Worship Music Archive

Below is an exhaustive listing of service music from 2010. Using your browser “search” function is very helpful for locating specific hymns, anthems, and organ music. Links to podcast recordings are generally active. Links to service bulletins are less reliable.

June 12, 2016  +  The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Voluntary    Carillon de Westminster   Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

Processional Hymn 665   All my hope on God is founded   Michael

Gloria in excelsis S278     William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 470   There’s a wideness in God’s mercy   Beecher

Offertory Anthem    The secret of Christ (1980)   Richard Shephard (b. 1949)

Sanctus S128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem    Lead me, Lord   Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)
Katherine Foust and Naomi Cipriano, soloists

Communion Hymn 301   Bread of the world, in mercy broken   Rendez a Dieu

Closing Hymn   To God be the glory   To God Be the Glory

Voluntary    Prelude in G Major, BWV 550   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

June 5, 2016  +  The Third Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Water McKenny.

Voluntary    Allegro Cantabile (Symphony V)   Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)

Processional Hymn 390   Praise to the Lord, the Almighty   Lobe den Herren

Gloria in excelsis S278     William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 685   Rock of ages, cleft for me   Toplady

Offertory Anthem    Be not afraid from “Elijah”   Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Sanctus S128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem    Ein Blümmlein wenn’s die Sonne spüret   Jan Berger (1909-2002)

Closing Hymn   Great is thy faithfulness   Faithfulness

Voluntary    Fantasy on Lobe den Herren (1967)   Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927) 

May 29, 2016  +  The Second Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d Gedrick.

Voluntary    Brother James’s Air   M. Searle Wright (1918-2004)

Processional Hymn 718   God of our fathers, whose almighty hand   National Hymn

Gloria in excelsis S278     William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 676    There is a balm in Gilead    Balm in Gilead

Offertory Anthem    Let us with a gladsome mind   Alan Ridout (1934-1996)

Sanctus S128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem    Brother James’s Air   arr. Gordon Jacob (1895-1984)

Closing Hymn 719   O beautiful for spacious skies   Materna

Voluntary    Toccata in F   Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Words of comfort and memory combine in this Memorial Weekend service. The paraphrase of Psalm 23 that fits with beautiful Brother James’s Air is a familiar hymn of comfort. “Brother James” is the familiar name ascribed to the spiritual leader James Macbeth Bain, born in Scotland in 1860. A somewhat eccentric personality of great popularity, he worked among the poor in London and wandered in nature for refreshment. He has been compared to St. Francis for his mystic insights combined with an irresistible charm and childlike trust of one who loves all people and all creatures. The tune upon which the communion anthem is based is one of many beautiful melodies which came to him spontaneously. It has, in its simplicity, something of that rare quality of appeal which Maurice Baring describes as “a wonderful tune–a tune that opened its arms.”

 

May 22, 2016  +  The First Sunday after Pentecost  +  Trinity Sunday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Voluntary    Andante quasi allegretto (Symphony V)   Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)
Promenade on Nicaea (2015)    June Nixon (b. 1942)

Processional Hymn 362   Holy, holy holy! Lord God almighty!   Nicaea

Gloria in excelsis S278     William Mathias (1934-1992)

Canticle S236   Glory to you   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Sequence Hymn 367    Round the Lord in glory   Rustington

Offertory Anthem    You are the center (1997)   Margaret Rizza (b. 1929)

Sanctus S128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem    Agnus Dei (2010)    Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)

Closing Hymn 368   Holy Father, great Creator   Regent Square

Voluntary    Carillon de Longpont   Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

The music of Margaret Rizza is fascinating, as she only began composing in 1997, at the age of 68. In those ten years, the compelling, clearly God-led works that have come from her pen have become very popular, both for the serious choral musician, and the seeker of quiet and meditation.  +  Composed for the Phoenix Chorale, Gjeilo’s Agnus Dei is symphonic in nature, and is one of those pieces where the text is a servant of the music, not the opposite. Images of the Arizona desert bring the text to life, similar to works by Samuel Barber (Adagio) and Elgar (Nimrod from Engima Variations). This work is a little taste of this afternoon’s concert, and the choir has been hard at work on its complexities for several months.

 

May 15, 2016  +  The Day of Pentecost  +  Youth Sunday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth Choir, sermon by our young people.

Processional Hymn  225    Hail thee, festival day!  Salve festa dies

Song of Praise S236   Glory to you   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Sequence Anthem    This is the Day   (Trad., arr. Mary Scripko)

Offertory Anthem    Gracious spirit, dwell with me   K. Lee Scott (b. 1950)

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem    Veni Creator Spiritus     Gregorian Chant

Closing Hymn  405     All things bright and beautiful    Royal Oak

May 8, 2016  +  The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d

John Gedrick.

Organ    Jesu, Joy of man’s desiring   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Processional Hymn 435   At the name of Jesus   King’s Weston

Song of Praise S236   Glory to you   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Sequence Hymn 483   The head that once was crowned with thorns   St. Magnus

Offertory Anthem   Christ is our cornerstone    Noel Rawsthorne (b. 1929)

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Oculi omnium    Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Communion Hymn 328   Draw nigh and take the body of the Lord   Song 46

Closing Hymn 494   Crown him with many crowns   Diademata

Organ   Trumpet Voluntary   Jeremiah Clarke (1674-1707)

Charles Wood was an influential Irish composer and folksong collector. Among his pupils were the British musical luminaries Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells. His setting of the Latin motet Oculi omnium dates to the period after 1889, when he taught as a Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and exercised the role of Director of Music and Organist there. He was deeply involved in the reflorescence of music at the college, and also composed chamber music and edited collections of Irish folk songs.  +  The organ music framing the service on this Mother’s Day are the two most-often used wedding processionals, melodies that are both timeless and familiar, prayerful and triumphant.

 

May 1, 2016  +  The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ    Prelude on Hyfrydol    Peter Niedmann (b. 1960)

Processional Hymn 657   Love divine, all loves excelling   Hyfrydol

Song of Praise 417    This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 550   Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult     Restoration

Offertory Anthem   You are my God   Bob Chilcott (b. 1955)

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   A Gaelic blessing    John Rutter (b. 1945)

Communion Hymn 510   Come Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove      St. Agnes

Closing Hymn 387   We sing of God, the mighty source   Magdalen College

Organ   Jerusalem    Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918)

Bob Chilcott, described by The Observer as “a contemporary hero of British Choral Music”, has become one of the most widely performed composers of choral music in the world. HisYou are my God is indicative of his style: melodic and singable, yet with a new and fresh twist  +  Today’s Closing Voluntary celebrates one year of the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton’s ministry with us. Far from just an Aglophilic anthem, Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem is a powerful and dramatic musical setting of the poem with the same title by William Blake that imagines a visit to England by Christ himself during a time of great strife and tumult.

 

April 24, 2016  +  The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by Stacey Kohl.

Piano    Largo (from Xerxes)    Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
          Prelude on Let Us Break Bread    H. Thomas Manning, 1999

Processional Hymn 477   All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine   Engelberg

Song of Praise 417    This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 487   Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life     The Call

Offertory Anthem   And I saw a new heaven    Edgar Bainton (1880-1956)

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Sing my soul, his wondrous love    Ned Rorem (b. 1923)

Communion Hymn 325   Let us break bread together on our knees      Let Us Break Bread

Closing Hymn 544   Jesus shall reign where’er the sun      Duke Street

Organ   Toccata Brevis    Daniel Gawthrop (b. 1949)

Edgar Bainton’s most iconic anthem, And I saw a new heaven, is a tone-poem of ecstatic beauty. Borne aloft by the composer’s wonderfully wrought harmonization, it brings the story of creation to its ordained climax – that ultimate moment when “the former things are passed away” – and evokes St. John’s vision of heaven, one so sublime as to ease the pain and sorrow of even the saddest heart.  +  Ned Rorem’s plaintive Sing my soul uses a simple hymn-like texture combined with modern harmonies to create a beautiful lullaby.

 

April 17, 2016  +  The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d Walter McKenney.

Organ    Sheep may safely graze    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Processional Hymn 366   Holy God, we praise thy Name   Grosser Gott

Song of Praise 417    This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 645   The King of love my shepherd is      St. Columba

Offertory Anthem   The Lord is my shepherd    John Rutter (b. 1945)
with Marilyn Krentzman, oboe 

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem     Bread of the world, in mercy broken   John Abdenour (b. 1962)

Closing Hymn 522   Glorious things of thee are spoken      Austria

Organ   Grand Choeur on Austria    Richard Purvis (1913-1994)

Quiet and serene, this pastoral setting of Psalm 23 offers a sweeping Rutter melody and a gorgeous oboe solo that hovers gently above the choir. It creates an ethereal moment that so capably interprets the peaceful assurance of the beloved text. + Richard Purvis was for many years organist/choirmaster at Grace Church, San Francisco, and was adept at playing the organ in both classic and theatrical styles. He clearly focuses on the first word of the text here: ‘Glorious.’

 

April 10, 2016  +  The Third Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Borden Painter.

Organ    Trumpet Voluntary    Henry Heron (1725-1795)
Priere à Notre Dame (Suite Gothique)    Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897)

Processional Hymn 205    Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!    Gelobt sei Gott

Song of Praise 417    This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 204   Now the green blade riseth      Noël nouvelet

Offertory Anthem   This joyful Eastertide    arr. Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem     God be in my head    Walford Davies (1869-1941)

Closing Hymn   535     Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim      Paderborn

Organ     Gelobt sei Gott   Healey Willan (1880-1968)

The tune of popular Easter carol This joyful eastertide is Dutch and fist showed up in the 1680s. This arrangement from 1901 is by the Irish composer Charles Wood. He studied with Stanford at the Royal College of Music in London, and he would himself become a Professor of Music there, where his pupils would include Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells.  +   The apparent simplicity of God be in my head, with its repetition of the key phrase, suddenly gives way to very effective harmonic sophistication on the word ‘heart’ that lays the path for the twilit ambience of the final phrase. H. Walford Davies was composer and musical director at the University of Wales as well as Organist at, among others, Temple Church, where his student Leopold Stokowski (later one of the leading conductors of the 20th century) assisted him.

 

April 3, 2016  +  The Second Sunday of Easter

Link to: Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by vocal quartet, sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ    Overture and Peace (Suite for the Royal Fireworks)    Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Processional Hymn  208    Alleluia! The strife is o’er   Victory

Song of Praise 417    This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn  178   Alleluia, Alleluia! Give thanks to the risen Lord   Alleluia No. 1

Offertory Anthem    O how amiable  Dudley Buck (1839-1909)

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem     O sons and daughters, let us sing!   O filii et filiae

Closing Hymn  180   He is risen, he is risen!    Unser Herrscher

Organ    Menuet Finale (Suite for the Royal Fireworks)    Georg Frideric Handel

March 27, 2016  +  The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 8:00 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir,

and at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with brass and tympani; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Allegro Vivace (Symphonie V)    Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)

Processional Hymn 207    Jesus Christ is risen today   Easter Hymn

Song of Praise 417    This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 199   Come, ye faithful, raise the strain     St. Kevin

Offertory Anthem   Hallelujah (Messiah)   George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Sanctus S125   Richard Proulx (1937-2010) 

Fraction Anthem   Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem    Alleluia    Randall Thompson (1899-1994)

Communion Hymn 305   Come, risen Lord   Rosedale

Closing Hymn 210   The day of resurrection   Ellacombe

Organ, brass and tympani: Toccata (Symphonie V)    Charles-Marie Widor

Our opening Easter music is the opening movement from Widor’s Fifth Symphony (from which the famous Toccata comes). The work is a set of variations on a relentless theme, stated in the background. All of the emotions of death and resurrection are felt throughout the fiery build up and heroic culmination.  +   Ever-popular Easter Hymn was among the first hymns of a new popular style (for the early 1700s), in which more movement and spirit was attained by using more than one note per syllable.  +  The traditional St. John’s pairing of two great choral “Alleluias” continues this year, from the triumphal Handel chorus at the Offertory to the prayerful and so beautiful Randall Thompson during communion.  Both works are rightly sung by almost every choir – symbols of choral singing and spiritually powerful to singer and listener alike.

 

March 25, 2016  +  Good Friday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Service Bulletin

Good Friday Liturgy at 7:00 p.m., sung by the combined Youth and Adult Choirs of St. James’s and St. Johns, and messages by the clergy of both parishes, at St. John’s.

Hymns: Were you there when they crucified my Lord; What wondrous love is this; O sacred head, sore wounded

Anthem    The crown of roses    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Anthem    God so loved the world    Bob Chilcott (b. 1955)

March 24, 2016  +  Maundy Thursday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Maundy Thursday Eucharist at 7:00 p.m. sung by the Youth Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinterton.

Organ   Were you there?   Charles Callahan (b. 1951)

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 325   Let us break bread together on our knees   Let us break bread

Anthem at the Maundy  Ubi caritas    Jacques Berthier (1923-1994)

Offertory Anthem   Pie Jesu (Requiem)   John Rutter (b. 1945)

          Madeline Green, soprano 

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Hymn 458   My song is love unknown   Love unknown

Sunday, March 20, 2016  +  The Sunday of the Passion – Palm Sunday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Palm Procession from the Cloister Garden

Hymn in Procession 154   All glory, laud, and honor   Valet will ich dir geben

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 158   Ah, holy Jesus!   Herzliebster Jesu

Offertory Anthem      Sanctus (Requiem)    John Rutter (b. 1945)

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem    The crown of roses   Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Communion Hymn 315   Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray   Song 1

Closing Hymn 168   O sacred head, sore wounded   Passion Chorale

The origin of Crown of roses is a poem of 1857, ‘Roses and Thorns’ written by the American Richard Henry Stoddard. Twenty years later it was translated into Russian by Aleksey Pleshcheyev and set by Tchaikovsky in what has since been recognized as a minor masterpiece. It was performed by a cappella choir under Tchaikovsky at the opening of Carnegie Hall in New York in 1891, where, according to the New York Times “it made a great hit.” It has since been retranslated into English.

 

Sunday, March 13, 2016  +  The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   O man, bewail thy grievous sin   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 474   When I survey the wondrous cross   Rockingham

Offertory Anthem     Surely he hath borne our griefs   Carl Graun (1704-1759)

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem   God so loved the world   Bob Chilcott (b. 1955)

Closing Hymn 473   Lift high the cross   Crucifer

Organ    We believe in one God   J. S. Bach

The short text of God so loved the world is so well-known because it explains the whole Easter story, encapsulating the essence of the Christian Gospel in under 30 words. Bob Chilcott’s setting is an unsentimental and profoundly beautiful alternative to the familiar movement by John Stainer.  +  This morning’s service is framed by two monumental chorale settings by Bach.  The poignant, ornamented treatment of O man, bewail thy grievous sin is interrupted with slow, long tones during the text that refers to Christ’s passion and death. We believe in one God is a setting of our Nicene Creed, with a repeated figure in the bass that illustrates the strength of our faith.

 

Sunday, March 6, 2016  +  The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by Paul Shaker.

Organ   Passacaglia: The prodigal son   James Biery (b. 1957)

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 470   There’s a wideness in God’s mercy   Beecher

Offertory Anthem     And I saw a new heaven   Edgar Bainton (1880-1956)

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem   Precious Lord   Traditional Spiritual, arr. Arnold Sevier (b. 1969)

Closing Hymn 690   Guide me, O thou great Jehovah   Cwm Rhondda

Organ    Agincourt Hymn   John Dunstable (1390-1453)

A passacaglia is a musical work in which a single line of music is repeated over and over, usually in the bass, and continuous themeatic development happens in the upper parts – much like the famous Pachelbel Canon. James Biery’s Passacaglia takes the listener through all of the emotions of the Prodigal Son story – questioning, loss, pain, quiet resolution.  +  Edgar Bainton’s most iconic anthem, And I saw a new heaven, is a tone-poem of ecstatic beauty. Borne aloft by the composer’s wonderfully wrought harmonization, it brings the story of creation to its ordained climax – that ultimate moment when “the former things are passed away” – and evokes St. John’s vision of heaven, one so sublime as to ease the pain and sorrow of even the saddest heart.

 

Sunday, February 28, 2016  +  The Third Sunday in Lent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by Michael Corey.

Organ   Choral Phrygien, Choral Dorien   Jehan Alain (1911-1940)

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn    Blessed Assurance   Assurance

Offertory Anthem     There is a season   Alfred Fedak (b. 1953)

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Music      Choral Cistercien pour une elevatión    Jehan Alain
Ave verum corpus   William Byrd (1543-1623)

Closing Hymn 525   The church’s one foundation   Aurelia

Organ    Litanies   Jehan Alain

Jehan Alain, a Parisian composer whose life was cut short when his plane was shot down during WWII, wrote this morning’s organ music. The opening voluntary is two hauntingChorals that explore modal tonalities. Litanies is a breathless and relentless prayer. The desperation of prayer in time of deep need is illustrated by a repetitive litany and rhythms written while travelling on a train – all building to a frenzy. Alain writes, “When the Christian soul in its despair can no longer find any new words to implore the mercy of God, it repeats the same incantation over and over again in blind faith. The limits of reality are surpassed and faith alone continues upward.”

 

Sunday, February 21, 2016  +  The Second Sunday in Lent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, with Kathy Schiano, cello; sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Cello Suite    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 685   Rock of ages, cleft for me   Toplady

Offertory Anthem     Out of the deep (Requiem)   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem     Hide not thou thy face from me   Richard Farrant (c. 1525-1580)

Closing Hymn 688   A mighty fortress is our God   Ein feste Burg

Organ    Ein feste Burg    Calvin Hampton (1938-1984)

John Rutter is a mainstay of the choral tradition, as his melodic writing is equally beautiful and accessible. His Requiem was written in 1985, in memory of his father, and is his most serious work. Out of the deep is the most pleading movement, prominently featuring the solo cello. The full Requiem will be presented here in concert with orchestra on May 22.  +  Calvin Hampton was one of the most prolific twentieth century church music composers; his music is featured in almost every church hymnal. This arrangement of Ein feste Burgsuccessfully blends the well-known rhythms of the hymn with the isometric original version.

 

Sunday, February 14, 2016  +  The First Sunday in Lent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by Rabbi Stephen Fuchs.

Organ   Short Prelude & Fugue in E minor, BWV 555   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 635   If thou but trust in God to guide thee   Wer nur den lieben Gott

Offertory Anthem     Surely He hath borne our griefs (Messiah)   Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem     Call to remembrance  Richard Farrant (c. 1525-1580)

Closing Hymn 529   In Christ there is no East or West   McKee

Organ    Wer nur den lieben Gott    J. S. Bach

Lent brings us an opportunity for deeper reflection, as we take a break from musical fanfares and descants, and replace them with a silent procession and meditative chant. The service music that we will sing during Lent is all from the Gregorian Missal; both the Sanctus and Agnus Dei were famously set in Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem.  +  You will find other liturgical changes at St. John’s during Lent. Each Sunday, the choir and clergy enter in silent procession, recognizing the solemnity of our journey with Christ to the cross. There is a new acclamation, recognizing our sin and God’s great mercy. Alleluia is neither said nor sung, and the praises of the Gloria are replaced by the cry, “Lord, have mercy.” We know that death is around us and we wait. We wait for Easter.

 

Sunday, February 7, 2016  +  The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Fanfare March   Thomas Donohue, 1991
Prelude on Slane   Scott Lamlein (b. 1972)

Processional Hymn 126   The people who in darkness walked   Dundee

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 488   Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart   Slane

Offertory Anthem     Christ whose glory fills the skies   T. Frederick H. Candlyn (1892-1964)

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem     O nata lux   Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943)

Closing Hymn 460   Alleluia! sing to Jesus!   Hyfrydol

Organ    Fanfare   John Cook (1918-1984)

The Light of Christ is shared in different ways, and today is remembered most vividly in his transfiguration on the mountain. This morning’s music portrays that magnificence, and also one last bit of Alleluia and celebration before we enter the Lenten Season. T. Fredrick H. Candlyn was a Briton who emigrated to the U.S. to undertake church music in New York, first at St. Paul’s, Albany and later at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue. His style is in lines with the Wesley family and other very “tuneful” composers. One of his most beloved works, Christ, whose glory fills the skies uses a soaring melody for the first and final stanzas, while the second stanza is a completely different four-part texture. Text painting occurs at words such as “unaccompanied” when the organ stops playing.

 

Sunday, January 31, 2016  +  The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Due to a technical issue, there is no podcast of this service.

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Short Prelude & Fugue in F, BWV 556   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude   Robert Paoli (b. 1937)

Processional Hymn 569   God the Omnipotent!   Russia

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 440   Blessed Jesus, at thy word   Liebster Jesu

Offertory Anthem   Psalm 23    Howard Goodall (b. 1958)

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem   The call    Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Closing Hymn    Lord, you give the great commission   Down Ampney

Organ    Short Prelude & Fugue in C, BWV 553    J. S. Bach

This morning’s service music is sung by the Youth Choir in celebration of our Parish Annual Meeting. “The Call” by Vaughan Williams is one of the more familiar and moving melodies by this composer, found in his 1911 collection, “Five Mystical Songs.” Michael wrote that it “Is one of those simple tunes which came naturally to Vaughan Williams…and are entirely personal to him yet sound as if they had always existed.” + Goodall’s setting of Psalm 23 is better known as the theme to the BBC show, “The Vicar of Dibley.” His intent to write a piece of church music that could have a life of its own beyond the TV show was successfully realized with this very popular anthem.

 

Sunday, January 24, 2016  +  The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Ave Maria  Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Charles Gounod (1818-1893)
Heidi Tummescheit, violin

Processional Hymn 427   When morning gilds the skies   Laudes Domini

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Psalm 19   Anglican Chant   Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)

Sequence Hymn 539   O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling   Tidings

Offertory    The Spirit of the Lord   Philip Stopford (b. 1977)

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem     The Lord’s prayer   Scott Lamlein (b. 1972)

Communion Hymn 531   O Spirit of the living God   Melcombe

Closing Hymn 438   Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord   Woodlands

Organ   Trumpet Voluntary in D Major   David N. Johnson (1922-1988)

This morning’s Psalm will be chanted by the choir, with the whole congregation responding by singing a common Antiphon. A very traditional style of Anglican psalmody, the chant serves the text by presenting it in a way that magnifies the meaning behind the words. Not a time to “sit and listen”, the congregation is encouraged to follow the words in the bulletin while experiencing the sounds and and inspiration that the choir provides.  +  Scott’s setting of the Lord’s Prayer was written in 2003 and premiered by the Wesley Methodist Church choir, Worcester, Mass., in 2005. It was composed in about two hours while his young boys were running through the house on an otherwise quiet Saturday, and he was providing a soundtrack to that activity at the piano. Eventually that frivolousness gave way to inspiration and music that (hopefully) invokes the mystery of prayer.

Sunday, January 17, 2016  +  The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele, BWV 654   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Processional Hymn 423   Immortal, invisible, God only wise   St. Denio

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 339   Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Schmücke dich

Offertory    Thou God of truth and love   Malcolm Archer (b. 1952)

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem     Bread of heaven, on thee we feed   Peter Niedmann (b. 1960)

Closing Hymn 599   Lift every voice and sing   Lift Every Voice

Organ   Marching to Zion   Gordon Young (1919-1998)

The great master Johann Sebastian Bach composed a series of eighteen so-called “great” choral preludes, sort of a “greatest hits” of Lutheran chorales, close to the mid-point of his career. This setting of today’s sequence hymn contains a highly ornamented melody line, which, although a common stylistic practice of the time, beautifully “decks the tune with gladness.”  + Malcolm Archer’s setting of this Charles Wesley text contains a highly lyrical melody and emotional connection. Pay special attention to the dramatic treatment of the middle verse: “Didst Thou not make us one, that being one we must remain? Together, travel on, and bear each others’ pain.” The text and tune lift up a universal message of following Christ, serving others, and God being with us in times of trouble.  +  Bread of heaven, an early work by Newington composer Peter Niedmann, prepares us for communion with this timeless prayer: ‘Jesus, may we ever be grafted, rooted, built in thee.’ 

Sunday, January 10, 2016  +  The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d Gordon Bates.

Organ   Adagio from Symphonie No. 5   Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937)

Processional Hymn 76   On Jordan’s bank, the Baptist’s cry   Winchester New

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 513   Like the murmur of the dove’s song   Bridegroom

Offertory    Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks   Herbert Howells (1892-1993)

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem     Jesu, joy of man’s desiring   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Closing Hymn    Shall we gather at the river   Hanson Place

Organ   Fugue in D minor   Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

The Bach communion anthem, a perennial favorite, is from a cantata (No. 147) written originally in Weimar in 1716 for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Later in Bach’s career he found it impossible to perform in Leipzig, because that city observed silence for the last three Sundays of Advent. Thus he revised it for the feast of the Visitation, where it was first performed in Leipzig in July, 1723. On many occasions Bach recycled and revised his own music, sometimes as a result of genuine inspiration, sometimes to create meaningful connections between pieces, and sometimes simply to find a way to be sure something as beautiful as ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’ didn’t simply disappear. + Buxtehude’s Toccatas are very different from the French Toccatas, made famous by Widor. Written in a free style in many tiny sections, each passing phrase brings on higher and more intense emotion. Presented today is the final fugue from one of these great works. Buxtehude was one of Bach’s mentors, and, after travelling to North Germany to study with him, Bach was nearly fired from his own church position for playing music that was too “out there.”

 

Sunday, January 3, 2016  +  The Second Sunday after Christmas

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Bulletin

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Nativity Suite   Wilbur Held (1915-2015)
Veni Emmanuel – Silent Night – Shepherds – The Three Kings

Processional Hymn  94   While shepherds watched their flocks   Winchester Old

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 124   What star is this    Puer nobis

Offertory    The first nowell   Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem     The shepherds’ farewell   Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)

Closing Hymn  109   The first nowell   The First Nowell

Organ   Joy to the world (Nativity Suite)   Wilbur Held

Sunday, December 27, 2015  +  The First Sunday after Christmas

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. with Margaret Beers, soprano, and Douglas Johnson, organ; sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Noel: Joseph est bein marié   Claude Balbastre (1724-1799)

Opening Hymn 89   It came upon a midnight clear   Carol

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 324   Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Picardy

Offertory Solo   He shall feed his flock (Messiah)   George Frederic Handel (1685-1759)

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Music   Prayer for a new mother   Richard Shephard (b. 1949)

Closing Hymn 93   Angels from the realms of glory   Regent Square

Organ   From heaven above   Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)

Claude Balbastre was a phenomenally successful organist and composer, whose playing attracted crowds to church. His compositions on the humble Noel tunes are the late flowering of the genre. Though he served at the highest courts both secular and ecclesiatical, he managed to keep his head during the French revolution by playing popular songs at the organ.  + Johann Pachelbel was a cousin to the Bachs. He developed a variety of South German approaches to composing on chorale tunes. In this morning’s selection, the tune is in the pedal, while the hands weave fanfares and flourishes, as if to announce the joyous birth of our Savior, the lowly-born child who is the King.

 

Friday, December 25, 2015  +  Christmas Day

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:00 a.m.  with congregational Carols, sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   When Christmas morn is breaking   Elmer Arne Hovdesven (1893-1994)

Opening Hymn 96  Angels we have heard on high   Gloria

Sequence Hymn 79  O Little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis

Offertory   Go tell it on the mountain   Robert Powell (b. 1932)

Closing Hymn 100  Joy to the world!   Antioch

Organ   Carillon   Scott Lamlein (b. 1972)

 

Thursday, December 24, 2015  +  Christmas Eve

Service Schedule:

3:50 p.m.  Choral Prelude (Youth Choir)

4:00 p.m. Family Eucharist sung by the Youth Choir

10:30 p.m. Choral Prelude (Adult Choir) with string quartet

11:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult Choir with string quartet

 

Music Listing:

Choral Prelude at 3:50 p.m. with Youth Choir

Once in royal David’s city   arr. Paul Halley (b. 1952)

O little one sweet   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Nativity carol   John Rutter (b. 1945)

O holy night    Adolphe Adam, arr. West, Berton
Madeline Green, soloist

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 4:00 p.m. with Youth Choir; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Leaflet

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 115    What child is this   Greensleeves

Offertory Anthem   Mary’s lullaby   Max Reger (1873-1916)
Britt Emerick, soloist

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem   No small wonder   Paul Edwards (b. 1955)

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Organ   In dulci jubilo   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Choral Prelude at 10:30 p.m. with Adult choir and string quartet

Once in royal David’s city   arr. Paul Halley (b. 1952)

O little one sweet    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Organ: In Dulci Jubilo   J. S. Bach and Marcel Dupré (1886-1971)

Rejoice in the Lord alway   Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Nativity carol   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Organ and Strings: Greensleeves   Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 p.m. with Adult choir and string quartet; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Leaflet

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 115    What child is this   Greensleeves

Offertory Anthem   Christmas lullaby   Dan Forrest (b. 1978)

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164  Jesus, lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem   No small wonder   Paul Edwards (b. 1955)

Communion Hymn 101   Away in a manger   Cradle Song

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, st. 3 arr. Wolfgang Lindner

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Organ   In dulci jubilo   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

December 20, 2015  +  The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Link to: Service Leaflet

The St. John’s Christmas Pageant at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with Jeffrey Higgins and Thomas Hintz, trumpets

Organ and trumpets: Voluntary for two trumpets   Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Choral Prelude: Ave Maria  Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

Opening Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles  

With traditional pageant carols and the following Anthems:

The friendly beasts  Traditional French Carol

Torches  John Joubert (b. 1927)

Organ and trumpets: My spirit be joyful (Cantata 146)  Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. E. Power Biggs

December 13, 2014  +  Candlelight Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Sung by the St. John’s Choirs at 3:00 p.m.   Link to: Poster – Event Details – Service Leaflet

 

December 13, 2015  +  The Third Sunday of Advent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Whence is that goodly fragrance flowing?   Dale Wood (1934-2003)

Processional Hymn 66   Come, thou long-expected Jesus   Stuttgart

Kyrie Eleison   from Litany of the Saints   adapt. Richard Proulx, 1991

Sequence Hymn 76   On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry   Winchester New

Offertory Anthem   Rejoice in the Lord alway   Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Sanctus    from Missa Emmanuel   Richard Proulx, 1991

Fraction Anthem    Agnus Dei   from Missa Emmanuel   Richard Proulx, 1991

Communion Anthem   E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come   Paul Manz (1919-2009)

Communion Hymn 104   A stable lamp is lighted   Adújar

Closing Hymn 72   Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes   Richmond

Organ   Carillon-Sortie   Henri Mulet (1878-1967)

The great choral anthem E’en so, Lord Jesus is a collaborative effort of Paul and Ruth Manz. Here is the story behind it: Early in Paul’s career, one of the Manz’s children, their 3 year old son, came down with a childhood illness that threatened to end his life. “And at one point he was given up by the doctor as well as the staff,” Paul says. Paul and Ruth Manz took turns at their son’s bedside – Ruth by day, Paul by night. During their vigil Ruth brought Paul some words she’d crafted based on a text in Revelation. “It is just a compilation of the theme in Revelation, Revelation 22, where it speaks of the longing of the Advent, actually, the coming of the Christ” she adds. “I think we’d reached the point where we felt that time was certainly running out so we committed it to the Lord and said, ‘Lord Jesus quickly come,'” Ruth says. “I made a sketch that night at the bedside and miraculously through prayer by a lot of people John survived,” Paul says. Ruth and Paul Manz’s son John is now in his 50s and has the original score of the hymn written while he was ill.

 

December 6, 2015  +  Late Church & Early Supper

Link to: Full Service Podcast

Holy Eucharist at 5:30 p.m., with meditative music and prayers with candlelighting.

December 6, 2015  +  The Second Sunday of Advent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs; sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Pastorale   Louis Lefebvre-Wely (1817-1869)
Veni Emmanuel   Pietro Yon (1886-1943) 

Opening Hymn 56   O come, O come, Emmanuel   Veni Emmanuel

Kyrie Eleison   from Litany of the Saints   adapt. Richard Proulx, 1991

Sequence Hymn 67   Comfort, comfort ye my people   Psalm 42

Offertory Anthem   Tomorrow shall be my dancing day   John Gardner (1917-2011)

Sanctus    from Missa Emmanuel   Richard Proulx, 1991

Fraction Anthem    Agnus Dei   from Missa Emmanuel   Richard Proulx, 1991

Communion Anthem   I wonder as I wander   arr. John Rutter (b. 1945)

Closing Hymn 601   O day of God, draw nigh   St. Michael

Organ   Veni Emmanuel   Wilbur Held (1915-2015)

The origins of “O come, O come, Emmanuel” date to medieval times. In the 800s, a series of Latin hymns were sung, called the “O” Antiphons. Over time, these were restructured, and the first draft of the beloved hymn we know came from Anglican priest John Mason Neale, in 1851. Born to a family of clergy, Neale wanted to become a parish minister, but his poor health prevented this. He instead became the director of Sackville College, a home for elderly men. This proved to be a good match, as Neale was compassionate with a great heart for the needy. A traditionalist, he was outspoken against the change that other hymn writers like Isaac Watts stood for, but today we find Neale and Watts side-by-side in our hymnals. We owe Neale our gratitude for this great hymn, as well as “Good King Wenceslas,” “Good Christian Men, Rejoice,” and “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.”

 

November 29, 2015  +  The First Sunday of Advent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Opening Hymn 412   Earth and all stars   Earth and All Stars

Kyrie Eleison   from Litany of the Saints   adapt. Richard Proulx, 1991

Sequence Hymn 61   “Sleepers, wake!”   Wachet auf

Offertory Anthem   O little one sweet   Johann Sebastian Bach

Sanctus    from Missa Emmanuel   Richard Proulx, 1991

Fraction Anthem    Agnus Dei   from Missa Emmanuel   Richard Proulx, 1991

Communion Anthem   No small wonder   Paul Edwards (b. 1955)

Closing Hymn 436   Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates   Truro

Organ   Prelude in G Major, BWV 550   Johann Sebastian Bach

Paul Edwards began his career as a young chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. His text writer, Paul Wigmore, relays the story of No small wonder, which eventually was included in the famous service of Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge: “One November morning in 1983 the young composer, Paul Edwards, gathered up his week’s bundle of laundry and was about to leave for the local launderette when he remembered the envelope. It had come in the post that morning. He quickly opened it and scanned the letter. It was from me. The letter ended with a new work – a carol for Advent and Christmas, just three short verses. Paul Edwards had already set a number of my lyrics for choir and this was a new one. He slipped it into his pocket. It would be something to read while he waited for the machine to do the washing, he thought. Then, as an afterthought, he picked up a sheet of music manuscript as well. He just might get an idea while he waited for his laundry. In the launderette he loaded the machine and sat down. He took out the envelope and read the poem. He grabbed the scrap of manuscript paper and began writing. Trying to imagine how any composer could write this profound music while surrounded by the noise of washing machines is practically impossible.” God at work!

 

November 26, 2015  +  Thanksgiving Day

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:o0 a.m. with hymns; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Variations on Simple Gifits   Noel Goemanne (1926-2010)

Opening Hymn 291   We plow the fields and scatter   Wir Pflugen

Sequence Hymn 433   We gather together   Kremser

   Offertory Music   Great is thy faithfulness   William Runyan (1870-1957)
         Cleveland Williams, soloist

Closing Hymn 290   Come ye thankful people   St. George’s, Windsor

 

November 22, 2015  +  Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Service at 4:00 p.m., sung by the combined choirs of St. John’s and Congregation Beth Israel.

Link to: Full Service Podcast

Organ   Trumpet Tune   Aaron David Miller (b. 1949)

Opening Hymn    O be joyful in the Lord   Rock of Ages

Anthem (combined choirs)   For the beauty of the earth   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Anthem (St. John’s Choir)    The Spirit of the Lord    Philip Stopford (b. 1977)

Anthem (Beth Israel Choir)   Hinei ma tov   arr. Sargon

Closing Hymn 397   Now thank we all our God   Nun danket alle Gott

Organ   Processional   William Mathias (1934-1992)

November 22, 2015  +  The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir; sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ   Two Pieces   Gordon Young (1919-1998)
          Trumpet voluntary  –  Chanson religieuse

Opening Hymn 290   Come, ye thankful people, come   St. George’s, Windsor

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 397   Now thank we all our God   Nun danket alle Gott

Offertory Anthem    The last words of David    Randall Thompson (1899-1984)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   For the beauty of the earth   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Communion Hymn 433   We gather together   Kremser

Closing Hymn 288   Praise to God, immortal praise   Dix

Organ   Marche triomphale: Nun danket alle Gott   Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933)

Randall Thompson was a 20th Century composer, best known for his Alleluia, often sung here on Easter Day. Educated at Harvard, he was initially rejected from the Harvard Glee Club, but later rose to teach such luminaries as Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber. His setting of this poetic text from 2 Samuel is vivid in its tone painting, taking the listener to many places in a brief period of time.  +  We gather together is a Christian hymn of Dutch origin written in 1597 by Adrianus Valerius as Wilt heden nu treden to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout. In the United States, it is popularly associated with Thanksgiving Day and is often sung at family meals and at religious services on that day.  +  Sigfrid Karg-Elert struggled to gain recognition in native Germany as a composer, often supplementing his income by playing piano in bars and wearing a fake beard to conceal his identity. Finally, late in life, his 66 Chorale Improvisations for organ were published, from which this well-known setting of Nun danket is drawn.

 

November 15, 2015  +  The Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs; sermon by the Rev’d Helen Moore.

Organ   Cantabile   César Franck (1822-1890)

Opening Hymn  405   All things bright and beautiful   Royal Oak

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn   Oh, let the Son of God enfold you    Spirit Song

Offertory Anthem    The Spirit of the Lord   Philip Stopford (b. 1977)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   O taste and see   Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Madeline Green, soloist

Communion Hymn 439   What wondrous love is this   Wondrous Love

Closing Hymn 632   O Christ, the Word Incarnate   Munich

Organ   Processional   William Mathias (1934-1992)

Cesar Franck premiered his Trois Pièces in recital on the great Trocadéro Exhibition organ in 1878. They are the first pieces by this great Parisian master that show the dramatic influence of Richard Wagner. The only three published works of his that have no printed dedication, the Trois Pièces were written for recital only, not religious use. However, the faithful undertones of Cantabile are undeniable. Later, French composer Charles Tournemire wrote of the work: ‘The soul’s unsatisfied desire—a saint’s inner supplication—incessant pleas—faith in divine mercy.’  +  Philip Stopford is a contemporary English composer who began his career as a youth chorister at Westminster Abbey, singing under Simon Preston and Martin Neary. Those formative years are the backbone of his current life as a full-time choral composer, conductor, and clinician. His music is equally popular with American choirs as it is with English ones, due to his accessible yet thought-provoking compositional style. Our choirs enjoyed singing under Philip at the Trinity Church Festival Evensong in October.

 

November 8, 2015  +  The Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Prelude on Forest Green   Richard Purvis (1917-1992)

Opening Hymn 705    As those of old their first fruits brought   Forest Green

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 686   Come, thou fount of every blessing   Nettleton

Offertory Anthem    Pilgrims’ Hymn   Stephen Paulus (1949-2014)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   The Lord’s Prayer   John Tavener (1944-2013)

Closing Hymn 57   Lo, he comes with clouds descending   Helmsley

Organ   Procésion Alegre   Garry Cornell (b. 1940)

Stephen Paulus and John Tavener are two recent choral composers that have brought us a wealth of musical inspiration – American and British, respectively.  +  Stephen Paulus passed away just a year ago, a tragic loss to the choral community. He was quite prolific, having over 450 works in his opus list, and was nonimated for a Grammy award last December.  As you’ll hear in his Pilgrims’ Hymn (which has been sung at presidential funerals), his style is very accessible, romantic, and inspiring.  +  John Tavener was one of the leading British composers of recent history. His predominantly religious and contemplative music – called “holy minimalism” by some critics – has an unmistakable resonance. The repetition of musical phrases becomes its own spirit.

