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ST CAECILIA (ST CECILIA) - LIST OF MUSIC IN HER HONOUR

The following is a list of musical works, which are examples of those written to the glory of St Cecilia (St Caecilia) from 1570 until the present day. It should be noted where, in the list, alternative spellings of composers’ surnames are provided, where this applies, this is to facilitate search engines accessing this page:

Year of
Composition

Comments Composer Title of Work
600 A collection of masses completed about the end of the fifth century - in fact, no less than five different masses are found in honor of Cecilia. These are believed to be completed by Romans of the time. Anon. Sacramentarium Leoniam
1570 Approx Year of Composition di Lasso, Orlando Cantantibus Organis Caecilia Virgo
1580 In around 1580, Rome’s most important musicians joined forces in the Compagnia dei Musici di Roma under the patronage of the Pope. This composition, a twelve-part mass for Cecilia, the patron saint of church music and of the Compagnia, is the work of six composers including Stabile, Soriano, Dragoni, Giovanelli, Santini, Mancini. A Palestrina motet for St. Cecilia was taken as a theme which each composer was invited to elaborate as part of the Mass. With so many collaborators keen to demonstrate their compositional prowess, the result is a magnificent example of Renaissance vocal music. da Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi Missa di Santa Cecilia (Missa cantantibus organis)
1599 Date of publication as part of a set of Almains Holborne, Anthony The Cecilia Almain
1675 3 voices, 2 treble instruments and continuo Charpentier, Marc-Antoine In honorem Caeciliae, Valeriani et Tiburtij canticum H.394
1677 For soloists, double chorus, double orchestra and continuo Charpentier, Marc Antoine Caecilia virgo et martyr octo vocibus H.397
1683 For soloists, chorus and 2 treble instruments. The year of composition is only approximate, as it was written for Marie de Lorraine, Duchesse de Guise, whom Charpentier served between 1672 and 1688. The style is influenced by Giacomo Carissimi, who also influenced other works and oratorios. Charpentier, Marc-Antoine Caecilia, Virgo et Martyr H.413
1683 Purcell, Henry Laudate Caeciliam
1683 Written for the 1683 St Cecilia celebrations Purcell, Henry Welcome to all the pleasures
1686 For soloists, chorus and 2 treble instruments Charpentier, Marc-Antoine Caecilia virgo et martyr H.415 - H415A
1687 Draghi, Giovanni Battista Song for St Cecilia’s Day “From harmony, heavenly harmony”
1691 Blow, John The glorious day is come
1692 Hail! Bright Cecilia (Z.328), also known as Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, was composed by Henry Purcell to a text by the Irishman Nicholas Brady in 1692 in honour of the feast day of Saint Cecilia, patron saint of musicians. Brady’s poem was derived from John Dryden’s “A Song for St Cecilia’s Day” of 1687. With a text full of references to musical instruments (it is suggested that Cecilia invented the organ), the work requires a wide variety of vocal soloists and obbligato instruments. Brady extols the birth and personality of musical instruments and voices, and Purcell treats these personalities as if they were dramatic characters. The airs employ a variety of dance forms. “Hark, each tree” is a sarabande on a ground. It is a duet on a ground-bass between, vocally, soprano and bass, and instrumentally, between recorders and violins (“box and fir” are the woods used in the making of these instruments). “With that sublime celestial lay” and “Wond’rous machine” are in praise of the organ. “Thou tun’st this world” is set as a minuet. “In vain the am’rous flute” is set to a passacaglia bass. In spite of Brady’s conceit of the speaking forest (it should be remembered that English organs of the period typically had wooden pipes), Purcell scored the warlike music for two brass trumpets and copper kettle drums instead of fife and (field) drum. The orchestra also includes two recorders (called flutes) with a bass flute, two oboes (called hautboys), strings and basso continuo. Purcell, Henry Ode for St Cecilia’s Day
