Modern Musick (1781)

by William Billings (1746-1800)

Like Charles Ives, William Billings did not make a living as a musicain. He was a tanner by trade, but his passion for music led him to become one of the first published American Composers, producing a self-piublished book titled  "A New England Pslam-Singer" which was engraved by Paul Revere in 1770. His composition "Chester" became the unifficial National Hymn during the Revolutionalry War.

See his full bio here.

Modern Musick seems to be both a throwback to a Renaissance madrigal and a look toward the future. It's quickly changing meter and mood point toward a romantic era composition, and requires virtuosity of those singing it. The harmonies are both traditional and fresh sounding for the time. Here it is in the original version:

Here is Phil Snedecor's new arrangement with himself on trumpet and Elisabeth Tomczyk, piano