 

November 1, 2015  +  All Saints’ Day

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs with assisting organist David Chrzanowski; sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Suite Gothique   Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897)
Introduction/Choral – Menuet Gothique – Priere à Notre Dame

Opening Hymn 287   For all the saints, who from their labors rest   Sine Nomine

Sequence Hymn 293   I sing a song of the saints of God   Grand Isle

Offertory Anthem    Requem aeternam – Kyrie (Requiem)   John Rutter (b. 1945)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Lux aeterna (Requiem)    John Rutter
          Teddy Babbitt, soloist

Closing Hymn 286   Who are these like stars appearing   Zeuch mich, zeuch mich

Organ   Toccata (Suite Gothique)    Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897)

Two movements from John Rutter’s Requiem form the choral music for this All Saints’ Sunday. Premiered in Dallas, TX, in 1985, this Requiem has become a favorite of choirs everywhere, and holds up to the Requiem standards set by Mozart, Brahms, and Fauré. While there are necessary dark moments in this setting of the burial rite, the message of hope, paradise, and eternal light are the overall musical themes that shine through, with melodies that captivate and inspire. It is presented this day in honor and memory of those who have gone before us.

 

October 25, 2015  +  The Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir with assisting organist Charlotte Beers Plank; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Aria   Flor Peeters (1903-1986)

Opening Hymn 410   Praise, my soul, the King of heaven   Lauda anima

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 671   Amazing grace! how sweet the sound   New Britain

Offertory Anthem    Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Lay up for yourselves   Ned Rorem (b. 1923)

Communion Hymn 411   O bless the Lord, my soul   St. Thomas

Closing Hymn 535    Ye servants of God, your master proclaim   Paderborn

Organ   Allegro con Brio (Sonata IV)   Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God,Amazing Grace is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world. Its writer, John Newton, wrote the text out of personal experience: After being been forced into service in the English Royal Navy, Newton found work in the slave trade. A huge storm battered his trade ship in 1779, and in his despair Newton had a profound conversion experience, and wrote the now-famous hymn as soon as he reached shore.later dedicated his life to Christian theology. He later dedicated his life to Christian theology.   +  The text of today’s Communion anthem are words of Jesus: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” These are powerful words, and remind us that our earthly things are but temporary, and life in Christ is eternal. It also reminds us that our treasure should be in alignment with our hearts. Jesus calls us to be generous, and to invest in things that are meaningful and powerful.

 

October 18, 2015  +  The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth Choir; sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV 555     Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Opening Hymn 518   Christ is made the sure foundation   Westminster Abbey

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Anthem   Psalm 150   John Harper (b. 1947)

Sequence Hymn 644   How sweet the name of Jesus sounds    St. Peter

Offertory Anthem    I am the bread of life   Simon Lole (b. 1957)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Adoro te devote   Gregorian Chant, arr. Paul Halley (b. 1952)

Closing Hymn 665  All my hope on God is founded   Michael

Organ   Alleluyas   Simon Preston (b. 1938)

This morning’s worship music is ably led by our Youth Choir, leading the hymn singing, and presenting three choral anthems in varying styles. The Psalm setting by John Harper is an exciting call to praise. Simon Lole’s I am the bread of life is a successful blend of popular and classic writing. Paul Halley’s arrangement from Missa Gaia is the source of the accompaniment and final English verse for the timeless Gregorian Chant Adoro te devote, sung during communion.  +  The closing voluntary by Simon Preston is an unusual acclamation of praise. Preston, for many years music director at Westminster Abbey and well-known as a concert organist, uses a tension-building 4-note theme and jazz harmonies to set the word “Alleluia” with a strong emphasis on the third syllable.

 

Thursday, October 15, 2015  +  A Renewal of Ministry: Installation of the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton as Rector of St. John’s Church

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 6:30 p.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs.

Organ    Prelude on Abbot’s Leigh         Carl D.N. Klein, 1991

Opening Hymn  473   Lift high the cross           Crucifer

Sequence Hymn  529   In Christ there is no East or West           McKee

Hymn  482   Lord of all hopefulness    Slane

Offertory Anthem     The Lord is my shepherd        Howard Goodall, 1994

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem    Ubi caritas       Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)

Closing Hymn  Lord, you give the great commission     Abbot’s Leigh

Organ    Jerusalem        C. Hubert. H. Parry (1848-1918)

 

October 11, 2015  +  The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir with Douglas Johnson, guest organist/choirmaster; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Toccata in F     Franz Xaver Murschhauser (1663-1738)

Opening Hymn 475  God himself is with us   Tysk

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 684  O for a closer walk with God   Caithness

Offertory Anthem    Lord, Lead us still   Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   O send out your light   Scott Lamlein (b. 1972)

Closing Hymn 601   O day of God, draw nigh   St. Michael

Organ   Herzlich tut mich erfreuen, op. 122, #4    Johannes Brahms

Franz Xaver Murschhauser was born in Alsace and studied in the cathedral school in Munich. From 1683 on, he served as music director of the Munich Frauenkirche. His music exemplifies the florid South German organ style, which was influenced by the music of Italian virtuosi such as Frescobaldi.  +  Johannes Brahms composed the Eleven Chorale Preludes, op. 122 in May and June 1896, while staying in Bad Ischl, a resort town in Upper Austria. Perhaps he worked them out at the organ in the parish church there. In any case, when he was so near the end of his life, Brahms left us these miniature organ pieces, examples of his ripest compositional style.

 

October 4, 2015  +  The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir; sermon by the Rev’d John Gedrick.

Organ   Now pray we all, God the comforter    Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Opening Hymn 400   All creatures of our God and King   Lasst uns erfreuen

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn   Love divine, all loves excelling    Blaenwern

Offertory Anthem    O sacrum convivium   Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Silent, surrendered   Margaret Rizza (b. 1929)

Communion Hymn 301   Bread of the world in mercy broken   Rendez à Dieu

Closing Hymn 482   Lord of all hopefulness   Slane

Organ   Fantasy on Lasst uns erfreuen    David Schack, 1971

The organ works of Buxtehude are especially beautiful and, knowing that Bach drew much inspiration from his works, we can trace the lineage of so much music that we hold dear back to this great master. These two ornamented chorale preludes form a great contrast to some of the more heroic works, and they naturally lift the spirit heavenward with each harmonic step. + The well loved John Wesley hymn text Love divine, all loves excelling is sung to a different tune today. The hymntune Blaenwern has long been associated with that text in England, having been sung famously at the wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate. Don’t worry, I love Hyfrydol also, and it will be back in the rotation. + The music of Margaret Rizza is fascinating, as she only began composing in 1997, at the age of 68. In those ten years, the compelling, clearly God-led works that have come from her pen have become very popular, both for the serious choral musician, and the seeker of quiet and meditation.

 

September 27, 2015  +  The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs; sermon by the Rev’d Linda Criddle.

Organ   Cantilena    Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901)

Opening Hymn 390  Praise to the Lord, the almighty   Lobe den Herren

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn   Great is thy faithfulness   Great is thy faithfulness

Offertory Anthem    Amazing Grace   arr. Jack Shrader, 1998

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   He watching over Israel (from Elijah)   Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Communion Hymn 668   I to the hills will lift mine eyes   Burford

Closing Hymn 450   All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!   Coronation

Organ   Fantasy on Lobe den Herren    Emma Lou Diemer, 1967

This morning’s Psalm will be chanted by the choir, with the whole congregation responding by singing a common Antiphon. A very traditional style of Anglican psalmody, the chant serves the text by presenting it in a way that magnifies the meaning behind the words. Not a time to “sit and listen”, the congregation is encouraged to follow the words in the bulletin while experiencing the sounds and and inspiration that the choir provides. + Jack Shrader’s arrangement of Amazing Grace is written in Blues/Gospel style that brings this familiar hymn to life with high drama. Let’s see if our English-style choir can make that happen!

September 20, 2015  +  The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir; sermon by Stacey Kohl.

Organ   Fugue in C Major, BWV 545   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Opening Hymn 477   All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine   Engelberg

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 602   Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love   Chereponi

Offertory Anthem    O for a closer walk with God    Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Lord, make me to know Thy ways   William Byrd (1540-1623)

Communion Hymn 325   Let us break bread together on our knees   Let Us Break Bread

Closing Hymn 660   O Master, let me walk with thee   Maryton

Organ   Prelude in C Major, BWV 545   Johann Sebastian Bach

The great Johann Sebastian Bach frames our service today, with a Prelude and Fugue from his early days as court musician in Wiemar. Bach’s genius and faith are evident in all of his works, and each is signed Soli Deo gloria – “to the glory of God alone.” + Tom Colvin, the writer of the hymn Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, was a pastoral missionary from Scotland to Ghana and a longtime member of the Iona Community. He successfully adopted many African tunes for use with Christian texts, in this case making loving connections between all races and classes as well as our service to God and each other. + Born around 1540, William Byrd studied music in his youth with the great Thomas Tallis, with whom he shared the position of organist at the Chapel Royal. Probably the most intellectual and varied of all of the British Renaissance composers, Byrd wrote not only Latin but also English language religious works as well as madrigals and a significant amount of great keyboard music. Today’s motet Lord, make me to know thy ways is a simple, direct prayer.

 

September 13, 2015  +  The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ   Préambule   Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

Opening Hymn 427    When morning gilds the skies    Laudes Domini

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 455   O Love of God, how strong and true   Dunedin

Offertory Anthem    I was glad   C. Hubert. H. Parry (1848-1918)

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem   Ubi caritas   Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986)

Communion Hymn 345   Savior, again to thy dear Name we raise   Ellers

Closing Hymn 522    Glorious things of thee are spoken    Austria

Organ    Carillon de Longpont   Louis Vierne

As we begin anew today, our choir brings two uplifting messages to our worship: “I was glad! Glad when they said unto me: we will go into the house of the Lord.” This Psalm text was set to music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry in 1902, and has been sung at every English Coronation since, as well as at the wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate. There is a middle section of the work that can only be performed in the presence of the reigning monarch. + Ubi caritas is perhaps the best known work of french composer Maurice Duruflé, and the most moving and finely wrought harmonization of this ancient Gregorian Chant. The beautiful harmonies and repeated moment on the word “sincerity” make it a perfect reminder that God’s central message is one of love. + Two organ voluntaries of french composer Louis Vierne bookend our worship service. A master of fantasy and tone-painting, Vierne invokes visions of a slow and beautiful sunrise inPréambule, and of church bells pealing after a celebration in Carillon de Longpont.

 

September 6, 2015  +  The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist and Baptism at 9:00 a.m. sung by the Summer Singers; sermon by the Rev’d William J. Eakins.

Organ   Adagio (Sonata I)   Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)

Opening Hymn 408   Sing praise to God who reigns above   Mit freuden zart

Sequence Hymn 470   There’s a wideness in God’s mercy   Beecher

Baptism Hymn 296   We know that Christ is raised   Engelberg

Offertory Anthem    As we gather at your table   Skinner Chávez-Melo, 1989

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn 493   O for a thousand tongues to sing   Azmon

Organ    Postlude in G   G. F. Handel (1685-1759)

 

August 30, 2015  +  The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. sung by the Summer Singers; sermon by Stacey Kohl.

Organ   Slow Air for Organ   Samuel Wesley (1766-1837)

Opening Hymn 423   Immortal, invisible, God only wise   St. Denio

Sequence Hymn 660   O Master, let me walk with thee   Maryton

Offertory Anthem     Taste and see   James E. Moore, 1992

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn  436   Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates   Truro

Organ    Choral Song   Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)

 

August 23, 2015  +  The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. sung by the Summer Singers; sermon by the Rev’d Timothy Hodapp.

Organ   Canzona on Liebster Jesu    Richard Purvis (1917-1992)

Opening Hymn 321   My God, thy table now is spread   Rockingham

Sequence Hymn 440   Blessed Jesus, at thy word   Liebster Jesu

Offertory Anthem     I am the bread of life     Jack Warren Burnam (b. 1946)

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn  563   Go forward, Christian soldier   Lancashire

Organ    Rondeau    Jean Joseph Mouret (1682-1738)

 

August 16, 2015  +  The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns and solo music by Caitlyn Semanie, harp; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Harp Prelude   The Nightingale    Deborah Henson-Conant (b. 1953)

Opening Hymn    460   Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!     Hyfrydol

Sequence Hymn    All who hunger gather gladly    Holy Manna

Offertory Music   Prelude on Slane     Robert Edward Smith, 1996

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Communion Music   Prelude in C Major    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Closing Hymn  488    Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart     Slane

Organ    Toccata in F    Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

 

August 9, 2015  +  The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns and solo music by Elizabeth Proteau, soprano; sermon by the Rev’d William Eakins.

Organ   Rhosymedre   Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1920

Opening Hymn   48   O day of radiant gladness    Es flog ein kleins Waldvogelein

Sequence Hymn   674   Forgive our sins as we forgive    Detroit

Offertory Anthem   If with all your hearts (from Elijah)   Felix Mendelssohn

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn  344   Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing       Sicilian Mariners

Organ    Andante Largo in D for Trumpet    John Stanley (1713-1786)

 

August 2, 2015  +  The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns and solo music by Margaret Beers, soprano; sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ    Aria from the 12th Concerto    George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Opening Hymn  527   Singing songs of expectation   Ton-y-Botel

Sequence Hymn  302   Father, we thank thee who hast planted    Rendez à Dieu

Offertory Anthem   Domine Deus (from Gloria)      Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Communion Anthem   The Twenty-Third Psalm   Albert Hay Malotte, 1937

Closing Hymn 690    Guide me, O thou great Jehovah    Cwm Rhondda

Organ    Processional   Robert Paoli, 1991

 

July 26, 2015  +  The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns, sermon by the Rev’d William Eakins, guest organist Douglas Bruce Johnson.

Opening Hymn 635   If thou but trust in God to guide thee   Wer nur den lieben Gott

Offertory Hymn 304 I come with joy to meet my Lord    Land of Rest

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn 309 O food to pilgrims given   O Welt, ich muss dich lassen  

July 19, 2015  +  The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton, guest organist Douglas Bruce Johnson.

Opening Hymn 537   Christ for the world we sing   Moscow

Offertory Hymn 343   Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless   St. Agnes

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn 708   Savior, like a shepherd lead us   Sicilian Mariners

July 12, 2015  +  The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton, guest organist Douglas Bruce Johnson.

   Opening Hymn 372   Praise to the living God   Leoni

   Offertory Hymn 671   Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound   New Britain

   Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

   Closing Hymn 686   Come, thou font of every blessing   Nettleton

July 5, 2015  +  The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns, sermon by the Rev’d William Eakins, guest organist Douglas Bruce Johnson.

Opening Hymn 718   God of our fathers, whose almighty hand   National Hymn

Offertory Hymn 599   Lift every voice and sing   Lift Every Voice

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn 719   O beautiful for spacious skies   Materna

 

June 28, 2015  +  The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ: Prelude on Cwm Rhondda     Paul Manz

Opening Hymn 594   God of grace and God of glory   Cwm Rhondda

Psalm 130     Anglican Chant, Henry Walford Davies

Sequence Hymn 705   As those of old their first fruits brought    Forest Green

Offertory Anthem: The Lord is my shepherd       Howard Goodall
Daaé Ransom, soloist

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Communion Hymn:   Nothing can trouble      Taizé Chant, Jacques Berthier

Closing Hymn 707   Take my life, and let it be consecrated     Hollingsdale

Organ:   Trumpet Voluntary in D Major    Jeremiah Clarke

 

June 21, 2015  +  The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns, sermon by the Rev’d William J. Eakins.

Organ: Berceuse    Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn  565   He who would valiant be       Monk’s Gate

Sequence Hymn   636   How firm a foundation            Foundation

Offertory Anthem: Pie Jesu (Requiem)     Gabriel Fauré
Madeline Green, soloist

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Communion Anthem: God so loved the world       John Stainer
Madeline Green, soloist

Closing Hymn     608   Eternal Father, Strong to Save       Melita

Organ:   Psalm 19        Benedetto Marcello

 

June 14, 2015  +  The Third Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. with hymns, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ: Pastorale in F     J.S. Bach

Opening Hymn 524    I love thy kingdom, Lord    St. Thomas (Williams)

Sequence Hymn  209   We walk by faith, and not by sight     St. Botolph

Offertory Anthem: God is my shepherd   Antonín Dvo?ák
Nicholas Filippides, soloist

Sanctus S-125   Richard Proulx, 1971

Closing Hymn    I love to tell the story    Hankey

Organ:  Short Prelude & Fugue in F Major      J. S. Bach

Hymn Sing in the Chancel follows the service, at approximately 10:00 a.m.

 

June 7, 2015  +  The Second Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, with Youth Choir recognition and promotion, sermon by the Rev’d Willam J. Eakins.

Organ: Carillon de Westminster   Louis Vierne (1870-1937)

Opening Hymn 410   Praise, my soul, the King of heaven    Lauda anima

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 620   Jerusalem, my happy home    Land of Rest

Offertory Anthem: Ev’ry time I feel the Spirit   arr. Moses Hogan

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem: Set me as a seal   René Clausen

Closing Hymn 525   The church’s one foundation    Aurelia

Organ:  Prelude in G Major, BWV 550   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

After the loss of his child, Rene Clausen, composer of Set me as a seal wrote: ‘Normally, when I am asked about the “inspiration” process, I laugh and deny inspiration in favor of work and effort. In this case, however, I just sat down and wrote the piece. I don’t know what is wrapped up inside these few, simple notes. I can say actually very little about the piece. Whenever I return to it, however, I am struck by the phrase “for love is strong as death”, because when I wrote it my actual feeling was “for love is stronger than death”; abiding, all-encompassing love absorbs even the pain of death. If the piece is about anything, it is about the simple but powerful conviction of permanent love that seeks to overflow the boundary between life and death. I can’t imagine a choir singing it without open hearts.’

 

May 31, 2015  +  Trinity Sunday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton.

Organ: Prelude on Nicaea   Thomas Canning, 1955
Prelude on Picardy   James Southbridge, 1969

Opening Hymn 362   Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty   Nicaea

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Canticle S236   Glory to you   John Rutter

Sequence Hymn 324   Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Picardy

Offertory Anthem: In the year that King Uzziah died   David McK. Williams

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem: God so loved the world   Bob Chilcott

Closing Hymn 473   Lift high the cross   Crucifer

Organ:    Allegro maestoso e vivace (Sonata II)    Felix Mendelssohn, 1845

In 325 AD, Church leaders convened in the town of Nicaea in Bithynia to formulate a consensus of belief and practice amongst Christians. What resulted was the Nicene Creed, a document passed on through the ages as one of the pillars of church doctrine. The primary function of this creed was to establish a firm belief in the Trinity, countering the heresy of Arius, who believed that Jesus was not fully divine. It was this creed that inspired Reginald Heber to write his great hymn, Holy, holy holy, with the intent that the hymn be sung on Trinity Sunday – eight weeks after Easter.  +  The prophet Isaiah had a remarkable vision of the heavenly realm, beginning In the year that King Uzziah died. His celestial vision depicts the highest order of angels, Seraphim. The name Seraphim is associated with the Hebrew verb which means “to burn”, suggesting that the Seraphim burn with devotion for God. The Seraphim, from Isaiah’s vision, have six wings. In the choral arrangement heard today, tone painting is used to dramatic effect, depicting the angels flying around the throne of God, using the lowest 32’ tones of the organ for quasi-tympani effects, and presenting the familiar Sanctus text with great emotion – here heard within its original context. The work ends plaintively, with Isaiah answering God’s call.  +  The short text ofGod so loved the world is so well-known because it explains the whole Easter story, encapsulating the essence of the Christian Gospel in under 30 words. Bob Chilcott’s setting is an unsentimental and profoundly beautiful alternative to the familiar movement by John Stainer.

12:30 p.m. Pipes Alive! Organ Concert: The Trumpet Shall Sound

with Jacob Humerick, trumpeter. Click here for details.

 

May 24, 2015  +  The Day of Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d Willam J. Eakins.

Organ: Fugue in D Major, BWV 532    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Opening Hymn 225   Hail thee, festival day   Salve festa dies

Gloria S-278    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Sequence Hymn 513   Like the murmur of the dove’s song   Bridegroom

Offertory Anthem: Hark, I hear the harps eternal   Southern Harmony tune, arr. Alice Parker, 1967

Sanctus S-128    William Mathias (1934-1992)

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei     Gerald Near (b. 1942)

Communion Anthem: Veni Creator Spiritus   Gregorian Chant

Closing Hymn 516   Come down, O Love divine   Down Ampney

Organ: Toccata on Veni Creator Spiritus   Maurice Duruflé, 1931

Part two of the Bach organ series brings us the Fugue in D Major. Obviously wanting to demonstrate his skill at the organ, especially with the pedals, Bach here shows his youth in other ways as well – the relentless repetition inherent in the main theme is reminiscent of a child pulling on a parent’s shirttail, trying to go home!  +  Hark, I hear the harps eternal is a perfect combination of the dancing Holy Spirit and the comforting Holy Spirit, as it presents a rhythmic, joyful image of our souls’ joyful entrance into heaven.  +  Veni Creator Spiritus is believed to have been composed by Rabanus Maurus in the 9th century. An invocation of the Holy Spirit, it has been included in many musical arrangements, including Gustav Holst’s 8th Symphony, as well as in the Duruflé set of variations for organ, the final movement of which we hear as this morning’s postlude.

 

May 17, 2015  +  The Seventh Sunday of Easter  +  Youth Sunday

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Youth Choir, reflections by Youth Group (YAC), homily by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton. Liturgical Dance choreographed by Susan Thaxton; Ray Palagy, percussionist.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Prelude: Sonata No. 1 (Six Canonic Sonatas)   Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
The Tummescheit Family Musicians

Opening Hymn 494   Crown him with many crowns   Diademata

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417   This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn    Here I am, Lord   Here I Am, Lord

Gospel Response: Deep River    Allan Bevan, 1998

Offertory Anthem: Jubilate Deo   Richard Purvis, 1943

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx, 1977

Fraction Anthem: Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard, 1986

Communion Hymn: Bless the Lord, my soul    Taizé song

Closing Hymn 400   All creatures of our God and King   Lasst uns erfreuen

Postlude: Nocturne in E-flat   Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)
Britt Emerick, piano

Heidi Tummescheit writes: A Canonic Sonata is one in which the players play the exact same music, but one or more measures apart, and that it forms a duet that sounds much like a conversation with a common vocabularly. +  Susan Thaxton writes: Every culture throughout history has used dance to express faith and spirituality.  The focus of Liturgical Dance is to deepen the worship experience and to express oneself through movement.  Children are natural “movers” and including Liturgical Dance in the Youth Sunday service is another way that children can express their faith and spirituality.   +  Britt Emerick writes: Frédéric Franciszek Chopin was a Polish composer of mainly piano solo pieces in the Romantic era.  He wrote the Nocturne in E-flat major, Op. 9 No. 2, at the age of 20.  The piece is reflective in mood but turns passionate near the end, subsiding to a calm finish.

May 10, 2015  +  The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult Choir, Sermon by the Rev’d William Eakins.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ:   Rhosymedre (“Lovely”)    Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1920

Opening Hymn 412   Earth and all stars   Earth and All Stars

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417   This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn  657    Love divine, all loves excelling   Hyfrydol

Offertory Anthem: Cantate domino   Hans Leo Hassler

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx, 1977

Fraction Anthem: Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard, 1986

Communion Anthem: If ye love me   Thomas Tallis

Closing Hymn 594   God of grace and God of glory   Cwm Rhondda

Organ: Prelude in D Major, BWV 532   Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Today’s prelude shows the God-given talent of Vaughan Williams at work: Though the hymntune Rhosymedre is remarkably simple (basically a collection of quarter notes), Vaughan Williams’ organ setting is remarkably lyrical and beautiful, employing a moving singing obligato and running bassline that all contribute to a soaring musical landscape.  +  The two anthems shared by our adult choir today are well-known pillars of the choral repertoire. Hans Leo Hassler often wrote in the polychoral style, meaning that two groups of singers trade off parts, but sometimes sing together as well. That device, along with alternation between a feeling of two and three to the bar really bring alive the “Sing to the Lord a new psalm” text.  +  Thomas Tallis wrote choral music under four different monarchs with widely differing religious practices. Under Edward VI (1547-1553), it was decided that all sacred choral music should be in English and be succinctly composed. Thus, If ye love me is one of the earliest examples of an anthem written in the vernacular.  +  Bach biographer Philipp Spitta (1841-1894) considered the Prelude and Fugue D Major, BWV 532 to be “one of the most dazzlingly beautiful of all the master’s organ works.” Composed in Weimar during Bach’s early years, the work is notable for its charm, drama, and virtuosity of the pedal line. The full work is presented in a “postlude series”… You’ll need to wait for Pentecost to hear the Fugue!

 

May 3, 2015  +  The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs.
Sermon by the Rev’d Susan Pinkerton: “Connections”

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ: Trumpet Voluntary   Gordon Young, 1969
Meditation on Abbott’s Leigh   Carl D.N. Klein, 1991

Opening Hymn 379    God is Love: let heaven adore him   Abbott’s Leigh

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417   This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 602    Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love   Chereponi

Offertory Anthem: Thou God of truth and love    Malcolm Archer

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx, 1977

Fraction Anthem: Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard, 1986

Communion Anthem: Send out your light   Scott Lamlein, 2009

Communion Hymn 315   Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray    Song 1

Closing Hymn 438   Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord   Woodlands

Organ: Toccata   Flor Peeters, 1955

The familiar hymntune Abbott’s Leigh appears in over 75 hymnals, and is considered to be the Rule Brittania of hymns. It was composed by Cyril Taylor (d. 1991), who was director of the BBC’s Religious Broadcasting department during World War II, while stationed at Abbot’s Leigh in England.   +   Malcolm Archer’s setting of this Charles Wesley text contains a highly lyrical melody and emotional connection. Pay special attention to the dramatic treatment of the middle verse: “Didst Thou not make us one, that being one we must remain? Together, travel on, and bear each others’ pain.” The text and tune lift up a universal message of following Christ, serving others, and God being with us in times of trouble.

 

April 26, 2015  +  The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. An African liturgy sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d Hope H. Eakins.

Congregational Rehearsal: African songs for the liturgy

Processional Hymn: Hallelujah! We sing your praises!   African Tune

Psalm Response: The Lord is my shepherd   African Tune

Sequence Hymn: Christ is risen, Alleluia   Tanzanian Tune

Offertory Anthem: The Lord is my shepherd   Thomas Matthews, 1956

Sanctus    Betty Carr Pulkingham, based on African melodies

Communion Hymns:   Thuma mina   Zulu Hymn
665   All my hope on God is founded   Michael

Closing Hymn: We are marching in the light of God   South African Hymn

In celebration of the ministry of Interim Rector Hope Eakins, this service is a compilation of African songs and prayers, with a slightly modified prayer of Bishop Desmond Tutu.

12:30 p.m. Pipes Alive! Organ Concert: Monumental Mendelssohn

Click here for podcast and printed program.

 

April 19, 2015  +  The Third Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by the Rev’d William J. Eakins.

Organ: The peace may be exchanged (Rubrics)     Dan Locklair, 1988

Opening Hymn 195    Jesus Lives!    Mowsley

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417   This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 296    We know that Christ is raised    Engelberg

Offertory Anthem: Be not afraid (Elijah)   Felix Mendelssohn, 1846

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx, 1977

Fraction Anthem: Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard, 1986

Communion Anthem: There is a season     Alfred Fedak, 1988

Closing Hymn  182    Christ is alive! Let Christians Sing    Truro

Organ:  Andante Largo in D for Trumpet     John Stanley (1713-1786)

The inspiration for Dan Locklair’s five-movement suite,  Rubrics, was the italicized rubrics (instructions) found within the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. Finding power within these simple notes, Dan brings them to life in music. The peace may be exchanged is a beautiful, lyric peace-prayer, using the warm string and diapason sounds of the organ.  +   Be not afraid is a brief, yet forcefully effective, reminder that God is with us at every moment, found halfway though the epic oratorio describing the vivid story of Elijah.   +   There is a season: It is difficult to hear this comforting text from Ecclesiates without calling to mind the popular 60’s song Turn, turn, turn. Seeing a far greater need to inspire the hearing of these powerful words, Albany, New York composer Al Fedak has crafted a melody that allows the choir to communicate the deep meaning of the text clearly and with great feeling.

 

April 12, 2015  +  The Second Sunday of Easter

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m., with hymns and youth soloists, sermon by the Rev’d Borden Painter.

Organ: Basse de Trompette   Jean-Adam Guilain (d. 1703)

Organ and Harp: Sanctus (Requiem)     Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Jia-Lin Koh, harp

Opening Hymn 208   Alleluia! The strife is o’er     Victory

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417   This is the feast   Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 180  He is risen, he is risen!  Unser Herrscher

Offertory Anthem: I want to walk as a child of the light    Kathleen Thomerson, 1970
Jia-Lin and Kay-Lin Koh, soloists

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx, 1977

Fraction Anthem: Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard, 1986

Communion Hymn    Give peace to every heart (Taizé)

Closing Hymn  205   Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!    Gelobt sei Gott

Organ:  Good Christians all, rejoice and sing!       Healey Willan, 1950

 

April 5, 2015  +  The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 8:00 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir,

and at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with brass and tympani; sermon by the Rev’d Hope E. Eakins.

Prelude: Sonata III in A Major   Felix Mendelssohn

Opening Hymn 207  Jesus Christ is risen today   Easter Hymn

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 199  Come, ye faithful, raise the strain     St. Kevin

Gospel Response: Hallelujah (from Messiah)   George Frideric Handel

Offertory Anthem: Christ the Lord hath triumphed over death   Raymond Weidner

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction Anthem: Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard

Communion Anthem: Alleluia    Randall Thompson

Communion Hymn 305  Come, risen Lord  Rosedale

Closing Hymn 210  The day of resurrection  Ellacombe

Organ, brass and tympani: Toccata (from Symphonie V)    Charles-Marie Widor

Music Notes: Worship begins this Easter with a “resurrection” Sonata by Felix Mendelssohn. It’s opening fugal theme builds in turmoil and intensity, set on top of the hymntune Aus tiefer not (Out of the depths). In the end, however, the clouds are parted in a triumphal hymn, and our antiphonal Trompette en Chamade (which has been silent in worship during the Lenten season) herald a bright new day.  +  Ever-popular Easter Hymnwas among the first hymns of a new popular style (for the early 1700s), in which more movement and spirit was attained by using more than one note per syllable.  +  The traditional St. John’s pairing of two great choral “Alleluias” continues this year, from the triumphal Handel chorus as a choral response to the Gospel, to the prayerful and so beautiful Randall Thompson during communion.  Both works are rightly sung by almost every choir – symbols of choral singing and spiritually powerful to singer and listener alike.

 

April 3, 2015  +  Good Friday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Service Leaflet

Good Friday Liturgy at 12:00 p.m.  messages by the clergy of St. John’s and St. James’s Church, at St. John’s

April 2, 2015  +  Maundy Thursday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Maundy Thursday Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.  sung by the Youth Choir

Organ: Choral dorien   Jehan Alain

Opening Hymn 315    Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray   Song 1

Sequence Hymn 325   Let us break bread together on our knees   Let us break bread

Offertory anthem: Ubi caritas   Maurice Duruflé

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion anthem: Ubi caritas   Jacques Berthier

March 29, 2015  +  The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II sung by the Adult Choir. The Liturgy begins in the Cloister at 10:30 a.m.

Processional Hymn 154  All glory, laud, and honor   Valet will ich dir geben

Sequence Hymn 168 O sacred head, sore wounded   Passion Chorale

Offertory Anthem: Sing me to heaven   Daniel E. Gawthrop

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem: Fragrant the prayer   Curt Oliver

Closing Hymn 158  Ah, holy Jesus!  Herzliebster Jesu

Sing me to heaven is perhaps the most written-about choral work of the 20th century, as many different meanings can be derived from the beautiful text.  Composed by American Dan Gawthrop, he says of its commission: “The director said she wanted something which speaks to the way that we, as singers, feel about music in our lives.”  Choral director Dan Wagner sums it up best: “I believe the Sing me to heaven text is really about music’s ability best express life’s deepest mysteries, greatest joys, and deepest sorrows. It is an ode to musical mysticism, in my opinion. I listen to it and am moved from my own point of view. My personal life experience – too much talking, not enough music! – leads me to affirm this piece and its text…when I die, I hope there’s more singing than talking!”

12:30 p.m. Pipes Alive! Organ Concert: Bach to Basics

Click here for program and podcast.

 

Thursday, March 25, 5:30 p.m.  +  Stop, Rest Pray: A Time for Lenten Reflection and Meditation

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Service Leaflet

Officiants: The Rev’d Hope and Bill Eakins

Piano: Scott Lamlein

Taizé Songs: Bless the Lord, my soul; Bring peace to every heart

 

Sunday, March 22, 2015  +  The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Partita Diverse Sopra: Christ, you are the light of day   Johann Sebastian Bach

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 474   When I survey the wondrous cross   Rockingham

Offertory: I hear a voice a-prayin’   Houston Bright, 1955

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem: Ave verum corpus   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Closing Hymn 699   Jesus, Lover of my soul   Aberystwyth

Organ: Prelude in E minor, “Cathedral”   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Notes:  On March 31st, we wish Johann Sebastian Bach a happy 330th birthday! Unlike the “partitas” of Bach and others, the “partite diverse” is a set of variation on a chorale tune. This set of variations, written in Bach’s youth, is a beautiful, colorful reminder of the light of Christ – always in our lives, even in darkness. Also written during his younger years, the “cathedral” prelude is improvisational in style. Both works employ a tension-building figure utilizing a single repeated note in the theme.

 

Sunday, March 15, 2015  +  The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Variations on Wondrous Love   Samuel Barber, 1959

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 439   What wondrous love is this   Wondrous Love

Offertory: God so loved the world (The Crucifixion)   John Stainer, 1887

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem: A Gaelic blessing   John Rutter, 1978

Communion Hymn 440   Blessed Jesus, at thy word   Liebster Jesu

Closing Hymn 473   Lift high the cross   Crucifer

Organ: Fugue (Sonata VI)   Felix Mendelssohn, 1845

Well-loved hymn What wondrous love is this has its roots in the shape-note tradition of the early 1800s. The hymnal titled The Southern Harmony includes the hymn, written in 3-part harmony, with notes whose shapes (triangles, squares, circles) indicated the distance between the notes. Samuel Barber’s variations on the tune are very engaging, beginning with a statement of the hymn much the same as the shape-note version, and then moving into expressive tone-painting.  While the final verse of our sung version leaves us with a profound sense of hope, the final Barber variation keeps us at the Cross: a haunting descending figure depicts the downward stretch of crucifixion.  +  John Stainer’s choral setting of the famous John 3:16-17 text is a standard of the choral repertoire, and part of a larger work, The Crucifixion, that was written as a meditation to aid in the understanding of the passion and death of Christ. The work is still performed annually at St. Marylebone in London, which commissioned it in 1887.

4:00 p.m. Concert: Choral Music for the Soul

St. John’s Youth and Adult Choirs and Orchestra: Click here for details.

 

Thursday, March 12, 5:30 p.m.  +  Stop, Rest Pray: A Time for Lenten Reflection and Meditation

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Service Leaflet

Officiants: The Rev’d Hope and Bill Eakins

Piano: Scott Lamlein

Taizé Songs: Bless the Lord, my soul; O Lord, hear my prayer

 

Sunday, March 8, 2015  +  The Third Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ: Introitus and Kyrie (Organoedia ad missam lectam)   Zoltán Kodály, 1942

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Anthem (Youth Choir): My eyes for beauty pine   Herbert Howells

Sequence Hymn 372   Praise to the living God   Leoni

Offertory: You are the center   Margaret Rizza
Violin: Douglas Bruce Johnson

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem: Agnus Dei (Mass in G)   Franz Schubert
Soloists: Margaret Beers, soprano; Aaron Krerowicz, bass

Closing Hymn 488   Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart   Slane

Organ: Ite, missa est (Organoedia ad missam lectam)   Zoltán Kodály, 1942

Margaret Rizza is a relative newcomer to the choral music scene, and her music has quickly taken its place among that of the Taizé community (Jacques Berthier) and Iona (John Bell). As those, Rizza’s music is meditative and prayerful, and hauntingly repetitive, bringing the listener into a new place of prayer and connection to God.  +  The organ prelude and postlude are by Zoltán Kodály, who revolultionized the method by which we teach theory and especially ear training to students of music. Though most of his music is based in the hungarian folk tradition, this organ mass is in a late romantic style, with many moods and dramatic tone painting. This work was later transformed into a Missa Brevis for choir, organ, and orchestra.

 

Thursday, March 5, 5:30 p.m.  +  Stop, Rest Pray: A Time for Lenten Reflection and Meditation

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Service Leaflet

Officiants: The Rev’d Hope and Bill Eakins

Piano: Scott Lamlein

Taizé Songs: Bless the Lord, my soul; Nothing Can Trouble

 

Sunday, March 1, 2015  +  The Second Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir; Sermon by Rev’d William Eakins.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ: Deo gratias   John Dunstable
Lonesome valley   Robert Powell

Kyrie Eleison S-84   Gregorian Chant, Orbis factor

Sequence Hymn 441   In the cross of Christ I glory   Rathbun

Offertory: Lord, lead us still   Johannes Brahms

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem: Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks    Herbert Howells

Closing Hymn 237   Let us now our voices raise   Gaudeamus pariter

Organ: Chaconne   Louis Couperin (1626-1661)

The organ music this morning spans several centuries, from the early 1400’s (John Dunstable), 1600’s (Louis Couperin), 1800’s (Brahms), and on up through the 20th century and still living today (Howells and Powell, respectively). Music is a timeless and powerful connection to God through the ages.  +  In his Lord, lead us still, Brahms has taken a simple German folk-melody and woven the verse together with his trademark inner voice lines and beautiful harmony.  +  A powerful, pleading “where is my God” is the central message of the Howells Psalm setting, but even more powerful is the imagery of the deer in placid fields, yet thirsty. From the first notes of the introdction, the listener is drawn into a musical landscape, which sounds as if it was already in progress long before we began hearing it.

 

Thursday, February 26, 5:30 p.m.  +  Stop, Rest Pray: A Time for Lenten Reflection and Meditation

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Service Leaflet

Officiant: Stacey Kohl, Postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Connecticut

Piano: Scott Lamlein

Taizé Songs: Bless the Lord, my soul; Stay with me

 

Sunday, February 22, 2015  +  The First Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs; sermon by Rev’d Hope Eakins.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet 

Organ: Prelude au Kyrie   Jean Langlais, 1952

Procession: The Great Litany   The Rev’d William Eakins, celebrant

Sequence Hymn 150   Forty days and forty nights    Aus der Tiefe rufe ich

Offertory: O for a closer walk with God   George Villiers Stanford

Sanctus    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Agnus Dei    Gregorian Chant, Deus Genitor alme

Communion Anthem: Kyrie Eleison (Mass in G)   Franz Schubert

Closing Hymn 688   A mighty fortress is our God   Ein feste Burg

Organ: A mighty fortress   Calvin Hampton, 1979

Lent brings us an opportunity for deeper reflection, as we take a break from musical fanfares and descants, and replace them with a silent procession and meditative chant. The service music that we will sing during Lent is all from the Gregorian Missal; both the Sanctus and Agnus Dei were famously set in Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem.  +  Schubert’s Mass in G is the most famous of his shorter mass settings. It was composed in less than a week in March of 1815, and creates an over-all devotional mood in his musical style.  +  Calvin Hampton (1938-1984) was one of the most prolific twentieth century church music composers; his music is featured in almost every church hymnal. This arrangement of Ein feste Burg successfully blends the well-known rhythms of the hymn with the isometric original version.

