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William Billings

William Billings

Born: 1746 Died: 1800

William Billings, is considered by many to be the foremost representative of early American choral music. Billings was born in Boston on October 7, 1746. Largely self-trained in music, he was a tanner by trade and a friend of such figures of the American Revolution as Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. Billings's New England Psalm-Singer (1770), engraved by Revere, was the first collection of music entirely by an American.

Billings wrote for one and only one combination of musical forces: the four-part chorus, singing a cappella. His many hymns and anthems were published in large collections. His music can be at times forceful and stirring, as in his patriotic song Chester; ecstatic, as in his hymn Africa; or elaborate and celebratory, as in his "Easter Anthem". The latter sounds rather like a miniature Handelian chorus, sung a cappella. As might be expected from a composer who was very close to his roots in folk music, Billings's music shows a striking purity.

Billings often wrote the lyrics for his own compositions. Like the notes, the words are occasionally awkward but always forceful and vivid. He wrote long prefaces to his works in which he explained (often in an endearingly eccentric prose style) the rudiments of music and how his work should be performed. His writings reflect his extensive experience as a singing master, and often include advice that would wisely be heeded by choral singers today.

Billings's work was very popular in its heyday, but it failed to last out the composer's lifetime, and he died in poverty. The Stoughton Musical Society, formed by former students of Billings, has carried on his tradition for over 200 years. As printed in shape notes, Billings's work has also survived in the musical tradition of the Sacred Harp, where his songs continue to be highly favored by many singers. The modern American composer William Schuman featured Billings's American Revolutionary War anthem Chester in his composition New England Triptych.

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William Billings : Continental Harmony : Mixed 5-8 Parts : Sheet Music : William Billings

William Billings : Continental Harmony

Review: The dominating characteristics in the works of William Billings are: (1) a hard, driving, heavily accented beat; (2) a remarkable sensitivity to the text; and (3) an indifference to the so-called "rules of composition" in vogue during his time. This edition preserves the music as written by Billings except for the use off modern notation and a line of text for each voice; however, the piano reduction reverses the positions of the tenor and soprano parts, and should the conductor elect, the pieces may be performed in this manner.

Songlist: Cobham, Connection, Cross-Street, Hopkinton, Morning Hymn, St. Enoch, Thomas-Town, West Sudbury,

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9328b | Sheet Music $8.95 | Mixed 5-8 Parts add item to cart


His Majestie's Clerkes : Billings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 : 00  1 CD : Paul Hillier : William Billings : 3957048

His Majestie's Clerkes : Billings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1

Review: William Billings (1746-1800), a Boston tanner and self-taught composer & singing master, was the foremost of a group of New England Psalmodists who flourished in the early years of American political independence. By the time his first tunebook, "The New England Psalm Singer," appeared in print in 1770, Billings had mastered both small and large-scale forms. The fine British a cappella choral group His Majestie's Clerkes does full justice to this wonderfully melodic, rich-harmonied Christian church music. Included are 16 songs: "O Praise the Lord of Heaven," "Is any afficted," "Emmaus," "Africa" (a personal favorite), funeral anthem: "Samuel the Priest," the joyful " Shiloh" (another favorite), "Jordan," the wonderful "I am the Rose of Sharon," "Euroclydon," "Hear my Pray'r," "Rutland," "David's lamentation," the sweet fugue "As the Hart panteth," "Creation," the powerful, dramatic "Brookfield," and the Easter Anthem: "The Lord is ris'n indeed" (the strongest song on the CD). This is incredible stuff, and looking for comparisons, what comes to mind are the choruses from Handel's "Messiah"--but we're hearing these songs for the first time, and we're being treated to the work of a little-known American genius. Highly recommended!

Songlist: O Praise the Lord of Heaven, Is any afflicted, Emmaus, Africa, Funeral Anthem: Samuel the Priest, Shiloh, Jordan, I am the Rose of Sharon, Euroclydon, Hear my Prayer, Rutland, David's lamentation, As the Hart panteth, Creation Brookfield, Easter Anthem: The Lord is ris'n indeed

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6924c | 1 CD $11.98 add item to cart Mixed Choirs CDs

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Displaying 1-50 of 54 items.

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William BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
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A Virgin UpspottedWilliam BillingsSan Francisco Choral ArtistsSo Gracious Is The Time - An American Christmas 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
AfricaWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
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Anthem: Lamentation Over BostonWilliam BillingsCantusThat Eternal Day 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
As the Hart pantethWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Bethlehem William BillingsWestern WindAngel Voices 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Bethlehem C.MWilliam BillingsTudor ChoirAn American Christmas - Shapenote Carols from New England and Appalachia 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Boston William BillingsWestern WindAngel Voices 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Boston for ChristmasWilliam BillingsTudor ChoirAn American Christmas - Shapenote Carols from New England and Appalachia 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
ChesterWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesEarly American Choral Music Vol 2 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
ChesterfieldWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesEarly American Choral Music Vol 2 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Classical and Romantic Music - No. 18 A Virgin Unspotted, from The Singing Master's AssistantWilliam BillingsDavid P. DeVenneyConducting Choirs Vol 2 - Music For Classroom UseBook & 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
CobhamWilliam BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
ConnectionWilliam BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
Creation BrookfieldWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Cross-StreetWilliam BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
David's Lamentation William BillingsChanticleerOur American Journey 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
David's lamentationWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Easter AnthemWilliam BillingsSt. Olaf ChoirA Choral Tapestry 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Easter Anthem William BillingsRockefeller Chapel ChoirLamentations & Exultation 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Easter Anthem: The Lord is ris'n indeedWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Emanuel for ChristmasWilliam BillingsTudor ChoirAn American Christmas - Shapenote Carols from New England and Appalachia 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
EmmausWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
EuroclydonWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Funeral Anthem: Samuel the PriestWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Hear my PrayerWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
HopkintonWilliam BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
I am the Rose of SharonWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
I am the Rose of SharonWilliam BillingsTudor ChoirSimple Gifts 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Is any afflictedWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Is Any Afflicted?William BillingsFaith Builders ChoraleThe Lord is King 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
JargonWilliam BillingsVarious ArrangersEncores For Choirs 2SongbookMORE DETAILS 
JordanWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
JordanWilliam BillingsOasis ChoraleTreasures in Heaven 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
JudeaWilliam BillingsTudor ChoirAn American Christmas - Shapenote Carols from New England and Appalachia 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
KitteryWilliam BillingsVarious ComposersFive Centuries of Choral Music Vol 2SongbookMORE DETAILS 
Morning HymnWilliam BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
O Praise the Lord of HeavenWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
O Praise the Lord of HeavenWilliam BillingsVocalEssenceA Bluegrass Mass 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
RutlandWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Shepard's CarolWilliam BillingsRobert Shaw ChoraleA Festival of Carols 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
ShilohWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesBillings - Early American Choral Music Vol 1 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
ShilohWilliam BillingsTudor ChoirAn American Christmas - Shapenote Carols from New England and Appalachia 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Sing Gloria!Russell RobinsonWilliam BillingsVarious ArrangersRennaissance ChoralsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
St. EnochWilliam BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
The Rose of SharonWilliam BillingsBemidji ChoirAlmost A Cappella 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Thomas-TownWilliam BillingsHis Majestie's ClerkesEarly American Choral Music Vol 2 1 CDMORE DETAILS 
Thomas-TownWilliam BillingsWilliam BillingsContinental HarmonySheet MusicMORE DETAILS 
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