Franciscan Sisters’ Song: Wondrous Love by Ensemble Phoenix Munich

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

May 01, 2017

This May Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity feature a gorgeous rendition of the traditional gospel-folk song “Wondrous Love” by Ensemble Phoenix, under Joel Frederiksen. It is found on recording “Rose of Sharon: 100 Years of American Music (1770-1870)”, on the Harmonia Mundi label. The song’s lyrics express awe at the love of God and are reminiscent of the text of John 3:16.

“The hymn is sung in Dorian mode, giving it a haunting, endearing quality. Though The Southern Harmony and many later hymnals incorrectly notated the song in Aeolian mode (natural minor), even congregations singing from these hymnals generally sang in  Dorian mode (spontaneously raising the sixth note a half step wherever it appeared). The hymn has an unusual meter of 6-6-6-3-6-6-6-6-6-3. Read more. Lyrics are perfect for the Easter Season reminding us of the hope of resurrection, eternal life. “What wondrous love is this!”


About Ensemble Phoenix Munich (EPM)

EPM was established in 2003 by Joel Frederiksen, leading early music specialist, after moving to Munich, Germany. The ensemble is heir to Mr. Frederiksen`s previous group, L`antica musica New York (1989-2001) which toured America and ran a successful concert series at St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue in New York City. Since 2007, the group has presented a concert series in Munich at the Bavarian National Museum and performed at leading international festivals. EPM records for harmonia mundi France.

EPMs programing reflects the wide-ranging interests of its founder and director, Joel Frederiksen, presenting music from the European Renaissance and Baroque (c1500-1650) to Early America (c1800-1900). The ensemble has even commissioned new works. For “Project Martinelli”, for instance, the ensemble commissioned pieces from composers Laurence Traiger (USA/Munich) and Willem Ceuleers (Belgium).


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