12:30 p.m. Pipes Alive! Organ Concert: Organ Fireworks

Click here for details.

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015  +  Ash Wednesday

Holy Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes at 7 a.m. (spoken) and 7 p.m. (with hymns)

Organ: Antiphon   Marcel Dupré, 1921

Hymn 144   Lord Jesus, Sun of Righteousness   Cornhill

Hymn 674   Forgive our sins as we forgive   Detroit

 

Sunday, February 15, 2015  +  The Last Sunday after Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. with hymns and organ music, sermon by Rev’d William Eakins. (Choir was cancelled due to inclement weather.)

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ: La Paix (Suite for the Royal Fireworks)   G. F. Handel (1685-1759)

Processional Hymn 137   O wondrous type! O vision fair   Wareham

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 129   Christ upon the mountain peak   Mowsley

Offertory: Overture (Suite for the Royal Fireworks)   G. F. Handel

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Closing Hymn 460   Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!   Hyfrydol

Organ: Fanfare   John Cook, 1952

 

Sunday, February 8, 2015  +  The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by the Rev’d Hope Eakins.

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ: Méditation   Maurice Duruflé, 1964

Processional Hymn 135   Songs of thankfulness and praise   Salzburg

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 411   O bless the Lord, my soul   St. Thomas

Offertory: Let all the world in every corner sing   Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: Ubi caritas   Maurice Duruflé, 1960

Closing Hymn 529   In Christ there is no East or West   McKee

Organ: Toccata on Veni Creator Spiritus   Maurice Duruflé, 1931

This morning we share three works by Parisian composer Maurice Duruflé. A powerfully spiritual impressionist, Duruflé’s music is almost all based in ancient chant, yet all of music has a mystical, “music for the soul” feel. Ubi caritas is perhaps his most cherished work, and perhaps the most moving setting anywhere of the so-important words: “from a sincere heart let us love one another.” See if you can hear the importance of the word “sincero” in that thought.  +  A completely different take on “mystical” is the Vaughan Williams setting of Let all the world in every corner sing.  The final work in the composer’sFive Mystical Songs, it is a joyful song of praise, with a  bell-ringing and cymbal-crashing mood.

Sunday, February 1, 2015  +  The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by Bishop Laura Ahrens

Link to:  Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Organ: Processional   Robert Paoli, 1991
Air for organ   Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876)

Processional Hymn 381   Thy strong word did cleave the darkness   Ton-y-Botel

Sequence Hymn 348   Lord, we have come at  your invitation   O quanta quallia

Offertory: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace    Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: Sing, my soul, his wondrous love   Ned Rorem, 1962

Closing Hymn 438   Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord   Woodlands

Organ: Choral Song    Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Samuel Sebastian Wesley seemed destined for the life of a church musician, as his middle name was taken from Johann Sebastian Bach. He did not disappoint: in a time that English church music had become less than satisfactory, Wesley was largely responsible for raising this standard through his own work as a composer and organist. In all his music, Wesley strived for an expressive and accessible sound, as evidenced in the three works presented in today’s worship. The exquisite Thou wilt keep him in perfect peaceremains one of the most-loved anthems in the repertoire.

Sunday, January 25, 2015  +  The Third Sunday after Epiphany

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth Choir, Sermon by Hope Eakins

Organ: Berceuse   Louis Vierne, 1914

Processional Hymn 408   Sing praise to God who reigns above   Mit Freuden zart

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 660   O Master, let me walk with thee   Maryton

Offertory: O God, my heart is ready   Peter Niedmann, 2005

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: Bread of the world, in mercy broken   John Abdenour, 1992

Closing Hymn 539   O Zion haste, thy mission high fulfilling   Tidings

Organ: Carillon de Longpont   Louis Vierne, 1914

O God, my heart is ready was written by two friends of St. John’s: Jane Penfield wrote the text, and Newington composer Peter Niedmann was commissioned to write the music in 2005.  As all of Peter’s works, it is characterized by a beautiful, accessible melody and accompaniment.   +   Louis Vierne was one of the long line of geniuses that were organist at Notre Dame de Paris, and made glorious music to the glory of God despite being blind.Berceuse (“Lullaby”) and Carillon de Longpont are from a collection of pieces written for home organ, and can be played with or without pedals. However, the repetitive carillon theme in the bass lends itself well to those largest pipes in the organ.

 

Sunday, January 18, 2015  +  The Second Sunday after Epiphany

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, Sermon by Bill Eakins

Organ: Two settings of Liebster Jesu
Richard Purvis, 1949; George Thalben-Ball (1896-1987)

Processional Hymn 7   Christ, whose glory fills the skies    Ratisbon

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 549   Jesus call us, o’er the tumult   St. Andrew

Offertory: Thou art the way    Robert Edward Smith, 2005

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: Agnus Dei (Mass for four voices)   William Byrd (1674-1744)

Communion Hymn 440   Blessed Jesus, at thy word   Liebster Jesu

Closing Hymn 535   Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim   Paderborn

Organ: Rondeau (Symphonies de Fanfares)    Jean Joseph Mouret (1682-1738)

Robert Edward Smith, a prolific composer of works for choir and organ, has been Composer-in-Residence at Trinity College, Hartford, since 1979. As evidenced by today’s setting of Thou art the way, his music has been described as “enthusiastically tonal and melodic.”  +  Richard Purvis and George Thalben-Ball provide two unusual settings of the german chorale Liebster Jesu in the prelude. Purvis was organist/choirmaster at Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, for many years, where he combined his talents as an Anglican musician with his theatre organ stylings, the latter of which is heard clearly in this beautiful arrangement.

 

Sunday, January 11, 2015  +  The First Sunday after Epiphany

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, sermon by Hope Eakins

Organ: Short Prelude & Fugue in G Major, BWV 557   J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude on Stuttgart   Malcolm Archer, 1991

Processional Hymn 76   On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry   Winchester New

Sequence Hymn 295   Sing praise to our Creator   Christus, der ist mein Leben

Baptism Hymn:   Child of blessing, child of promise   Stuttgart

Offertory: Beati quorum via   Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: Gracious spirit, dwell with me   K. Lee Scott, 1984

Closing Hymn 616   Hail to the Lord’s Anointed   Es flog ein kleins Waldvögelein

Organ: Rigoudon   André Campra, 1712

The eight “Short” Preludes and Fugues of Johann Sebastian Bach are often attributed to one of his students, Ludwig Krebs, as compositional exercises or teaching works. However, they remain among the most accessible and popular of the Bach opus list. + Our choirs aid us in worshiping God this morning with two beautiful melodies: Beati quorum via is perhaps the most perfect of English choral compositions, with a coda that invokes wonder and delight. Gracious Spirit, dwell with me matches the familiar chant,Adoro te devote, with a modern text and mystical accompaniment.

Sunday, January 4, 2015  +  The Second Sunday after Christmas

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast – Printed Sermon – Service Leaflet

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, sermon by Bill Eakins

Organ:  Kings of Orient, Puer Nobis   Alex Wyton, 1964

Processional Hymn  109   The first Nowell   The First Nowell

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 124   What star is this    Puer nobis

Offertory    What cheer? Good cheer!    Peter Warlock

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem     Saw you never in the twilight    Harold Friedell, 1955

Closing Hymn  119   As with gladness men of old     Dix

Organ:  Fugue on From heaven above     Johann Pachelbel

Sunday, December 28, 2014  +  The First Sunday after Christmas

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. with Margaret Beers, soprano, and Douglas Bruce Johnson, organ

Organ: Pastorale   J. S. Bach

Processional Hymn 82   Of the Father’s love begotten   Divinum mysterium

Gloria in Excelsis S-280   Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 89   It came upon a midnight clear   Carol

Offertory    Gesù Bambino      Pietro Yon

   Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem    He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd   G. F. Handel

Closing Hymn 107   Good Christian friends, rejoice   In dulci jubilo

Organ: In dulci jubilo   J. S. Bach

Thursday, December 25, 2014  +  Christmas Day

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:00 a.m.  with congregational Carols, and Jia-Lin Koh, harp

Organ: Good Christian friends, rejoice (In dulci jubilo) Marcel Dupré

Opening Hymn 96  Angels we have heard on high   Gloria

Sequence Hymn 79  O Little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis

Offertory: Noel nouvelet, Away in a manger

Communion: Let all mortal flesh keep silence, Silent night

Closing Hymn 100  Joy to the world!   Antioch

Organ: Joy to the World!   Wilbur Held

Wednesday, December 24, 2014  +  Christmas Eve

Service Schedule:

3:50 p.m.  Choral Prelude (Youth Choir)

4:00 p.m. Family Eucharist sung by the Youth Choir

10:30 p.m. Choral Prelude (Adult Choir) with string quartet

11:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult Choir with string quartet

Music listing:

Choral Prelude at 3:50 p.m. with Youth Choir

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. West, Berton

Torches  John Joubert 

Away in a manger   Normandy Tune

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 4:00 p.m. with Youth Choir

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 115    What child is this   Greensleeves

Offertory anthem: In the bleak mid-winter   arr. Robert Hugh

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: Nativity Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion Anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Carillon-Sortie   Henri Mulet

Choral Prelude at 10:30 p.m. with Adult choir and string quartet

Link to: Service Podcast – Prelude Podcast

Once in Royal David’s City  arr. Paul Halley

Torches   John Joubert

   Sussex Carol   arr. David Willcocks

Away in a Manger   Normandy Tune

Glory to God (Messiah)  George Frideric Handel

Pastoral Symphony (Messiah)  Handel

O holy night   Adolphe Adam, arr. West, Berton

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 p.m. with Adult choir and string quartet

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 115    What child is this   Greensleeves

Offertory anthem: Sing of a girl   Peter Niedmann

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: Nativity Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 101   Away in a manger   Cradle Song

Postcommunion Anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, st. 3 arr. Wolfgang Lindner

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Carillon-Sortie   Henri Mulet

 

December 21, 2014  +  The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Link to: Full Service Podcast

The St. John’s Christmas Pageant at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with Jeffrey Higgins and Thomas Hintz, trumpets

Prelude: Sung by the Choirs

Come, thou long-expected Jesus   German Tune

      Ave Maria   Tomas de luis Victoria

People, look east   Besançon Carol

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles  

With traditional pageant carols and the following Anthems:

Ding dong! merrily on high  arr. Charles Wood

The friendly beasts  Traditional French Carol

Torches  John Joubert 

Offertory Anthem: Glory to God (Messiah)  George Frideric Handel

Closing Hymn 87  Hark, the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn  

Organ and trumpets: My spirit be joyful (Cantata 146)  Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. E. Power Biggs

December 14, 2014  +  Advent Procession of Lessons & Carols

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Printed Program – Event Details

 

December 14, 2014  +  The Third Sunday of Advent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland  J. S. Bach

Processional Hymn 66 Come, thou long-expected Jesus   Stuttgart

Kyrie S-89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 65 Prepare the way, O Zion   Breden bag for Herran

Offertory Anthem: The Lamb   John Tavener

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Franz Schubert

Communion Hymn 104   A stable lamp is lighted   Adújar

Closing Hymn 72 Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes   Richmond

Organ: Carillon   Scott Lamlein

Music Notes: Nun komm der Heiden Heiland is a Lutheran chorale from 1524. The tune is presented here in a highly ornamented and emotionally charged setting by the master Bach as we prepare for worship. + “The Lamb” is a setting of a poem by William Blake, depicting the innocence of the Christ child, the beautiful creation of God. Part of Blake’s collection “Songs of Innocence” of 1789. Although the original poems were meant to be sung, Blake’s original tunes are lost to the ages. Sir John Tavener set the poem to music, explaining, “ ‘The Lamb’ came to me fully grown and was written in an afternoon and dedicated to my nephew Simon for his 3rd birthday.”

December 7, 2014  +  The Second Sunday of Advent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Three Settings of Veni Emmanuel

Paul Manz – Pietro Yon – Wilbur Held

Processional Hymn 56 O come, O come, Emmanuel   Veni Emmanuel

Kyrie S-89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 76 On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry   Winchester New

Offertory Anthem: A spotless rose   Herbert Howells

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: While all things were in quiet silence   Ned Rorem

Closing Hymn 67 Comfort, comfort ye my people   Psalm 42

Organ: Prelude in C Major (“9/8”), BWV 547   J. S. Bach

Music Notes: The origins of “O come, O come, Emmanuel” date to medieval times. In the 800s, a series of Latin hymns were sung, called the “O” Antiphons. Over time, these were restructured, and the first draft of the beloved hymn we know came from Anglican priest John Mason Neale, in 1851. Born to a family of clergy, Neale wanted to become a parish minister, but his poor health prevented this. He instead became the director of Sackville College, a home for elderly men. This proved to be a good match, as Neale was compassionate with a great heart for the needy. A traditionalist, he was outspoken against the change that other hymn writers like Isaac Watts stood for, but today we find Neale and Watts side-by-side in our hymnals. We owe Neale our gratitude for this great hymn, as well as “Good King Wenceslas,” “Good Christian Men, Rejoice,” and “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.”

November 30, 2014  +  The First Sunday of Advent

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme   J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

Processional Hymn 57 Lo! he comes, with clouds descending    Helmsley

Kyrie S-89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 61 “Sleepers, wake!” A voice astounds us   Wachet auf

Offertory Anthem: People, look east   Besancon Carol

Sanctus S-130   Franz Schubert

Fraction Anthem S-164   Franz Schubert

Communion Anthem: A new heaven   Robert Prizeman, 2004

Closing Hymn 601 O day of God, draw nigh   St. Michael

Organ: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme   Paul Manz, 1987

Music Notes: As we begin the season of advent, our music encourages us to watch, wait, and most importantly, keep awake! Two very different settings of the German chorale that forms the tune of our Sequence Hymn show the timelessness of both text and tune, with a dancelike, rhythmic prelude paired with a triumphant fanfare postlude. + Robert Prizeman’s choral setting of “A New Heaven,” written for the famous English choral ensemble Libera, reminds us of a different kind of waiting and watching… transporting us beautifully to a new heaven right here on earth.

November 27, 2014  +  Thanksgiving Day

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:00 a.m.

Prelude: All Things Bright and Beautiful   Scott Lamlein, 2014

Opening Hymn 397   Now thank we all our God   Nun danket

Sequence Hymn 433   We gather together   Kremser

Offertory: Gratitude   John Purifoy, 2000

Closing Hymn 290  Come, ye thankful people, come    St. George’s, Windsor

Organ: Nun Danket Alle Gott    Robert Edward Smith, 1996

November 23, 2014  +  The Last Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Now thank we all our God    Russell Schultz-Widmar (1944-)
Prelude on Kremser   John Ferguson, 2001

Processional Hymn 290   Come, ye thankful people, come   St. George’s, Windsor

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn  291   We plow the fields and scatter    Wir pflugen

Offertory Anthem: The Old Hundredth Psalm Tune   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion Anthem: Eternal Light   Leo Sowerby, 1958

Communion Hymn 433   We gather together   Kremser

Closing Hymn 494   Crown him with many crowns    Diademata

Organ:  Processional   William Mathias (1934-1992)

Music Notes: Perhaps it will feel like the longest ever introduction to the Presentation Doxology, but the full setting of Ralph Vaughn Williams “Old Hundredth” is one of the most powerful acts of gratitude in the choral repertoire, originally written for choir, congregation, organ and orchestra for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. + “We Gather Together” is a Christian hymn of Dutch origin written in 1597 by Adrianus Valerius as “Wilt heden nu treden” to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spanish forces in the Battle of Turnhout. In the United States, it is popularly associated with Thanksgiving Day and is often sung at family meals and at religious services on that day. + Our closing organ work celebrates the music of William Mathias, composer of the Gloria and Sanctus settings in use for the last several months. As the seasons change next Sunday and new music graces our service, we give thanks for the composer of these uplifting pieces.

November 16, 2014  +  The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Trumpet Tune   Henry Heron (1727-1789)
Prelude on Cwm Rhondda   Julia Calkins, 2002

Processional Hymn 477   All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine   Engelberg

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 593   Lord, make us servants of your peace    Dickinson College

Offertory Anthem: How can I keep from singing   arr. Edward Tyler, 1995

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion Anthem: Oculi omnium   Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Closing Hymn 594   God of grace and God of glory   Cwm Rhondda

Organ:  Trumpet Tune   David N. Johnson (1922-1981)

Music Notes: “God of grace and God of glory” was written in 1930 for the dedication of the famous Riverside Church in New York City by its pastor, Harry Emerson Fosdick. Its petitions reflected the trials of the day, and are still relevant in this age. Originally paired with the familiar tune Regent Square, the Welsh tune we use, Cwm Rhondda, was paired with the hymn by the Methodist Church in 1935 and gained huge popularity. Fosdick, however, disapproved of this, saying, “My views are well known – you Methodists have always been a bunch of wise guys.” Fortunately, such denominational competition is a thing of the distant past.

November 9, 2014  +  The Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ:  Voluntary in F    Eric Thiman, 1943
Prelude on Land of Rest     George Shearing (1919-2011)

Processional Hymn 436   Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates   Truro

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 68   Rejoice! Rejoice, believers    Llangloffan

Offertory: Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Gustav Holst (1874-1934)

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion Anthem: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring   J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

Closing Hymn 620 Jerusalem, my happy home   Land of Rest

Organ:  Toccata in F   Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)

Music Notes: Blind from birth, George Shearing was one of the most well-loved of the 20th century jazz pianists. Wanting to express his faith through his music, he composed a set of jazz preludes for organ, including this prayerful setting of ‘Land of Rest.’ + The Bach Communion anthem, a perennial favorite, is from a cantata (No. 147) written originally in Weimar in 1716 for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Later in Bach’s career he found it impossible to perform in Leipzig, because that city observed silence for the last three Sundays of Advent. Thus he revised it for the feast of the Visitation, where it was first performed in Leipzig in July, 1723. On many occasions Bach recycled and revised his own music, sometimes as a result of genuine inspiration, sometimes to create meaningful connections between pieces, and sometimes simply to find a way to be sure something as beautiful as ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’ didn’t simply disappear. + Buxtehude’s Toccatas are very different from the French Toccatas, made famous by Widor. Written in a free style in many tiny sections, each passing phrase brings on higher and more intense emotion. Buxtehude was one of Bach’s mentors, and, after travelling to North Germany to study with him, Bach was nearly fired from his own church position for playing music that was too “out there.”

 

November 1, 2014  +  All Saints’ Sunday

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ:  Adagio in G minor     Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)

Processional Hymn 287   For all the saints   Sine Nomine

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Youth Choir Anthem: I sing a song of the saints of God   Michael Bedford, 2004

Sequence Hymn 705   As those of old their first fruits brought     Forest Green

Offertory Anthem: Souls of the righteous   T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953)

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion Music:  Holy, holy, holy!   arr. Sylvia Wood – Jia-Lin Koh, harp
White’s Air   William Churchill Hammond

Closing Hymn 293   I sing a song of the saints of God   Grand Isle

Organ:  Psalm 19    Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739)

Music Notes: This morning’s choral music contrasts our Adult Choir’s a capella singing of the emotional setting of this Wisdom text with our Youth Choir’s joyful new tune for an old Episcopal favorite. The original text and tune for “I sing a song of the saints of God” was written in England, but never gained popularity there. Its inclusion in the 1940 Episcopal hymnal brought it to attention in the United States, and attempts to remove it from The Hymnal 1982 prompted a passionate letter-writing campaign. + Albinoni and Marcello were contemporaries during the Italian Baroque period, and Marcello was an aristocrat who wrote music as a hobby. “The heavens declare the glory of God” is the inspiration for this opening transcription of a larger choral work. +  The person that served my home church as organist for 60 years arranged “White’s Air” in the mid-20th century. Played at almost all parish funerals, the inscription on the score reads: “Nobody knows where the original tune came from – it must have come from heaven.”

October 26, 2014  +  The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Pastorale in F, S. 590 (Sec. 1 & 2)   J. S. Bach (1685-1750)
Prelude on St. Anne   Robert Edward Smith, 1996

Processional Hymn   680   O God, our help in ages past   St. Anne

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn   707   Take my life, and let it be consecrated   Hollingside

Offertory anthem:  Christ is our cornerstone     Noel Rawsthorne, 1993

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion anthem:  Lord, make me to know Thy ways   William Byrd (1540-1623)

Communion Hymn  314   Humbly I adore Thee   Adoro devote

Closing Hymn   609   Where cross the crowded ways of life    Gardiner

Organ:  Fugue in E-flat Major, S. 552 (“St. Anne”)   J. S. Bach

Music Notes: Johann Sebastian Bach is famous for weaving numbers into his works, adding deeper meaning for the theologian and scholar, and amazingly having beautiful music come forth at the same time, or even resulting from, the math. The Fugue in E-flat is loaded with 3s – three sections with distinct themes, representing the strength of God the Father, the youth of God the Son, and the joyful dancing of God the Holy Spirit. There are three distinct meters, yet they all “work together”, suggesting unity of the three parts. It gets much more complicated than that, and I’ll be happy to show you some very daunting formulas that show how Bach literally embedded theological meaning into the notes. It is a coincidence (or is it?) that the Father section echoes the hymn-tune for O God, our help in ages past.

October 19, 2014  +  The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Sonata II in C Minor   Felix Mendelssohn, 1841
Grave – Andante

Processional Hymn  718   God of our fathers, whose almighty hand   National Hymn

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Anthem:  You are my God   Bob Chilcott,  2005

Sequence Hymn  591   O God of earth and altar   King’s Lynn

Offertory anthem: Bread of heaven, on thee we feed   Peter Niedmann, 1996

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion Hymn 685   Rock of ages, cleft for me   Toplady

Closing Hymn  665   All my hope on God is founded   Michael

Organ:  Fugue from Sonata II in C Minor   Felix Mendelssohn, 1841

Music Notes: Our choirs share two contrasting anthems this morning: You are my God, written by Bob Chilcott of the King’s Singers, combines a haunting melody with a dramatic piano accompaniment. It was composed for AIDS victims in Scotland. + Bread of heaven, an early work by Newington composer Peter Niedmann, prepares us for communion with this timeless prayer: ‘Jesus, may we ever be grafted, rooted, built in thee.’ + After the Mendelssohn organ sonatas were publicly released, Robert Schumann described them as ‘intensely poetical, … what a perfect picture they form!’

 

October 12, 2014  +  The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, with Douglas Bruce Johnson, guest organist/choirmaster

Organ: Miserere. 3 parts & 4 parts   William Byrd

Processional Hymn  645   The King of love my shepherd is  St. Columba

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn  683   O for a closer walk with God   Caithness

Offertory anthem:  Oculi omnium   Charles Wood (1866-1926)

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion anthem:  O taste and see   Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
with Daaé Ransom, soprano soloist

Communion Hymn  316 This is the hour of banquet and of song   Canticum refectionis

Closing Hymn  569   God the omnipotent!   Russia  

Organ: Tiento XXVII     Francisco Fernández Palero

Music notes: Music has a way of drawing people and things together, and connecting what appears to be disparate, drawing us into circles of relationship and connectedness. This morning’s selections illustrate this phenomenon quite well.

In his long career, William Byrd (ca 1540-1623) served in both the courts and the chapels of three English sovereigns. Byrd’s two settings of the plainchant Miserere come down to us in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, a manuscript collection of pieces for keyboard that encompasses music from the long time-span of 1562-1612. The music of the 3-part settings is full of variety, exploiting the technique of rhythmic variation; the 4-part setting builds large phrases in the style that has its origin in the motets of the 15th century masters.

Charles Wood (1866-1926) was an influential Irish composer and folksong collector. Among his pupils were the British musical luminaries Ralph Vaughan Williams and Herbert Howells. His setting of the Latin motet “Oculi omnium” dates to the period after 1889, when he taught as a Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and exercised the role of Director of Music and Organist there. He was deeply involved in the reflorescence of music at the college, and also composed chamber music and edited collections of Irish folk songs.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) is regarded as the greatest English composer since Purcell (who died in 1695—a long time in between “greats”). His compositions span the entire breadth of styles and genres, from symphonies and oratorios to folksong collections. He served as editor of the 1906 English Hymnal, with Percy Dearmer. The spirit of the Sussex folksongs he knew and loved permeates the music of the brief motet, “O Taste and See,” which has become a perennial favorite.

Today is Columbus Day, and the postlude offers an aural glimpse of music that the explorer may himself have heard in church, either in his native Italy or in Spain. The music of Francisco Fernández Palero (? – 1597) is found in several important 16th century Spanish and Portuguese manuscript collections, alongside that of Antonio Cabezon. Together they are regarded as the founders of the Spanish school of organ playing, and may have influenced contemporary English keyboard composers (such as Byrd) in developing a widely imitated variation technique. The full title of this Tiento, “sobre Cum sancto spiritu de la missa De beata virgine de Jusquin,” alludes to its own musical heritage as a variation of a movement from a mass by the 15th century Flemish master Josquin des Prez (ca. 1450-1521), whose music influenced composers for more than a century after his death.

October 5, 2014  +  The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Partita on In Babilone   Michael Burkhardt

Processional Hymn 495 Hail, thou once despised Jesus!   In Babilone

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 628 Help us, O Lord, to learn   St. Ethelwald

Offertory anthem: I Hear a Voice A-Prayin’   Houston Bright

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: O nata lux   Morten Lauridsen

Closing Hymn 546 Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve   Siroe

Organ: Carillon   Herbert Murrill

Music Notes: Houston Bright, son of a Methodist minister and long-time professor of music at what is now West Texas A&M University, composed over a hundred choral works, but ‘I Hear a Voice’ is by far his most famous, and one of the few pieces written in this Gospel style. + ‘O nata lux’ is has been described as ‘eerily beautiful’… This motet is a moment in a larger orchestral work of Morten Lauridsen, in which the orchestra just falls away and the choir alone offers a poignant prayer.

 

September 28, 2014  +  The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Aria   Flor Peeters

Opening Hymn 435   At the Name of Jesus   King’s Weston

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 564  He who would valiant be   St. Dunstan’s

Offertory anthem: Cantate Domino   Hans Leo Hassler

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Set Me as a Seal   Rene Clausen

Communion Hymn 309 O Food to pilgrims given   O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

Closing Hymn 690 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah   Cwm Rhondda

Organ: Postlude on Cwm Rhondda   Paul Manz

Music Notes: After the loss of his child, Rene Clausen, composer of “Set Me As a Seal” wrote: ‘Normally, when I am asked about the “inspiration” process, I laugh and deny inspiration in favor of work and effort. In this case, however, I just sat down and wrote the piece. I don’t know what is wrapped up inside these few, simple notes. I can say actually very little about the piece. Whenever I return to it, however, I am struck by the phrase “for love is strong as death”, because when I wrote it my actual feeling was “for love is stronger than death”; abiding, all-encompassing love absorbs even the pain of death. If the piece is about anything, it is about the simple but powerful conviction of permanent love that seeks to overflow the boundary between life and death. I can’t imagine a choir singing it without open hearts.’

 

September 21, 2014  +  The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Offertorio in G   G.F. Handel
     Trio on St. Agnes   Richard Blake

Opening Hymn 522 Glorious things of thee are spoken   Austria

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 660 O Master, let me walk with thee   Maryton

Offertory anthem: O How Amiable   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Day by Day (Youth Choir)   Martin How

Communion Hymn 343 Shepherd of souls   St. Agnes

Closing Hymn 541 Come, labor on   Ora Labora

Organ: Grand Choeur on Austria   Richard Purvis

Music Notes: ‘O How Amiable’ is a staple of Anglican choral music; its pastoral imagery reflection on God’s glory culminate in a statement of one of our most beloved hymns, ‘O God our help in ages past.’ + Richard Purvis was for many years organist/choirmaster at Grace Church, San Francisco, and was adept at playing the organ in both classic and theatrical styles. He clearly focuses on the first word of the text here: ‘Glorious.’


September 14, 2014  +  The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Nun danket alle Gott   Georg Friedrich Kaufmann
Adagio (Sonata I)   Felix Mendelssohn

Opening Hymn 390  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty    Lobe denn Herren

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 674  Forgive our sins, as we forgive   Detroit

Offertory anthem: Dear Lord and Father of Mankind   C. Hubert H. Parry

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether   Harold W. Friedell

Closing Hymn 397   Now thank we all our God   Nun danket alle Gott

Organ: Postlude on Lobe denn Herren   Emma Lou Diemer

Music Notes: The hymn-tune ‘Union Seminary’, named after the institution in New York City, was written by Harold W. Friedell when he was organist of Calvary Church in New York and then set as an anthem after he became organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue. The matched Percy Dearmer text ‘Draw us in the Spirit’s tether’ is a powerful message of our common gathering as disciples, offering our lives as sacrifice to God. + Emma Lou Diemer’s setting of the favorite hymn-tune ‘Lobe denn Herren’ is a fantastic act of praise, using rock rhythms in the middle section and ending with a climactic gesture of sound.


September 7, 2014  +  The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Link to: Full Service Podcast – Sermon Podcast

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Sheep May Safely Graze   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 518  Christ is made the sure foundation    Westminster Abbey

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 614  Christ is the King!   Christus Rex

Offertory anthem: If Ye Love Me   Thomas Tallis

Sanctus S-128  William Mathias

Fraction anthem: S-166  Agnus Dei   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Bread of the World   John Abdenour

Communion Hymn 302  Father, we thank thee  Rendez a Dieu

Closing Hymn 657   Love divine, all loves excelling   Hyfrydol

Organ: Prelude in G Major, S. 550   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note:  On this Sunday of gathering and welcome, we share music of Thomas Tallis and Johann Sebastian Bach, two pillars of church music that are immortalized in the front left clerestory stained-glass window of the Nave. Transcribed from an alto aria, Sheep May Safely Graze presents a beautiful image of pastoral gathering. + John Abdenour is organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairfield, CT. His unison setting of this ancient text is both simple and moving.

 


May 25, 2014  +  The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude in E-flat Major, S. 552   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 665  All my hope on God is founded    Michael

Sequence Hymn 705  As those of old their first fruits brought   Forest Green

Offertory anthem: Sanctus (from St. Cecilia Mass)   Charles Gounod

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: I will bless the Lord at all times   John Abdenour

Communion Hymn 334  Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing  Alles ist an Gottes Segen

Closing Hymn 680   O God, our help in ages past   St. Anne

Organ: Fugue in E-flat Major, S. 552   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note:  Charles Gounod, because of his great popularity (especially from his operas) and his stylistic influence on the next generation of composers, was a towering figure in French music in the mid-nineteenth century. For two years he studied theology, but chose not to take holy orders; still, he was often referred to as “l’Abbé (Father) Gounod.” The Sanctus sung at the offertory is from his Mass dedicated to Saint Cecilia (the patron saint of music), written in 1855.  †  The communion anthem, written in 2007, is dedicated to Peter, Jenn, and Sophie Rose. † The genius of J. S. Bach manifested itself in many ways, including a fascination with numerology and symbolism. Bach’s fugue associated with the hymn-tune “St. Anne” (O God, our help in ages past) is a testament to the Trinity, written in triple meter, with a key signature of three flats, and in three sections. The first section represents God the Father with the stately foundation stops of the organ; God the Son is depicted in the lighter second section; the exuberant conclusion evokes the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

May 18, 2014  + The Fifth Sunday of Easter – Youth Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth Choir, with Adult Choir joining in Offertory anthem

Prelude: Allegro from Sonata IS. 525   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 412   Earth and all stars   Earth and All Stars

Sequence Hymn 413   New songs of celebration render   Louez a Dieu

Offertory anthem: Freedom Trilogy   Paul Halley

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Youth Choir and Church School: The Lord’s Prayer   arr. Peter S. Berton

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: God be with you till we meet again   Barry Rose

Communion Hymn 303   Father, we thank thee who hast planted   Albright

Closing Hymn Love Divine, all loves excelling   Beecher

Organ: Toccata on ‘Beecher’   Berton

Music Note:  The prelude is a merry piece written to teach Bach’s sons how to play the organ. †  The opening hymn, an exuberant contemporary Benedicite, Omnia opera Domini (a canticle, see S-229 in The Hymnal) brings into our repertoire of songs of praise traditional images as well as those that are very much a part of our present-day experience of God’s creation. The text was written in 1964 for the 90th Anniversary of St. Olaf College, Northfield MN; a tune of similar vitality lifts the text to heights of pure and almost uninhibited joyfulness. (Hymn note by Raymond F. Glover.) † Britishborn Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he directed the long-established intergenerational choir program and transformed the Cathedral’s music program into a rich combination of classical and contemporary music. He then became founder and artistic director of Connecticut’s acclaimed choirs, Chorus Angelicus andGaudeamus, based in Torrington. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In his Freedom Trilogy(1997), Halley freely integrates elements from a diversity of styles into a convincing new entity.  †  Barry Rose, former organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, composed the communion anthem as a commission for the boy and girl choristers of Grace Church in New York City in 2000. The text’s poet, Jeremiah Eames Rankin, was an abolitionist, champion of the temperance movement, minister of Washington D.C.’s First Congregational Church, and correspondent with Frederick Douglass. Rankin is best known as author of this hymn and “Tell It to Jesus.”    The communion hymn, by the late University of Michigan composition professor William Albright, is one of four tunes commissioned for a conference of musicians and clergy held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, in 1972. Its accompaniment includes a prescribed sequence of notes executed randomly, from tuned percussion instruments to create a celestial effect; in this context the ancient poetry takes on an even more cosmic dimension.  †   The final hymn’s tune is named for another famous abolitionist, The Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, founding Minister of Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, NY. The tune, originally composed for the text “Love divine, all loves excelling,” was composed by John Zundel, Beecher’s organist at Plymouth. Our organist was formerly organist of that church 1995-2002 and composed this Toccata in 2000 in a celebratory turn-of-the-last-century rock idiom within a traditional French Romantic structure.

May 11, 2014  + The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, with Youth Choir anthem

Prelude: Sheep may safely graze  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 410  Praise, my soul, the King of heaven   Lauda anima

Youth Choir: The Lord is my Shepherd   Howard Goodall

Sequence Hymn 516  Come down, O Love divine  Down Ampney

Offertory anthem: The Lord is my shepherd   John Rutter

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Brother James’s Air  arr. Gordon Jacob

Communion Hymn 708  Savior, like a shepherd lead us   Sicilian Mariners

Closing Hymn 646  The King of Love my shepherd is Dominus regit me

Organ: Hornpipe from Water Music   George Frideric Handel

Music Note: The Fourth Sunday of Easter, ‘Good Shepherd Sunday,’ could not be more fitting for Confirmation. The image of God as a shepherd was immensely appealing to the farming societies of Jesus’s day, as well as before (the Psalter) and through to the present age.  So many versions of Psalm 23 exist partly through this timeline of over two thousand years, and additionally because of the practice of “metrical psalmody” beginning with the Reformation in the 1500s.   †  The Youth Choir anthem is the theme music of the popular humorous British television show, “The Vicar of Dibley.” It includes a solo at the end for the smallest sheep, which was sung several years ago by our oldest singers when they were the smallest sheep.  †  Metrical psalmody was created to permit the easy congregational singing of psalms to pre-existing familiar hymn tunes, such as Psalm 100 paired with the tune of that name, “Old Hundredth” which we sing weekly at the presentation of the offering. Metrical versions of psalm texts are by nature paraphrases, adjusting the number of syllables per line into a formula determined by the meter of the music. “Brother James” is the familiar name ascribed to the spiritual leader James Macbeth Bain, born in Scotland in 1860. A somewhat eccentric personality of great popularity, he worked among the poor in London and wandered in nature for refreshment. He has been compared to St. Francis for his mystic insights combined with an irresistible charm and childlike trust of one who loves all people and all creatures. (Once when walking in the woods he caught his cast on a tree branch, and in freeing himself accidentally broke the branch, much to his annoyance. When asked to explain his annoyance, he responded “Man, I’ve just lost a real good friend. Many a fine cast have I found on that self-same branch.”) The metrical tune upon which the communion anthem is based is one of many beautiful melodies which came to him spontaneously. It has, in its simplicity, something of that rare quality of appeal which Maurice Baring describes as “a wonderful tune–a tune that opened its arms.”


May 4, 2014  + The Third Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist and Baptism at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Prelude: Prelude  from Prelude and Fugue   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Opening Hymn 180   He is risen, he is risen!   Unser Herrscher

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 296  We know that Christ is raised and dies no more   Engelberg

Baptism Hymn 294  Baptized in water   (sung to the tune of Hymn No. 8)  Bunessan

Offertory anthem: Mercy and truth are met together  Douglas Bruce Johnson

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: A Welcome World  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 192 This joyful Eastertide  Vruechten

Closing Hymn 208  Alleluia! The strife is o’er, the battle done  Victory

Organ: Awake, thou wintry earth   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Douglas Bruce Johnson is a retired professor of composition at Trinity College, Hartford. “Mercy and truth are met together” was written for the consecration of The Rev. Canon Wilfrido Ramos-Orench as Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese of Connecticut in 2000. It pays homage to Bishop Ramos-Orench’s Puerto Rican heritage by quoting the adorable call of the coqui, a species of small frog common in Puerto Rico. The brief text is revealed within a mystical mood, as if (in the words of teh composer) “a small window opened up to heaven and closed again.” This anthem is being sung in the concert ‘Celebrating Connecticut Composers’ this afternoon.  †  The communion anthem, written in 2007 for the baptism of another composer’s first child, is like a lullaby to describe the calm and joy both on earth and in heaven, to welcome a newly baptized person into the church family. At the end of the music is a place to mention by name the person or people being baptized. This anthem is the prologue to A Poet’s Requiem being performed with orchestra as part of the concert this afternoon. The first part of the music (before the choir enters) introduces a melody from a later movement of the Requiem, “To Love,” tying together a soul’s entry into the world, the love of God shown throughout a lifetime, and that love’s continuation after death.

 

4:00 pm  CONCERT   Celebrating Connecticut Composers

Click for further information and to order tickets online


April 27, 2014  + The Second Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Death and Resurrection  Jean Langlais

Opening Hymn 193  That Easter day with joy was bright  Puer nobis

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 209  We walk by faith, and not by sight  St. Botolph

Offertory anthem: Haec est dies   Jacob Gallus

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Rise up, my love  Healey Willan

Communion Hymn 212  Awake, arise, lift up your voice  Richmond

Closing Hymn 206  O sons and daughters, let us sing  O filii et filiae

Organ: Toccata on ‘O filii et filiae’  Lynnwood Farnam

Music Note: Today’s organ prelude bears the inscription, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55). One of Langlais’s earliest works, it portrays a vision of the life hereafter. Death is heard in the somber opening melody in the pedals; eternal life is represented by a Gregorian chant, the Gradual from the Requiem Mass, announced by a trumpet. These two ideas are combined, significantly, not so much in a struggle as in a unified crescendo toward the work’s victorious conclusion.  †  Healey Willan, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Canadian composers’ of church music, penned many ravishing miniatures. His 1929 motet “Rise up, my love” uses gentle flowing chords to describe flowers appearing in Eastertide, and ends with a reiteration of the invitation to ‘come away.’  † Lynnwood Farnam was an exceptional Canadian organ recitalist who moved to New York in 1918, first to Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and then to the Church of the Holy Communion. His tremendous American touring career tragically was cut short by a brain tumor. His only composition is this brief Toccata, and reportedly he launched into it invariably as a test piece when trying out an instrument new to him. ‘O filii et filiae’ is a hymn tune of uncertain origin, assumed to be either a French folk melody probably dating from the late fifteenth century, or perhaps a tune which began as a chant melody.


