#160 Softly Now the Light of Day

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Softly now the light of day
Fades upon my sight away.
Free from care, from labor free,
Lord, I would commune with thee.

Text: George W. Doane, 1799-1859
Music: Carl Maria von Weber, 1786-1826; arr. by Henry Greatorix, 1813-1858

-History: (Source: Wikipedia)

Written By: George W. Doane

George Washington Doane (May 27, 1799 – April 27, 1859) was a United States churchman, and bishop in the Episcopal Church for theDiocese of New Jersey.

Doane was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He graduated from Union CollegeSchenectady, New York, in 1818, studied theology and, in 1821, was ordained deacon and in 1823 priest by Bishop Hobart, whom he assisted in Trinity church, New York. With George Upfold (1796–1872),Bishop of Indiana from 1849 to 1872, Doane founded St Luke’s in New York City. From 1824–1828 he was professor of belles-lettres in Washington (now Trinity) College, Hartford, Connecticut, and at this time he was one of the editors of the Episcopal Watchman. He was assistant in 1828-1830 and rector in 1830-1832 of Christ church, Boston, and was bishop of New Jersey from October 1832 to his death atBurlington, New Jersey. He was buried in the burial grounds that surround St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Broad Street in Burlington.

The diocese of New Jersey was an unpromising field, but he took up his work there with characteristic vigour, especially in the foundation ofSt. Mary’s Hall-Doane Academy (1837, for girls) and Burlington College (1846) as demonstrations of his theory of education under church control. His business management of these schools got him heavily into debt, and in the autumn of 1852 a charge of lax administration came before a court of bishops, who dismissed it.

The schools showed him an able and wise disciplinarian, and his patriotic orations and sermons prove him a speaker of great power. He belonged to the High Church party and was a brilliant controversialist. He published ‘Songs by the Way’ (1824), a volume of poems; and his hymns beginning “Softly now the light of day” and “Thou art the Way” are well known.

Among those that Doane ordained was Joseph Wolff, the Jewish Christian missionary.

See Life and Writings of George Washington Doane (4 vols, New York, 1860–1861), edited by his son, William Croswell Doane (b. 1832), first bishop of Albany.

He was buried in Saint Mary’s Episcopal Churchyard in Burlington, New Jersey.[1]

Music By: arr. Henry Greatorix, Carl Maria von Weber

Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst von Weber (18–19 November 1786 – 4–5 June 1826) was a German composerconductorpianistguitarist andcritic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school.

Weber’s operas Der FreischützEuryanthe and Oberon greatly influenced the development of the Romantic opera in Germany. His compositions for the clarinet, which include two concertos, a concertino, a quintet and a duo concertante, are regularly performed today. Hispiano music—including four sonatas, two concertos and the Konzertstück (Concert Piece) in F minor—influenced composers such as Frédéric ChopinFranz Liszt and Felix Mendelssohn. The Konzertstück provided a new model for the one-movement concerto in several contrasting sections (such as Liszt’s, who often played the work), and was acknowledged by Igor Stravinsky as the model for his Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra.

Weber’s Invitation to the Dance was later orchestrated by Hector Berlioz and his Polacca Brillante was later orchestrated by Franz Liszt. An innovative composer, Weber’s concertino for horn requires the performer to simultaneously produce two notes by humming while playing – a technique known in brass playing as multiphonics.

Weber’s contribution to vocal and choral music is also significant. His body of Catholic religious music was highly popular in 19th century Germany, and he composed one of the earliest song-cycles, Die Temperamente beim Verluste der Geliebten (Four Temperaments on the Loss of a Lover). Weber was also notable as one of the first conductors to conduct without a piano or violin.

Weber’s orchestration has also been highly praised and emulated by later generations of composers – Hector Berlioz referred to him several times in his Treatise on Instrumentation while Claude Debussy remarked that the sound of the Weber orchestra was obtained through the scrutiny of the soul of each instrument.

His operas influenced the work of later opera composers, especially in Germany, such as Heinrich MarschnerGiacomo Meyerbeer and Richard Wagner, as well as several nationalist 19th-century composers such as Mikhail Glinka. Homage has been paid Weber by 20th century composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Gustav Mahler (who completed Weber’s unfinished comic opera Die drei Pintos and made revisions of Euryanthe and Oberon) and Paul Hindemith (composer of the popular Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Weber).

Weber also wrote music journalism and was interested in folksong, and learned lithography to engrave his own works.