Solo Vocal Ensemble: Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass voice.
Short video about the Ephrata Cloister by Christopher Herbert
The Ephrata Cloister, founded in 1732 by Conrad Beissel, was a celibate, ascetic, German-speaking, Sabbatarian commune in the wilderness of Pennsylvania. Its residents created a large corpus of hymns and motets according to an original system of music composition. Because Ephrata produced no heirs, its documents were scattered and its traditions were mostly forgotten. This collection of Ephrata compositions for SATB a cappella vocal ensemble contains a varied selection of Ephrata hymns and motets. Presented in modern musical notation, the edition is based on a careful study of Ephrata music manuscripts and printed text hymnals found at various libraries, archives, and collections in the United States. Wherever possible, authorship attributions for text and music are offered. Previous valuable attempts at transcribing Ephrata music (Russell Getz, 1971; Lucy Carroll, 1999) attempted to standardize the music by placing it in a fixed meter. Ephrata's composers did not adhere to metrical consistency; their treatment of meter and rhythm was unorthodox and unpredictable. For this reason, this edition of Ephrata music contains no fixed metrical pattern, with each bar containing a variable quantity of beats. All pitches are presented as found in the original manuscripts, with the exception of clear errors that contradict the rules of harmony established in the music theory treatise found in the preface of the printed hymnal Das Gesäng der einsamen und verlassenen Turtel=Taube (Ephrata, 1747). Because this is a performance edition, critical notes are not presented. Anthony Petruccello and David Fuchs transcribed many of the hymns presented in this edition, and they are credited throughout. For more information on my research of Ephrata music, including a thorough analysis of the music theory system and a guide to its interpretation, see Herbert, Christopher D. "The Sounds of Ephrata: Developing a Research Methodology to Catalog and Study Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvanian Music Manuscripts." Notes: the Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 76, no. 2 (December 2019): 199–222; and Herbert, Christopher D. “Voices in the Pennsylvania Wilderness: An Examination of the Music Manuscripts, Music Theory, Compositions, and (Female) Composers of the Eighteenth-Century Ephrata Cloister.” The Juilliard School: D.M.A. diss., 2018.
Cover photo by Doug Kerr
Cover design by Mary Catherine Jones
Copyright © 2020, Christopher Dylan Herbert
Classical Vocal Reprints
2701 South Van Hoose Drive
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40 pages of music
Source: Ephrata Codex