1706 Copied for Ruspoli, 1707, 1708 Händel, Georg Friederic (or Handel or Haendel) Tu fedel? Tu costante?
1708 Oratorio first performed on 1 March 1708 Scarlatti, Alessandro Il martirio di santa Cecilia
1711 Survives only in fragmentary form. Händel, Georg, Friederic (or Handel or Haendel) Splenda l'alba in oriente
1720 de Brossard, Sébastien Cantique pour Saint-Cécile SdB.9
1720 Scarlatti, Alessandro Messa di Santa Cecilia
1736 Played between the two parts of Alexander’s Feast (HWV 75) Händel, Georg Friederic (or Handel or Haendel) Cecilia, volgi un sguardo
1736 Recitative and aria; probably a discarded fragment for “Alexander’s Feast” (HWV 75), 1736. It appeared in the cantata HWV 89 Händel, Georg Friederic (or Handel or Haendel) Look down, harmonious saint
1736 Written to celebrate St Cecilia’s Day - only passing reference to St Cecilia is in third last chorus - First Performed in 1736 - Revised later by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1790 Händel, Georg Friederic (or Handel or Haendel) Alexander’s Feast
1736 Original Year of Publication - published jointly with Alexander’s Feast - First Performed 1739 - Revised later by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1790 Händel, Georg Friederic (or Handel or Haendel) Ode for St Cecilia’s Day
1737 Variant insertion in “Cecilia, volgi un sguardo”, for performances of Alexander’s Feast (HWV 75), 1736, including music for the castrato Domenico Annibali Händel, Georg Friederic (or Handel or Haendel) Carco sempre di gloria
1745 One of a set of six overtures published in 1745, arranged for harpsichord or spinet Greene, Maurice Ode for St Cecilia’s Day - Overture
1773 Haydn’s St Cecilia Mass (Missa Sanctae Caeciliae) was originally composed in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the shrine at Mariazell (Missa Cellensis in Honorem Beatissimae Virginis Mariae). It is thought that a later performance on St Cecilia’s Day in Vienna may account for its other title. It exists in two versions. The earlier one dates from 1766 and includes only the Kyrie and Gloria. The later version of 1773 includes the entire Mass Ordinary and is the lengthiest of Haydn’s masses, comparable in scale to Bach’s B minor Mass or Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Haydn, Franz Josef Missa Sanctae Caeciliae
1852 There is considerable confusion over this work. There is mention that the date of composition should have been 1864 and that an existing recording of a performance follows the composer’s manuscript in the Archives Nationales. The text is identified as being by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and is transparently a parody of Psalm 129 (Psalm 130 in the Protestant numbering). An essay by Alexandre Dratwicki identifies it as the work submitted for the first round of the 1864 competition and remarks upon it as a stylistic step forward from the 1857 Mass, and that certainly is what it sounds like. However, another essay by Yves Gérard makes no mention of any such work, nor can I find it listed in a catalog of the composer’s oeuvre . Instead, that essay discusses in some detail an 1852 Ode-Cantate à Sainte-Cécile , scored for soloists, organ, and orchestra, for which Saint-Saëns won first prize in a competition sponsored by a Parisian musical society, the Société Sainte-Cécile. However, Gérard identifies the text for that work as being by Paul Nibelle and based on the first verse of Psalm 17 (18); that does not match the sung text, and the work recorded here has no vocal soloists, either. Perhaps a Saint-Saëns scholar reading these lines will kindly write in to straighten this all out, but based on the text and compositional style I wonder if Dratwicki and the table of contents are correct, and this Ode is an uncataloged work dating from 1864 that Gérard has confused with the 1852 Ode-Cantate— though in that case why didn’t anyone else catch the error? (The general opinion is that we should be following Gérard and the New Grove , listing the work as the Ode à Sainte-Cécile and that it was composed in 1852.) Saint-Saëns, Camille Ode à Saint-Cécile
1855 Year of Original Version Gounod, Charles Messe solennelle (Sainte-Cécile)
1862 The date of composition is a guess, based on the fact that this was the year the composer was the joint founder of the St Cecilia’s Society in Gries, Austria and also the fact that it is his Opus 60. The location of this society was later transferred to Bozen where the composer was organist. He studied organ with Franz Überbacher in Lengmoos (Longomoso/Lengmoos). Franz Schöpf lived from 1836 to 1915. The work of the St Caecilia’s society was continued by Heinrich Schöpf, Franz’s eldest son in Bregenz and also in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. There are other works honouring St Cecilia by other composers in the St Cecilia’s Society, however the information surrounding this is somewhat scant. Schöpf, Franz (or Schopf or Schoepf) Caecili-Messe
