer whose music I enjoy and find interesting, as a rule I usually look to see what else they have composed. In addition to this having the potential to lead to the discovery of more new music that I will enjoy listening to, it also offers the possibility of discovering new musical settings of biblical texts, which I am always on the lookout for. I often am disappointed when it comes to the latter prospect, however much I may enjoy listening to other works by the composer in question. In this case, however, I found there was more than one example of biblical music in White’s opus.
Let me start with an instrumental work called “Flood of Waters” which aims to depict the story of Noah’s flood. You can listen to it in the video below and can read more from the composer in the link I have provided to a post about the piece on his website.
White’s setting of the Nunc Dimittis is quite distinctive, not least because it includes the narrative about Simeon and not just the poem or “song” attributed to him in the infancy narrative in the Gospel of Luke. Once again, here is the video so you can listen and a post from the composer with some more information.
Other recent discoveries include (via CD) Kati Agócs’ Debrecen Passion, “By The Streams of Babylon,” and “…Like Treasure Hidden in a Field.” You can have a listen to them online here:
In the liner notes Agócs writes, “I hope that my listeners come away with a sense of sacred music as a vital medium, and of the orchestra as an urgent and luminous proponent.” Her father was Hungarian, her mother American, and she was born in Canada. Having an ancestral connection with Debrecen myself, the title of one of the pieces immediately grabbed my attention.
Another discovery on CD is the music of Dobrinka Tabakova from Bulgaria. Her Jubilate Deo is magnificent, as is her Truro Canticles, setting the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in a commission from Truro Cathedral.
Her piece “Praise” is a setting of Daniel 4:34 and is also powerful and lovely.