April 20, 2014  + The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day

at 8:00 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

and at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with brass and tympani

Prelude: Final on Haec Dies (from Symphonie Romane)   Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn 207  Jesus Christ is risen today   Easter Hymn

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 180  He is risen, he is risen!  Unser Herrscher

Offertory anthem: The Resurrection   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Alleluia  Randall Thompson

Communion Hymn 305  Come, risen Lord  Rosedale

Postcommunion anthem: Hallelujah (from Messiah George Frideric Handel

Closing Hymn 210  The day of resurrection  Ellacombe

Organ, brass and tympani: Toccata (from Symphonie V)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: The prelude is Widor’s ‘other’ Easter toccata, from his tenth and last organ symphony, based on the day’s traditional plainsong hymn Haec Dies (“This is the Day the Lord has made”). Widor describes this hymn as “a graceful arabesque…as difficult to fasten upon as the song of a bird…The rhythmical freedom of Gregorian chant clashes with out stern metronomic time…The only mode of fixing on the auditor’s ear so undefined a motive is to repeat it constantly.” In the symphony’s triumphant conclusion, the energy of the toccata rises and falls several times before arriving at a crowning Resurrection hymn, which recedes into a rich texture suggesting the ringing of bells.  †  The Resurrection was composed in 2000, commissioned by poet M. David Samples in memory of Wayne F. Maxwell Jr.  The text’s inherent dramatic possibilities are set for varied choral forces as a mini-cantata, with soloists which narrate the proceedings and inhabit characters as in a Bach Passion. The opening fanfare  is that of another plainsong hymn for Easter Day Victimae Paschali Laudes (“To the Paschal Victim let Christians offer their praises”), which recurs in the opening solo (“The bitter cross is over now”) and in the sparkling organ accompaniment preceding the announcement of the angel. The final choral section, with merry polyrhythms, briefly quotes the Hallelujah motive from Handel’s Messiah.  †  Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” surely established as one of the most beloved American choral compositions, was written in 1940 for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. Composed during wartime, the piece’s many moods around a single word of acclamation express the totality of the Easter message.


April 18, 2014  +  Good Friday

Good Friday Liturgy at 7:00 p.m.  sung by the combined Youth and Adult Choirs of St. John’s Church and St. James’s Church, West Hartford Center, at St. John’s Church

Psalm 22  Plainsong, Tone IV.1

Hymn 158  Ah, holy Jesus!  Herzliebster Jesu

Anthem: Ex ore innocentium  John Ireland

Hymn 166  Ah, holy Jesus!  Pange Lingua

Anthem: Were you there?   Bob Chilcott

Hymn 168  O sacred head, sore wounded   Herzlich tut mich verlangen

Organ: O sacred head, sore wounded   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The text of “Ex ore innocentium” (“From the mouths of innocents”) does not limit the view of Christ’s sacrifice to a child’s perspective, but invites all to consider the meaning of the cross through its vivid imagery, accompanied by compelling music. Its author, Bishop William Walsham How, was known for his ministry to children and was commonly called the children’s bishop. In addition to publishing several volumes of sermons he wrote a good deal of verse, including such well-known hymns as “Jesus! Name of wondrous love!” (the Hymnal 1982, No. 252),“O Christ, the Word Incarnate (632), and “For all the Saints” (287).  


 

April 17, 2014  +  Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.  sung by the Youth Choir

Prelude: In wonder (Pange Lingua) (from Hereford Variations)   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Opening Hymn 315    Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray   Song 1

Sequence Hymn 325   Let us break bread together on our knees   Let us break bread

Offertory anthem: O mysterium ineffabile   Jean François Lallouette

Sanctus S124  David Hurd

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus   Edward Elgar


April 13, 2014  +  The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

The Liturgy begins in the Cloister at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Choral Prelude: Hosanna to the Son of David  Thomas Weelkes

Opening Hymn: Ride on! ride on in majesty!   Winchester New

Processional Hymn 154  All glory, laud, and honor   Valet will ich dir geben

Sequence Hymn 474 When I survey the wondrous cross  Rockingham

Offertory anthem: Jerusalem (from Gallia)  Charles Gounod

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Crucifixus  Antonio Lotti

Communion Hymn 458  My song is love unknown  Love unknown

Closing Hymn 158  Ah, holy Jesus!  Herzliebster Jesu

Organ: Toccata: The Wondrous Cross (from Hereford Variations)   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Music Note:  French composer Charles Gounod, along with many others, turned to programmatic subjects in musical response to France’s military defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870). Dating from 1871, and written in England, the oratorio Gallia is thought to draw a parallel between the then national situation and that of Jerusalem stunned by the reversal of fate upon its Messiah. The concluding section asks the populace to consider its own affliction and to turn to God for forgiveness, with an almost barbaric opening, a tender solo sung by the Youth Choir, and a rousing choral expansion of the solo. †  Excepting two years in Dresden producing operas, Antonio Lotti spent his entire career at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, first as an alto singer, then as assisting assistant organist, assistant organist, main organist, and finally music director for the final four years of his life. Bach and Handel knew his work and may have been influenced by it. His 8-part setting of a brief text is justifiably famous, for its lavish dissonances and other expressive qualities so well suited to the event described.

 

5:00 pm: Concert    Hereford Variations

A 40-minute meditation for Holy Week, performed by the composer Peter Stoltzfus Berton with the St. John’s Choirs. Free. For information about this music: herefordvariations.org


April 6, 2014  +  The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prelude on ‘Playford’ (Harmonia Sacra, 1816)   Gerre Hancock

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 641  Lord Jesus, think on me  Southwell

Offertory anthem: Call to remembrance   Richard Farrant

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Hear my prayer, O Lord  Henry Purcell

Communion Hymn 314  Humbly I adore thee  Adoro devote

Closing Hymn 457  Thou art the way, to thee alone   St. James

Organ: Lamento (Suite Latine)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note:  Although it is apparent from the autograph that Purcell originally intended to add to the anthem ‘Hear my Prayer,’ it seems quite likely that having written it he realized how difficult it would be to match its brilliance, and deliberately wrote no more. What makes the music so outstanding is not so much its skillful construction for eight parts out of the most economical of means, namely two simple phrases and their inversions (one based on two notes only and the other on a short chromatic scale), but its strong sense of climax in the final bars. Not only is this prepared in gradually increasing intensity, but the reservation of the full eight-part texture, and the restrained range of the parts up to the last few bars, gives this climax the maximum effect. Then, very quickly and inevitably, the music comes to rest as the sonoroties clarify, and resolve into a simple four-part chord. (Purcell note by Christopher Dearnley.)  †


March 30, 2014  +  The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johann Sebastian Bach

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 567  Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old  St. Matthew

Offertory anthem: Out of the deep (Requiem  John Rutter

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks  Herbert Howells

Communion Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness  Schmucke dich

Closing Hymn 493   O for a thousand tongues to sing   Azmon

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johannes Brahms

Music Note: One of the penitential Psalms, Psalm 130 is part of the prayers for the faithful departed in Western liturgical tradition, is recited as part of the High Holidays in Jewish tradition, and has inspired countless musical settings. Its Latin title, De profundis, is used as a title to poems by Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Baudelaire, Christina Rossetti and C. S. Lewis, among others. In deep sorrow the psalmist cries to God (verse 1), asking for mercy (2-3). The psalmist’s trust (4-5) becomes a model for the people (6-7). The experience of God’s mercy leads the people to a greater sense of God. John Rutter’s setting from his 1985 Requiem features a solo cello and traces a similar journey, however ending where it began with a return to the opening text and music.


March 23, 2014  +  The Third Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Fantasie in C minor, S. 652   Johann Sebastian Bach

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 455  O love of God, how strong and true  Dunedin

Offertory anthem: The pelican   Randall Thompson

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus   Edward Elgar

Communion Hymn 692  I heard the voice of Jesus say  The Third Tune

Closing Hymn 690  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah   Cwm Rhondda

Organ: I call to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, S. 673   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Randall Thompson, well-known composer of choral and orchestral music, was born in New York City and educated at Harvard. He subsequently continued his musical studies in Europe and then held a series of academic appointments in music in the United States. The offertory anthem is from a cantata commissioned by Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, in 1968, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of its choir school. The text of this movement is quite remarkable. Its author, Phillipe de Thaun, was an Anglo-Norman poet, possibly from Caen in Normandy, who wrote a Bestiary around 1120 which he says he translated into French; evidence shows that he probably used a Latin bestiary possibly at least a hundred years old. In his volume he describes some 41 animals through the lens of Christian attributes. For example: The antelope’s two horns represent the biblical Old and New Testaments, with which people can cut themselves free of vice. People are also warned not to play in the “thickets of worldliness” where pleasure kills body and soul. At http://bestiary.ca/prisources/psdetail889.htm one can read English translations from various sources of the medieval descriptions of all these animals. According to this site, Philippe’s Bestiaire has been sometimes criticized by scholars as being poor poetry, but as one translator says, “…it should be remembered … that no more than a translation was proposed, and that this is an early work in a language still groping to express itself. All of these scholars appear to miss the excitement inherent in the fact that a tradition already ancient and rich had now entered the vernacular to become widely read and known in the next century and a half.” Imagine the magnificent present which a sumptuously illustrated translation of a Bestiary would have been to an adult or child some 900 years ago. Across the distance of an entire millennium, the original sources of a powerful devotional allegory continue to speak with relevance today, through modern translation and captivating music.  


March 16, 2014  +  The Second Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir, with ‘Come as you are’ Youth Choir anthem

Organ: Surrounding the Cross (from Hereford Variations)    Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 448  O love, how deep, how broad, how high  Deus tuorum militum

Anthem (‘Come as you are’ Youth Choir)  God so loved the world    Joel Martinson

Offertory anthem: The secret of Christ   Richard Shephard

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus   William Byrd

Communion Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love   Unde et memores

Closing Hymn 473  Lift high the cross    Crucifer

Organ: So now as we journey, aid our weak endeavor   Marcel Dupre

Music Note: The Prelude is based on the “other” tune (No. 449) for today’s Sequence Hymn found in our Hymnal. The tune is known as the “Agincourt Hymn”, believed to have been written in commemoration of King Henry V’s victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. In the context of the set of Lenten Meditations “Hereford Variations” to be heard here on Palm Sunday afternoon, it suggests the battles between animals depicted symbolically at the foot of a cross in a stained glass window, “copied in the Death of his son”, and extands also to a battle between major and minor tonality. †  Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Through the Offertory anthem we are invited to take encouragement for our pilgrimage through Lent. †  In 1575, Queen Elizabeth granted to Thomas Tallis and his pupil William Byrd an exclusive twenty-one year monopoly on music publishing, ensuring the preservation of their compositions and their continuing prominence today. Elizabeth (1558–1603) was a moderate Protestant who eschewed the more extreme forms of Puritanism and retained a fondness for elaborate ritual, besides being a music lover and keyboard player herself. Byrd’s output of Anglican church music (defined in the strictest sense as sacred music designed for performance in church) is surprisingly small, but it stretches the limits of elaboration then regarded as acceptable by some reforming Protestants who regarded highly wrought music as a distraction from the Word of God (Wikipedia). Byrd’sAve verum corpus is among the most frequently sung of the composer’s works, possibly because it is one of the least elaborate; it closely resembles music of his teacher, and combines homophony and counterpoint in a texture which allows the text clearly to be the focus of the expressive music.


March 9, 2014  +  The First Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Men’s Choir

Organ: Forty days and forty nights   Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 150   Forty days and forty nights   Aus der Tiefe rufe ich

Offertory anthem: Wilt thou forgive   DG Mason

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Behold, the Lamb of God   Paul Bouman

Communion Hymn 309   O Food to pilgrims given   O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

Closing Hymn 143   The glory of these forty days  Erhalt uns, Herr

Organ: Benedictus (from Mass for the Parishes)  Francois Couperin

The Offertory anthem, sung by the men of the choir, was written in 2002 for an Ash Wednesday service at Worcester Cathedral, England. The text was conceived not as a hymn but as a poem, and a great deal of its universal appeal derives from its unabashed particularity. John Donne calls attention to himself not only by punning on his own surname but also by making it the basis of the two rhymes running through all three stanzas. Less obvious, but no less important, is the second rhyme-word that concludes every stanza: more. This is the surname of Donne’s wife, whose maiden name was Ann More, who had died six years before. Perhaps one reason for the enduring immediacy of this poem is that, despite its particular references and its somewhat veiled theological concerns with original and habitual sin, it manages to convey a convincing sense of assurance. (Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Jeffrey Wasson.) The music amplifies this assurance with its strong final cadence, after the unresolved cadences ending the first two verses. 


March 2, 2014  +  The Last  Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Fugue in D minor, S. 539   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise   Salzburg

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 129  Christ upon the mountain peak   Mowsley

Offertory anthem: The Transfiguration  Larry King

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: O nata lux   Morten Lauridsen

Communion Hymn 137  O wondrous type! O vision fair   Wareham

Closing Hymn 460  Alleluia! sing to Jesus!  Hyfrydol

Organ: Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)  Dieterich Buxtehude

Music Note: The last Sunday after the Epiphany, or Transfiguration Sunday, is the last before the beginning of Lent and thus is the last opportunity until Easter to say or sing the word Alleluia.   †   Bach’s Fugue in D minor ‘transfigures’ a simple theme of repeated notes with endless creativity. The music is Bach’s own organ transcription of a piece he composed originally for the violin, hence its nickname, the “Fiddle” fugue.  †   Larry King was organist and choir director of Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City from 1968 to 1989. He composed several works incorporating pre-recorded synthesized sounds alongside traditional organ and choral writing, of an iconoclastic yet deeply spiritual nature. Today’s offertory anthem is one of these, and there is little that could be said to prepare the listener for the experience, intentionally as mystifying and bizarre and hopefully transcendent as the event it describes in music. The pre-recorded part is coordinated with the live performance using a stopwatch. It includes not only sounds from a synthesizer, but also echoing filtered sounds of the choir of Trinity Church, Wall Street.  †  Morten Lauridsen was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (1994–2001) and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years. In 2007 he received the National Medal of Arts from the President in a White House ceremony, “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.”  O nata lux, a text for the Feast of the Transfiguration, is certainly no exception.  †   The postlude reflects the day’s spirit of joyful enthusiasm, by both the nature of the music and the “radiant” key of C Major. In the Baroque period of their composition, keyboard instruments were tuned in such a way that some keys sounded more pure than others. Much music was written in keys with few sharps or flats, to avoid the out of tune “wolf” when playing in keys with many flats or sharps. Even after an “equal tempered” system of tuning made all keys sound more or less in tune, C Major continued to be particularly associated in the Classical period with festivity and grandeur, and has always been a triumphant key in organ music owing to C being the lowest note on the pedalboard, thus playing the largest, lowest available pipes.


February 23, 2014  +  The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

with service of Youth Choir Investiture and Promotion

Organ: Gospel Prelude on “What a friend we have in Jesus”  William Bolcom

Opening Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Anthem (Youth Choir): The Birds   Benjamin Britten

Sequence Hymn 545  Lo! What a cloud of witnesses   St. Fulbert

Offertory anthem: I hear a voice a-prayin’   Houston Bright

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: Deep River  Gerre Hancock

Communion Hymn 656   Blest are the pure in heart    Franconia

Closing Hymn 637   How firm a foundation   Lyons

Organ: Prelude on ‘Slane’   Hancock

Music Note:  In the prelude, University of Michigan composer William Bolcom captures the verve of a gospel hymn improvisation with the tune heard in very long note values.  Originally a poem, “What a friend we have in Jesus” was never intended by the hymn writer, Joseph Scriven, for publication. Upon learning of his mother’s serious illness and unable to be with her in faraway Dublin, he wrote a letter of comfort enclosing the words of the text. Some time later when he himself was ill, a friend who came to see him chanced to see the poem scribbled on scratch paper near his bed. The friend read it with interest and asked if he had written the words. With typical modesty, Scriven replied, “The Lord and I did it between us.” (Hymn note by Kenneth J. Osbeck.) In 1869 a small collection of his poems was published, entitled Hymns and Other Verses, and the musical setting soon followed which launched the enduring popularity of the pairing.   †   Belloc’s beguiling poem “The Birds'” published in 1910, has inspired at least twenty-five musical settings. That by Benjamin Britten (dating from 1929 when the composer was sixteen) sets the action of the birds into the colorful accompaniment, and also into the way the range of the voices takes flight. The concluding prayer comes back to earth with disarming simplicity, both profound and childlike.  †  Houston Bright, son of a Methodist minister, grew up in West Texas and spent his entire career there as a composer and music educator. The most popular of his some 100 original compositions remains the 1955 spiritual heard today: unexpected fare, perhaps, from the pen of one whose Ph.D. dissertation was “The Early Tudor Part-song from Newarke to Cornyshe,” and revealing of a diverse and largely unknown talent.  †  Another West Texan, one internationally known in Anglican circles is Gerre Hancock, from 1971-2004 Organist and Master of Choristers at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. His postlude on ‘Be thou my vision’ “previews” each phrase of the melody with imitative counterpoint in the manner of early Baroque hymn-tune composers, then disguises the tune somewhat by doubling its note values, all in the context of modern harmony. A second verse of the hymn is treated as an exciting build-up of the instrument with a reflective ending, reminiscent of the composer’s legendary improvisations following Evensong.


February 16, 2014  +  The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir with guests from the Greater Hartford Madrigal Singers

Organ:  If thou but trust in God to guide thee    Johann Philipp Kirnberger 

Opening Hymn 304   I come with joy to meet my Lord   Land of Rest

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 440  Blessed Jesus, at thy Word  Liebster Jesu

Offertory anthem: Cantate Domino   Hans Leo Hassler

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: If ye love me   Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn 635  If thou but trust in God to guide thee   Wer nur den lieben Gott

Closing Hymn 474  When I survey the wondrous cross   Rockingham

Organ:  Jesus, priceless treasure, S. 610   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Hans Leo Hassler was born in Germany though was very much influenced by the Ventian school of musicians, studying with Andrea Gabrieli in Venice.  He unites in an unusual degree the variety and warmth of harmony and expressiveness of the northern Italians with the continued traditions of the Flemish composers, who brought the art of contrapuntal polyphony to the point of perfection. (The Rev. Walter Williams)  †  Thomas Tallis flourished as a composer in Tudor England. He served the Chapel Royal from 1543-1585, composing and performing for four successive monarchs. He altered the language and style of his compositions according to the monarchs’ greatly varying demands (primarily in Latin for Henry VIII, then English for Edward VI who established Protestantism in England, back to Latin for ‘Bloody’ Mary who restored Catholicism briefly, and finally English for Elizabeth I), also composing church music in French and Italian. Tallis was a teacher of William Byrd, and in 1575 Elizabeth granted to Tallis and Byrd an exclusive twenty-one year monopoly on music publishing. Were it not for these political considerations, sacred choral repertoire today might not contain such a gem as “If ye love me” or many other works from this elegant period. 


February 9, 2014  +  The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Men’s Choir

Organ: Adagio  Emile Bourdon

Opening Hymn 488  Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart  Slane

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 381   Thy strong word didst cleave the darkness   Tony-y-Botel

Offertory anthem: Thy mercy, Jehovah   Benedetto Marcello

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: Tranquil Light   Roman Hurko

Communion Hymn 312   Strengthen for service, Lord   Malabar

Closing Hymn 518   Christ is made the sure foundation   Westminster Abbey

Organ: Caprice  Louis-Nicolas Clerambault

Music Note: The Men of the Choir sing alone today for some variety, as the Women sang on January 19. †  Born in Venice, Benedetto Marcello was a member of a noble family and his compositions are frequently referred to as Patrizio Veneto. In 1711 he was appointed a member of the Council of Forty (in Venice’s central government), and in 1730 he went to Pola asProvveditore (district governor). Marcello composed a variety of music including considerable church music, oratorios, hundreds of solo cantatas, duets, sonatas, concertos and sinfonias. Marcello was a younger contemporary of Antonio Vivaldi in Venice and his instrumental music enjoys a Vivaldian flavor.  †   Roman Hurko is a contemporary Canadian composer of Ukrainian descent, who writes sacred music in a style of Russian Orthodox musicians of past generations. A graduate of The Yale Institute of Sacred Music (Master of Arts and Religion) and The University of Toronto (B.A. Music History and Theory), he also studied composition with composer Father Ivan Moody in Portugal. In 1985, he co-founded the St. Evtymyj Youth Choir at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toronto. He soon began setting sections of the liturgy for the choir, and in 1999 completed and recorded the entire Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in commemoration of the second millennium of Christianity.


February 2, 2014  +  The Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Lord God, now open wide your heaven, S. 617  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 257  O Zion, open wide thy gates  Edmonton

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 259  Hail to the Lord who comes   Old 120th

Offertory anthem: Nunc Dimittis   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164 Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: When to the Temple Mary went   Johannes Eccard

Communion Hymn 499  Lord God, you now have set your servant free   Song 1

Closing Hymn 436  Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates   Truro

Organ: In peace and joy I now depart, S. 616  Bach

Music Note: The prelude is a depiction in music of the aged Simeon visiting the Temple in Jerusalem, heard in the rhythm of the pedal part which suggested to Albert Schweitzer the “uncertain steps of a pilgrim who has finished his course and now goes with weary steps to the gate of eternity.” Simeon then sang the Nunc Dimittis, having seen the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. This ‘limping’ is similarly depicted in the heavy steps of the accompaniment to the offertory anthem, which subsides in peace and becomes a radiant vision of glory.


January 26, 2014  +  The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite I and at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: The visible body of God; Pastorale (Hereford Variations)    Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Opening Hymn 671  Amazing grace! how sweet the sound   New Britain

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 255   We sing the glorious conquest before Damascus’ gate  Munich

Offertory anthem: Sing we merrily    Sidney Campbell

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem  S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: O nata lux    Morten Lauridsen

Communion Hymn 315  Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray  Song 1

Closing Hymn 302  Father, we thank thee who hast planted   Rendez a Dieu

Organ: The runner (Hereford Variations)  Berton   

Music note: The preludes and postlude today are variations on the hymn tune Hereford(Hymnal 1982, No. 704), from a larger set (Theme and 14 Variations) being presented here as the Organ Meditation for Palm Sunday this year. The music is inspired by a set of stained glass windows at Hereford Cathedral, England, depicting the life and works of the 17th century Hereford priest, Thomas Traherne.  In the window which inspired the first Prelude and the Postlude, a lush green landscape is seen, through which a figure is joyously running. (As we “run” to the continuation of the Annual Meeting today, you can hear the runner in the pedal part of this very brief piece.) In the window which inspired the Pastorale, hills and valleys are seen, reflected in the scales of the flute part; the middle section quotes the hymn “Nearer, my God, to thee.” †  Virtuoso Sidney Campbell served successively as organist of Southwark Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, and St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. His joyous setting of Psalm 81 treats the voice in a nimble instrumental manner, similar to the choral and solo vocal writing of J. S. Bach.  


January 19, 2014  +  The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II  at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Women’s Choir

Organ: Benedictus  Max Reger

Opening Hymn  599  Lift every voice and sing    Lift every voice

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 126  The people who in darkness walked   Dundee

Offertory anthem: Eternal source of light divine   George Frideric Handel

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: Mater ora filium   Charles Wood, arr. Harrison Oxley

Communion Hymn 321  My God, thy table now is spread   Rockingham

Closing Hymn 7   Christ, whose glorty fills the skies   Ratisbon

Organ: Fugue on ‘How bright appears the morning star’  Reger

Music notes: In the Episcopal Church’s calendar, Common Saints are a general category of lesser saints such as martyrs, missionaries, pastors, theologians, monastics and teachers, whose personal qualities or traits include heroic faith, love, goodness of life, joyousness, service to others for Christ’s sake, and devotion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is so recognized, with feast days on both his birth on January 15 and death on April 4. The opening hymn is sung in celebration of tomorrow’s holiday.  † The serene opening and closing music of the prelude by German Romantic composer Max Reger suggests the title text “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” while the exuberant contrapuntal middle section proclaims “Hosanna in the highest!”  Reger set today’s final hymn as a densely written twenty-minute chorale-fantasy, with the text of five stanzas appearing in the score. Its brilliant concluding fugue combines an exuberant original subject with the hymn tune which appears in long note values. If it has been said of Mozart’s music that there are “too many notes,” it is all the more justly said of Reger’s music that there are so many notes, it would be most economical to print merely the spaces between them, using white ink on black paper! In the postlude, the text being set by the composer is “Sing! Leap! Be jubilant, Rejoice! Thank the Lord; Great is the King of Glory.”


January 12, 2014  +  The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: How bright appears the Morning Star    Dieterich Buxtehude

Opening Hymn 497  How bright appears the Morning Star   Wie schoen leuchtet

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 121  Christ, when for us you were baptized   Caithness

Offertory anthem: Christ, whose glory fills the skies  T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem  S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: The three kings    Peter Cornelius, arr. Ivor Atkins

Communion Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love   Unde et memores

Closing Hymn 616  Hail to the Lord’s Anointed  Es flog ein kleins Waldvoegelien

Organ: In thee is gladness, S. 616    Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Psalm 96 exhorts all to ‘sing to the Lord a new song’; for 2014 we will thus sing a new psalm (chant).  Today’s chant, introduced last Sunday, will be in use until Lent, when a minor-key chant introduced a few years back will give a different mood to the penitential psalms of that season of the year.  With the ‘old’ familiar psalm chant as well, after a few months we will thus have a ‘repertoire’ of three chants as a congregation, available to fit the changing moods of psalms as they appear in the lectionary.  Today’s chant is quite easy: it is the first eight notes of Hymn 339 (last week’s communion hymn).  †  Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn was an English-born church musician who spent twenty-eight years at St. Paul’s Church, Albany, New York, and the final ten of his career at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem is an enduring favorite of his some two hundred works, and contains a splendid example of text-painting at the beginning of the second verse. “Day-spring” is the beginning of dawn; “Day-star” is the morning star. “Sun of Righteousness” is an attribute spoken of Christ in Malachi 4:2 (referring to God’s blessings on the good): “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.” This reference also underscores the double-meaning of “Sun” as “Son” in the context of Epiphany. †  The opening hymn “How bright appears the morning star” (No. 497) is sung as an accompaniment to the soloist in the communion anthem, and its text is thus sung simultaneously in the background.


January 5, 2014  +  The Second Sunday after Christmas

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first Anthem sung by Youth Choir)

Organ: The shepherds     Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 124  What star is this, with beams so bright   Puer nobis

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Anthem (sung by the Youth Choir): Brightest and best  Malcolm Archer

Sequence Hymn 517   How lovely is thy dwelling-place   Brother James’ Air

Offertory anthem: Tomorrow shall be my dancing day  John Gardner

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164  Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: Epiphany  Skinner Chávez-Melo

Communion Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness  Schmücke dich

Closing Hymn 109  The first Nowell the angel did say  The First Nowell

Organ: Good Christian friends, rejoice, S. 729   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Psalm 96 exhorts all to ‘sing to the Lord a new song’; for 2014 we will thus sing a new psalm (chant). Today’s will be in use until Lent, when a minor-key chant introduced a few years back will give a different mood to that season. With the ‘old’ psalm chant as well, after a few months we will thus have a ‘repertoire’ of three chants as a congregation, available to fit the changing moods of psalms as they appear in the lectionary. Today’s chant is quite easy: it is the first eight notes of Hymn 339 (today’s communion hymn).  †  Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. From a set of nine meditations on the birth of Christ (1935), today’s prelude depicts colorfully the shepherds, initially placed in a starry landscape (serene and mysterious, they have just found the babe lying in the manger); then “having seen the child, returning, glorifying and praising God.” The shepherds can be heard warming up their pipes, then playing a merry tune. As Messiaen’s pupil Jon Gillock observes: “A simple, naive melody comes forth in the style of an organ Noël popular during the French classical period (such as those of Daquin), always with variations. First we hear the simple melody…followed by its echo, taken by another instrument; and then, the melody ornamented, again repeated in echo. Perhaps two of the shepherds are taking turns playing while the others listen in contemplation.” This is done in the context of Messiaen’s distinctive, exotic harmonic language and rhythms.  †   The offertory anthem summarizes the entire life of Christ with emphasis on the coming Epiphany season of the revelation of Christ’s divine majesty through miraculous works and events.  As commonly interpreted by St. Paul from the biblical imagery of the Song of Songs, “My true love” is the one holy, catholic, apostolic church. “Tomorrow” is any time after the resurrection, which allows the disciples to look back at Jesus’ baptism, life, suffering, and death through the filter of the resurrection. And the “dancing day” is the entire feast of salvation in the New Testament era. The theme of the dance is unique among traditional carols and is set by John Gardner in a lighthearted medieval-renaissance style, perhaps inspired by the medieval parallels among many fifteenth-century “cradle prophecy” carol texts, in which the infant Christ foretells his future to his mother while seated in her lap. (Anthem note adapted from the New Oxford Book of Carols by H. Keyte/A. Parrott; and J. Miller.)

December 29, 2013  +  The First Sunday after Christmas Day

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Good Christian friends, rejoice Vincent Lübeck

Opening Hymn 82  Of the Father’s love begotten  Divinum mysterium

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 89  It came upon a midnight clear  Carol

Offertory anthem: See amid the winter’s snow  John Goss

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: In the bleak mid-winter  Harold Darke

Communion Hymn 115  What child is this  Greensleeves

Closing Hymn 107  Good Christian friends, rejoice  In dulci jubilo

Organ: Lord Christ, the only Son of God, S. 601   Johann Sebastian Bach


Wednesday, December 25, 2013  +  Christmas Day

 Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 a.m.  with organ music and congregational Carols

Organ: The Nativity   Jean Langlais

Opening Hymn 93  Angels from the realms of glory  Regent Square

Sequence Hymn 78  O Little town of Bethlehem  Forest Green

Offertory: Partita on Vom Himmel hoch   Ernst Pepping

Communion: Good Christian friends, rejoice (In dulci jubilo)  Marcel Dupré

Closing Hymn 100  Joy to the world!   Antioch

Organ: Rhapsody sur les Noëls   Eugène Gigout


Tuesday, December 24, 2013  +  Christmas Eve

      Service Schedule:

3:50 p.m.  Choral Prelude (Youth Choir)

4:00 p.m. Family Eucharist sung by the Youth Choir

10:30 p.m. Choral Prelude (Adult Choir) with string quartet

11:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult Choir with string quartet

      Music listing:

  Choral Prelude at 3:50 p.m. with Youth Choir

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  arr. Dale Adelmann

This little babe (from A Cermony of Carols)   Benjamin Britten

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 4:00 p.m. with Youth Choir

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: Go tell it on the mountain  John Abdenour

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, arr. Gerre Hancock

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor

  Choral Prelude at 10:30 p.m. with Adult choir and string quartet

Once in Royal David’s City  arr. Paul Halley
Gloria from Coronation Mass in C, K. 317   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Ave Maria   Franz Biebl
No small wonder   Paul Edwards
Pastoral Symphony from Messiah   George Frideric Handel
O holy night   Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Berton

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 p.m. with Adult choir and string quartet

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: Sing of a girl   Peter Niedmann

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, st. 3 arr. Wolfgang Lindner

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor


December 22, 2013  +  The Fourth Sunday of Advent

The St. John’s Christmas Pageant at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with Jeffrey Higgins and Thomas Hintz, trumpets

Prelude: Sung by the Choirs

Ave Maria   Franz Biebl

Ding dong! Merrily on high  arr. Charles Wood

A merry Christmas  arr. Arthur Warrell

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles  

With traditional pageant carols and the following Anthems:

Ding dong! merrily on high  arr. Mack Wilberg  

The friendly beasts  Traditional French Carol

Torches  John Joubert 

What Child is this?    arr. Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Offertory anthem: Gloria (Coronation Mass in C)  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Closing Hymn 87  Hark, the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn  

Organ and trumpets: My spirit be joyful (Cantata 146)  Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. E. Power Biggs


December 15, 2013  +  The Third Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (with a Youth Choir anthem)

Organ: Magnificats I, V   Marcel Dupré

Closing Hymn 72  Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes   Richmond

Kyrie  S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Youth Choir anthem: Watchman, tell us of the night    Bruce Saylor

Sequence Hymn 67  Comfort, comfort ye my people   Psalm 42

Offertory anthem: This is the truth sent from above   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Edward C. Bairstow

Communion Hymn 597  O day of peace that dimly shines  Jerusalem

Closing Hymn 539  O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling  Tidings

Organ: My soul doth magnify the Lord, S. 648   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The preludes are based on the first and final sections of text of the Magnificat. First, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ Mary’s song of joy and praise upon hearing she would bear the Christ child, appears in a merry lyrical texture of two against three. Then, in ‘He remembering his mercy, hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever’  the imminent fulfillment of ancient prophecy is depicted in the long-held chords and the pedals slowly descending as if from heaven to earth; the gentle dissonances resolve into meditative peace. This music is from a set of versets (organ responses to choir passages based on liturgical texts) originally improvised at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1919, and written down at the behest of Dupré‘s admirer from across the channel Claude Johnson (president of the Rolls Royce automobile company).  †  The communion hymn was created for the Hymnal 1982 out of urgings from the Hymnal Commission to include hymns on world peace, and also to include the tune ‘Jerusalem’ by the British composer and teacher Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. To satisfy these requests, the Commission asked Carl P. Daw, Jr. to write a text on peace that would fit the Parry tune. The tune was written in 1916 for William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem,” which contains a zeal for all things English, and the setting quickly became a second ‘national anthem’, still sung on many great public occasions in England. In a musical context specifically embracing while also redirecting a nationalist association, the new text (a paraphrase of a favorite Advent passage, Isaiah 11:6-9) takes on a meaning perhaps broader than the intention of the creators of any of its individual parts. (Imagine a rendition of ‘Joy to the World’ set to the music of ‘O beautiful for spacious skies.’)(Hymn note adapted from an essay by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Alec Wyton.)


December 8, 2013  +  The Second Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Men’s Choirs

Organ: Savior of the nations, come, S. 659   Johann Sebastian Bach  

Opening Hymn 76  On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry  Winchester New

Kyrie  S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 65  Prepare the way, O Zion  Bereden vag for Herran

Offertory anthem: This is the record of John  Orlando Gibbons

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S164   Jesus, Lamb of God   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: Lo, how a rose e’er blooming   Dale Adelmann

Communion Hymn 54  Savior of the nations, come!   Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Closing Hymn 59  Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding   Merton

Organ: Savior of the nations, come, S. 599   Johann Sebastian Bach  

Today’s offertory anthem is an example of a ‘verse anthem,’  a type which developed and was very popular during the early 17th to the middle of the 18th centuries in England. In a verse anthem the music alternates between contrasting sections for a solo voice or voices and the full choir. The organ provided accompaniment in liturgical settings, but viols took the accompaniment outside of the church. Verse anthems were a major part of the English Reformation due to the use of English rather than Latin, and because the use of soloists allowed the text to be expressed more clearly as decreed by the monarchy. ‘This is the record of John’ was written by Gibbons for a visit of the Archbishop to his alma mater, St. John’s College, Oxford. †  Dale Adelmann is Music Director of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. His alma mater is St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he sang in the chapel choir and directed The Gentlemen of St. John’s. His powerful setting of the sixteenth-century Lo, how a rose e’er blooming was composed for the choir of men and boys of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo. The music takes full advantage of the “new” third stanza of this hymn, added in the 19th century in Germany and added to Episcopal hymnals in 1940.


December 1, 2013  +  The First Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Prelude on Aberystwyth   Claude Means

Opening Hymn 640  Watchman, tell us of the night  Aberystwyth

Kyrie  S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 56  O come, O come, Emmanuel (stanzas 1-4)  Veni, veni, Emmanuel

Offertory anthem: We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God   William McKie

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come   Paul Manz

Communion Hymn 324  Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Picardy

Closing Hymn 57  Lo! he comes, with clouds descending  Helmsley

Organ: Sleepers, wake! S. 645  Bach

Music note:  The brief anthem before the candlelighting was written this year by the distinguished composer Peter Niedmann (Music Director of Church of Christ, Congregational in Newington). It contains the elements of the prayers said on each of the four Sundays in Advent. Mr. Niedmann’s newest carol Sing of a girl was commissioned by Harvard University Choir for its annual service of Nine Lessons and Carols this year, and will receive its Connecticut premiere here at St. John’s on Christmas Eve. †  Prolific Lutheran composer Paul Manz wrote the communion anthem in 1954. The appeal of the composition, with modal elements lending a haunting, medieval quality to certain passages, has been enormous; it has sold over a million copies around the world and has been recorded hundreds of times. The origin of the text, assembled from Revelation 22 by the composer’s wife (a frequent collaborator), was in response to the near death of their three year old son from a rare form of pneumonia. Their son was spared and is now a Lutheran bishop in Minnesota.   The Advent hymn-tune Helmsley was first printed with this text in London in 1765, and first published in America in 1799. An earlier version of the tune exists in an almost flippant, secular style. It was not widely used in Anglican/Episcopal circles until Ralph Vaughan Williams selected it for inclusion in The English Hymnal of 1906. He transformed it into a stately Edwardian melody by his harmonies (faithfully transcribed in our hymnal), revealing the tune’s potential as a solemn processional. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Nicholas Temperley and Geoffrey Wainwright.)


November 28, 2013  +  Thanksgiving Day

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:00 a.m.

Preludes on Kremser   Russell Schulz-Widmar & Wilbur Held

Opening Hymn 433  We gather together   Kremser

Sequence Hymn    Great is thy faithfulness (insert)

Offertory: Simple Gifts   Alice Jordan

Communion: Meditation on Christe Sanctorum   Richard Warner

Closing Hymn 290  Come, ye thankful people, come    St. George’s, Windsor

Postlude: Nun Danket Alle Gott  Marcel Dupré


November 24, 2013  +  The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King

Holy Eucharist Rite I  at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Intrada   Grayston Ives

Opening Hymn 477  All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine   Engelberg

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 483  The head that once was crowned with thorns   St. Magnus

Offertory anthem: I was glad    C. Hubert H. Parry

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: Laudate Dominum  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Communion Hymn 328   Draw nigh and take the Body of the Lord   Song 46

Closing Hymn 494  Crown him with many crowns  Diademata

Organ: Grand-choeur dialogué    Eugène Gigout

Music Note: Influenced as a composer principally by Bach and Brahms, Parry evolved a powerful diatonic style which itself greatly influenced future English composers such as Elgar and Vaughan Williams. Parry joined the staff of the Royal College of Music in 1884 and was appointed its director in 1894, a post he held until his death. In 1900 he succeeded John Stainer as professor of music at Oxford University. His own full development as a composer was almost certainly hampered by the immense amount of work he took on, but his energy and charisma, not to mention his abilities as a teacher and administrator, helped establish art music at the center of English cultural life. He was knighted in 1902, the year of composition of this anthem which is traditionally sung at the coronation of British monarchs and among Parry’s most celebrated compositions.   †   Mozart composed two complete settings of the vesper psalms in 1779-80, for use in the celebrated evening services of Salzburg cathedral. From the more well-known setting, Vesperae solennes de confessore (K. 339) comes the soprano aria “Laudate Dominum,” written for the remarkable singer Maria Magdalena Lipp (the wife of composer Michael Haydn). Mozart composed many pieces for her, and this beguiling example, in which the choir enters for a doxology of serene simplicity, was a particular favorite of many nineteenth-century singers and arrangers.  

