WOW!!!!! Thanks to Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia who tweeted about this. What a stunning Easter anthem and video. I don’t believe I’ve ever before heard this anthem by William Billings, but even before the video finished playing, I was looking online for a version to purchase. Here is a link to iTunes where this version of Billings’ Easter Anthem may be purchased.
This is just a fantastic mix of music and art (Russian Orthodox iconography).
Here’s what the creator of the YouTube video writes:
I received many nice responses from my fusion project involving an 18th century American hymn and Orthodox icons, so, here is a second effort. William Billings was the last prominent composer to work prior to the destruction of American sacred music during the Second Great Awakening. The harmonics, text, and a capella setting are all familiar to an Orthodox Christian. There are those doing their best to preserve this heritage. I give them my regards, wish them well, and extend to them my hope that they succeed in passing on the torch to a new generation.
This piece is sung by His Majesty’s Clerkes under the direction of Paul Hillier.
Here is the text of the anthem via the ChoralWiki site:
Text arranged from Edward Young’s “The Complaint”, or “Night Thoughts”, “Night Four”, 1741-44
The Lord is ris’n indeed,
Now is Christ risen from the dead,
and become the first fruits of them that slept.
And did He rise?
Hear, O ye nations, hear it, O ye dead.
He rose, He burst the bars of death,
He burst the bars of death and triumph’d o’er the grave.
Then I rose,
then first humanity triumphant passed the crystal ports of light,
and seiz’d eternal youth.
Man, all immortal hail, hail,
Heaven, all lavish of strange gifts to man,
Thine’s all the glory, man’s the boundless bliss.
There’s more about William Billlings and the Easter anthem here at Hymnary.org