Norumbega Harmony - Sweet Seraphic Fire

Norumbega Harmony - Sweet Seraphic Fire
Genre: Classical
Duration: 01:13:09
Artist: Norumbega Harmony
Album: Sweet Seraphic Fire
Release Date: 2005
Styles: Choral

The word "Norumbega" is an interesting one, said to be a Native American noun derived from a scrambling of "Norvega," taken to mean the land from which the Vikings came. Norumbega Harmony is a singing group founded at Wellesley College in 1976 by Stephen Marini that has conducted a weekly meeting for the past 30 years to explore the vast repertoire of New England and Southern Singing School music both new and old. While New World's Sweet Seraphic Fire is the third recording made by Norumbega Harmony, it is the first to receive any distribution outside the immediate parlance of Norumbega Harmony themselves.

Drawn from the group's 2003 published collection The Norumbega Harmony, Sweet Seraphic Fire contains a staggering 35 pieces mostly concentrated in the "golden age" of the American singing school, the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. However, it also includes some pieces from the slightly later Sacred Harp tradition and a few pieces written within this style in the 1990s.

For those used to hearing New England hymn tunes done by professional or semi-professional choruses, the sound of Norumbega Harmony may come as a bit of a surprise. A semi-professional chorus can make this ultra-tonal kind of music sound silvery and pure, which is certainly not the way it was performed in Colonial America, pleasant as it is to current-day ears; these hymn tunes were generally sung loudly by untrained voices. Norumbega Harmony is more in the latter vein, and its sound might remind some of an especially good congregational choir or a group of carolers at Christmastime. Historically accurate as it is, it may not prove pleasing to some, and sometimes the center of pitch within the chorus tends to drift around.The scholarly component to Sweet Seraphic Fire is excellent. Stephen Marini divides the material regionally so we can distinguish between the type of tunes originating, for example, in Vermont versus those from Boston. As accords the ear, there isn't a radical difference between the two, but in terms of historical context, the music becomes easier to grasp. As such, Sweet Seraphic Fire will prove extremely useful for teaching in a field that is rapidly growing in popularity, both among community singers and listeners.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
The Lord Jehovah reigns (tune New Canaan)Norumbega Harmony2:18
And must this body die (tune Maryland)Norumbega Harmony3:20
While shepherds watched their flocks by night (Bethlehem, from The Singing Master's Assistant)Norumbega Harmony2:33
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord (tune Lynn)Norumbega Harmony1:39
Why do we mourn departing friends? (tune Funeral Hymn)Norumbega Harmony3:15
Lord Is Ris'n Indeed, for chorusNorumbega Harmony3:31
O, if my soul was form'd for woe (tune Walpole)Norumbega Harmony3:07
We are a garden wall'd around (tune Beauty)Norumbega Harmony2:05
Sing, O daughter of Zion! (tune Happiness)Norumbega Harmony1:14
Firm was my health, my day was bright (tune Woburn)Norumbega Harmony2:18
You sons of men, with joy record (tune Montague)Norumbega Harmony1:33
I send the joys of earth away (tune Newport)Norumbega Harmony1:56
Ah Lord, ah Lord, what have I done (tune Hatfield)Norumbega Harmony3:03
Hark! from the tombs, a doleful sound! (tune Attention)Norumbega Harmony2:53
Behold the Savior of mankind (tune Crucifixion)Norumbega Harmony2:32
When, overwhelm'd with grief (tune Mechias)Norumbega Harmony1:57
How beauteous are their feetNorumbega Harmony2:00
When snows descend and robe the fields (tune Transition)Norumbega Harmony1:20
Blow ye the trumpet, blow (tune Jubilant)Norumbega Harmony1:25
Peaceful and lowly in their native soil (tune The Lilly)Norumbega Harmony0:46
When strangers stand and hear me tell (tune Buckfield)Norumbega Harmony1:27
When shall thy lovely face be seen? (tune Pennsylvania)Norumbega Harmony3:07
Joy to the world! The Lord is come! (tune Sounding Joy)Norumbega Harmony2:05
Glory to God on high (tune Redemption)Norumbega Harmony1:28
Come, humble sinner, in whose breast (tune Consolation)Norumbega Harmony1:43
Alas! and did my Savior bleed! (tune Liberty-Hall)Norumbega Harmony1:36
Ye nations all, on you I call, hymn (tune The Babe of Bethlehem)Norumbega Harmony1:44
Watchman, tells us of the night (tune Convoy)Norumbega Harmony2:17
And let this feeble body fail (tune Hallelujah New)Norumbega Harmony2:19
Mortals, awake, with angels join (tune Nativity)Norumbega Harmony1:57
Rise, my soul, and stretch thy wings (tune Cortona)Norumbega Harmony0:54
God moves in a mysterious way (tune Great Divide)Norumbega Harmony1:54
Come, ye that love the Lord (tune Arinello)Norumbega Harmony1:50
Your harps, ye trembling saints (tune Ev'ry String Awake)Norumbega Harmony2:13
Come, thou fount of ev'ry blessing (tune Ten Thousand Charms)Norumbega Harmony1:50

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