 

5:00 pm Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

The St. John’s Choirs combined with the Choir of Congregation Beth Israel

Prelude: Now thank we all our God   Sigfrid Karg-Elert

ANTHEMS:

Shalom Rav (Sovereign Lord of Peace)  Natasha Ulyanovsky  (sung by the Congregation Beth Israel Choir)

Hine ma tov   Erik Contzius (sung by the combined choirs)

A Song of Thanksgiving    Peter Stoltzfus Berton  (sung by the combined choirs)

A grateful heart    Mary Plumstead  (sung by the St. John’s Youth Choir)

I will bless the Lord at all times    John Abdenour (sung by the St. John’s Adult and Youth Choirs)

HYMNS:

433  We gather together   Kremser

424  For the fruit of all creation    East Acklam

290  Come, ye thankful people, come    St. George’s, Windsor

Postlude: Now thank we all our God   Johann Sebatian Bach, arr. Virgil Fox


November 17, 2013  + The 26th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: O God, thou faithful God   Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Opening Hymn 482  Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy   Slane

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 7  Christ, whose glory fills the skies   Ratisbon

Offertory anthem: Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God   T. Tertius Noble

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem   S166  Jesus, Lamb of God   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Batter my heart   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 313  Let thy Blood in mercy poured   Jesus. meine Zuversicht

Closing Hymn 632  O Christ, the Word Incarnate   Munich

Organ: Now thank we all our God   Karg-Elert

Music Note: T. Tertius Noble emigrated to American church music when, after serving at Ely Cathedral and York Minster, he moved to New York in 1913 to establish a choir program along Cathedral lines at then-newly-rebuilt Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue. In 1919 Dr. Noble founded the Saint Thomas Choir School to educate the parish’s boy choristers, an institution that continues to thrive today as the only remaining such school in America (enrolling solely church-affiliated choristers), and one of only four remaining in the world. The much-beloved anthem ‘Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God’ was published in 1915, and is dedicated to Noble’s friend and colleague Arthur S. Hyde, who in 1908 succeeded Leopold Stokowski as organist and choirmaster of nearby St. Bartholomew’s Church, Park Avenue. Hyde had been a pupil of Charles-Marie Widor; in the music of the anthem one can hear the influence of Edward Elgar (in the harmonies and the long phrases), and perhaps also Widor (in the organ interludes when a solo tone blending into the bass register recalls textures from the French master’s organ symphonies).   †  John Donne was a poet, satirist, lawyer and a cleric in the Church of England. He is considered the pre-eminent representative of the metaphysical poets, noted for his vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially compared to that of his contemporaries. (Wikipedia) For the last ten years of his life he was Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Two of his poems are set to music in The Hymnal 1982(Nos. 140-141; 322). The brief communion anthem sets lines from one of his Holy Sonnets, inviting us to be overwhelmed and made new, as a segue to the communion hymn’s refrain, similarly imploring “Thou didst give thyself for me, now I give myself to thee.”


November 10, 2013  +  The 25th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I  at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (with Youth Choir anthems)

Organ: Requiescat in Pace  Leo Sowerby

Opening Hymn 401  The God of Abraham praise   Leoni

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

“Come as you are” Youth Choir: Non nobis, Domine   William Byrd

A song of Thanksgiving   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sequence Hymn 413  New songs of celebration render   Rendez a Dieu

Offertory anthem: Greater love hath no man  John Ireland 

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem  S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: Soul of my Savior  Richard Shephard

Communion Hymn 310  O saving Victim, opening wide   Herr Jesu Christ

Closing Hymn 718  God of our Fathers, whose almighty hand  National Hymn

Organ: Elegy    George Thalben-Ball

Music Note: Of his Requiscat in Pace, Leo Sowerby wrote: “It was written as a tribute to those who went ‘over there’ in 1917-1918, and didn’t return. I feel that the music tells its own story of the eventual triumph of the spirit over the unimportance of bodily or material things, but don’t quote me…I wouldn’t want to be taken for a Christian Scientist!”    †   John Ireland excelled particularly at writing music for the piano and the solo voice; his few pieces of church music date mostly from the turn of the last century, when both he and Ralph Vaughan Williams were students at London’s Royal Academy of Music. “Greater love” resourcefully draws on several texts to illuminate our inheritance as the Redeemed of God, set to music of a fitting variety of characters. Written in 1912, the anthem predates specific reference to veterans, referring to the more general stewardship of our lives.   †  George Thalben-Ball was organist and choir director of London’s famed Temple Church for nearly sixty years. He composed several anthems and organ works, of which the best known is his meditative Elegy for organ. This piece originated in an improvisation which Thalben-Ball played at the end of a live BBC daily religious service during World War II, when the service finished a couple of minutes earlier than expected. So many listeners to the broadcast telephoned the BBC to ask what the composition was, that he decided to write down his improvisation as well as he could remember it.


November 3, 2013  +  All Saints’ Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult choirs, with Susan Knapp Thomas, harp

Harp Prelude    Susan Knapp Thomas, harp

Opening Hymn 293  I sing a song of the saints of God  Grand Isle

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 623  O what their joy and their glory must be  O quanta qualia

Offertory Anthem   Introit and Kyrie (from A Poet’s Requiem)  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sanctus    Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthems: In paradisum (from A Poet’s Requiem)  Berton

Closing Hymn 287  For all the saints  Sine Nomine

Organ: Improvisation on Grand Isle (transcr. Todd Wilson)   Gerre Hancock

Music Note: A now-famous ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, France has exported a large amount of small music, readily memorized and singable by all while receiving communion as a sort of deeply spiritual mantra, refrain, or catatonic meditation (perceived according to one’s ability, perhaps, to appreciate the simple things in life). The brief bit we hope YOU will sing today during communion, based on the Requiem plainchant which began the Offertory, is inspired by this tradition and also by the popular concert-audience involvement used to great effect by Bobby McFarrin. The choir does it once, you repeat ad nauseum; if you go over-count, it won’t matter as there’s a fail-safe ending. Please see page 27 of the new red St. John’s Choirs annual Program Book for background on A Poet’s Requiem, being premiered here in May with orchestra. †  In the same spirit of lighthearted yet profound participation in the ongoing company of saints, or “great cloud of witnesses” in this world and beyond (expressed so well in the opening hymn), the postlude, just on the proper side of the verge of cheeky, captures the essence of delight in living for others.


October 27, 2013  + The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Aria; It is well with my soul    Craig Phillips

Opening Hymn 637  How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord   Lyons

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 656   Blest are the pure in heart   Franconia

Offertory anthem: The Beatitudes   Craig Phillips

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem  S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: Set me as a seal    Rene Clausen

Communion Hymn 314  Humbly I adore thee   Adoro devote

Closing Hymn 680  O God, our help in ages past   St. Anne

Organ: Kyrie! Thou Spirit divine, S. 671   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints Parish, Beverly Hills, California and a prolific, nationally known composer. The two preludes are from an early collection (1997), safely within the bounds of tonality. The compelling setting of the Beatitudes (2008) is essentially a set of variations (as is the text) on a melody of irregular meter, introducing gently dissonant harmony when appropriate. The text directly colors the repeated statements and the glorious crescendo at the end; one’s peaceful reassurance culminates in a great outburst that has been building throughout the preceding variations.  


October 20, 2013  + The Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Prelude in B Major, Op. 99 No. 2   Camille Saint-Saens

Opening Hymn 704  O thou who camest from above   Hereford

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Youth choir anthem: A grateful heart    Mary Plumstead

Sequence Hymn 709  O God of Bethel, by whose hand   Dundee

Offertory anthem: There is a land of pure delight   Grayston Ives

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem   S166  Jesus, Lamb of God   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: I sat down under his shadow    Edward C. Bairstow

Communion Hymn 711   Seek ye first the kingdom of God   Seek Ye First

Closing Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love   Unde et memores

Organ: Improvisation in A minor, Op. 150 No. 7  Camille Saint-Saens

Music Note: Today’s opening hymn is sung in anticipation of the Four Choirs Festival concert next Wednesday evening featuring the choir of Hereford Cathedral. The text is from Charles Wesley’s Short Hymns on Select Passages of the Holy Scriptures (1769); the Biblical text referenced is Leviticus 6:13 (The fire on the altar shall be kept burning; it shall not go out.)  The music, by Charles Wesley’s grandson Samuel Sebastian Wesley, was composed during the years which S.S. Wesley served as organist of Hereford Cathedral (1832-1835) for the Three Choirs Festival at Hereford. This Festival, held annually since 1715 and rotating between the cathedral cities of Gloucester, Worcester and Hereford in the west of England, is one of the world’s oldest classical choral music festivals. † Grayston Ives began his musical career as a boy chorister at Ely Cathedral and later studied music at Cambridge University. After teaching music for a period, he became a member of the King’s Singers, from 1978 to 1985. Until 2009 he was Director of Music at Magdalen College, Oxford, and has been in great demand as a composer and arranger. The offertory anthem (2002) was written in memory of Vernon Openshaw, an organist and choirmaster who died at the age of 43. Its descriptions of heaven, and of our reluctance to look forward to the journey there, as observed centuries ago by Isaac Watts, deliver a sense of calm assurance. † 


October 13, 2013  + The Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Prelude on St. Peter   Harold Darke

Opening Hymn 655  O Jesus, I have promised   Nyland

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 411  O bless the Lord, my soul!   St. Thomas

Offertory anthem: A Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester   Louis J. White

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem  S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: Sicut cervus    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Communion Hymn 315  Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray   Song 1

Closing Hymn 493  O for a thousand tongues to sing   Azmon

Organ: Allegro maestoso e vivace (Sonata II)  Felix Mendelssohn

Music Note: St. Richard of Chichester is supposed to have recited the popular prayer ascribed to him on his deathbed, written down in Latin by his confessor. The first English translation to use the rhyme “clearly, dearly, nearly” is thought to be one from 1913; the first including the phrase “day by day” followed in 1931. The prayer became especially popular in America following its adaptation for the musical Godspell in 1971. Louis White’s version dates from 1947.  †   Some scholars have traced the origins of Renaissance polyphony to a kind of musical representation of an ancient philosophy known as the “music of the spheres.” The Ancient Greek Philosophy of Plato, Pythagoras and many others had been “rediscovered” in the Middle Ages. Among the cosmological theories they advanced was that as the planets swept through the solar system they each made a perfect tone that together created a wonderful and perfect celestial harmony. In the 16th Century Kepler and others reintroduced this ancient cosmology. This may have been one of factors that influenced the sound of Renaissance Polyphony which captured the sounds of heaven and brought them to earth for the faithful to contemplate and pray with. Much of it is highly mystical and can assist deep prayer and express great longing for God. One of the great musical masterpieces of the Church, Palestrina’s setting of the beginning of Psalm 42 beautifully depicts a musical “sigh.” As the notes soar the longing builds and you can hear the choir giving an almost perfect expression of the human yearning for God. The music comes to a peaceful end on a note of hope that one day we shall see God. –Msgr. Charles Pope, Music to Long By: A Brief Meditation on Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus


October 6, 2013  + The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude: All glory be to God on high, S. 676   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 11  Awake, my soul, and with the sun   Morning Hymn

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 551  Rise up, ye saints of God!   Festal Song

Offertory anthem: Jubilate Deo   William Walton

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem   S166  Jesus, Lamb of God   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Bread of the world   John Abdenour

Communion Hymn 312  Strengthen for service, Lord   Malabar

Closing Hymn 535  Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim   Paderborn

Postlude: Gigue from Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, S. 1007   Tanya Anisimova, cello

Music Note:  J. S. Bach is credited with at least ten settings of the hymn-tune Allein Gott in der Höh (All Glory be to God on high, Hymnal 1982 No. 421). This music and text have been paired since the early 1500s and constituted the Gloria in congregational settings of the Holy Eucharist in Bach’s day, hence the frequent demand for creative (not to mention lengthy) material to introduce it. In the context of a three hour service, a five minute elaborate introduction to the singing of a hymn gave no one the slightest concern, but instead was expected, inviting a personal meditation on the meaning of the hymn. The prelude today is one of these, with the initial notes of the melody inspiring a florid and merry trio.  †  British composer William Walton wrote in many styles, including film scores and opera. His suitably joyous Psalm 100 is a late work, written for events celebrating his seventieth birthday in 1972. After a rhythmically intense opening for two four-part choirs, it contrasts two alternating trios (expressing the ‘quiet’ side of joy) with simpler choral passages supported by an ostinato organ part.   John Abdenour is organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairfield, Connecticut. His unison setting (from 1992) of a text two centuries old amplifies the poet’s profound immediacy  Today’s postlude (and prelude) are offered as a part of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s weeklong Bachtoberfest music festival. The performing duo of cellist/composer Tanya Anisimova (who lives in Virginia) and local pianist Pi-Hsun Shih will appear in our Sacred Music at the Red Door concert series during the 2014-2015 season; you can preview their music at www.tanyaanisimova.com.

 

CHORAL EVENSONG October 6 at 5:00 p.m.

SUNG BY THE ST. JOHN’S CHOIRS
COMBINED WITH THE TRINITY CHOIRS
at Trinity Church, 120 Sigourney Street, Hartford

Preces and Responses: Philip Radcliffe
Phos hilaron: Hymn 31   Most Holy God, the Lord of Heaven  Dunedin  (descant: Bert Landman)

Psalm: 148 (Anglican Chant by George Thalben-Ball)

Canticles: C. Villiers Stanford in C
Anthem: Give unto the Lord, Op. 74  Edward Elgar

Office Hymn 414 God, my King, thy might confessing   Stuttgart


September 29, 2013  + The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Prelude and Fugue in C Major, S. 545   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 705  As those of old their first fruits brought   Forest Green

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 574  Before thy throne, O God, we kneel   St. Petersburg

Offertory anthem: Lord, you have searched me out   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem  S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: I will bless the Lord at all times    John Abdenour

Communion Hymn 707  Take my life, and let it be   Hollingside

Closing Hymn 625  Ye holy angels bright   Darwall’s 148th

Organ: Allegro from Sonata No. 1 in E-flat  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Music Note:  In the offertory anthem, searching is symbolized by the powerful pull between major and minor tonality heard in the opening triplet motive of the accompaniment. A variety of textures and moods suits the wide emotional range of Psalm 139 and pays homage to the long history of musical settings of the psalms, with solo, choral and chant sections. In the chant section, a duet between an adult and a child is based on the interval of the descending minor third, which research shows to be a remarkably constant first musical utterance of children around the world regardless of native cultural tradition. Is it not amazing that God would know us before we are born, each in our individualities, and also give us a common first voice?   †   John Abdenour is organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairfield, Connecticut. His setting (from 2007) of a bit more of the same communion text sung last week (“O taste and see”), is dedicated to Peter, Jenn and Sophie Berton.  †   The postlude is an organ-solo transcription of the first of the seventeen “Epistle” Sonatas for organ and instruments, composed during Mozart’s tenure as organist of Salzburg Cathedral. These brief single-movement works were played between the reading of the Epistle and the Gospel. Shortly after Mozart left Salzburg, the Archbishop mandated that an appropriate choral motet or congregational hymn be sung at that point in the liturgy, and the “Epistle Sonata” fell into disuse.


September 22, 2013  + The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir, with ceremony of Youth Choir investiture and promotion

Prelude: Praise to the Lord, the almighty, S. 650   Bach

Opening Hymn 390  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty  Lobe den Herren

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Youth choir anthem: Bless, O Lord, us thy servants    Martin How

Sequence Hymn 488  Be thou my vision   Slane

Offertory anthem: The last words of David   Randall Thompson

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem   S166  Jesus, Lamb of God   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: O taste and see   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Hymn 345  Savior, again to thy dear Name we raise   Ellers

Closing Hymn 594   God of grace and God of glory   Cwm Rhondda

Organ: Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)   Dieterich Buxtehude

Music Note: The prelude is Bach’s transcription from his own cantata No. 137 “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (today’s opening hymn). In the original cantata movement, as in so many of Bach’s sacred choral works, a solo role is played by a specific instrument, reflecting the character of the text simultaneously being sung. In this case an alto is singing stanza 2 (shelters thee under his wing…), accompanied by a violin evoking (in Albert Schwietzer’s estimation) the description of a light, majestic, floating motion. On the organ this arrangement results in wide leaps for the hand, more easily played on a violin on adjacent strings, while the melody, including trills, is played by the feet. This and five other transcriptions of cantata movements were collected and published sometime in the three years before Bach’s death, perhaps indicating the composer’s special attachment to music which otherwise would have languished, given the impossibility of publishing the complex cantatas themselves. † Composer and church musician Martin How is the son of a former Primate of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. He spent most of his career with the Royal School of Church Music where he initiated and developed the chorister training scheme used in many parts of the world.  †  The dramatic offertory anthem, by the distinguished Harvard professor and composer Randall Thompson, was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1949. Its text is an oracle from the psalmist David, and the context of its message is clarified by the Revised Standard translation of 2 Samuel 23:2-4:    

    The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me, his word is on my tongue.

    The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me:

    “When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God,

     he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth upon a

     cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.”

†  The brief communion motet was composed for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and first sung as the Queen made her personal communion.


September 15, 2013  + The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth Choir

Prelude: Meditation (Improvisation)  Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 684  O for a closer walk with God   Caithness

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 469  There’s a wideness in God’s mercy  St. Helena

Offertory anthem: How can I keep from singing   arr. Gwyneth Walker

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem  S158  O Lamb of God  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Communion anthem: O mysterium ineffabile   Jean-François Lallouette

Communion Hymn 334  Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing  Alles ist an Gottes Segen

Closing Hymn 410  Praise, my soul, the King of heaven  Lauda anima

Organ: Communion (from TriptychLouis Vierne

Music Note: Louis Vierne, the blind organist of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris from 1900-1937 (where he died during a recital 75 years ago this year), improvised today’s prelude for a 78 rpm recording in 1928. The music was limited by what could fit onto one side of a record in those days. Vierne’s beautiful creation was later transcribed from the recording by one of his pupils, Maurice Duruflé. This written version permits the listener to have an unusual opportunity: to travel back in time and hear the spontaneous muse of Vierne.  †  Gwyneth Walker was born in New York of a Quaker family and grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut. She began her first efforts at composition at an early age, and went on to receive BA, MM and DMA degrees in Music Composition from Brown University and the Hartt School of Music, where she studied under Arnold Franchetti. She taught music for fourteen years at Hartt School of Music, the Hartford Conservatory and the Oberlin College Conservatory, and then went to work as a full-time composer. Her arrangement of the popular Quaker hymn “How can I keep from singing?” was commissioned by Sedgwick Middle School in West Hartford and published in 1996. The choral writing, in up to four parts, makes use of the complete range of children’s voices and you might be surprised to hear our newest “basses”! This jubilant piece will open a concert of Connecticut Composers here next spring.  †  Jean-Francois Lalouette began his musical education as a boy in the choir of the church of St. Eustache in Paris. After a varied career as violinist, choirmaster, composer and court musician, he held the post of choirmaster of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris from 1700-1717 and again from 1718 to 1727. His quietly ecstatic anthem is well suited to describe the mystery of communion†  The adult choir has a rare Sunday off this morning so that they could attend the special adult forum at 9:15.


September 8, 2013  + The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude: Prelude on ‘Rhosymedre’  Ralph Vaughan Williams

Opening Hymn 372  Praise to the living God!   Leoni

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 603  When Christ was lifted from the earth   St. Botolph

Offertory anthem: O how amiable are thy dwellings   Vaughan Williams

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem   S166  Jesus, Lamb of God   Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Draw us in the Spirit’s tether   Harold W. Friedell

Communion Hymn 321  My God, thy table now is spread   Rockingham

Closing Hymn 555  Lead on, O King eternal   Lancashire

Organ: Tuba Tune in D Major   Craig Sellar Lang

Today’s prelude is played by Ralph Valentine, organist of St. John’s Church from 1976 to 2010. Happily, Ralph is also able to play this morning’s service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Denver, Colorado, where he currently serves as organist. This logistical miracle is made possible by a computer playback device; this and three other of Ralph’s favorite pieces recorded in 2010 are being included in a Christmas CD of music from St. John’s available this December.  †  The hymn-tune ‘Union Seminary’, named after the institution in New York City, was written by Harold W. Friedell when he was organist of Calvary Church in New York and then set as an anthem after he became organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue in 1946.  †  Next Sunday the youth choir will sing the service on its own, allowing adult choir members to attend the special forum at 9:15.


September 1, 2013  + The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m. sung by Margaret Beers, soprano

Prelude: Cantabile   César Franck

Opening Hymn 598  Lord Christ, when forst thou cam’st to earth  Mit Freuden zart

Sequence Hymn 376  Joyful, joyful, we adore thee  Hymn to Joy

Offertory anthem: Erbarme dich  (from St. Matthew Passion)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion anthem: Panis angelicus   César Franck

Closing Hymn 541  Come, labor on   Ora labora

Organ: Salvation unto us has come, S. 638   Johann Sebastian Bach


August 25, 2013  + The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 9:00 a.m. sung by members of the St. John’s Choirs

with string trio and Susan Knapp Thoms, harp

Prelude: Aria in Classic Style for organ and harp   Marcel Grandjany

Opening Hymn 409  The spacious firmament on high   Creation

Sequence Hymn 382  King of glory, King of peace   General Seminary

Offertory anthem: Eternal Source of Light Divine  George Frideric Handel

Communion anthems: O mysterium ineffabile   Jean-François Lallouette

God be with you till we meet again   Barry Rose

Closing Hymn 525   The Church’s one foundation   Aurelia

Postlude: Sonata in C Major K. 336    for organ and strings   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


August 18, 2013  + The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m. sung by Marjorie Hardge and Nancy Sichler, sopranos

Prelude: Lotus  William Thomas Strayhorn

Opening Hymn 495  Hail, thou once-despised Jesus  In Babilone

Sequence Hymn 574  Before thy throne, O God, we kneel  St. Petersburg

Offertory anthem: The Father’s love   Simon Lole

Communion anthem: Pie Jesu (from Requiem)   Andrew Lloyd Webber

Closing Hymn 552  Fight the good fight  Pentecost

Organ: Rejoice greatly, O my soul   Sigfrid Karg-Elert


August 11, 2013  + The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 9:00 a.m. sung by members of the St. John’s Youth Choir

Prelude: Blessed Jesus, at thy word, S. 731 (Hymn 440)   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 709  O God of Bethel, by whose hand  Dundee

Sequence Hymn 510  Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove   St. Agnes

Offertory anthem: How can I keep from singing   arr. Gwyneth Walker

Communion anthem: Bread of the world    John Abdenour

Closing Hymn 637  How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord   Lyons

Organ: If thou but trust in God to guide thee, S.642 (Hymn 635)   Johann Sebastian Bach


August 4, 2013  + The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m. sung by Margaret Beers, Jennifer Berton, Corrinne Harney and Whitney Perrine, quartet

Prelude: O love, how deep (Hymn 449)  Paul Manz

Opening Hymn 542   Christ is the world’s true light  St. Joan

Sequence Hymn 665  All my hope on God is founded   Michael

Offertory anthem: The Lord is my shepherd   Franz Schubert

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus    Edward Elgar

Closing Hymn 594   God of grace and God of glory   Cwm Rhondda

Organ: God of grace and God of glory   Paul Manz


During the month of July, services were held without music in the Cloister Garden at 9:00 a.m.


June 30, 2013  + The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II  at 10:30 a.m. sung by Adult and Youth Choir members

Prelude: Passacaglia  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Opening Hymn 525  The Church’s one foundation   Aurelia

Gloria  S278   William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 458  My song is love unknown    Love Unknown

Offertory anthem: I was glad    Henry Purcell

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Laudate Dominum   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Closing Hymn 432  O Praise ye the Lord!   Laudate Dominum

Organ: Finale (Symphony No. 1)   Louis Vierne

Music NoteThe title of the prelude refers to a set of variations on a bass melody (a form originating in early seventeenth-century Spain). It is a theme with nineteen variations, honoring twenty years of The Rev’d Joseph L. Pace as Rector of St. John’s. The music was inspired by the Austin organ at St. John’s, and by the circumstances early in Fr. Pace’s Rectorship, when in 1992 a tragic fire caused heavy damage to the church interior. Rebuilding the organ and church took several years; the journey is represented by a surprise embedded in the music†   Henry Purcell is honored together with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on July 28. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell’s legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar. He was appointed Organist of Westminster Abbey at the age of twenty, and three years later he was appointed organist of the Chapel Royal, an office which he was able to hold simultaneously with his position at the Abbey. In these capacities he composed music for Royal occasions, including I was glad in 1685 for the Coronation of King James II. (Wikipedia.) I was glad contains four sections contrasting merriment and peace. Its rich texture throughout is derived from two intertwining soprano parts in addition to alto, tenor and bass; all five parts contain delightfully complex rhythms. There are a few daringly colorful cross-relations between the parts, jarring even to a modern ear, for example one part singing an F-sharp while simultaneously another sings F-natural.   †   Mozart composed two complete settings of the vesper psalms in 1779-80, for use in the celebrated evening services of Salzburg cathedral. From the more well-known setting,Vesperae solennes de confessore (K. 339) comes the soprano aria Laudate Dominum, written for the remarkable singer Maria Magdalena Lipp (the wife of composer Michael Haydn). Mozart composed many pieces for her, and this beguiling example, in which the choir enters for a doxology of serene simplicity, was a particular favorite of many nineteenth-century singers and arrangers.  †  

ORGAN RECITAL at 8:30 p.m. by Isabelle Demers, the opening recital of the Region I/II Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists. Voluntary donation at the door.


June 23, 2013  + The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I  at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Aria (Concerto No. 10)   George Frideric Handel

Opening Hymn 388  O worship the King, all glorious above!  Hanover

Gloria  S202   Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 529  In Christ there is no East or West  McKee

Offertory anthem: Go, return upon thy way (Elijah)   Felix Mendelssohn

Sanctus S114  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Sicut cervus  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Closing Hymn 450  All hail the power of Jesus’ name!  Coronation

Organ: Allegro maestoso e vivace (Sonata II)   Felix Mendelssohn

Music Note: Perhaps the best-known representation of the story of Elijah is Felix Mendelssohn’s oratorio. It chronicles many episodes of Elijah’s life, including his challenge to Ahab and the contest of the gods, the miracle of raising the dead, and his ascension into heaven. Composed and premiered in 1846, the oratorio remains one of the most popular Romantic choral-orchestral works in the repertoire.  †   Some scholars have traced the origins of Renaissance polyphony to a kind of musical representation of an ancient philosophy known as the “music of the spheres.” The Ancient Greek Philosophy of Plato, Pythagoras and many others had been “rediscovered” in the Middle Ages. Among the cosmological theories they advanced was that as the planets swept through the solar system they each made a perfect tone that together created a wonderful and perfect celestial harmony. In the 16th Century Kepler and others reintroduced this ancient cosmology. This may have been one of factors that influenced the sound of Renaissance Polyphony which captured the sounds of heaven and brought them to earth for the faithful to contemplate and pray with. Much of it is highly mystical and can assist deep prayer and express great longing for God. One of the great musical masterpieces of the Church, Palestrina’s setting of the beginning of Psalm 42 beautifully depicts a musical “sigh.” As the notes soar the longing builds and you can hear the choir giving an almost perfect expression of the human yearning for God. The music comes to a peaceful end on a note of hope that one day we shall see God. –Msgr. Charles Pope, Music to Long By: A Brief Meditation on Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus


June 16, 2013  + The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II  at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Adagio (Symphony III)   Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 410  Praise, my soul, the King of heaven  Lauda anima

Gloria  S278   William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 469  There’s a wideness in God’s mercy  St. Helena

Offertory anthem: Dear Lord and Father   C. Hubert H. Parry

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ubi caritas   Maurice Durufle

Closing Hymn 518  Christ is made the sure foundation  Westminster Abbey

Organ: Méditation (Improvisation)   Louis Vierne

Music Note: Louis Vierne, the blind organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900-1937 (where he died during a recital 75 years ago this month), composed six organ symphonies.  His third (1911) is widely regarded as a masterpiece of form and melodic development. The poetic Adagio was later orchestrated by Vierne, and is especially marked by the influence of his two great teachers, Franck and Widor. Described as a “Song without words,” it is based entirely on the material heard in the first two measures; a sense of melancholy is resolved when the material is recast in a major key at the luminous conclusion. The postlude was improvised for a 78 rpm recording in 1928. The music was limited by what could fit onto one side of a record in those days. Vierne’s beautiful creation was later transcribed from the recording by one of his pupils, Maurice Duruflé. This written version permits the listener to have an unusual opportunity: to travel back in time and hear the spontaneous muse of Vierne.


June 9, 2013  + The Third Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II and Baptism at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Prelude: Partita on ‘Grosser Gott’   Grayston Ives

Opening Hymn 366  Holy God, we praise thy Name   Grosser Gott

Youth Choir Anthem   God be with you till we meet again    Barry Rose

Sequence Hymn 493  O for a thousand tongues to sing   Azmon

Baptism Hymn 516  Come down, O Love Divine    Down Ampney

Offertory anthem: Come, Holy Spirit, Dove Divine    Jeffrey L. Martin

Sanctus S12Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: A welcome world  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 303  Father, we thank thee who hast planted   Albright

Closing Hymn 390  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty   Lobe den Herren

Organ: Variations on a Theme by Handel   Jeffrey L. Martin

Music Note:  The prelude, several non-continuous variations on today’s opening hymn, was composed for the 2011 Sewanee Church Music Conference. The music is cast in the traditional dance forms of the keyboard suites of the 17th and 18th century. For 18 years Grayston Ives was music director of Magdalen College, Oxford.  †  The offertory anthem was written for today’s service by one of our choir members and the father of one of the children baptized today. The composer writes: “The texts chosen for this piece are a lesser known hymn by Adoniram Judson (a missionary to Burma in the 19th century) and the words of Christ as found in the tenth chapter of St. Mark’s gospel.  The hymn text (attributed by some to Isaac Watts) offers a heartfelt prayer for the Holy Spirit, the Dove Divine, to be present in the waters which seal the baptized for resurrection with Christ.  The scripture text presents not only Christ’s love for little children, but also his call to all believers to maintain a childlike faith. The musical motives and ideas contained within this piece possess great significance to the birth and early life of Andrew.  The hymn text is treated with a theme from the adagio movement of Haydn’s “Sunrise” string quartet which played in the background of the delivery room in the very earliest moments of Andrew’s life.  The voices of the chorus sing much of the melodic and harmonic material contained within the quartet, and the organ plays florid passages found in the first violin of the music’s original context. The scripture text, placed between the two hymn verses, is presented with original material which offers a modern musical contrast to the classical sound of Haydn.  Woven throughout the piece is a simple melody most often found in the pedals of the organ.  This motive was an improvised melody I would (and still do) sing to Andrew to calm him. My hope is that this piece captures a simplicity that is representative of the love that exists instantly between a parent and child.”     The communion hymn, by the late University of Michigan composition professor William Albright, is one of four tunes commissioned for a conference of musicians and clergy held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, in 1972. Its accompaniment includes random notes from tuned percussion instruments to create a celestial effect in this context the second century poetry of our eternal covenant with God through Christ, from the earliest years of the Christian Church, takes on an even more cosmic dimension.  The instruments are played by several students from Covenant Preparatory School in Hartford, who are present with their families this morning in anticipation of joining our youth choir program this fall.    The communion anthem, written in 2007 for the baptism of another composer’s first child, is like a lullaby to describe the calm and joy both on earth and in heaven, to welcome a newly baptized person into the church family. At the end of the music is a place to mention by name the person or people being baptized. †  The postlude was written in 2010 as the composer’s wedding recessional. The joyous melodyfrom Handel’s Overture to Music for the Royal Fireworks serves as the “constant” as accompaniment patterns, full use of the organ manuals and pedals, contrapuntal and imitative interaction, and even a shift to the relative minor key serve to present contrast within the many presentations of the theme.  Near the end a second celebratory tune appears — “La Rejouissance” (Rejoicing) from the same Handel suite.


June 2, 2013  + The Second Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Prelude: Prelude (Prelude and Fugue)  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Opening Hymn 372  Praise to the living God    Leoni

Gloria  S278   William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 567  Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old   St. Matthew

Offertory anthem: Jesu, the very thought of thee   Paul Halley

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Pilgrims’ Hymn   Stephen Paulus

Communion Hymn 321   My God, thy table now is spread   Rockingham

Closing Hymn 535  Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim  Paderborn

Organ: Fugue (Prelude and Fugue)  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Music Note: Prelude and Fugue for Organ was commissioned in 2001 by Joseph Vitacco in memory of Thomas Coleman, a Trustee of The University of Notre Dame. The Prelude, in a modern French harmonic style reminiscent of Duruflé and Poulenc, introduces over a continuously flowing accompaniment two themes from The University of Notre Dame: the football “Fight Song” (Notre Dame Victory March) well-disguised as a langorous flute melody, and the University’s Alma Mater (the hymn “Notre Dame our Mother”), played by a quiet clarinet. The Fugue takes as its primary subject the name COLEMAN spelled out in musical notation. A second fugue subject of merry triplets is combined with the first subject and with the two Notre Dame themes in various ways, leading to a triumphant expression of the Alma Mater as a Resurrection Hymn and a final statement of COLEMAN in long notes in the pedal in a toccata-like coda.  †  British-born Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he directed the long-established intergenerational choir program and transformed the Cathedral’s music into a rich combination of the classical and contemporary. He then became founder and artistic director of Connecticut’s acclaimed choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, based in Torrington. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The basis of today’s offertory anthem is the hymn-tune St. Botolph (Hymnal 1982 No. 209), set with highly imaginative harmony and a virtuosic accompaniment. As in his work ‘Ubi Caritas’ heard two weeks ago on Youth Sunday, Halley’s pen forges new territory combining the traditional with the distinctly modern. After one sustained high note creates a magical transition back to the opening accompaniment figure, the anthem concludes (as do many hymn-anthems) with a descant soaring over the final stanza, and an ecstatic Amen.  †  Minnesota-based composer Stephen Paulus, in over 40 years of composing, has come to write over 450 works for chorus, orchestra, chamber ensemble, opera, solo voice, piano, guitar, organ, and band. His poignant anthem “Pilgrims’ Hymn” was sung at the funerals of U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. 


May 26, 2013  + Trinity Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Music for string trio    

        Martha Kayser, violin; Pat Daly Vance, viola; Kathy Schiano, cello

Opening Hymn 409  The spacious firmament on high   Creation

Gloria  S278   William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 368  Holy Father, great Creator  Regent Square

Offertory anthem: Sanctus (St. Cecilia Mass)   Charles Gounod

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Agnus Dei  (Little Organ Mass)  Franz Joseph Haydn

Communion Hymn 324  Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Picardy

Closing Hymn 362  Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!  Nicea

Organ and strings: Sonata in C, K. 336   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Music Note:  Charles Gounod, because of his great popularity (especially from his operas) and his stylistic influence on the next generation of composers, was a towering figure in French music in the mid-nineteenth century. For two years he studied theology, but chose not to take holy orders; still, he was often referred to as “l’Abbé (Father) Gounod.” The Sanctus sung at the offertory is from his Mass dedicated to Saint Cecilia (the patron saint of music), written in 1855.   †   The communion anthem is from Haydn’s ”Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo,” written in 1775 for the Barmherzige Brüder in Kismarton, Hungarian Kingdom (now Eisenstadt, Austria), whose patron saint was St. John of God. It is sometimes known as the “Kleine Orgelmesse” (“Little Organ Mass”) because of an extensive organ solo in the Benedictus. The Agnus Dei contrasts two volume levels with poignant effect.  †   Instrumental music formed an important part of the eighteenth-century church service. We know that Mozart composed a trumpet concerto for the inauguration of Vienna’s Orphanage Church and that he played a violin concerto in a service in 1773. The term church sonata or epistle sonata or sonata in the example of the postlude covers a total of seventeen single-movement instrumental compositions by Mozart (two of which were discovered and published as late as 1940). Some of them are simple trios for two violins and bass; others are more elaborate with solo organ roles. In a letter to his teacher in 1776, Mozart introduces the term Sonata al Epistola, which would have been played between the choir’s singing of the Gloria and the Creed during the celebration of the Eucharist. Oddly, no other composers at Salzburg Cathedral cultivated this genre. In 1783, a few years after Mozart had left for Vienna, the Archbishop decreed that the epistle sonatas be replaced by vocal pieces. (Note from Mozart’s publisher, Carlus Verlag.) Perhaps Mozart had written “too many notes” for the Archbishop’s taste; we are fortunate that these delightful creations survived to be enjoyed today.


May 19, 2013  +  The Day of Pentecost and Youth Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs, with instrumental ensemble

Prelude: Fanfares to the Tounges of Fire   Larry King

Opening Music  You are holy    Michael W. Smith

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Music   Only You  Joel Weldon

Youth anthem: Sunshine in my soul    arr. John Abdenour

Offertory anthem: Ubi caritas   Paul Halley

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Agnus Dei from Missa Gaia   Paul Winter and Jim Scott

Communion Hymn 507  Praise the Spirit in creation  Julion

Closing Music   Step by step/Forever we will sing   Michael W. Smith

Organ: Final on ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’  Maurice Duruflé

Music Note: Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, is celebrated in many parts of Christendom as a major festival whose significance surpasses that of Christmas and equals that of Easter. From the time of the earliest recorded sacred melodies, music for Christmas, Easter and Pentecost has proliferated more uniformly and survived longer than any other music associated with Christian worship. Much as the Latin hymn “Adeste Fidelis” (O Come, all ye faithful)  is associated with Christmas in many different traditions, the ninth-century “Veni Creator Spiritus” (basis of the prelude and postlude) is the hymn most universally associated with Pentecost. 

Just as the Apostles were overcome on the first Pentecost by the force of a mighty wind, and unfamiliar language, so the youth of St. John’s hope to inspire the energy of our service with some “Contemporary Christian” rock music today. The term is cumbersome, as such music is no more or less contemporary, or ‘popular’, than other traditions or expressions of modern practice be they old or new. However it could certainly be said that these songs of Michael W. Smith and Joel Weldon are Christian, and contain more than the measure of sound theology sometimes found in the genre. The congregation may feel free to sing along. Contrasting these is a Gospel number begun by the Youth Choir, the text of which might seem like a song from the 1970s but which is over a century old. And then, possibly defying description other than by comparison to last year’s ‘Freedom Trilogy’ by the same composer, is Paul Halley’s offertory anthem, incorporating additional youth as percussionists.

British-born Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he directed the long-established intergenerational choir program and transformed the Cathedral’s music program into a rich combination of classical and contemporary music. He then was founder and artistic director of Connecticut’s acclaimed choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, based in Torrington. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In his Ubi Caritas(1991), Halley freely integrates elements from a diversity of styles into a convincing new entity. He writes of the work’s creation at St. John the Divine: “There is a wonderful kind of upstairs/downstairs scenario at the Cathedral. There is the daily round of services in the church itself, while below in the crypt all these groups are doing their own forms of worship—whether in the soup kitchen, the gymnasium, the theater, or the studios. One of the downstairs groups is called “The Forces Of Nature,” an African chant group of great power and vibrancy. Occasionally during a service we’d be in the middle of some sublime Gregorian chant, when we would hear “Forces Of Nature” start up their rehearsal with some intense drumming, giving us some stiff competition! At the time, it irritated me. Now it is one of my favorite combinations.” Halley was also responsible for co-creatingMissa Gaia  at the Cathedral.