1874 This work is based on a Gregorian antiphonal melody, which however is not even once heard in its entirety. It was inspired by Raffaello’s painting. It is one of Liszt’s most poetic works. The work is in three sections and is dedicated to the Hungarian Haynaold, the Archbishop of Kalocsa, who, however, did not promote its première. It was first performed in Weimar on June 15, 1875. Liszt, Franz Sainte Cécile. Légende
1879 Liszt, Franz Cantantibus Organis
1885 Approx Year of Composition Liszt, Franz Sancta Caecilia
1889 Parry, Charles Hubert Hastings Ode on St Cecilia’s Day
1907 Elgar, Sir Edward Partsongs (4) for chorus, Op. 53: There is Sweet Music Here
1934 This is an example of an opera written in honour of Saint Caecilia in more modern times. Refice, Licinio Cecilia
1941 This demonstrates that music glorifying Saint Caecilia does not only come from the classical side of music, but also from what we now describe as popular music as well. Andrews Sisters The Shrine of St. Cecilia
1942 This is a setting of a poem by W. H. Auden written between 1940 and 1942. Auden’s original title was $ldquo;Three Songs for St. Cecilia’s Day”, and he later published the poem as “Anthem for St. Cecilia’s Day (for Benjamin Britten)”. For a long time Britten wanted to write a piece dedicated to St Cecilia for a number of reasons. Firstly, he was born on St Cecilia’s day; secondly, St Cecilia is the patron saint of music; and finally, there is a long tradition in England of writing odes and songs to St Cecilia. The most famous of these are by John Dryden (“A song for St. Cecilia’s Day” 1687) and musical works by Henry Purcell, Hubert Parry, and George Frideric Handel. Another briefer work by Herbert Howells has the similar title A Hymn for St Cecilia, but was written later in 1960. The first extant reference to Britten’s desire to write such a work is from 1935 when Britten wrote in his diary “I’m having great difficulty in finding Latin words for a proposed Hymn to St Cecilia. Spend morning hunting.” Britten first met Auden later that year, and subsequently worked with him on a number of large-scale works, including the operetta Paul Bunyan (1941). Britten asked that Auden provide him a text for his ode to St Cecilia, and Auden complied, sending the poem in sections throughout 1940, along with advice on how Britten could be a better artist. This was to be one of the last works they collaborated on. According to Britten’s partner Peter Pears in 1980 “Ben was on a different track now, and he was no longer prepared to be dominated - bullied - by Wystan, whose musical feeling he was very well aware of. ...Perhaps he may have been said to have said goodbye to working with Wystan with his marvelous setting of the Hymn (Anthem) to St. Cecilia.” Britten began setting Hymn to St. Cecilia in the United States, certainly in June 1941 when a performance by the newly formed Elizabethan Singers was projected to take place in New York sometime later that year. In 1942 (the midst of World War II) Britten and Pears decided to return home to England. The customs inspectors confiscated all of Britten’s manuscripts, fearing they could be some type of code. Britten re-wrote the manuscript while aboard the MS Axel Johnson, and finished it on 2 April 1942. It was written at the same time as A Ceremony of Carols, which shares the same affect. The text itself follows in the tradition of odes, including an invocation to the muse: “Blessed Cecilia/Appear in visions to all musicians/Appear and inspire”. Britten uses this as a refrain throughout piece, whereas it is the last portion of Auden’s first section. The piece is in three sections, plus three iterations of the refrain, with slight variations, following each section. The first section is very similar to the refrain, couched in the E Phrygian scale and with the same melody. The second section is a scherzo with a modified fugue form. The third section is more lyrical, with solos in each voice describing a different instrument, traditional in odes to St. Cecilia. The hymn was given its first (radio) performance in 1942. Britten, Benjamin Hymn to St. Cecilia
1947 This work was commissioned by the St Caecilia’s Day Festival Committee to commission a work using a poem by Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) celebrating St Cecilia. It was first performed at the Royal Albert Hall on 22 November 1947 with René Soames, the Luton Choral Society and the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. Finzi, Gerald For St. Cecilia
1953 Vaughan Williams, Ralph Silence and Music
1960 Howells, Herbert A Hymn for St. Cecilia
