St. Cecilia's Day

St. Cecilia's Day

November 22
Not much can be said with confidence about St. Cecilia's life. According to her apocryphal acts, which date from the fifth century, she was a Roman from a noble family who was put to death in the second or third century for her Christian beliefs. How she became the patron saint of music and musicians is not exactly known, but according to legend she played the harp so beautifully that an angel left heaven to come down and listen to her. In any case, the Academy of Music in Rome accepted her as its patron when it was established in 1584.
In 1683, a musical society was formed in London especially for the celebration of St. Cecilia's Day. It held a festival each year at which a special ode was sung. The poet John Dryden composed his "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day" in 1687 for this purpose. By the end of the 17th century it was customary to hold concerts on November 22 in St. Cecilia's honor—a practice which has faded over the years, but there are still many choirs and musical societies that bear her name.
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 195
BkDays-1864, vol. II, p. 604
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 293
DictDays-1988, p. 101
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 447
OxYear-1999, p. 470
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 494
References in classic literature ?
It was written for a London musical society, which gave a concert each year on St. Cecilia's day, when an original ode was sung in her honor.
The two later ones, 'Alexander's Feast' and the 'Song for St. Cecilia's Day,' both written for a musical society's annual festival in honor of the patron saint of their art, are finely spirited and among the most striking, though not most delicate, examples of onomatopoeia in all poetry.
The libretto incorporates the Ode Against St. Cecilia's Day by British poet, George Barker, as well as poetic, historical, and liturgical texts.
In truth, the story of her life is far less known among a non-critical public than is the frequent association of her name with music, an association insisted on by several decades of odes written to celebrate St. Cecilia's Day. That connection has lasted well past the tradition itself, entering the lore of the "knowing" without the recollection of its impetus.
A sampling of those sacred sources without a complete analysis of the score includes an antiphon from the Corpus Christi liturgy, an antiphon from the vesper service of St. Cecilia's Day, the fourth psalm tone, the melody of the gradual of the requiem Mass, the Gregorian recitative of pontifical blessings, and on and on.
The Society committed itself to holding an annual celebration of St. Cecilia's Day, providing a requiem mass for every deceased member and, in line with current financial possibilities, supporting widows and orphans of deceased members on St.
What: Matthew Halls conducts a program that includes Henry Purcell's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, Benjamin Britten's Hymn to St.
Auden's earlier versions of his Hymn for St. Cecilia's Day, Peter du Sautoy remembers Mitchell as publisher, and librettist Myfanwy Piper offers a letter recalling the first night of The Turn of the Screw at Venice's La Fenice in 1954.
John Dryden wrote "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day" (1687) and Alexander Pope "An Ode for Music on St.
For an Entertainment at the MUSIC-FEAST, ON St. Cecilia's Day, Being the 22nd of November, 1695.
Killegrew " (1686), " A Song for St. Cecilia's Day " (1687), and " Alexander's Feast " (1697); a number of longer poems, such as Annus Mirabilis; and his paraphrases and translations of Chaucer, Boccaccio, Ovid, Juvenal, Lucretius, and Homer.
Important secular choral works are: Acis and Galatea (1720), Alexander's Feast (1736; text by Dryden ), Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (1739; text by Dryden), and L ' Allegro, il Penseroso edited il Moderato (1744; text of the first two acts by Milton ).

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