The inspiration for the Agnus Dei from Missa Gaia (Earth Mass, 1981) came from the words of Dr. Wilfred T. Grenfell, a medical missionary to Labrador in 1909: “It has not been easy to convey to the Eskimo mind the meaning of the Oriental similes of the Bible. Thus the ‘lamb of God’ had to be translated ‘kotik’ or young seal. This animal, with its perfect whiteness, as it lies in its cradle of ice, its gentle, helpless nature, and its pathetic innocent eyes, is probably as apt a substitute, however, as nature offers.” The voices in the distant background during the introduction and later in the middle of the piece are those of harp seal pups, recorded on the ice near the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.


May 12, 2013  + The Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Sunday after the Ascension

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir (with one anthem by Youth Choir)

Prelude: Prayer of Christ Ascending   Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 214  Hail the day that sees him rise  Llanfair

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Youth Choir: For the beauty of the earth   John Rutter

Sequence Hymn 483  The head that once was crowned with thorns  St. Magnus

Offertory anthem: Laudate Jehovam omnes gentes   Georg Philipp Telemann

Sanctus S114 (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: The Lord ascendeth up on high  Michael Praetorius

Communion Hymn 328  Draw nigh and take the body of the Lord  Song 46

Closing Hymn 494  Crown him with many crowns  Diademata

Organ: Trumpet Voluntary   Jeremiah Clarke

Music Note:  Messiaen’s quietly ecstatic prayer of ‘Christ ascending towards his Father’ is from his 1932 Ascension Suite, described by the composer as “Four meditations for orchestra.” He arranged it for organ the next year, and it is still one of his most frequently performed pieces. Over the course of some nine minutes the music takes on a radiant glow, using gradually ascending notes and progressively ascending sections, as part of a typically weightless, timeless experience created by very long note values and unpredictable rhythms.  †  Telemann was one of the most prolific composers in history (at least in terms of surviving works) and was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the leading German composers of the time. He was compared favorably both to his friend Johann Sebastian Bach, who made Telemann the godfather and namesake of his son Carl Philipp Emanuel, and to George Frideric Handel, whom Telemann also knew personally. Telemann’s music incorporates several national styles (French, Italian) and is even at times influenced by Polish popular music. He remained at the forefront of all new musical tendencies and his music is an important link between the late Baroque and early Classical styles. He held important positions in Leipzig, Sorau, Eisenach, and Frankfurt before settling in Hamburg in 1721, where he became musical director of the city’s five main churches. With just two verses and sixteen words in Hebrew, Psalm 117 is the shortest of all 150 psalms. Telemann makes the most of the brief text by setting it in three sections, each giving ample opportunity for text repetition and bearing a distinct mood.  †   Clarke was organist of the Chapel Royal and is best remembered for a popular keyboard piece: the “Prince of Denmark’s March,” also commonly called Trumpet Voluntary, written about 1700. From c. 1878 until the 1940s this work, often used at Royal weddings, was attributed to Henry Purcell.


May 5, 2013  + The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Prelude: Prelude on ‘Rhosymedre’ (“Lovely”)  Ralph Vaughan Williams

Opening Hymn 405  All things bright and beautiful   Royal Oak

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 513  Like the murmur of the dove’s song  Bridegroom

Offertory anthem: And I saw a new heaven   Edgar L. Bainton

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: If ye love me  Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn 510  Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove  St. Agnes

Closing Hymn 387  We sing of God, the mighty source  Magdalen College

Organ: Sortie in E-flat    Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wély

Music Note: Today’s prelude and postlude are played by Ralph Valentine, organist of St. John’s Church from 1976 to 2010. Happily, Ralph is also able to play this morning’s service at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Denver, Colorado, where he currently serves as organist. For more information about this technological miracle, and how you can take Ralph’s playing home with you in a Christmas stocking this year, please see the insert in today’s bulletin. Or, visit kickstarter.com and search for “West Hartford” to hear part of today’s postlude again.   Edgar Bainton is remembered today primarily for one anthem And I saw a new heavensecure in the annals of Anglican church music. Son of a Congregational minister, he was a child prodigy pianist and wrote many works including anthems, songs and symphonic music, only recently coming to light and being recorded. After fifty years in England, Bainton spent another twenty-three working in Australia. In the offertory anthem, the dramatic vision from Revelation is splendidly matched by changing musical moods. An especially lovely melody introduced by the tenors partway through is echoed at the vision’s peaceful conclusion.  †   Thomas Tallis flourished as a composer in Tudor England. He served the Chapel Royal from 1543-1585, composing and performing for four successive monarchs. He altered the language and style of his compositions according to the monarchs’ greatly varying demands (primarily in Latin for Henry VIII, then English for Edward VI who established Protestantism in England, back to Latin for ‘Bloody’ Mary who restored Catholicism briefly, and finally English for Elizabeth I), also composing church music in French and Italian. Tallis was a teacher of William Byrd, and in 1575 Elizabeth granted to Tallis and Byrd an exclusive twenty-one year monopoly on music publishing. Were it not for these political considerations, sacred choral repertoire today might not contain such a gem as “If ye love me” or many other works from this elegant period. 

4:00 p.m. CONCERT  A Celebration of Psalms

Click for further information

April 28, 2013  + The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Women’s Choirs

Organ: Choral from Symphonie Romane    Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn 583  O holy city, seen of John   Morning Song

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 529  In Christ there is no East nor West   McKee

Offertory anthem: Christo resurgenti  Francois Couperin

Sanctus S114 (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: There’s a wideness in God’s mercy  Maurice Bevan

Communion Hymn 487  Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life   The Call

Closing Hymn 457   Thou art the Way   St. James

Organ: Rondeau from Sinfonie de Fanfares    Jean-Joseph Mouret

Music Note: The second movement of Widor’s tenth organ symphony is a calm, pastoral piece based on the Gregorian chant for Easter Day “Haec dies” (This is the day the Lord has made). A passage in the middle of the piece, for flutes played high on the keyboard, is possibly a description of the singing of Easter birds.  †   Maurice Bevan was best known as the lead baritone with the a cappella ensemble, the Deller Consort, a group whose main focus was early vocal works, particularly those of Baroque-era British composers like Henry Purcell and John Dowland. Bevan appeared in numerous concerts and on countless recordings with the ensemble. He also appeared often on the BBC children’s radio program Listen With Mother (1950-1982), and sang in the choir at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. In addition, he was a music editor and composer of several hymn tunes, among them “Corvedale,” heard today at communion in the composer’s own anthem arrangement, to the familiar Frederick Faber text. In our Hymnal (Nos. 469/470) and most others, this hymn is severely truncated, paired with music requiring two quatrains (half-stanzas) of the poem to be fit to one stanza of music, an adjustment already required when setting a hymn of an uneven number of quatrains. Hymnal editors have always imparted a certain slant on a hymn’s meaning by what is included or omitted in such cases. Bevan’s arrangement of original music permitted his inclusion of the one of Faber’s original thirteen quatrains most frequently suppressed in the hymn’s long history. Could there be a more direct appeal to rational interpretation of the Bible than “But we make his love too narrow by false limits of our own; And we magnify his strictness With a zeal he will not own”? That these lines were first published in 1854 makes them only all the more striking.


April 21, 2013  + The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Confirmation and Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Sheep may safely graze  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 516  Come down, O Love divine  Down Ampney

Sequence Hymn 665  All my hope on God is founded  Michael

Offertory anthem: Faithful Shepherd  Grayston Ives

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Brother James’s Air  arr. Gordon Jacob

Communion Hymn 708  Savior, like a shepherd lead us  Sicilian Mariners

Closing Hymn 646  The King of Love my shepherd is Dominus regit me

Organ: Hornpipe from Water Music   George Frideric Handel

Music Note: The Fourth Sunday of Easter, ‘Good Shepherd Sunday,’ could not be more fitting for Confirmation. The image of God as a shepherd was immensely appealing to the farming societies of Jesus’s day, as well as before (the Psalter) and through to the present age.  So many versions of Psalm 23 exist partly through this timeline of over two thousand years, and additionally because of the practice of “metrical psalmody” beginning with the Reformation in the 1500s.  A modern poet’s adaptation is heard at the offertory, commissioned last year by the Association of Anglican Musicians; Grayston Ives is former director of the choir of Magdalen College, Oxford.  †  Metrical psalmody was created to permit the easy congregational singing of psalms to pre-existing familiar hymn tunes, such as Psalm 100 paired with the tune of that name, “Old Hundredth” which we sing weekly at the presentation of the offering. Metrical versions of psalm texts are by nature paraphrases, adjusting the number of syllables per line into a formula determined by the meter of the music. “Brother James” is the familiar name ascribed to the spiritual leader James Macbeth Bain, born in Scotland in 1860. A somewhat eccentric personality of great popularity, he worked among the poor in London and wandered in nature for refreshment. He has been compared to St. Francis for his mystic insights combined with an irresistible charm and childlike trust of one who loves all people and all creatures. (Once when walking in the woods he caught his cast on a tree branch, and in freeing himself accidentally broke the branch, much to his annoyance. When asked to explain his annoyance, he responded “Man, I’ve just lost a real good friend. Many a fine cast have I found on that self-same branch.”) The metrical tune upon which the communion anthem is based is one of many beautiful melodies which came to him spontaneously. It has, in its simplicity, something of that rare quality of appeal which Maurice Baring describes as “a wonderful tune–a tune that opened its arms.”

 

Choral Evensong at 5:00 p.m. sung by the St. Paul’s Choristers, St. Paul’s on the Green Episcopal Church, Norwalk (with Tea at 4:00 p.m.)

Preludes   Toccata on “O Filii et Filiae”   Lynnwood Farnam

Cantilene (Symphonie Romane  Charles-Marie Widor

Introit   O Lord, support us  Gary Davison

Phos Hilaron:  Hymn 35  Christ, mighty Savior    Mighty Savior

Preces and Responses   John Abdenour

Psalm 103    Anglican Chants by Kellow J. Pye and John Camidge II

Evening Canticles:  Vincent Edwards and John Abdenour

Hymn before the Homily: 690   Guide me, O thou great Jehovah    Cwm Rhondda

Anthem:  And all thy children   Vincent Edwards

Hymn 24   The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended   St. Clement

At the conclusion of Evensong: Organ Recital by Dexter Kennedy

Symphonie Romane, Op. 73 (1900)                                                                 Charles-Marie Widor

        I. Moderato

        II. Choral

 

L’Ascension (1933)                                                                                                Olivier Messiaen

        II. Serene Alleluias from a Soul longing for heaven

        III. Outbursts of Joy from a Soul before the glory of Christ


April 14, 2013  + The Third Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Men’s Choirs

Organ: All glory be to God on high, S. 676   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 492  Sing, ye faithful, sing with gladness  Finnian

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 204  Now the green blade riseth  Noel Nouvelet

Offertory anthem: Ye choirs of new Jerusalem  Charles Villiers Stanford

Sanctus S114 (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Up, up, my heart, with gladness  Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Hymn 334  Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing  Alles ist an Gottes Segen

Closing Hymn 412  Earth and all stars    Earth and All Stars

Organ: Awake, thou wintry earth   Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. Homer Whitford

Music Note: J. S. Bach is credited with at least ten settings of the hymn-tune Allein Gott in der Höh (All Glory be to God on high, Hymnal 1982 No. 421). This music and text have been paired since the early 1500s and constituted the Gloria in congregational settings of the Holy Eucharist in Bach’s day, hence the frequent demand for creative (not to mention lengthy) material to introduce it. In the context of a three hour service, a five minute elaborate introduction to the singing of a hymn gave no one the slightest concern, but instead was expected, inviting a personal meditation on the meaning of the hymn. The prelude today is one of these, with the initial notes of the melody inspiring a florid and merry trio.  †  Charles Stanford, as professor of composition at London’s Royal Academy of Music, taught several generations of composers and did much to raise standards of church music in late Victorian England. His setting of a twelfth-century hymn by St. Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres, conveys the celebration of the Resurrection with jubilant “strains of holy joy” and “alleluia,” contrasted against darker musical descriptions of “devouring depths.” †  In a program note for our upcoming Celebration of Psalms concert, our Rector writes: It is a challenge to match the exuberant invitation to worship of Psalm 150.” If anything can, the final hymn today gives the Psalmist David a run for his shekels, with arresting modern imagery in place of the traditional instruments of praise (BCP, page 808). By words and music both from 1968, this hymn brings to mind the Eucharistic prayer imagery of “the vast expanse of interstellar space” (BCP, page 370) as well as examples of creation a bit closer to home. †   The postlude is a chorale (a German hymn-tune) from the Bach cantata 129, transcribed for organ in the twentieth century by Homer Whitford. Phrases of the hymn are interspersed with the joyous motive of the accompaniment. The music is based on this text: “Awake, thou wintry earth, Fling off, fling off thy sadness. Ye vernal flowers, laugh forth, laugh forth your ancient gladness. A new and lovely tale Throughout the land is sped, It floats o’er hill and dale To tell that death is dead.”


April 7, 2013  + The Second Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Death and Resurrection  Jean Langlais

Opening Hymn 193  That Easter day with joy was bright  Puer nobis

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Youth Choir: Praise the Lord, his glories show   Peter Niedmann

Sequence Hymn 209  We walk by faith, and not by sight  St. Botolph

Offertory anthem: Haec est dies   Jacob Gallus

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Rise up, my love  Healey Willan

Communion Hymn 212  Awake, arise, lift up your voice  Richmond

Closing Hymn 208  Alleluia! The strife is o’er, the battle done  Victory

Organ: Toccata on ‘O filii et filiae’  Lynnwood Farnam

Music Note: Today’s organ prelude bears the inscription, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55). One of Langlais’s earliest works, it portrays a vision of the life hereafter. Death is heard in the somber opening melody in the pedals; eternal life is represented by a Gregorian chant, the Gradual from the Requiem Mass, announced by a trumpet. These two ideas are combined, significantly, not so much in a struggle as in a unified crescendo toward the work’s victorious conclusion.   †   Peter Niedmann is director of music at Church of Christ, Congregational in Newington, Connecticut. He is an active composer and a past member of the faculty of the Hartt School of Music and a past Dean of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. His merry setting of Henry Lyte’s hymn responds to the text’s basis of Psalm 150.  †  Healey Willan, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Canadian composers’ of church music, penned many ravishing miniatures. His 1929 motet “Rise up, my love” uses gentle flowing chords to describe flowers appearing in Eastertide, and ends with a reiteration of the invitation to ‘come away.’  †  Lynnwood Farnam was an exceptional Canadian organ recitalist who moved to New York in 1918, first to Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and then to the Church of the Holy Communion. His tremendous American touring career tragically was cut short by a brain tumor. His only composition is this brief Toccata, and reportedly he launched into it invariably as a test piece when trying out an instrument new to him. ‘O filii et filiae’ is a hymn tune of uncertain origin, assumed to be either a French folk melody probably dating from the late fifteenth century, or perhaps a tune which began as a chant melody. Speaking of Death and Resurrection, Farnam made several recordings onto automatic player rolls, and in 1953 the Austin Organ Company of Hartford arranged with St. John’s organist Clarence Watters to transfer several of Farnam’s rolls to long playing records. A roll-player mechanism was temporarily attached to the St. John’s instrument, and the stops were selected by Watters, allowing Farnam, who had been deceased for 23 years, to “return” to “play” pieces by Bach, Handel and others. These can be heard on our website, in the section about the St. John’s Organ. (Farnam recording note by Bill Uricchio.)


March 31, 2013  + The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day

at 8:00 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

and at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with brass and tympani

Prelude: Final on Haec Dies (from Symphonie Romane)   Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn 207  Jesus Christ is risen today   Easter Hymn

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 180  He is risen, he is risen!  Unser Herrscher

Offertory anthem: The Resurrection   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Alleluia  Randall Thompson

Communion Hymn 305  Come, risen Lord  Rosedale

Postcommunion anthem: Hallelujah (from Messiah George Frideric Handel

Closing Hymn 210  The day of resurrection  Ellacombe

Organ, brass and tympani: Toccata (from Symphonie V)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: The prelude is Widor’s ‘other’ Easter toccata, from his tenth and last organ symphony, based on the day’s traditional plainsong hymn Haec Dies (“This is the Day the Lord has made”). Widor describes this hymn as “a graceful arabesque…as difficult to fasten upon as the song of a bird…The rhythmical freedom of Gregorian chant clashes with out stern metronomic time…The only mode of fixing on the auditor’s ear so undefined a motive is to repeat it constantly.” In the symphony’s triumphant conclusion, the energy of the toccata rises and falls several times before arriving at a crowning Resurrection hymn, which recedes into a rich texture suggesting the ringing of bells.  †  The Resurrection was composed in 2000, commissioned by poet M. David Samples in memory of Wayne F. Maxwell Jr.  The text’s inherent dramatic possibilities are set for varied choral forces as a mini-cantata, with soloists which narrate the proceedings and inhabit characters as in a Bach Passion. The opening fanfare  is that of another plainsong hymn for Easter Day Victimae Paschali Laudes (“To the Paschal Victim let Christians offer their praises”), which recurs in the opening solo (“The bitter cross is over now”) and in the sparkling organ accompaniment preceding the announcement of the angel. The final choral section, with merry polyrhythms, briefly quotes the Hallelujah motive from Handel’s Messiah.  †  Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” surely established as one of the most beloved American choral compositions, was written in 1940 for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. Composed during wartime, the piece’s many moods around a single word of acclamation express the totality of the Easter message. 


March 29, 2013  +  Good Friday

7:30 p.m.  sung by the combined Youth and Adult Choirs of St. John’s Church and St. James’s Church, at St. James’s Church, West Hartford Center


March 28, 2013  +  Maundy Thursday

7:30 p.m.  sung by the Youth Choir

Prelude   The celestial banquet   Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 304   I come with joy to meet my Lord   Land of rest

Sequence Hymn 325   Let us break bread together on our knees   Let us break bread

Offertory anthem: O mysterium ineffabile   Jean-Francois Lallouette

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus   Edward Elgar


March 24, 2013  +  The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Choral Prelude: Hosanna to the Son of David  Thomas Weelkes

Processional Hymn 154  All glory, laud, and honor   Valet will ich dir geben

Sequence Hymn 474 When I survey the wondrous cross  Rockingham

Offertory anthem: Kyrie (from Messe Solennelle)  Louis Vierne

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Agnus Dei S159  Plainsong, Missa Marialis

Communion anthem: Crucifixus  Antonio Lotti

Communion Hymn 458  My song is love unknown  Love unknown

Closing Hymn 158  Ah, holy Jesus!  Herzliebster Jesu

Organ: Ah, holy Jesus!   Johannes Brahms

Music Note:  Louis Vierne was organist of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900 to 1937. In the year of his appointment there he composed his Solemn Mass in C-sharp minor, for choir and two organs. Inspired by such an arrangement at Notre Dame, the music consists of a dialogue between the terrifying power of the main organ in the rear gallery of the cathedral, and the choir (with a small “choir organ” accompanying it) at the front. Imagining the spatial and volume differences of the original forces is helpful when hearing a realization on one organ. †  Excepting two years in Dresden producing operas, Antonio Lotti spent his entire career at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, first as an alto singer, then as assisting assistant organist, assistant organist, main organist, and finally music director for the final four years of his life. Bach and Handel knew his work and may have been influenced by it. His 8-part setting of a brief text is justifiably famous, for its lavish dissonances and other expressive qualities so well suited to the event described.


March 17, 2013  +  The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Prelude funebre  Louis Vierne

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Anthem (Youth Choir): God so loved the world    Joel Martinson

Sequence Hymn 441  In the cross of Christ I glory   Rathbun

Offertory anthem: Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks   Herbert Howells

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: I heard the voice of Jesus say    Thomas Tallis, arr. Donald Busarow

Communion Hymn 313  Let thy blood in mercy poured   Jesus, meine Zuversicht

Closing Hymn 471   We sing the praise of him who died   Breslau

Organ: Lamento (Suite Latine)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: Louis Vierne, the organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900 until 1937, composed his early and profound “funeral prelude” in 1896 while serving as assistant to Charles-Marie Widor at the church of Saint-Sulpice.  †  Herbert Howells was a prolific twentieth-century English composer. A product of the English musical renaissance stimulated by the works of Elgar, Parry and Stanford, his compositions reflect the varied influences of Tudor polyphony, Impressionist harmonies and folk-song. Howells’s rich and distinctive style is well-matched to the searching text of Psalm 42.   †  The melody of the communion anthem was revived in the twentieth century by Ralph Vaughan Williams’s orchestral Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. It was first matched to the text heard today in the Hymnal 1940. Originally, Tallis wrote the tune in four parts for the publication in 1567 of Matthew Parker’s The Whole Psalter translated into English Metre. (Parker was Queen Elizabeth’s first Archbishop of Canterbury.) It appears there for Psalm 2, whose prose opening we know as “Why do the nations so furiously rage together.” Parker’s opening, metricized, reads: “Why fum’th in sight : the Gentiles’ spite, in fury raging stout? Wht tak’th in bond the people fond, vain things to bring about? The kings arise, the lords devise, in counsels met thereto: Against the Lord with false accord, against his Christ they go.” Not surprisingly, perhaps, Tallis chose this psalm for a demonstration of the “Third” or “Phrygian” mode, which Parker in a preface had described as manifesting “anger and sharp reviling.” (Raymond Glover and John Wilson.) While its sudden shifts from major to minor do create an unsettling effect, twenty-first century ears (perhaps especially aided by Vaughan Williams’s treatment) may find in the music’s sense of eventual resolution also an ideal “resting place” well suited to the Lenten journey. Busarow’s arrangement for flute, organ and choir gives this journey a yet more unexpected, and resolved, extended final cadence.   †   Widor’s active creative life spanned nearly an entire century. The poignant but wholly unsentimentalLamento, written at age eighty-three, remains one of his most profound compositions. The effect of the piece derives partly from a classical economy in the use of the instrument. Unlike much of his well-known “symphonic” organ music, only one basic sound is employed throughout, expression being achieved largely through variety of texture.


March 10, 2013  +  The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Women’s Choirs

Organ: Prelude au Kyrie ( from Hommage a Frescobaldi)     Jean Langlais

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 641  Lord Jesus, think on me   Southwell

Offertory anthem: The Pelican  Randall Thompson

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus   Edward Elgar

Communion Hymn 469  There’s a wideness in God’s mercy   St. Helena

Closing Hymn  690  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah   Cwm Rhondda

Organ: Prelude (from Three Pieces)  Gabriel Pierne

Music Note: Randall Thompson, well-known composer of choral and orchestral music, was born in New York City and educated at Harvard. He subsequently continued his musical studies in Europe and then held a series of academic appointments in music in the United States. The offertory anthem is from a cantata commissioned by Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, in 1968, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of its choir school. The text of this movement is quite remarkable. Its author, Phillipe de Thaun, was an Anglo-Norman poet, possibly from Caen in Normandy, who wrote a Bestiary around 1120 which he says he translated into French; evidence shows that he probably used a Latin bestiary possibly at least a hundred years old. In his volume he describes some 41 animals through the lens of Christian attributes. For example: The antelope’s two horns represent the biblical Old and New Testaments, with which people can cut themselves free of vice. People are also warned not to play in the “thickets of worldliness” where pleasure kills body and soul. At http://bestiary.ca/prisources/psdetail889.htm one can read English translations from various sources of the medieval descriptions of all these animals. According to this site, Philippe’s Bestiaire has been sometimes criticized by scholars as being poor poetry, but as one translator says, “…it should be remembered … that no more than a translation was proposed, and that this is an early work in a language still groping to express itself. All of these scholars appear to miss the excitement inherent in the fact that a tradition already ancient and rich had now entered the vernacular to become widely read and known in the next century and a half.” Imagine the magnificent present which a sumptuously illustrated translation of a Bestiary would have been to an adult or child some 900 years ago. Across the distance of an entire millennium, the original sources of a powerful devotional allegory continue to speak with relevance today, through modern translation and captivating music.  †   The communion hymn entered our hymnal in the present altered, truncated three-stanza form in 1916. When sung to the tune of Calvin Hampton, which complements the altered text, the hymn gains a particular charm missing in other settings. Over half the original text was discarded over the years; two portions have regained urgency today and appear in some anthem settings: “There is grace enough for thousands / Of new worlds such as this: / There is room for fresh creations / In that upper room of bliss.” and “But we make his love too narrow / By false limits of our own; / And we magnify his strictness / With a zeal he will not own.” The hymn tune St. Helena was written in 1978 for this text. It honors the Sisters of the Order of St. Helena who were resident at Calvary Church, New York City, where the composer was Organist/Choirmaster. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Raymond F. Glover.)

 

4:00 p.m. CONCERT:  Celtic Fire

Sung by CitySingers of Hartford


March 3, 2013  +  The Third Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Prelude (from Prelude, Andante et Toccata)  Andre Fleury

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 152  Kind maker of the world, O hear   A la venue de Noel

Offertory anthem: The secret of Christ   Richard Shephard

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170  Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus   William Byrd

Communion Hymn 314  Humbly I adore thee, Verity unseen   Adoro devote

Closing Hymn 142   Lord, who throughout these forty days  St. Flavian

Organ: So now as we journey, aid our weak endeavor   Marcel Dupre

Music Note: Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Through the Offertory anthem we are invited to take encouragement for our pilgrimage through Lent. †  In 1575, Queen Elizabeth granted to Thomas Tallis and his pupil William Byrd an exclusive twenty-one year monopoly on music publishing, ensuring the preservation of their compositions and their continuing prominence today. Elizabeth (1558–1603) was a moderate Protestant who eschewed the more extreme forms of Puritanism and retained a fondness for elaborate ritual, besides being a music lover and keyboard player herself. Byrd’s output of Anglican church music (defined in the strictest sense as sacred music designed for performance in church) is surprisingly small, but it stretches the limits of elaboration then regarded as acceptable by some reforming Protestants who regarded highly wrought music as a distraction from the Word of God (Wikipedia). Byrd’s Ave verum corpus is among the most frequently sung of the composer’s works, possibly because it is one of the least elaborate; it closely resembles music of his teacher, and combines homophony and counterpoint in a texture which allows the text clearly to be the focus of the expressive music.

5:00 PM CHORAL EVENSONG

SUNG BY THE ST. JOHN’S ADULT CHOIR
Prelude   Psalm-Prelude, “Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord” (Psalm 130)  Herbert Howells
Introit   Call to remembrance    Richard Farrant

Responses   Plainsong
Psalm 34   (Anglican Chants by Richard Knapp)
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis   Orlando Gibbons (Short Service)
Anthem   Miserere mei, Deus (Psalm 51)  Gregorio Allegri

ORGAN RECITAL played by Stephen Buzard, organ Scholar, Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven

Concerto in C Major, S. 595                                                                Johann Sebastian Bach

“Schmücke dich, O liebe Seele,” S. 654   (No.  339, The Hymnal 1982)                  Johann Sebastian Bach

Suite, op. 5                                                                                                                  Maurice Duruflé


February 24, 2013  +  The Second Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Fantasie in C minor, S. 652     Johann Sebastian Bach

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Youth Choir: Day by Day  Martin How

Sequence Hymn 455   O love of God, how strong and true   Dunedin

Offertory anthem: Call to remembrance   Richard Farrant

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Hear my prayer   Henry Purcell

Communion Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love   Unde et memores

Closing Hymn   How Great Thou Art

Organ: I call to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, S. 643   J. S. Bach

Music Note: Composer and church musician Martin How is the son of a former Primate of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. He spent most of his career with the Royal School of Church Music where he initiated and developed the chorister training scheme used in many parts of the world. St. Richard of Chichester is supposed to have recited the popular prayer ascribed to him on his deathbed, written down in Latin by his confessor. The first English translation to use the rhyme “clearly, dearly, nearly” is thought to be one from 1913; the first including the phrase “day by day” followed in 1931. The prayer became especially popular in America following its adaptation for the musical Godspell in 1971. Martin How’s version dates from 1977.  †  Although it is apparent from the autograph that Purcell originally intended to add to the anthem ‘Hear my Prayer,’ it seems quite likely that having written it he realized how difficult it would be to match its brilliance, and deliberately wrote no more. What makes the music so outstanding is not so much its skillful construction for eight parts out of the most economical of means, namely two simple phrases and their inversions (one based on two notes only and the other on a short chromatic scale), but its strong sense of climax in the final bars. Not only is this prepared in gradually increasing intensity, but the reservation of the full eight-part texture, and the restrained range of the parts up to the last few bars, gives this climax the maximum effect. Then, very quickly and inevitably, the music comes to rest as the sonoroties clarify, and resolve into a simple four-part chord. (Purcell note by Christopher Dearnley.)  †  “How Great Thou Art” is based on a poem written by a Swedish preacher in 1885; the melody is a Swedish folk song. It was translated into English by British missionary Stuart K. Hine, who also added two original verses of his own composition, and was popularized during the Billy Graham crusades. Billy Graham gave Mr. Hine permission to quote his reaction to the hymn: “The reason I like “How Great Thou Art” is because it glorifies God. It turns Christian’s eyes toward God, rather than upon themselves. I use it as often as possible because it is such a God-honoring song.”  It was voted the United Kingdom’s favorite hymn by BBC’s Songs of Praise, and was ranked second (after “Amazing Grace”) on a list of the favorite hymns of all time in a survey by Today’s Christian magazine in 2001. (Wikipedia; for more about the origin and appeal of this hymn, see www.mannamusicinc.com/hgta.htm)  †  Bach’s postlude trio has been arranged for other instruments. It is from his book of teaching pieces entitled “Little Organ Book” which instructs the student in techniques of both playing and composition, while also serving as a collection of music for church services and a religious statement. In the words of humanitarian and Bach scholar Albert Schweitzer, “Here Bach has realized the ideal of the chorale prelude. The method is the most simple imaginable and at the same time the most perfect. Nowhere is the Dürer-like character of his musical style so evident as in these small chorale-preludes. Simply by the precision and the characteristic quality of each line of the contrapuntal motive he expresses all that has to be said, and so makes clear the relation of the music to the text whose title it bears.”


February 17, 2013  +  The First Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Men’s Choir

Organ: Forty days and forty nights   Johann Christoph Bach

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn   The Old Rugged Cross

Offertory anthem: Wilt thou forgive   DG Mason

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Behold, the Lamb of God   Paul Bouman

Communion Hymn 489  The great Creator of the worlds   Tallis’ Ordinal

Closing Hymn 143   The glory of these forty days  Erhalt uns, Herr

Organ: Benedictus (from Mass for the Parishes)  Francois Couperin

The Offertory anthem, sung by the men of the choir, was written in 2002 for an Ash Wednesday service at Worcester Cathedral, England. The text was conceived not as a hymn but as a poem, and a great deal of its universal appeal derives from its unabashed particularity. John Donne calls attention to himself not only by punning on his own surname but also by making it the basis of the two rhymes running through all three stanzas. Less obvious, but no less important, is the second rhyme-word that concludes every stanza: more. This is the surname of Donne’s wife, whose maiden name was Ann More, who had died six years before. Perhaps one reason for the enduring immediacy of this poem is that, despite its particular references and its somewhat veiled theological concerns with original and habitual sin, it manages to convey a convincing sense of assurance. (Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Jeffrey Wasson.) The music amplifies this assurance with its strong final cadence, after the unresolved cadences ending the first two verses. 


February 10, 2013  +  The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Storm Update (Feb 9, 8:30 p.m.): MORNING Services Feb 10 proceed as normal, with available choir singing substitute “blizzard anthems.”

Afternoon Tea, Evensong and Organ Recital today have been CANCELED; please come to the next such afternoon on Sunday March 3.

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Praeludium in G minor   Dieterich Buxtehude

Opening Hymn   I love to tell the story

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise   Salzburg

Offertory anthem: The Transfiguration  Larry King

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: O nata lux   Morten Lauridsen

Communion Hymn 312  Strengthen for service, Lord  Malabar

Closing Hymn 460  Alleluia! sing to Jesus!  Hyfrydol

Organ: Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)  Buxtehude

Music Note: The first hymn today is sung in continued observance of Black History Month. The hymn before the Gospel is repeated from the Sunday of the Epiphany (January 6) as a bookend to the especially short observance of the season this year, owing to the early date of Easter. The last Sunday after the Epiphany, or Transfiguration Sunday, is the last before the beginning of Lent and thus is the last opportunity until Easter to say or sing the word Alleluia.   †   Larry King was organist and choir director of Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City from 1968 to 1989. He composed several works incorporating pre-recorded synthesized sounds alongside traditional organ and choral writing, of an iconoclastic yet deeply spiritual nature. Today’s offertory anthem is one of these, and there is little that could be said to prepare the listener for the experience, intentionally as mystifying and bizarre and hopefully transcendent as the event it describes in music. The pre-recorded part is coordinated with the live performance using a stopwatch. It includes not only sounds from a synthesizer, but also echoing filtered sounds of the choir of Trinity Church, Wall Street.  †  Morten Lauridsen was composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale (1994–2001) and has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years. In 2007 he received the National Medal of Arts from the President in a White House ceremony, “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.”  O nata lux, a text for the Feast of the Transfiguration, is certainly no exception.  †   The postlude reflects the day’s spirit of joyful enthusiasm, by both the nature of the music and the “radiant” key of C Major. In the Baroque period of their composition, keyboard instruments were tuned in such a way that some keys sounded more pure than others. Much music was written in keys with few sharps or flats, to avoid the out of tune “wolf” when playing in keys with many flats or sharps. Even after an “equal tempered” system of tuning made all keys sound more or less in tune, C Major continued to be particularly associated in the Classical period with festivity and grandeur, and has always been a triumphant key in organ music owing to C being the lowest note on the pedalboard, thus playing the largest, lowest available pipes.

 

Choral Evensong at 5:00 p.m.  CANCELED

Organ Recital following Evensong by Dr. Trisha Snyder, Storrs Congergational Church, Storrs   CANCELED


February 3, 2013  +  The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II and Baptism at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir, with Youth Choir anthem

Organ: Lord God, now open wide your heaven, S. 617  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn   What a friend we have in Jesus

Anthem (Youth Choir): The Birds   Benjamin Britten

Sequence Hymn 292  O Jesus, crowned with all renown   Kingsfold

Baptism Hymn 298  All who believe and are baptized   Es ist das Heil

Offertory anthem: When to the Temple Mary went  Johannes Eccard

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Nunc Dimittis in G  George Dyson

Communion Hymn 325  Let us break bread together  Let us break bread

Closing Hymn 598  Lord Christ, when first thou cam’st to earth   Mit Freuden zart

Organ: In peace and joy I now depart, S. 616  Bach

Music Note: The prelude is a depiction in music of the aged Simeon visiting the Temple in Jerusalem, heard in the rhythm of the pedal part which suggested to Albert Schweitzer the “uncertain steps of a pilgrim who has finished his course and now goes with weary steps to the gate of eternity.” Simeon then sang the Nunc Dimittis, having seen the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.   †  The first hymn today is sung in observance of Black History Month; a hymn from the Gospel tradition will be sung each Sunday in February. Absalom Jones (1746-February 13, 1818) was the first African-American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church (1804). In the Episcopal calendar of saints he is listed on February 13 as “Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818.” Jones was born into slavery in Philadelphia. By 1778 he had purchased his wife’s freedom so that their children would be free, and in another seven years he was able to purchase his own. Tired of relegation to a gallery as was the custom in interracial congregations, Jones and his followers founded the first black church in Philadelphia which petitioned to become an Episcopal parish. Jones was also part of the first group of African Americans to petition the U.S. Congress, in criticism of the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. Originally a poem, “What a friend we have in Jesus” was never intended by the hymn writer, Joseph Scriven, for publication. Upon learning of his mother’s serious illness and unable to be with her in faraway Dublin, he wrote a letter of comfort enclosing the words of the text. Some time later when he himself was ill, a friend who came to see him chanced to see the poem scribbled on scratch paper near his bed. The friend read it with interest and asked if he had written the words. With typical modesty, Scriven replied, “The Lord and I did it between us.” (Hymn note by Kenneth J. Osbeck.) In 1869 a small collection of his poems was published, entitled Hymns and Other Verses, and the musical setting soon followed which launched the enduring popularity of the pairing.  †  Belloc’s beguiling poem “The Birds'” published in 1910, has inspired at least twenty-five musical settings. That by Benjamin Britten (dating from 1929 when the composer was sixteen) sets the action of the birds into the colorful accompaniment, and also into the way the range of the voices takes flight. The concluding prayer comes back to earth with disarming simplicity, both profound and childlike.


January 27, 2013  +  The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II and Annual Meeting at 10:00 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Duo, Basse de cromorne, Récit de nazard (Suite du 2eme ton Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Opening Hymn 616  Hail to the Lord’s Anointed   Es flog ein kleins Waldvogelein

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 632   O Christ, the Word Incarnate   Munich

Offertory anthem: I was glad    Henry Purcell

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: O nata lux  Thomas Tallis

Closing Hymn 537  Christ for the world we sing  Moscow

Organ: Caprice sur les grands jeux   Clérambault  

Music Note: A prolific composer and esteemed teacher of the French Baroque period, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault was organist of the church of St. Sulpice in Paris, where later Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré were to have similar impacts on the field. His sprightly, ornamented organ works bear titles indicating the stops used to produce the sounds he intended, hence: basse de cromorne (the bass register of a pungent clarinet),récit de nazard (recitative for the nazard stop, which sounds two and a half octaves higher than written), and grands jeux (full organ). This music can be created with great authenticity with the French colors of the instrument here at St. John’s.  †  HenryPurcell is honored together with Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church on July 28. Although incorporating Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, Purcell’s legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music. He is generally considered to be one of the greatest English composers; no other native-born English composer approached his fame until Edward Elgar. He was appointed Organist of Westminster Abbey at the age of twenty, and three years later he was appointed organist of the Chapel Royal, an office which he was able to hold simultaneously with his position at the Abbey. In these capacities he composed music for Royal occasions, including I was glad in 1685 for the Coronation of King James II. (Wikipedia.) I was glad contains four sections contrasting merriment and peace. Its rich texture throughout is derived from two intertwining soprano parts in addition to alto, tenor and bass; all five parts contain delightfully complex rhythms.   †   Thomas Tallis flourished as a composer in Tudor England. He served the Chapel Royal from 1543-1585, composing and performing for four successive monarchs. He altered the language and style of his compositions according to the monarchs’ greatly varying demands (primarily in Latin for Henry VIII, then English for Edward VI who established Protestantism in England, back to Latin for ‘Bloody’ Mary who restored Catholicism briefly, and finally English for Elizabeth I), also composing church music in French and Italian. Tallis was a teacher of William Byrd, and in 1575 Elizabeth granted to Tallis and Byrd an exclusive twenty-one year monopoly on music publishing, ensuring their continuing prominence today. Like the offertory anthem, ‘O nata lux’ demonstrates the luminous texture made possible by five voice parts, and the period practice of “cross relations” between the voices which may have, for example, one part singing a C natural just before, or more startlingly at the same time as, another part sings a C-sharp! Within the pure style of Tudor polyphony these colorful ‘crunches’ may sound like wrong notes to modern ears (which ironically are accustomed to all sorts of other dissonance).