1962 This is an estimated year of composition as the work is regarded as modern and that could be consistent, bearing in mind the age of the composer at the time. Dyson, George Live Forever, Glorious Lord! for soprano & chorus
1966 Hurd, Michael A Song for St Cecilia
1973 Bliss, Sir Arthur Sing, Mortals!, a sonnet for the Festival of St. Cecilia, for chorus & organ, F. 53
1973 Gardner, John Eliot A Song for St Cecilia’s Day for chorus & organ, Op. 119
1974 This is a setting a poem of the same name by Bernard Rose’s son, musician Gregory Rose. Rose, Bernard Feast Song for St. Cecilia, for chorus
1975 This date of composition is an estimate and subject to correction Philips, Peter Cantantibus organis Cecilia
1983 For choir, harp and drone Harrison, Lou Mass for St Cecilia’s Day
1984 Sankta Cecilia is the title of a 1984 Swedish hit song sung by Lotta Pedersen and Göran Folkestad at the Swedish Melodifestivalen 1984 Pedersen, Lotte and Folkestad, Göran (Goran) Sankta Cecilia
1992 Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist, Rik Emmett, composed the song “Calling St. Cecilia” on his 1992 LP Emmett, Rik Calling St Cecilia
1995 Written about the issues of writer’s block Simon, Paul Cecilia
1998 Magle, Frederik Cantata for St Cecilia’s Day
2000 Jackson, Gabriel Cecilia Virgo
2000 For mixed choir and orchestra. The Italian text deals with the saint’s life and martyrdom. It was first performed on 19 November 2000, close to her feast day, by the Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia conducted by Myung-whun Chung Pärt, Arvo Cecilia, vergine romana
2005 Piano and Orchestra. The year of composition is only approximate and subject to verification. Shatin, Judith The Passion of Saint Cecilia
2005 For solo piano. The year of composition is only approximate and subject to verification. Shatin, Judith Fantasy on Saint Cecilia
2006 Bennett, Richard Rodney Verses on St Cecilia’s Day, for chorus
2007 The American pop-rock band Jars of Clay opened their 2007 Christmas Songs album with this instrumental track . Jars of Clay The Gift of St. Cecilia
2008 On 2008 Brian Eno’s and David Byrne’s album “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today”, Cecilia is referred to in the song “The River”. Eno, Brian and Byrne, David The River
2010 The goal of the composers was to set this bilingual Mass setting to music that was user friendly yet fun, especially for guitar, the main instrument for Hispanic choirs. The chords, structure and keys are very simple, making it easy to play. The syncopation also makes it fun and a little more interesting. It may take a rehearsal or two to learn the verses to the Gloria but once you've got it, it's fun. We feel that we found a happy medium. The Mass can be performed very simply with guitar and/or piano, but can also be built upon with an array of instruments. López, Rodolfo and Estela (also Lopez or Garcia-Lopez or García-López) Missa Santa Cecilia
2012 MacMillan, James Cecilia Virgo, for Chorus
2013 Jackson, Gabriel La musique, for soprano & chorus
2013 The Chicago band Turnt (now known as Everybody All The Time) released a song called Girls which refers to St Cecilia in the lyrics. The song was first performed at Northwestern University’s Mayfest Battle of the Bands on Friday May 24, 2013 at 27 Live in downtown Evanston. Turnt Girls
2014 Composition for full mixed choir. “A hymn to the past as well as to the future of the monastic tradition”. The world premiere was at Koningshöven Abbey on Saint Cecilia’s feast day 2014. Momotenko, Fred Cecilia
2014 The date of composition is an estimate and subject to correction Nielsen, Dan Missa Sanctae Caeciliae
2015 On the 2015 Feast of Saint Cecilia, Foo Fighters released their EP “Saint Cecilia” for free download via their website. The five song EP features a track named after the EP “Saint Cecilia”. The EP was recorded during an impromptu studio session at Hotel Saint Cecilia located in Austin Texas. Foo Fighters Saint Cecilia
2016 Archer, Malcolm A Hymn for St Cecilia
2017 Stanhope, Paul Lament to St Cecilia

The above list is not guaranteed to be complete and if you know of any works which you feel should be included in addition to the above, please click here to contact us to let us know and we will add them to the list.

  Note that this navigation at the right (Return to Previous Page Viewed) is only for use when you have entered this site from Caecilian Enterprises Pty Limited and its related sites and it will close this window and take you back to the page on those sites which you were most recently browsing. If you do not have other windows or tabs open, it will close your browser. If you wish to go to the Caecilian Enterprises site and you have not come directly from it and its related sites, then you should use the Caecilian image navigation at the right.
 
 
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Version 1.6 November 17, 2018