CD110 Richard Wienhorst: Sacred Music
Richard Wienhorst: Sacred Music
American Repertory Singers
|1. God, Who Made the Earth|
|4. Sanctus & Benedictus|
|5. Agnus Dei|
|6. I. Alleluia! How good it is to sing praises...|
|7. II. The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem...|
|8. III. Great is our Lord...|
|9. IV. The Lord lifts up the lowly...|
|10. V. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving|
|The Seven Words of Christ from the Cross|
|11. Opening Chorus|
|12. First Word|
|13. Second Word|
|14. Third Word|
|15. Fourth Word|
|16. Fifth Word|
|17. Sixth Word|
|18. Seventh Word|
|Alleluia Verses for Easter|
|20. Easter I & II|
|21. Easter III & IV|
|22. Easter V, VI & VIII|
God Who Made the Earth for harp, flute and chorus
--Frederick H. Telschow, Volume 6B CrossAccent, vol 6B, 1998
Although the Music of Richard Wienhorst, which includes over 200 published and many more unpublished works, will very well speak for itself, many will ask, "But just who is Richard Wienhorst?" and rightly so. Among the community of Valparaiso University graduates and faculty, he is well-known; among American Lutherans he is certainly known, and in the larger fraternity of composers older than forty or fifty, he is also known. But reputations fade into distance when our older citizens retire. Dick, as we know him, still lives in his house in Valparaiso, Indiana, where he has spent almost all of his career.
The biographical facts are simple. He was born in Seymour, Indiana, where he learned to play the piano and the whole family of wind instruments. He pursued his studies further at Valparaiso University where he received the B.A. degree. Joining the army during World War II, he served as conductor of the 45th Armed Regiment Band. Afterward, he studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and finally at Eastman School of Music where he recieved the Ph.D. degree in composition. Along the way he also studied at the Écoles d'Art Americaine du Fountainebleau, and at the University of Freiburg (in Breisgau), Germany. His composition teachers were Leo Sowerby, Nadia Boulanger, Bernhard Rogers, and Howard Hanson.
From 1946 on, Richard Wienhorst was a busy faculty member in the Music Department of Valparaiso University, a Lutheran university with an active chapel life. The chapel's activities have included extraordinary cultural and academic events connected with the chapel's worship, music and artistic life. This place became Dick's creative "home," his life, literally. Married to a spectacularly gifted theologian, the late Sue Stonebraker Wienhorst, who also served on the university faculty, Dick lived and breathed music, the church's music, and nurtured the musical growth of his students while composing music for virtually every kind of performing venue from solo songs to band to orchestra.
Some significant things about Valparaiso defined Wienhorst's musical output. One is the university's motto: In luce tua videmus lucem ("In Thy light we are enlightened.") Light has always been an important symbol at Valpo (as the university is called by its own), and Wienhorst's music has frequently shown the stuff of an enlightened musical mind - imitation, counterpoint, sparseness of texture, simplicity and brightness of text setting, as well as a variety of color. Another defining thing about Valpo is the sheer size and scope of the chapel and it's light-emitting windows, an architecture which physically and philosophically dominates the campus and its life. It is a big and glorious acoustical space for the ear, an emblazoned awakening for the eye, a magnficent gathering for worship, one which begs for music. Wienhorst regularly supplied it. Another salient feature of the university was the liturgical, musical and theological seminars and symposiums sponsored by the university which brought scholars and practitioners from all over the world to yearly meetings at the university where special music and experimental forms could be tried out. Wienhorst's music was always in amidst the best from anywhere.
Ultimately, from his home at Valparaiso, Ricahrd Wienhorst became known throughout a much wider world. His works have been cited as examples in books about this century's choral music, his music has been performed by the Indianapolis Symphony, the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, Det Norske Soloistkor and the Dutch Radio Chorus and Orchestra, just to name a few.
In 1996 Valparaiso Univeristy conferred an honorary Doctor of Sacred Music degree on Richard Wienhorst, and the citation is worth quoting here because it says so eloquently why we care to present his music on this recording.
Throughout his long career at Valparaiso University, Richard Wienhorst has made music that is both a gift and a challenge. Like the Chapel of the Resurrection in which so many of his works were first heard, his music is modern, ambitious, invigorating. A piece by Richard Wienhorst does not lull you to sleep; it asks for your best attention, for deep breaths, for what C.S. Lewis has called "a mind awake."
In this years as a VU student, in the U.S. Army during World War II, and early in his career as a faculty member beginning in 1946, Richard Wienhorst embodied a curious paradox. Thoroughly a son of Indiana, plain-spoken and good at carpentry, he just as thoroughly represented the nobility and inspiration of what we now like to call, with some awe, "the Arts." For Wienhorst, music is another way to be truthful and attentive to the world. The arts are not an escape to fantasy, a way to remove yourself from its truths and demands. Writing music is like driving a nail or soldering a connection; it can be done well - and done well, it will last.
His vita lists more than 200 published works, as well as honors, awards, commissions, and performances across the country. His music for the church - music that associates his name with Lutheran music in any number of contexts - is intelligent and complex, setting him apart from those who think they should "write down" for the people inthe pews. In his retirement, when the body of his work is now the subject of study in doctoral programs, when collections of his original manuscripts are highly valued, when his publications are a staple of choral publishing, he remains active as a composer. The students and colleagues who have known him in the past would still recognize the persistence with which he continues his search for the next solution to his current musical puzzle.
Here at Valparaiso University, where so much of his music was written, the music of Richard Wienhorst has a special place. Those who listen will perceive a strking phenomenon. In these sounds is the light by which we can hear - if we ask enough of ourselves - the elusive music of truth itself.
It is therefore a special privilege for me to conduct a recording of this wonderful music written by my valued mentor, colleague and friend. The music presented here spans most of Richard Wienhorst's career. His wife, Sue, died while plans were being made for the recording. She was excited about the project, and anxious to hear the music she so dearly loved. We dedicate this recording to the memory of Sue Wienhorst, extraordinary theologian, philosopher, teacher, writer, mother and beloved wife.