January 20, 2013  +  The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II  at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Women’s Choir

Organ: Benedictus  Max Reger

Opening Hymn  There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place

Sequence Hymn 126  The people who in darkness walked   Dundee

Offertory anthem: Kaddish  Maurice Ravel

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Mater ora filium   Charles Wood, arr. Harrison Oxley

Communion Hymn 321  My God, thy table now is spread   Rockingham

Closing Hymn 497  How bright appears the morning star   Wie schon leuchtet

Organ: Fugue on ‘How bright appears the morning star’  Reger

Music notes: In the Episcopal Church’s calendar, Common Saints are a general category of lesser saints such as martyrs, missionaries, pastors, theologians, monastics and teachers, whose personal qualities or traits include heroic faith, love, goodness of life, joyousness, service to others for Christ’s sake, and devotion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is so recognized, with feast days on both his birth on January 15 and death on April 4. The opening hymn is sung in celebration of tomorrow’s holiday.  †  The Kaddish is a prayer found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God’s name. The opening words of this prayer are inspired by Ezekiel 38:23 (a vision of God becoming great in the eyes of all the nation),, shared by the prophecy in today’s first lesson. The term “Kaddish” is often used to refer specifically to “The Mourners’ Kaddish”, said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorials. When mention is made of “saying Kaddish”, this unambiguously denotes the rituals of mourning. Mourners say Kaddish to show that despite the loss they still praise God. Ravel’s musical setting contains exoticism (common during the Epiphany season) and a clear fervor for God’s Kingdom. In May, our choir is combining with that of Temple Beth Israel next door to us, for a concert of Psalms celebrating another aspect of Judeo-Christian common experience.  The serene opening and closing music of the prelude by German Romantic composer Max Reger suggests the title text “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” while the exuberant contrapuntal middle section proclaims “Hosanna in the highest!”  Reger set today’s final hymn as a densely written twenty-minute chorale-fantasy, with the text of five stanzas appearing in the score. Its brilliant concluding fugue combines an exuberant original subject with the hymn tune which appears in long note values. If it has been said of Mozart’s music that there are “too many notes,” it is all the more justly said of Reger’s music that there are so many notes, it would be most economical to print merely the spaces between them, using white ink on black paper! In the postlude, the text being set by the composer is “Sing! Leap! Be jubilant, Rejoice! Thank the Lord; Great is the King of Glory.”


January 13, 2013  +  The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II and Baptism at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Men’s Choirs

Organ: How bright appears the Morning Star  Dietrich Buxtehude

Opening Hymn 544   Duke Street

Sequence Hymn 121  Christ, when for us you were baptized  Caithness

Baptism Hymn  298  All who believe and are baptized   Es ist das Heil

Offertory anthem: Christ, whose glory fills the skies  T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Jesu, joy of man’s desiring   Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Hymn 334  Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing  Alles ist an Gottes Segen

Closing Hymn 448  O love, how deep, how broad, how high   Deus tuorum militum

Organ: In thee is gladnsss, S. 615  Bach

Music Note:  Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn was an English-born church musician who spent twenty-eight years at St. Paul’s Church, Albany, New York, and the final ten of his career at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem is an enduring favorite of his some two hundred works, and contains a splendid example of text-painting at the beginning of the second verse. “Day-spring” is the beginning of dawn; “Day-star” is the morning star. “Sun of Righteousness” is an attribute spoken of Christ in Malachi 4:2 (referring to God’s blessings on the good): “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.” This reference also underscores the double-meaning of “Sun” as “Son” in the context of Epiphany. †  The Bach Communion anthem, a perennial favorite, is from a cantata (No. 147) written originally in Weimar in 1716 for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Later in Bach’s career he found it impossible to perform in Leipzig, because that city observed “tempus clausum”…literally “closed time,” a time of silence, for the last three Sundays of Advent. Thus he expanded and revised it for the feast of the Visitation, where it was first performed in Leipzig in July, 1723. On many occasions Bach recycled and revised his own music, sometimes as a result of genuine inspiration, sometimes to create meaningful connections between pieces, and sometimes simply to find a practical solution to avoid inutility of a movement as beautiful as ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.’


January 6, 2013  +  The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first Anthem sung by Youth Choir)

Organ: The wise men  Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 124  What star is this, with beams so bright   Puer Nobis

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Anthem: Brightest and best  Malcolm Archer

Sequence Hymn 92  On this day earth shall ring  Personent hodie

Offertory anthem: The three kings  Peter Cornelius

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Epiphany  Skinner Chávez-Melo

Communion Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness  Schmücke dich

Closing Hymn 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise  Salzburg

Organ: Prelude on ‘We three kings of Orient are’  Michael McCabe  

Music Note: Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. From a set of nine meditations on the birth of Christ (1935), today’s prelude depicts the procession of the magi beneath the guiding star; the stars are heard as brief points of light against soft shimmering chords in the background, while the journey of the kings on camels over uneven terrain is suggested by the unusual undulating rhythm of the melody. The effect of this music certainly can be considered more atmospheric than melodic, more theological-mathematical than “beautiful” in ordinary terms, but as with an Impressionist painting, the effect of the whole can be miraculous. From notes by Messiaen’s student Jon Gillock: “The men are tired, they are half-asleep on their camels, maybe even asleep some of the time – traveling at night so they can see the star. The motion of being on the camel is a mesmerizing movement, one that could put you to sleep, one that could make you feel as if you were in a dream, going on for days – a state of timelessness. It is the energy from the light of the star that seems to draw the caravan forward throughout the piece. Two times the music slows – the first time, perhaps, it is because the wise men have gone to sleep, and the camels (not being urged onward) have decided to take a rest, which in turn wakes the wise men and off they go again. After the second time, however, there is a change of tempo and registration: the wise men have now reached their destination; they are kneeling at the manger, and the music communicates the awe and reverence of being in the presence of God.”  †   The season of Epiphany is rather short this year given the early date of Easter. It runs from January 6 until Shrove Tuesday, February 12.  On February 10, the Sunday of The Transfiguration or the last Sunday after Epiphany, we will again sing today’s closing hymn, which summarizes the entire life of Christ with emphasis on the Epiphany season of the revelation of Christ’s divine majesty through miraculous works and events.   † Another Epiphany hymn “How bright appears the morning star” (No. 497) is sung as an accompaniment to the soloist in the offertory anthem.

December 30, 2012  +  The First Sunday after Christmas Day

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Good Christian friends, rejoice Vincent Lübeck

Opening Hymn 82  Of the Father’s love begotten  Divinum mysterium

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 89  It came upon a midnight clear  Carol

Offertory anthem: See amid the winter’s snow  John Goss

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: In the bleak mid-winter  Gustav Holst

Communion Hymn 115  What child is this  Greensleeves

Closing Hymn 107  Good Christian friends, rejoice  In dulci jubilo

Organ: Lord Christ, the only Son of God, S. 601   Johann Sebastian Bach


Sunday, December 25, 2012  +  Christmas Day

 Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 a.m.  with congregational Carols

 Richard Knapp, organ, and Lucelia E. Fryer, flute

Organ: Pastorale from Le Prologue de Jesus   Joseph W. Clokey

What child is this?  Ralph Vaughan Williams

Opening Hymn 93  Angels from the realms of glory  Regent Square

Sequence Hymn 78  O Little town of Bethlehem  Forest Green

Offertory: Pastoral Symphony (from Messiah)   George Frideric Handel

Communion: In the bleak mid-winter  Harold Darke

Closing Hymn 100  Joy to the world!  Antioch

Organ: Noël: Josef est bien marié a la fille de Jessé  Claude-Bénigne Balbastre

Music Note: Joseph W. Clokey was an American composer, whose organ suite was based on traditional French carols.    Vaughan Williams based many works such as the music of “What child is this?” on old country tunes, in this case ‘Greensleeves,’ dating from the 16th century.  †  “Kent Treble Bob Major” (heard during the Peace) is a peal of change ringing wherein the sequence of the music is based on mathematical permutations rather than familiar tunes. This peal was featured in Dorothy L. Sayers’s novel “The Nine Tailors.”  †  The Pastoral Symphony occurs as a brief instrumental interlude in Messiah.  †  Harold Darke was interim Organist and Choirmaster at King’s College, Cambridge from 1945-51, substituting for Boris Ord while the latter served in the R.A.F.   †    Noëlsare French organ pieces for Christmas. “Joseph is well-married to the daughter of Jesse” was one such piece.  While organist at the church of St. Roch in Paris, Balbastre’s fame was so great that the archbishop of Paris had to forbid him to play during some of the services, because the churches were always crowded when Balbastre played.  He became harpsichordist to the French royal court where he taught queen Marie-Antoinette.  Later, he became organist of the Notre-Dame Cathedral and of the Chapelle Royale. (Notes by Richard Knapp.)


Monday, December 24, 2012  +  Christmas Eve

      Service Schedule:

3:45 p.m.  Choral Prelude (Adult and Youth Choirs)

4:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

10:30 p.m. Choral Prelude (Adult Choir) with Susan Knapp Thomas, harp

11:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult Choir

      Music listing:

  Choral Prelude at 3:45 p.m.

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

Ave Maria   Franz Biebl

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  arr. Dale Adelmann

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 4:00 p.m.

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: Go tell it on the mountain  John Abdenour

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, st. 3 arr. Wolfgang Lindner

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor

  Choral Prelude at 10:30 p.m. with Susan Knapp Thomas, harp

A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28 (complete)   Benjamin Britten

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 p.m.

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: Sussex Carol   arr. David Willcocks

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, arr. Gerre Hancock

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: A Ceremony of Carols was written by Benjamin Britten originally for treble choir and harp in March of 1942, while at sea. Because of the immense popularity of the piece, piano accompaniment and a mixed choir arrangement are also often heard. The majority of the text is taken from poems in Middle English (late 12th to late 15th century). Medieval vocabulary and syntax informed the “translation” provided as well as the following notes by Thomas Ajack. While some of the theology is arguable in the text, it remains rich and valuable. It also serves as a springboard to clarify our own thoughts and beliefs. With this understanding may we worship through the text and the music, which transcends time and brings us closer to God.
I. Hodie. Taken from the Vespers of the Nativity, this plainchant antiphon is used as a procession and recession, rounding out the form of the composition.
II. Wolcum Yole. A miniature of the liturgical calendar of the Christmas season. The heavenly child is welcomed as important saints’ feast days of the season are referenced. December 28 is known as Holy Innocents Day, in remembrance of the Massacre of the Innocents by Herod. The New Year and Epiphany (twelfth day) are mentioned, as well as saints who have left and were dear to us. Candle Mass refers to Feb. 2, which remembers Mary’s purification at the temple, and Jesus’ presentation to Simeon. In some countries the creche is left out until Candle Mass signifies the end of the season.
III. There is no rose. The message here is that Mary was unparalleled. For the first time, heaven and earth were in the same space: within her womb. Because of her, we learn the mystery of the Trinity.
IV. That yongë child. When the baby Jesus began to cry, Mary sang a lullaby. The nightingale sang also, but Mary’s song was superior.
IVb. Balulalow. Showing great humility, Mary sings a good and proper Lullaby to the young Jesus.
V. As dew in Aprille. We are reminded of a traditional tale that Mary’s labor was painless, a gift only fitting for such a blessed lady.
VI. This little Babe. A list of metaphors depicts Christ’s battle with Satan, oddly juxtaposing infant images with weapons and battles.
VII. Interlude. This harp solo is among the classic literature for the instrument. Its key of C-flat (eight flats) is that in which the harp sounds most resonant. The Hodie chant is transformed into a bold tapestry of sound framed by quiet but no less powerful evocations of a freezing winter night.

VIII. In freezing winter night.  We review the Biblical accounts of the humility of Christ’s birth.
IX. Spring Carol. A duet to thank God after winter. One could interpret that Spring (the birth of Christ) comes after Winter (four thousand years of sin since Adam).
X. Deo Gracias. This could be called “reverse psychology.” The message is “blessed was the time that Adam sinned, because now we have the joy of Salvation.” Humanity was bound by sin for Four Thousand winters (years) until Christ was born. We are to assume that time began around 4000BC. We are also to be glad because without Adam’s sin, Mary would have never been a heavenly queen.   †   The postlude is from Widor’s 
Symphonie Gothique, based on a Christmas plainsong hymn. The final movement (Toccata) was played annually on Christmas Eve by the composer at the church of St. Sulpice in Paris where he was organist for a remarkable 64-year tenure (1870-1934). Unlike the famous toccata from Widor’s Symphonie No. 5, which is loud throughout, this one gradually builds in excitement, and concludes softly, in a peaceful, almost plaintive mood which can be interpreted as a meditation on the full meaning of Christmas and the life of Christ.


December 23, 2012  +  The Fourth Sunday of Advent

The St. John’s Christmas Pageant at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with Jeffrey Higgins and Steve Perrett, trumpets

Prelude: Sung by the Choirs

Ave Maria   Franz Biebl

Ding dong! Merrily on high  arr. Charles Wood

A merry Christmas  arr. Arthur Warrell

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles  

With traditional pageant carols and the following Anthems:

Ding dong! merrily on high  arr. Mack Wilberg 

Gloria (Coronation Mass in C)  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The friendly beasts  Traditional French Carol

Torches  John Joubert 

Offertory anthem: Go tell it on the mountain  John Abdenour

Closing Hymn 87  Hark, the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn  

Organ and trumpets: My spirit be joyful (Cantata 146)  Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. E. Power Biggs


December 16, 2012  +  The Third Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (with a Youth Choir anthem)

Organ: Magnificats I, V   Marcel Dupré

Closing Hymn 72  Hark! the glad sound! the Savior comes   Richmond

Kyrie  S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Youth Choir anthem: Watchman, tell us of the night    Bruce Saylor

Sequence Hymn 67  Comfort, comfort ye my people   Psalm 42

Offertory anthem: Rejoice in the Lord alway   Henry Purcell

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Edward C. Bairstow

Communion Hymn 597  O day of peace that dimly shines  Jerusalem

Closing Hymn 539  O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling  Tidings

Organ: My soul doth magnify the Lord, S. 648   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The preludes are based on the first and final sections of text of the Magnificat. First, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ Mary’s song of joy and praise upon hearing she would bear the Christ child, appears in a merry lyrical texture of two against three. Then, in ‘He remembering his mercy, hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever’  the imminent fulfillment of ancient prophecy is depicted in the long-held chords and the pedals slowly descending as if from heaven to earth; the gentle dissonances resolve into meditative peace. This music is from a set of versets (organ responses to choir passages based on liturgical texts) originally improvised at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1919, and written down at the behest of Dupré‘s admirer from across the channel Claude Johnson (president of the Rolls Royce automobile company).  †   As was the case last week, today’s offertory anthem is a ‘verse anthem’which developed and was very popular during the early 17th to the middle of the 18th centuries in England. In a verse anthem the music alternates between contrasting sections for a solo voice or voices and the full choir. Verse anthems were a major part of the English Reformation due to the use of English rather than Latin, and because the use of soloists allowed the text to be expressed more clearly as decreed by the monarchy.  Purcell’s ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway’ (using the early English spelling) is known as ‘The Bell Anthem’ because of its introduction based on a recurring descending scale, such as is heard from change-ringing of eight bells in bell towers.  †  The communion hymn was created for the Hymnal 1982 out of urgings from the hymnal Commission to include hymns on world peace, and also to include the tune ‘Jerusalem’ by the British composer and teacher Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. To satisfy these requests, the Commission asked Carl P. Daw, Jr. to write a text on peace that would fit the Parry tune. The tune was written in 1916 for William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem,” which contains almost fanatical zeal for all things English, and the setting quickly became a second ‘national anthem’, still sung on many great public occasions in England. In a musical context specifically embracing while also redirecting a nationalist association, the new text (a paraphrase of a favorite Advent passage, Isaiah 11:6-9) takes on a meaning perhaps broader than the intention of the creators of any of its individual parts. (Imagine a rendition of ‘Joy to the World’ set to the music of ‘O beautiful for spacious skies.’)(Hymn note adapted from an essay by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Alec Wyton.)


December 9, 2012  +  The Second Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Men’s Choirs

Organ: Savior of the nations, come, S. 659   Johann Sebastian Bach  

Opening Hymn 76  On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry  Winchester New

Kyrie  S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 65  Prepare the way, O Zion  Bereden vag for Herran

Offertory anthem: This is the record of John  Orlando Gibbons

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Lo, how a rose e’er blooming   Dale Adelmann

Communion Hymn 54  Savior of the nations, come!   Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Closing Hymn 59  Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding   Merton

Organ: Savior of the nations, come, S. 599   Johann Sebastian Bach  

Today’s offertory anthem is an example of a ‘verse anthem,’  a type which developed and was very popular during the early 17th to the middle of the 18th centuries in England. In a verse anthem the music alternates between contrasting sections for a solo voice or voices and the full choir. The organ provided accompaniment in liturgical settings, but viols took the accompaniment outside of the church. Verse anthems were a major part of the English Reformation due to the use of English rather than Latin, and because the use of soloists allowed the text to be expressed more clearly as decreed by the monarchy. ‘This is the record of John’ was written by Gibbons for a visit of the Archbishop to his alma mater, St. John’s College, Oxford. †  Dale Adelmann is Music Director of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. His alma mater is St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he sang in the chapel choir and directed The Gentlemen of St. John’s. His powerful setting of the sixteenth-century Lo, how a rose e’er blooming was composed for the choir of men and boys of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo. The music takes full advantage of the “new” third stanza of this hymn, added in the 19th century in Germany and added to Episcopal hymnals in 1940.


December 2, 2012  +  The First Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Prelude on Aberystwyth   Claude Means

Opening Hymn 57  Lo! he comes, with clouds descending  Helmsley

Kyrie  S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 73  The King shall come when morning dawns  St. Stephen

Offertory anthem: Audivi vocem   Thomas Tallis

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come   Paul Manz

Communion Hymn 324  Let all mortal flesh keep silence   Picardy

Closing Hymn 640  Watchman, tell us of the night  Aberystwyth

Organ: Sleepers, wake! S. 645  Bach

Music notes:  Prolific Lutheran composer Paul Manz wrote the communion anthem in 1954. The appeal of the composition, with modal elements lending a haunting, medieval quality to certain passages, has been enormous; it has sold over a million copies around the world and has been recorded hundreds of times. The origin of the text, assembled from Revelation 22 by the composer’s wife (a frequent collaborator), was in response to the near death of their three year old son from a rare form of pneumonia. Their son was spared and is now a Lutheran bishop in Minnesota.   The Advent hymn-tune Helmsleywas first printed with this text in London in 1765, and first published in America in 1799. An earlier version of the tune exists in an almost flippant, secular style. It was not widely used in Anglican/Episcopal circles until Ralph Vaughan Williams selected it for inclusion in The English Hymnal of 1906. He transformed it into a stately Edwardian melody by his harmonies (faithfully transcribed in our hymnal), revealing the tune’s potential as a solemn processional. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Nicholas Temperley and Geoffrey Wainwright.)

 

Advent Procession of Lessons and Carols at 5 pm  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

click to download service program: December_2_AdventLC_5pm_2012.pdf

 


November 25, 2012  +  The Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King

Holy Eucharist Rite I  at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Intrada   Grayston Ives

Opening Hymn 477  All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine   Engelberg

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 483  The head that once was crowned with thorns   St. Magnus

Offertory anthem: Judge eternal  Gerre Hancock

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Laudate Dominum  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Communion Hymn 328   Draw nigh and take the Body of the Lord   Song 46

Closing Hymn 494  Crown him with many crowns  Diademata

Organ: Grand-choeur dialogué    Eugène Gigout

Music Note: Gerre Hancock was from 1971-2004 Organist and Master of Choristers at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem was commissioned by and dedicated to the Houston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists for its National Convention of 1988, where its premiere was sung by the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, England. The anthem’s text, first published in 1902 and introduced into Episcopal hymnals in 1916, remains one of the strongest for social justice and national peace in our hymnal (No. 596). Originally, stanza 3 read: “…Feed the faint and hungry heathen with the richness of thy Word: Cleanse the body of this empire through the glory of the Lord.” (Timothy Smith)  †   Mozart composed two complete settings of the vesper psalms in 1779-80, for use in the celebrated evening services of Salzburg cathedral. From the more well-known setting, Vesperae solennes de confessore (K. 339) comes the soprano aria “Laudate Dominum,” written for the remarkable singer Maria Magdalena Lipp (the wife of composer Michael Haydn). Mozart composed many pieces for her, and this beguiling example, in which the choir enters for a doxology of serene simplicity, was a particular favorite of many nineteenth-century singers and arrangers.  


November 18, 2012  +  The 25th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Men’s choirs

Organ: Praeludium Circulare (Symphony No. 2  Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn 598  Lord Christ, when first thou camest to earth   Mit Freuden zart

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 615  “Thy kingdom come!” on bended knee    St. Flavian

Offertory Anthem   Cantique de Jean Racine   Gabriel Fauré

Sanctus    Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Soul of my Savior  Richard Shephard

Communion Hymn 51  We the Lord’s people, heart and voice uniting    Decatur Place

Closing Hymn 632  O Christ, the Word Incarnate   Munich

Organ: Now thank we all our God   Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Music Note:  Along with Molière and Corneille, Jean Racine was one of the “Big Three” 17th-century French dramatists. His paraphrase-translation (published in 1688) of an early Latin hymn, was set to music by Fauré at the age of nineteen, as his opus 11. This piece won first prize when Fauré graduated from the Niedermeyer School in Paris, and was first performed the next year in 1866, accompanied by strings and organ. It was published about a decade later and has become one of his best-known works, sharing with his Requiem a general mood of quiet consolation, and melodic beauty.  †   Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.


November 11, 2012  +  The 24th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I  at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (with Youth Choir anthems)

Organ: Requiescat in Pace  Leo Sowerby

Opening Hymn 594  God of grace and God of glory   Cwm Rhondda

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Youth Choir: Non nobis, Domine   William Byrd

A grateful heart   Mary Plumstead

Sequence Hymn 705  As those of old their first fruits brought   Forest Green

Offertory anthem: Greater love hath no man  John Ireland 

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God  T. Tertius Noble

Communion Hymn 9  Not here for high and holy things  Morning Song

Closing Hymn 718  God of our Fathers, whose almighty hand  National Hymn

Organ: Elegy    George Thalben-Ball

Music Note: Of his Requiscat in Pace, Leo Sowerby wrote: ”  It was written as a tribute to those who went ‘over there’ in 1917-1918, and didn’t return. I feel that the music tells its own story of the eventual triumph of the spirit over the unimportance of bodily or material things, but don’t quote me…I wouldn’t want to be taken for a Christian Scientist!”    †   John Ireland excelled particularly at writing music for the piano and the solo voice; his few pieces of church music date mostly from the turn of the last century, when both he and Ralph Vaughan Williams were students at London’s Royal Academy of Music. “Greater love” resourcefully draws on several texts to illuminate our inheritance as the Redeemed of God, set to music of a fitting variety of characters. Written in 1912, the anthem predates specific reference to veterans, referring to the more general stewardship of our lives.   †  George Thalben-Ball was organist and choir director of London’s famed Temple Church for nearly sixty years. He composed several anthems and organ works, of which the best known is his meditative Elegy for organ. This piece originated in an improvisation which Thalben-Ball played at the end of a live BBC daily religious service during World War II, when the service finished a couple of minutes earlier than expected. So many listeners to the broadcast telephoned the BBC to ask what the composition was, that he decided to write down his improvisation as well as he could remember it. 


November 4, 2012  +  All Saints’ Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult choirs, with Susan Knapp Thomas, harp

Harp and Organ: Aria in Classic Style   Marcel Grandjany

Opening Hymn 293  I sing a song of the saints of God  Grand Isle

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 623  O what their joy and their glory must be  O quanta qualia

Offertory Anthem   And I saw a new heaven   Edgar L. Bainton

Sanctus    Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthems: Pie Jesu, In paradisum (from Requiem)  Gabriel Fauré

Closing Hymn 287  For all the saints  Sine Nomine

Organ: Prelude on Sine Nomine   Leo Sowerby

Music Note: Marcel Grandjany was a French-born American harpist and composer. He moved to the United States in 1926 and was appointed head of the harp department at the Juilliard School of Music in 1938 where he taught until his death. His many splendid compositions, work as an educator, and champion of an international association of harpists and the American Harp Society, continue in their influence today. The Aria in Classic Style(published 1944) is dedicated to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge (1864-1953), a major champion of chamber music and commisioner of new works. Coolidge established the Berkshire String Quartet in 1916 and started the Berkshire Music Festival at South Mountain, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, two years later. Out of this grew the Berkshire Symphonic Festival at Tanglewood, which she also supported. Coolidge’s efforts raised the status of chamber music in the United States, where the major interest of composers had previously been in orchestral music, from curiosity to a seminal field of composition. Between 1932-1949, the Library of Congress awarded the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal for “eminent services to chamber music.” (Wikipedia)  †   Edgar Bainton is remembered today primarily for one anthem And I saw a new heaven, secure in the annals of Anglican church music. Son of a Congregational minister, he was a child prodigy pianist and wrote many works including anthems, songs and symphonic music, only recently coming to light and being recorded. After fifty years in England, Bainton spent another twenty-three working in Australia. In the offertory anthem, the dramatic vision from Revelation is splendidly matched by changing musical moods. An especially lovely melody introduced by the tenors partway through is echoed at the vision’s peaceful conclusion.


October 28, 2012  +  The Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Aria; It is well with my soul   Craig Phillips

Opening Hymn 410 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven   Lauda anima

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 411 O bless the Lord, my soul   St. Thomas

Offertory anthem: The Beatitudes  Phillips

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Set me as a seal   Rene Clausen

Communion Hymn 337   And now, O father, mindful of the love   Unde et memores

Closing Hymn 535  Ye servants of God, your master proclaim   Paderborn

Organ: Kyrie! Thou Spirit Divine, S. 671    Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints Parish, Beverly Hills, California and a prolific, nationally known composer. The two preludes are from an early collection (1997), safely within the bounds of tonality. The compelling setting of the Beatitudes (2008) is essentially a set of variations (as is the text) on a melody of irregular meter, introducing gently dissonant harmony when appropriate. The text directly colors the repeated statements and the glorious crescendo at the end; one’s peaceful reassurance culminates in a great outburst that has been building throughout the preceding variations.     The singing of the communion hymn last Sunday was thrilling, when all present were reunited by a sense of gratitude and common purpose following the testimonies of those who had experienced the fire 20 years ago. Might this experience continue on a weekly basis? The act of receiving the Eucharist similarly unites us. Particularly in those final stanzas such as today’s where the hope of eternal life is made clear, join the throng heartily as suggested. You may find it an extra blessing.  †   The postlude is a setting of a German hymn version of Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy upon us) which contains additional text between its two Greek words: “Kyrie! Thou Spirit Divine! Oh grant us thy power evermore, That we when life is o’er With joy uprising may leave our sorrows. Eleison!” This could be considered a variation on the theme of the Beatitudes. The sentiment therein is matched by a majestic and elaborate fantasia. The initial three rising notes of the melody (heard in long pedal tones) is also the motive upon which all the accompanying material is based, either right-side-up or upside-down. The startlingly dissonant conclusion to this music could have been written in modern times.


October 21, 2012  +  The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Women’s Choirs

Prelude: Prelude in B Major, Op. 99 No. 2   Camille Saint-Saëns

Opening Hymn 518   Christ is made the sure foundation   Westminster Abbey

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 665  All my hope on God is founded   Michael

Offertory anthem: Behold now, praise the Lord   William H. Harris

Sanctus   Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: O mysterium ineffabile   Jean-François Lalouette

Communion Hymn 336  Come with us, O blessed Jesus   Werde munter

Closing Hymn 680  O God, our help in ages past   St. Anne

Organ: Improvisation, Op. 150 No. 7   Saint-Saëns

Music Note: One of the oldest Latin hymn texts, “Christ is made the sure foundation” is found in manuscript collections of hymns from the ninth century, but perhaps dates back as early as the sixth century. The stanzas of this hymn, as well as No. 519, are actually part of one long hymn traditionally associated with the dedication of a church. The verses were usually divided into two parts, part I (No. 519) being sung at the evening office and part 2 (518) reserved for morning prayer. The music is derived from concluding Alleluias of the Purcell anthem “O God, thou art my God.” This text/tune relationship was first introduced to Americans through the broadcast of the marraige of Princess Margaret of England in 1960. (Louis Weil and Jeffrey Wasson)  †  The tune of the sequence hymn is named after the composer’s son Michael, who died from polio at age 9. †  Jean-Francois Lalouette began his musical education as a boy in the choir of the church of St. Eustache in Paris. After a varied career as violinist, choirmaster, composer and court musician, he held the post of choirmaster of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris from 1700-1717 and again from 1718 to 1727. His quietly ecstatic anthem is well suited to describe the mystery of communion and also, perhaps, the mystery that so much of the sacramental area at St. John’s survived the fire twenty years ago; photos showing the intact altar and its flowers ready for the morning Eucharist, even after the conflagration had brought down the roof, are certainly cause for thanks for some amount of divine intervention.

5:00 PM CHORAL EVENSONG

SUNG BY THE COMBINED CHOIRS OF St. JOHN’S CHURCH AND TRINITY CURCH, HARTFORD  commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the St. John’s fire

Prelude   Carillon de Westminster  Louis Vierne
Responses   William Smith
Psalm 115   (Anglican Chants by Robert Ashfield and John Jones)
Nunc dimittis   C. Villiers Stanford   in A
Anthem   Sanctuary Doves   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

ORGAN RECITAL played by DUO MYDO, Douglas Bruce, organ (Germany) and Myriam Hidber Dickinson, flute (Switzerland).


October 14, 2012  +  The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir (with a Youth Choir anthem)

Prelude: All glory be to God on high, S. 676   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 475  God himself is with us   Tysk

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Youth Choir: A Song of Thanksgiving   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sequence Hymn 684  O for a closer walk with God   Caithness

Offertory anthem: There is a land of pure delight   Grayston Ives

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: I sat down under his shadow   Edward C. Bairstow

Communion Hymn 345  Savior, again to thy dear Name we raise   Ellers

Closing Hymn 655 O Jesus, I have promised  Nyland

Organ: A joyous march    Leo Sowerby

Music Note:  J. S. Bach is credited with at least ten settings of the hymn-tune Allein Gott in der Höh (All Glory be to God on high, Hymnal 1982 No. 421). This music and text have been paired since the early 1500s and constituted the Gloria in congregational settings of the Holy Eucharist in Bach’s day, hence the frequent demand for creative (not to mention lengthy) material to introduce it. In the context of a three hour service, a five minute elaborate introduction to the singing of a hymn gave no one the slightest concern, but instead was expected, inviting a personal meditation on the meaning of the hymn. The prelude today is one of these, with the initial notes of the melody inspiring a florid and merry trio.  †  The youth choir anthem paraphrases Psalm 23, with the message that discipline is not a burden, but a source of comfort and protective love from God. The music incorporates the hymn tune Old Hundredth and was composed in 1997 for the Sesquicentennial of Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn Heights, NY; the poet Jack Faison was a member of that congregation.  †  Grayston Ives began his musical career as a boy chorister at Ely Cathedral and later studied music at Cambridge University. After teaching music for a period, he became a member of the King’s Singers, from 1978 to 1985. Until 2009 he was Director of Music at Magdalen College, Oxford, and has been in great demand as a composer and arranger. The offertory anthem (2002) was written in memory of Vernon Openshaw, an organist and choirmaster who died at the age of 43. Its descriptions of heaven, and of our reluctance to look forward to the journey there, as observed centuries ago by Isaac Watts, deliver a sense of calm assurance.    Sowerby’s postlude bears the infectious flavor of the American popular musical scene following World War I, during which the composer served as an army bandmaster. 


October 7, 2012  +  The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by soprano Marjorie Hardge

(The St. John’s Choirs sang this morning at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York City)

Prelude: Prelude on St. Peter   Harold Darke

Opening Hymn 416  For the beauty of the earth   Lucerna Laudoniae

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 480  When Jesus left his father’s throne   Kingsfold

Offertory solo: He’s got the whole world in his hand    arr. Margaret Bonds

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion solo: Let us break bread together   Traditional

Closing Hymn 657  Love divine, all loves excelling  Hyfrydol

Organ: Allegro maestoso e vivace from Sonata No. 2   Felix Mendelssohn

Music Note: Margaret Bonds was born in Chicago and began musical studies at age five with her mother, a church organist, who also taught at the COleridge-Taylor Music School. After further studies at that school, she enrolled at Northwestern University and, after moving to New York in 1939, at Juilliard. She collaborated frequently with poet Langston Hughes in some of her best-known works, including the musical Shakespeare in Harlem and the cantata Ballad of the Brown King. Writes Maya Angelou: “It was during her time at Northwestern University that she became the first African American to solo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. As a highly successful composer, Margaret Bonds wrote for a variety of genres including orchestral and choral music, chamber music, art songs and popular songs. Her arrangements of Negro spirituals were sung by such legendary sopranos as Leontyne Price [who made a recording of today’s offertory anthem]. It is interesting to note, however, that there is little of her piano music in print due to the fact that as an accomplished concert pianist and improviser, most of her piano music was committed to memory and not written down. Bonds received numerous awards during her lifetime for her contributions to the music of African Americans.” Her arrangement of “He’s got the whole world in his hand” varies the traditional melody with exuberantly detailed elegance of an almost symphonic scope. One can easily imagine woodwinds of an orchestra at the moment depicting the birds and the bees, or the full brass backing up the soaring descant to which the soloist is raised in the final stanza. †


September 30, 2012  +  The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Praise to the Lord, the almighty, S. 650   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 390  Praise to the Lord, the almighty   Lobe den Herren

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 574  Before thy throne, O God, we kneel   St. Petersburg

Offertory anthem: Sing we merrily   Sidney Campbell

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: O taste and see   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Hymn 313  Let thy Blood in mercy poured   Jesus, meine Zuversicht

Closing Hymn 344  Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing   Sicilian Mariners

Organ: Allegro from Sonata No. 1 in E-flat  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Music Note: The prelude is Bach’s transcription from his own cantata No. 137 “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (today’s opening hymn). In the original cantata movement, as in so many of Bach’s sacred choral works, a solo role is played by a specific instrument, reflecting the character of the text simultaneously being sung. In this case an alto is singing stanza 2 (shelters thee under his wing…), accompanied by a violin evoking (in Albert Schwietzer’s estimation) the description of a light, majestic, floating motion. On the organ this arrangement results in wide leaps for the hand, more easily played on a violin on adjacent strings, while the melody, including trills, is played by the feet. This and five other transcriptions of cantata movements were collected and published sometime in the three years before Bach’s death, perhaps indicating the composer’s special attachment to music which otherwise would have languished, given the impossibility of publishing the complex cantatas themselves. †  Virtuoso Sidney Campbell served successively as organist of Southwark Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, and St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. His joyous setting of Psalm 81 treats the voice in a nimble instrumental manner, similar to the choral and solo vocal writing of J. S. Bach.  †  The brief communion motet was composed for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and first sung as the Queen made her personal communion. 

 

5:00 PM CHORAL EVENSONG

SUNG BY THE CHOIR OF ST. PAUL’S CHURCH, FAIRFIELD
Prelude   Cantabile   César Franck
Introit   I will bless the Lord   John Abdenour
Responses   Anthony Piccolo
Psalms 19, 46
Canticles  Henry Smart in B-flat
Anthem   Te Deum, laudamus (Collegium Regale)   Herbert Howells

ORGAN RECITAL played by Erik Eickhoff, Westminster Presbyterian Church, West Hartford


September 23, 2012  +  The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Prelude: All glory be to God on high, S. 662   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 477 All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine   Engelberg

Gloria S202  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 660  O Master, let me walk with thee   Maryton

Offertory anthem: God so loved the world  John Stainer

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Draw us in the spirit’s tether   Harold W. Friedell

Communion Hymn 309  O Food to pilgrims given  O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

Closing Hymn 637  How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord   Lyons

Organ: Grand plein jeu (Suite du Premier Ton)    Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Music Note:  J. S. Bach is credited with at least ten settings of the hymn-tune ‘Allein Gott in der Höh’ (All Glory be to God on high, Hymnal 1982 No. 421). This music and text have been paired since the early 1500s and constituted the Gloria in congregational settings of the Holy Eucharist in Bach’s day, hence the frequent demand for creative (not to mention lengthy) material to introduce it. (In Bach’s day, in the context of a three hour service, a five minute elaborate introduction to the singing of a hymn gave no one the slightest concern, but instead was expected, inviting a personal meditation on the meaning of the hymn.) The prelude today is one of these, with phrases of the melody introduced one at a time by material hinting at the section to come. Another, rather different of these ten settings (a florid and merry trio) will be heard next month.  †  The offertory anthem has been sung by choirs all over the world and helps to sustain the interest in the larger work from which it comes. Stainer’s Passion meditation The Crucifixion (1887) dates from his years at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London and is his main work still performed. ‘God so loved the world’ combines a disarming simplicity with the essence of melodic and harmonic inspiration, assuring its enduring appeal and effectiveness.  †  The hymn-tune ‘Union Seminary,’ named after the institution in New York City, was written by Harold W. Friedell when he was organist of Calvary Church in New York and then set as an anthem after he became organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue in 1946.  †  A prolific composer and esteemed teacher of the French Baroque period, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault was organist of the church of St. Sulpice in Paris, where later Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré were to have similar impacts on the field. His richly ornamented organ works bear titles indicating the stops used to produce the sounds he intended, hence: Grand plein jeu (ensemble of principal and mixture stops without reed stops). This music can be created with great authenticity with the French colors of the instrument here at St. John’s. 


September 16, 2012  +  The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (with a Youth Choir anthem)

Organ: Prelude and Fugue in C Major, S. 545   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 376  Joyful, joyful, we adore thee   Hymn to Joy

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Youth choir anthem: Bless, O Lord, us thy servants   Martin How

Sequence Hymn  As newborn stars were stirred to song   Alexandra

Offertory anthem: O how amiable   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: A prayer of St. Richard of Chichester   Louis White

Communion Hymn 312  Strenthen for service, Lord  Malabar

Closing Hymn 448  O love, how deep, how broad, how high   Deus tuorum militum

Organ: Tuba Tune in D Major  Craig Sellar Lang

The hymn sung before the Gospel, while new to us, has been in use in the Episcopal Church since being published in the hymnal supplement Wonder, Love and Praise in 1997. It concisely recounts instances of music throughout Jewish and Christian history, while also depicting music as a metaphor for human faithfulness to God. Its author, The Rev’d Dr. Carl P. Daw Jr., is an Episcopal priest and writer who served as the Executive Director of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2009. Dr. Daw has been successively Secretary and Chair of the Standing Commission on Church Music of the Episcopal Church and was a consultant member of the Text Committee forThe Hymnal 1982, to which he contributed a number of translations, metrical paraphrases, and original hymns. His texts have subsequently appeared in most denominational and ecumenical hymnals published in the United States and Canada. They also can be found in hymnals in England, Scotland, and Australia and have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. †  Richard de Wych is a saint (canonized 1262) who was Bishop of Chichester. His original shrine in Chichester Cathedral was a richly-decorated center of pilgrimage which was destroyed in 1538. He is supposed to have recited the popular prayer ascribed to him on his deathbed, written down in Latin by his confessor. The first English translation to use the rhyme “clearly, dearly, nearly” is thought to be one from 1913; the first including the phrase “day by day” followed in 1931. The prayer became especially popular in America following its adaptation for the musical Godspell in 1971. The communion anthem version dates from 1947.


September 9, 2012  +  The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Prelude: O God, thou faithful God   Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Opening Hymn 493  O for a thousand tongues to sing  Azmon

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 567  Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old   St. Matthew

Offertory anthem: Jubilate Deo  William Walton

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Bread of the world  John Abdenour

Communion Hymn 51  We the Lord’s people   Decatur Place

Closing Hymn 371  Thou whose almighty word   Moscow

Organ: Prelude to a Te Deum   Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Music Note:  British composer William Walton wrote in many styles, including film scores and opera. His suitably joyous Psalm 100 is a late work, written for events celebrating his seventieth birthday in 1972. After a rhythmically intense opening for two four-part choirs, it contrasts two alternating trios (expressing the ‘quiet’ side of joy) with simpler choral passages supported by an ostinato organ part.    The Sanctus, which we last sang throughout Epiphany, comes from a new festival setting of the Eucharist commissioned for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to commemorate the ministry of the Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III as the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California. †   John Abdenour is organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairfield, Connecticut. His unison setting (from 1992) of a text two centuries old amplifies the poet’s profound immediacy. †  Not unlike a famous Rondeau by Jean-Joseph Mouret which became known widely through its use as the theme of Public Television’s ‘Masterpiece Theatre,’ Charpentier’s French Baroque postlude is known as the signature tune for the European Broadcasting Union. Charpentier was trained in Rome and worked in Royal appointments in Paris, lastly as the director of music at the Sainte-Chapelle.


September 2, 2012  +  The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m.

Prelude: Prelude, Fugue and Variation  César Franck

Opening Hymn 574  Before thy throne, O God, we kneel   St. Petersburg

Sequence Hymn 656  Blest are the pure in heart   Franconia

Offertory Hymn 9  Not here for high and holy things  Morning Song

Music during Communion: Adagio from Sonata I in F minor   Felix Mendelssohn

Closing Hymn 707  Take my life, and let it be   Hollingside

Organ: Allegro assai vivace from Sonata I in F minor   Felix Mendelssohn


August 26, 2012  +  The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 9:00 a.m. sung by Margaret Beers, soprano and John Janeiro, baritone

Prelude: Blessed Jesus, at thy word, S. 731   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 440  Blessed Jesus, at thy word  Liebster Jesu

Sequence Hymn 408  Sing praise to God who reigns above  Mit Freuden zart

Offertory anthem: Domine Deus (from Mass in F Major, S. 233)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion anthem: O worship the Lord (from Chandos Anthem No. 4)  George Frideric Handel

Closing Hymn 460  Alleluia, sing to Jesus  Hyfrydol

Organ: If thou but suffer God to guide thee, S. 642   Johann Sebastian Bach


August 19, 2012  +  The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m. sung by members of the St. John’s Youth Choir

Prelude: O Love how deep   Paul Manz

Opening Hymn 427  When morning gilds the skies  Laudes Domini

Sequence Hymn 488  Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart  Slane

Offertory anthem: A song of thanksgiving  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion anthem: In paradisum (Requiem)  Gabriel Fauré

Closing Hymn 594  God of grace and God of glory   Cwm Rhondda

Organ: God of grace and God of glory   Paul Manz


August 12, 2012  +  The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 9:00 a.m. sung by Marjorie Hardge and Nancy Sichler, sopranos

Prelude: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 339 Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Schmücke dich

Sequence Hymn 301  Bread of the world in mercy broken   Rendez à Dieu

Offertory anthem: Ave verum corpus   Gabriel Fauré

Communion anthem: Pie Jesu (Requiem)  Andrew Lloyd Webber

Closing Hymn 48  O day of radiant gladness   Es flog ein kleins Waldvogelein

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johannes Brahms


August 5, 2012  +  The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m. sung by Helen Douglas, Frisha Hugessen, John Church, Stephan Christiansen and Philip Chapman, quintet

Prelude: Arabesque   Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 523  Glorious things of thee are spoken   Abbot’s Leigh

Sequence Hymn 709  O God of Bethel, by whose hand   Dundee

Offertory anthem: Confitebor tibi   Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Communion anthem: Set me as a seal  Rene Clausen

Closing Hymn 309  O Food to pilgrims given   O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

Organ: O Food to pilgrims given   Johannes Brahms


During July, services were said in the Cloister Garden.


June 24, 2012  +  The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Adagio from Symphony No. 3   Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 493  O for a thousand tongues to sing   Azmon

Sequence Hymn 567  Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old   St. Matthew

Offertory anthem: Dear Lord and Father   C. Hubert H. Parry

Sanctus S114  (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: The Lord bless you and keep you   John Rutter

Communion Hymn 671  Amazing grace! how sweet the sound   New Britain

Closing Hymn 535  Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim   Paderborn

Organ: Meditation (Improvisation)  Vierne

Music Note: Louis Vierne, the blind organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900-1937 (where he died during a recital 75 years ago this month), composed six organ symphonies.  His third (1911) is widely regarded as a masterpiece of form and melodic development. The poetic Adagio was later orchestrated by Vierne, and is especially marked by the influence of his two great teachers, Franck and Widor. Described as a “Song without words,” it is based entirely on the material heard in the first two measures; a sense of melancholy is resolved when the material is recast in a major key at the luminous conclusion. The postlude was improvised for a 78 rpm recording in 1932. The music was limited by what could fit onto one side of a record in those days. Vierne’s beautiful creation was later transcribed from the recording by one of his pupils, Maurice Duruflé. This written version permits the listener to have an unusual opportunity: to travel back in time and hear the spontaneous muse of Vierne.


June 17, 2012  +  The Third Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist and Baptism at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude: Berceuse   Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 623  O what their joy and their glory must be  O quanta qualia

Sequence Hymn 302  Father, we thank thee who hast planted   Rendez a Dieu

Baptism Hymn 516  Come down, O Love Divine  Down Ampney

Offertory anthem: Jesu, the very thought of thee   Paul Halley

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: A welcome world   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 303  Father, we thank thee who hast planted  Albright

Closing Hymn 525  The Church’s one foundation  Aurelia

Organ: Final from Symphony No. 1  Vierne

Music Note: Louis Vierne was the blind organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900 until 1937 (where he died during a recital 75 years ago this month). His tenderBerceuse, an arrangement of a traditional French lullaby, was written in 1913 and dedicated to his daughter. The postlude was written the year before his appointment at Notre-Dame. †  Unusually, today we sing two different settings of the same hymn text, “Father, we thank thee who hast planted.” This text is a metrical paraphrase made in 1939, of several brief traditional prayers found in Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, an Alexandrian work dating from the second century. The prayers that were used in the paraphrase are considered still older than the main work and may very well date to the first century. (Robin A. Leaver.) Before the reading of the Gospel we sing the ‘familiar’ musical version, a 16th century tune from the Genevan Psalter. The communion hymn version, by the late University of Michigan composition professor William Albright, is one of four tunes commissioned for a conference of musicians and clergy held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, in 1972. Its accompaniment includes random notes from tuned percussion instruments to create a celestial effect; in this context the ancient poetry takes on an even more cosmic dimension. †  British-born Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he directed the long-established intergenerational choir program and transformed the Cathedral’s music program into a rich combination of classical and contemporary music. He then was founder and artistic director of Connecticut’s acclaimed choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, based in Torrington. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The basis of today’s offertory anthem is the hymn-tune St. Botolph (Hymnal 1982 No. 209), set with highly imaginative harmony and a virtuosic accompaniment. As in his work ‘Freedom Trilogy’ heard last week, Halley’s pen forges new territory combining the traditional with the distinctly modern. After one sustained high note creates a magical transition back to the opening accompaniment figure, the anthem concludes (as do many hymn-anthems) with a descant soaring over the final stanza, and an ecstatic Amen.    The communion anthem, written in 2007 for the baptism of the composer’s child, is like a lullaby to describe the calm and joy both on earth and in heaven, to welcome a newly baptized person into the church family. At the end of the music is a place to mention by name the person or people being baptized. 


June 10, 2012  +  The Second Sunday after Pentecost – Youth Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude:  Psalm 100  Justin Heinrich Knecht

Opening Hymn: 405  All things bright and beautiful  Royal Oak

Gloria S-278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 293  I sing a song of the saints of God   Grand Isle

Offertory anthem: Freedom Trilogy  Paul Halley

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: God be with you ’til we meet again  Barry Rose

Communion Hymn 51  We the Lord’s people, heart and voice uniting   Decatur Place

Closing Hymn 555  Lead on, O King eternal   Lancashire

Organ: Festival Voluntary  Flor Peeters

Music Note:  British-born Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he directed the long-established intergenerational choir program and transformed the Cathedral’s music program into a rich combination of classical and contemporary music. He then was founder and artistic director of Connecticut’s acclaimed choirs, Chorus Angelicus andGaudeamus, based in Torrington. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In his Freedom Trilogy (1997), Halley freely integrates elements from a diversity of styles into a convincing new entity.  †  Barry Rose, former organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, composed the communion anthem as a commission for the boy and girl choristers of Grace Church in New York City in 2000. The text’s poet, Jermiah Eames Rankin, was was an abolitionist, champion of the temperance movement, minister of Washington D.C’s First Congregational Church, and correspondent with Frederick Douglass. In 1889 he was appointed sixth president of Howard College in Washington, D.C. Howard University’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel was built during Jeremiah Rankin’s tenure as president (1890-1903) and named after his brother. Rankin is best known as author of this hymn and “Tell It to Jesus.”   During the 1960s and 1970s, “The Lord’s People in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day for the Lord’s Service” was a saying often quoted in the Church of England and used as a teaching device to try to express succinctly the essence of Christian liturgy. Today’s communion hymn was the author’s first, and based on that idea. The music was written specifically for the text for inclusion in The Hymnal 1982 by Richard Wayne Dirksen, former Organist and Choirmaster and Precentor of Washington National Cathedral. The tune name Decatur Place honors the Washington home of Paul Callaway, the composer’s longtime friend and predecessor as Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral. (Hymn note by Raymond Glover and Russell Schulz-Widmar.)


June 3, 2012  +  The First Sunday after Pentecost:  Trinity Sunday

Holy Eucharist and Baptism at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude in E-flat Major, S. 552  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 366  Holy God, we praise thy Name  Grosser Gott

Sequence Hymn 368  Holy Father, great Creator   Regent Square

Baptism Hymn 296  We know that Crist is raised and dies no more  Engelberg

Offertory anthem: Sanctus (from St. Cecilia Mass)   Charles Gounod

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: A welcome world   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 367  Round the Lord in glory seated  Rustington

Closing Hymn 362  Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!  Nicea

Organ: Fugue in E-flat Major, S. 552  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note:  Charles Gounod, because of his great popularity (especially from his operas) and his stylistic influence on the next generation of composers, was a towering figure in French music in the mid-nineteenth century. For two years he studied theology, but chose not to take holy orders; still, he was often referred to as “l’Abbé (Father) Gounod.” The Sanctus sung at the offertory is from his Mass dedicated to Saint Cecilia (the patron saint of music), written in 1855.  †  The communion anthem, written in 2007 for the baptism of the composer’s child, is like a lullaby to describe the calm and joy both on earth and in heaven, to welcome a newly baptized person into the church family. At the end of the music is a place to mention by name the person or people being baptized.  † The genius of J. S. Bach manifested itself in many ways, including a fascination with numerology and symbolism. Bach’s fugue associated with the hymn-tune “St. Anne” (O God, our help in ages past) is a testament to the Trinity, written in triple meter, with a key signature of three flats, and in three sections. The first section represents God the Father with the stately foundation stops of the organ; God the Son is depicted in the lighter second section; the exuberant conclusion evokes the power of the Holy Spirit.


May 27, 2012  +  The Day of Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Variations on ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’  Maurice Duruflé

Opening Hymn 225  Hail thee festival day!  Salva festa dies

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 516  Come down, O Love divine  Down Ampney

Offertory anthem: Listen, sweet dove   Grayston Ives

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Pilgrims’ Hymn   Stephen Paulus

Communion Hymn 504  Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire  Veni Creator Spiritus

Closing Hymn 507  Praise the Spirit in creation  Julion

Organ: Final on ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’  Maurice Duruflé

Music Note: Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, is celebrated in many parts of Christendom as a major festival whose significance surpasses that of Christmas and equals that of Easter. From the time of the earliest recorded sacred melodies, music for Christmas, Easter and Pentecost has proliferated more uniformly and survived longer than any other music associated with Christian worship. Much as the Latin hymn “Adeste Fidelis” (O Come, all ye faithful)  is associated with Christmas in many different traditions, the ninth-century “Veni Creator Spiritus” (today’s communion hymn, and basis of the prelude and postlude) is the hymn most universally associated with Pentecost.  †  Throughout Christian history, the descending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost has been portrayed in literature and art in one of two images: as a dove or in tongues of fire.  The offertory anthem meditates on the image of the Holy Spirit as a dove, alongside a charming poetic image of the sun made jealous by the dazzling evangelism of the twelve apostles. The postlude, by contrast, evokes the image of the tongues of fire at its radiant conclusion.


May 20, 2012  + The Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Sunday after the Ascension

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Prayer of Christ Ascending   Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 214  Hail the day that sees him rise  Llanfair

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 483  The head that once was crowned with thorns  St. Magnus

Offertory anthem: O clap your hands   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: The Lord ascendeth up on high  Michael Praetorius

Communion Hymn 328  Draw nigh and take the body of the Lord  Song 46

Closing Hymn 494  Crown him with many crowns  Diademata

Organ: Toccata on ‘Grosser Gott’   Grayston Ives

Music Note: Messiaen’s quietly ecstatic prayer of ‘Christ ascending towards his Father’ is from his 1932 Ascension Suite, described by the composer as “Four meditations for orchestra.” He arranged it for organ the next year, and it is still one of his most frequently performed pieces. Over the course of some nine minutes the music takes on a radiant glow, using gradually ascending notes and progressively ascending sections, as part of a typically weightless, timeless experience created by very long note values and unpredictable rhythms. †  Dating from 1920, Vaughan Williams’s arrangement of Psalm 47 was originally orchestrated for organ, brass and percussion, and can be heard in arrangements for organ alone and for full orchestra. The joyous mood of the text is capitalized upon in a setting of extroverted jubilation. The brass and organ parts work fanfare-like counterpoints around the vocal lines. After an anticipated climax on “Sing praises unto our King,” the music reaches a moment of quiet introspection. Here the vocal lines take on an almost speech-like quality that seems to pay homage to the tradition of Anglican chant. The moment, however, is quickly interrupted by the brass, and the energy of the music returns to the same joyous mood as the opening. This is a piece clearly designed to fill a space with a grand noise in praise of God. (Stephen Kingsbury)†  The postlude was commissioned by the 2011 Sewanee Church Music Conference, Sewanee, Tennessee. It presents the tune of Hymn 366 in long notes in the pedal, undergirding a quickly repeated figuration above. (This is the essence of most organ toccatas which, translated from the Italian ‘toccare’, means ‘to touch.’)

Choral Evensong at 5:00 p.m. sung by the St. John’s Youth Choir (with Tea at 4:00 p.m.)

Preces and Responses:  John Abdenour

Phos Hilaron: Andrew Walker

Psalms 19 and 46  Anglican Chants by C. Hubert H. Parry and after Martin Luther

Evening Canticles:  David Hogan “Washington”

Anthem:  For the beauty of the earth – John Rutter

At the conclusion of Evensong: Organ Recital

   Andy Kotylo, Trinity Church on the Green, New Haven


May 13, 2012  + The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Prelude on ‘Rhosymedre’ (‘Lovely’)   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Opening Hymn 292 O Jesus, crowned with all renown  Kingsfold

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Anthem (sung by the Youth Choir): For the beauty of the earth   John Rutter

Sequence Hymn 705  As those of old their first fruits brought   Forest Green

Offertory anthem: Ye choirs of new Jerusalem    C. Villiers Stanford

Sanctus S114 (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: If ye love me    Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn 325  Let us break bread together   Let us break bread

Closing Hymn 400  All creatures of our God and King   Lasst uns erfreuen

Organ: Trumpet Tune in D Major   Henry Purcell

Music Note: Charles Stanford, as professor of composition at London’s Royal Academy of Music, taught several generations of composers and did much to raise standards of church music in late Victorian England. His setting of a twelfth-century hymn by St. Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres, conveys the celebration of the Resurrection with jubilant “strains of holy joy” and “alleluia,” contrasted against darker musical descriptions of “devouring depths.”  †   Thomas Tallis flourished as a composer in Tudor England. He served the Chapel Royal from 1543-1585, composing and performing for four successive monarchs. He altered the language and style of his compositions according to the monarchs’ greatly varying demands (primarily in Latin for Henry VIII, then English for Edward VI who established Protestantism in England, back to Latin for ‘Bloody’ Mary who restored Catholicism briefly, and finally English for Elizabeth I), also composing church music in French and Italian. Tallis was a teacher of William Byrd, and in 1575 Elizabeth granted to Tallis and Byrd an exclusive twenty-one year monopoly on music publishing. Were it not for these political considerations, sacred choral repertoire today might not contain such a gem as “If ye love me” or many other works from this elegant period. 


May 6, 2012  + The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Choral from Symphonie Romane   Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn 392  Come, we that love the Lord  Vineyard Haven

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 513  Like the murmur of the dove’s song   Bridegroom

Offertory anthem: Blessed be the God and Father   Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: The Father’s Love   Simon Lole

Communion Hymn 704  O thou who camest from above   Hereford

Closing Hymn 379  God is love: let heaven adore him   Abbot’s Leigh

Organ: Hornpipe from Water Music   George Frideric Handel

The second movement of Widor’s tenth organ symphony is a calm, pastoral piece based on the Gregorian chant for Easter Day “Haec dies” (This is the day the Lord has made). A passage in the middle of the piece, for flutes played high on the keyboard, is possibly a description of the singing of Easter birds.  †  Samuel Sebastian Wesley was a grandson of the great hymn writer Charles Wesley, and he sang in the Chapel Royal as a boy. His middle name derived from his father’s lifelong admiration for the music of Bach. Surely with this background he was destined to become a church musician; he became known as a virtuoso organist and his music endures today. He composed the offertory anthem to be sung on Easter Sunday, 1834, in Hereford Cathedral, England, where only a small number of trebles and a solitary bass (rumored to be the Dean’s butler) were available to sing. Certainly the music makes the most of such resources! A lovely middle section (often excerpted) is a dialogue between a soprano soloist and all the sopranos, echoing clearly the theme of love running through today’s music. †  The communion hymn, first published in 1872, was written by S. S. Wesley to one of his grandfather’s texts, specially for the Three Choirs Festival at Hereford Cathedral, from which it derives its name.


April 29, 2012  + The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Improvisation on ‘Adoro te, devote’   Paul Halley, transcribed by Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Opening Hymn 409  The spacious firmament on high  Creation

Kyrie  (Missa Gaia)

Sequence Hymn 708  Savior, like a shepherd lead us  Sicilian Mariners

Offertory anthem: Canticle of Brother Sun (Missa Gaia)

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Agnus Dei (Missa Gaia)

Closing Hymn 646  The King of love my shepherd is  Dominus regit me

Organ: Awake, thou wintry earth   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Missa Gaia (Earth Mass), sung as part of today’s liturgical observance of Earth Day (April 22), was written in 1980-1981 by a consortium of musicians organized by renowned visionary jazz saxophonist Paul Winter, on a commission from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. It was premiered at the Cathedral on Mother’s Day, 1981, and has since been sung there annually as part of a celebration of the Blessing of the Animals observing the feast of St. Francis of Assisi in early October. The St. John’s Choirs will travel to the Cathedral this October 7 as part of that celebration featuring hundreds of animals. Coincidentally, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, which is observed in today’s psalm and hymns.

       Missa Gaia incorporates the traditional movements of Kyrie, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei, interspersed with anthems, solos and instrumental pieces. It was conceived for an enormous space but is adaptable to a variety of uses; this morning we hear four excerpts, to contain the experience to our standard service length. The music is of course contemporary, but grounded in traditional sources (texts and hymn tunes centuries old), as well as elements recorded from nature. Paul Winter writes:

     ”The Kyrie – a prayer for mercy – is undoubtedly the first co-composed by a wolf. She sings the same four-note howl seven times, with slight embellishment each time. Hers is for me a mystical melody. It includes the interval known as the tritone – three whole-steps – which is my favorite, and to me evokes the mystery of the living earth. The occurrence of the tritone in this wolf song and our usage of it in the Earth Mass are ironic. In the aesthetics of earlier centuries in Western culture, the tritone was regarded as the interval of the Devil. It was used by composers as recently as Wagner and Richard Strauss to express the diabolical. That we can now use this interval without evoking that kind of mind-set gives me hope that we might mature as a species…For just as we are now graduating from our inherited European fear of wolves and wilderness, so may other devils and dragons we conjure with our minds disappear, as we come to resonate, once again, with the greater community of life. This is the purpose of the Earth Mass.

     The inspiration for our Agnus Dei came from the words of Dr. Wilfred T. Grenfell, a medical missionary to Labrador in 1909: “It has not been easy to convey to the Eskimo mind the meaning of the Oriental similes of the Bible. Thus the ‘lamb of God’ had to be translated ‘kotik’ or young seal. This animal, with its perfect whiteness, as it lies in its cradle of ice, its gentle, helpless nature, and its pathetic innocent eyes, is probably as apt a substitute, however, as nature offers.” The voices in the distant background during the introduction and later in the middle of the piece are those of harp seal pups, recorded on the ice near the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.”


April 22, 2012  + The Third Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 492  Sing, ye faithful, sing with gladness  Finnian

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Anthem (sung by the Youth Choir): Praise the Lord, his glories show  Peter Niedmann

Sequence Hymn 205  Good Christians all, rejoice and sing  Gelobt sei Gott

Offertory anthem: Brother James’s Air  arr. Gordon Jacob

Sanctus S114 (Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena)  Healey Willan

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Up, up, my heart, with gladness  Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Hymn 334  Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing  Alles ist an Gottes Segen

Closing Hymn 182  Christ is alive! Let Christians sing    Truro

Organ: Chaconne in C   Dietrich Buxtehude

Music Note: The image of God as a shepherd was immensely appealing to the farming societies of Jesus’s day, as well as before (the Psalter) and through to the present age. So many versions of Psalm 23 exist partly through this timeline of over two thousand years, and additionally because of the practice of “metrical psalmody” beginning with the Reformation in the 1500s. Metrical psalmody was created to permit the easy congregational singing of psalms to pre-existing familiar hymn tunes, such as Psalm 100 being paired with the tune of that name, “Old Hundredth” which we sing weekly at the presentation of the offering. Metrical versions of psalm texts are by nature paraphrases, adjusting the number of syllables per line into a formula determined by the meter of the music.  “Brother James” is the familiar name ascribed to the spiritual leader James Macbeth Bain, born in Scotland in 1860. A somewhat eccentric personality of great popularity, he worked among the poor in London and wandered in nature for refreshment. He has been compared to St. Francis for his mystic insights combined with an irresistible charm and childlike trust of one who loves all people and all creatures. (Once when walking in the woods he caught his cast on a tree branch, and in freeing himself accidentally broke the branch, much to his annoyance. When asked to explain his annoyance, he responded “Man, I’ve just lost a real good friend. Many a fine cast have I found on that self-same branch.”) The tune upon which the offertory anthem is based is one of many beautiful melodies which came to him spontaneously. It has, in its simplicity, something of that rare quality of appeal which Maurice Baring describes as “a wonderful tune–a tune that opened its arms.”


April 15, 2012  + The Second Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Death and Resurrection  Jean Langlais

Opening Hymn 193  That Easter day with joy was bright  Puer nobis

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 209  We walk by faith, and not by sight  St. Botolph

Offertory anthem: Haec est dies   Jacob Gallus

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Rise up, my love  Healey Willan

Communion Hymn 212  Awake, arise, lift up your voice  Richmond

Closing Hymn 208  Alleluia! The strife is o’er, the battle done  Victory

Organ: Toccata on ‘O filii et filiae’  Lynnwood Farnam

Music Note: Today’s organ prelude bears the inscription, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55). One of Langlais’s earliest works, it portrays a vision of the life hereafter. Death is heard in the somber opening melody in the pedals; eternal life is represented by a Gregorian chant, the Gradual from the Requiem Mass, announced by a trumpet. These two ideas are combined, significantly, not so much in a struggle as in a unified crescendo toward the work’s victorious conclusion.  †  Healey Willan, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Canadian composers’ of church music, penned many ravishing miniatures. His 1929 motet “Rise up, my love” uses gentle flowing chords to describe flowers appearing in Eastertide, and ends with a reiteration of the invitation to ‘come away.’  †  Following the communion hymn will be heard an echo of  ‘Nearer, my God, to thee,’ the last music played by the musicians aboard the Titanic, which sank one hundred years ago this morning. †  Lynnwood Farnam was an exceptional Canadian organ recitalist who moved to New York in 1918, first to Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and then to the Church of the Holy Communion. His tremendous American touring career tragically was cut short by a brain tumor. His only composition is this brief Toccata, and reportedly he launched into it invariably as a test piece when trying out an instrument new to him. ‘O filii et filiae’ is a hymn tune of uncertain origin, assumed to be either a French folk melody probably dating from the late fifteenth century, or perhaps a tune which began as a chant melody. Speaking of Death and Resurrection, Farnam made several recordings onto automatic player rolls, and in 1953 the Austin Organ Company of Hartford arranged with St. John’s organist Clarence Watters to transfer several of Farnam’s rolls to long playing records. A roll-player mechanism was temporarily attached to the St. John’s instrument, and the stops were selected by Watters, allowing Farnam, who had been deceased for 23 years, to “return” to “play” pieces by Bach, Handel and others. These can be heard on our website, in the section about the St. John’s Organ. (Farnam recording note by Bill Uricchio.)


April 8, 2012  + The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day

at 8:00 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

and at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with brass and tympani

Prelude: Improvisation   Gerre Hancock

from Concerto in C for two trumpets and organ: Largo, Allegro    Antonio Vivaldi

Opening Hymn 207  Jesus Christ is risen today   Easter Hymn

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 180  He is risen, he is risen!  Unser Herrscher

Offertory anthem: Light’s glittering morn   Horation Parker

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Alleluia  Randall Thompson

Communion Hymn 305  Come, risen Lord  Rosedale

Postcommunion anthem: Hallelujah (from Messiah George Frideric Handel

Closing Hymn 210  The day of resurrection  Ellacombe

Organ, brass and tympani: Toccata (from Symphonie V)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: The prelude is a transcription of an organ improvisation recorded in 1994 at St. Thomas Church, new York, capturing the legendary genius of Dr. Gerre Hancock who passed away earlier this year. It offers in spontaneous creation a glimpse of the resurrection, out of a solemn theme possibly derived from the Maundy Thursday hymn “Ubi caritas,” evolving in its third section into an Easter sunrise.  †  Massachusetts native Horatio Parker was organist at Trinity Church, Wall Street and Trinity Church, Boston before becoming a professor and later Dean of the School of Music at Yale University.  His joyous Easter anthem remains a staple of  modern choral usage given its charming middle section for bass soloist and quartet (reminiscent of much American choral music in the 19th century before the Oxford movement brought the English choral tradition to this country), and incorporation of the hymn ‘The strife is o’er.”  †  Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” surely established as one of the most beloved American choral compositions, was written in 1940 for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. Composed during wartime, the piece’s many moods around a single word of acclamation express the totality of the Easter message.


April 6, 2012  +  Good Friday

7:30 p.m.  sung by the combined Youth and Adult Choirs of St. John’s Church and St. James’s Church, West Hartford Center

Psalm 22  Plainsong, Tone IV.1

Hymn 158  Ah, holy Jesus!  Herzliebster Jesu

Anthem: God so loved the world (from The Crucifixion)   John Stainer

Hymn 166  Ah, holy Jesus!  Pange Lingua

Anthem: Crucifixus  Antonio Lotti

Hymn 168  O sacred head, sore wounded   Herzlich tut mich verlangen

Organ: O sacred head, sore wounded   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note:  Excepting two years in Dresden producing operas, Antonio Lotti spent his entire career at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, first as an alto singer, then as assisting assistant organist, assistant organist, main organist, and finally music director for the final four years of his life. Bach and Handel knew his work and may have been influenced by it. His 8-part setting of a brief text is justifiably famous, for its lavish dissonances and other expressive qualities so well suited to the event described.


April 5, 2012  +  Maundy Thursday

7:30 p.m.  sung by the Youth Choir

Prelude   The celestial banquet   Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 304   I come with joy to meet my Lord   Land of rest

Sequence Hymn 325   Let us break bread together on our knees   Let us break bread

Offertory anthem: Ex ore innocentium   John Ireland

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus   Edward Elgar

Music Note: The text of “Ex ore innocentium” (“From the mouths of innocents”) does not limit the view of Christ’s sacrifice to a child’s perspective, but invites all to consider the meaning of the cross through its vivid imagery, accompanied by compelling music. Its author, Bishop William Walsham How, was known for his ministry to children and was commonly called the children’s bishop. In addition to publishing several volumes of sermons he wrote a good deal of verse, including such well-known hymns as “Jesus! Name of wondrous love!” (the Hymnal 1982, No. 252),“O Christ, the Word Incarnate (632), and “For all the Saints” (287).   


April 1, 2012  +  The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

The Liturgy begins in the Cloister at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Choral Prelude: Hosanna to the Son of David  Thomas Weelkes

Opening Hymn: Ride on! ride on in majesty!   Winchester New

Processional Hymn 154  All glory, laud, and honor   Valet will ich dir geben

Sequence Hymn 474 When I survey the wondrous cross  Rockingham

Offertory anthem: Jerusalem (from Gallia)  Charles Gounod

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Agnus Dei S159  Plainsong, Missa Marialis

Communion anthem: Crucifixus  Antonio Lotti

Communion Hymn 458  My song is love unknown  Love unknown

Closing Hymn 158  Ah, holy Jesus!  Herzliebster Jesu

Organ: Ah, holy Jesus!   Johannes Brahms

Music Note:  French composer Charles Gounod, along with many others, turned to programmatic subjects in musical response to France’s military defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870). Dating from 1871, and written in England, the oratorio Gallia is thought to draw a parallel between the then national situation and that of Jerusalem stunned by the reversal of fate upon its Messiah. The concluding section asks the populace to consider its own affliction and to turn to God for forgiveness, with an almost barbaric opening, a tender solo sung by the Youth Choir, and a rousing choral expansion of the solo. †  Excepting two years in Dresden producing operas, Antonio Lotti spent his entire career at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, first as an alto singer, then as assisting assistant organist, assistant organist, main organist, and finally music director for the final four years of his life. Bach and Handel knew his work and may have been influenced by it. His 8-part setting of a brief text is justifiably famous, for its lavish dissonances and other expressive qualities so well suited to the event described.


March 25, 2012  +  The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prélude (Prélude, Andante et Toccata)  André Fleury

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 441  In the Cross of Christ I glory   Rathbun

Anthem (Youth Choir): Ex ore innocentium   John Ireland

Offertory anthem: Lead, kindly light    William H. Harris

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Hear my prayer, O Lord   Henry Purcell

Communion Hymn 314  Humbly I adore thee  Adore devote

Closing Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love  Unde et memores

Organ: Prélude (Trois Pièces)   Gabriel Pierné

Music Note: Fleury’s 1931 Prélude shows the influence of his teachers Vierne and Dupré in its rich chromaticism and sustained sense of melody.  †  John Ireland excelled particularly at writing for piano and solo voice; his few pieces of church music date mostly from the turn of the last century, when both he and Vaughan Williams were students at London’s Royal College of Music. The text of “Ex ore innocentium” (“From the mouths of innocents”) does not limit the view of Christ’s sacrifice to a child’s perspective, but invites all to consider the meaning of the cross through its vivid imagery, accompanied by compelling music. Its author, Bishop William Walsham How, was known for his ministry to children and was commonly called the children’s bishop. In addition to publishing several volumes of sermons he wrote a good deal of verse, including such well-known hymns as “Jesus! Name of wondrous love!” (the Hymnal 1982, No. 252),“O Christ, the Word Incarnate (632), and “For all the Saints” (287).  William Harris served the Chapel Royal in Windsor Castle from 1933 until 1961, where he had very productive years as a composer for choir festivals and two Coronations. Several of his anthems and canticles are still in regular use, as well as his hymn-tune “Alberta” often sung in England to the text arranged as the offertory anthem. †  Although it is apparent from the autograph that Purcell originally intended to add to the anthem ‘Hear my Prayer,’ it seems quite likely that having written it he realized how difficult it would be to match its brilliance, and deliberately wrote no more. What makes the music so outstanding is not so much its skillful construction for eight parts out of the most economical of means, namely two simple phrases and their inversions (one based on two notes only and the other on a short chromatic scale), but its strong sense of climax in the final bars. Not only is this prepared in gradually increasing intensity, but the reservation of the full eight-part texture, and the restrained range of the parts up to the last few bars, gives this climax the maximum effect. Then, very quickly and inevitably, the music comes to rest as the sonoroties clarify, and resolve into a simple four-part chord. (Purcell note by Christopher Dearnley.)


March 18, 2012  +  The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth Choir and the Men of the Adult Choir

Organ: Prélude funèbre, Op. 4  Louis Vierne

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Anthem (Youth Choir): God so loved the world    Joel Martinson

Sequence Hymn 690  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah  Cwm Rhondda

Offertory anthem: Wilt thou forgive   DG Mason

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: If ye love me   Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn 489  The great Creator of the worlds   Tallis’ Ordinal

Closing Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Schmücke dich

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johannes Brahms

Music Note: Louis Vierne, the organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900 until 1937, composed his early and profound “funeral prelude” in 1896 while serving as assistant to Charles-Marie Widor at the church of Saint-Sulpice.   †   The Offertory anthem, sung by the men of the choir, was written in 2002 for an Ash Wednesday service at Worcester Cathedral, England. The text was conceived not as a hymn but as a poem, and a great deal of its universal appeal derives from its unabashed particularity. John Donne calls attention to himself not only by punning on his own surname but also by making it the basis of the two rhymes running through all three stanzas. Less obvious, but no less important, is the second rhyme-word that concludes every stanza: more. This is the surname of Donne’s wife, whose maiden name was Ann More, who had died six years before. Perhaps one reason for the enduring immediacy of this poem is that, despite its particular references and its somewhat veiled theological concerns with original and habitual sin, it manages to convey a convincing sense of assurance. (Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Jeffrey Wasson.) The music amplifies this assurance with its strong final cadence, after the unresolved cadences ending the first two verses.  †   Brahms’s setting of the closing hymn is from a set of eleven chorale preludes based on Lutheran hymns, his final compositions. Written in the same year as Vierne’s prelude, and published posthumously in 1902, they are considered a final statement on Brahms’s life and pending death.


March 11, 2012  +  The Third Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Fantasie in C minor, S. 652   Johann Sebastian Bach

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 685  Rock of ages, cleft for me  Toplady

Offertory anthem: The secret of Christ  Richard Shephard

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: I heard the voice of Jesus say   Thomas Tallis, arr. Donald Busarow

Communion Hymn 152   Kind Maker of the world, O hear    A la venue de Noel

Closing Hymn 574  Before thy throne, O God, we kneel   St. Petersburg

Organ: Andante con moto (Sonata V)  Felix  Mendelssohn

Music Note: Bach’s mournful Fantasie is based on sparse musical materials: a descending minor figure which begins with an ornament. The latter detail makes the theme easily recognizable within the five-part texture. A flourish of faster notes brings the searching music to rest at last on a hopeful major chord.   †  Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South in Tennessee. Through the Offertory anthem we are invited to take encouragement for our pilgrimage through Lent. †  The melody of the communion anthem was revived in the twentieth century by Ralph Vaughan Williams’s orchestral Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. It was first matched to the text heard today in the Hymnal 1940. Originally, Tallis wrote the tune in four parts for the publication in 1567 of Matthew Parker’s The Whole Psalter translated into English Metre. (Parker was Queen Elizabeth’s first Archbishop of Canterbury.) It appears there for Psalm 2, whose prose opening we know as “Why do the nations so furiously rage together.” Parker’s opening, metricized, reads: “Why fum’th in sight : the Gentiles’ spite, in fury raging stout? Wht tak’th in bond the people fond, vain things to bring about? The kings arise, the lords devise, in counsels met thereto: Against the Lord with false accord, against his Christ they go.” Not surprisingly, perhaps, Tallis chose this psalm for a demonstration of the “Third” or “Phrygian” mode, which Parker in a preface had described as manifesting “anger and sharp reviling.” (Raymond Glover and John Wilson.) While its sudden shifts from major to minor do create an unsettling effect, twenty-first century ears (perhaps especially aided by Vaughan Williams’s treatment) may find in the music’s sense of eventual resolution also an ideal “resting place” well suited to the Lenten journey. Busarow’s arrangement for flute, organ and choir gives this journey a yet more unexpected, and resolved, extended final cadence.

 

March 11 at 5:00 p.m.: Choral Evensong for Lent (with Tea at 4:00 p.m.)

Sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir

Organ: Cantabile    Cesar Franck

Introit: Through the day thy love has spared us    Philip Moore

Preces and Responses    William Smith

Psalm 34   Anglican Chant by Richard W. Knapp

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis    Orlando Gibbons (Short Service)

Anthem: Miserere (Psalm 51)   Gregorio Allegri

Organ: Hymn Tune Fantasy on “St. Clement”   Carl McKinley

At the conclusion of Evensong: Organ Recital

   Cheryl Wadsworth, United Methodist Church of Hartford


March 4, 2012  +  The Second Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth Choir and the Women of the Adult Choir

Organ: Prelude on ‘Aus der Tiefe rufe ich’   Johann Christoph Bach

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 401   The God of Abraham praise   Leoni

Offertory anthem: Wash me throughly   George Frideric Handel

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Ave verum corpus  Edward Elgar

Communion Hymn 328  Draw nigh and take the body of the Lord  Song 46

Closing Hymn 150  Forty days and forty nights  Aus der Tiefe rufe ich

Organ: I call to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, S. 643   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: In the minds and experience of most Episcopalians, ‘Forty days and forty nights’ is forever associated with the tune matched to the words since 1861. The original text for this hymn was described as “impossible for public worship” in 1637, and included stanzas recalling the trials of Christ’s temptation and the many ways that Christians are drawn into sin: “Sunbeams scorching all the day, Chilly dewdrop nightly shed, Prowling beasts about thy way, Stones thy pillow, sand thy bed?  And shall we in silken ease, Festal mirth, carousals high,–All that can our senses please,–Let our Lenten hours pass by?”  †  Bach’s postlude trio has been arranged for other instruments. It is from his book of teaching pieces entitled “Little Organ Book” which instructs the student in techniques of both playing and composition, while also serving as a collection of music for church services and a religious statement. In the words of humanitarian and Bach scholar Albert Schweitzer, “Here Bach has realized the ideal of the chorale prelude. The method is the most simple imaginable and at the same time the most perfect. Nowhere is the Dürer-like character of his musical style so evident as in these small chorale-preludes. Simply by the precision and the characteristic quality of each line of the contrapuntal motive he expresses all that has to be said, and so makes clear the relation of the music to the text whose title it bears.”


February 26, 2012  +  The First Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first anthem sung by Youth Choir)

Organ: Prélude au Kyrie (Hommage à Frescobaldi)  Jean Langlais

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Anthem (Youth Choir): Day by Day  Martin How

Sequence Hymn 147  Now let us all with one accord  Bourbon

Offertory anthem: Call to remembrance  Richard Farrant

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Fraction anthem S170 Whoever eats this bread  Mode 1 melody; adapt. Mason Martens

Communion anthem: Miserere mei, Deus  Gregorio Allegri

Closing Hymn 143  The glory of these forty days  Erhalt uns, Herr

Organ: So now as we journey, aid our weak endeavor  Marcel Dupré

Music Note:  The hymn before the Gospel pairs a nineteenth-century rural American tune with an anonymous text which is likely to be at least a thousand years older. The closing hymn is a Reformation chorale, believed by some to be the work of Martin Luther himself, based on a twelfth century plainsong tune. It appears in our hymnal as harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach.  (Hymn note from writings of Carol Doran, Marion Hatchett and Carl Schalk.)   †   Composer and church musician Martin How is the son of a former Primate of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. He spent most of his career with the Royal School of Church Music where he initiated and developed the chorister training scheme used in many parts of the world. St. Richard of Chichester is supposed to have recited the popular prayer ascribed to him on his deathbed, written down in Latin by his confessor. The first English translation to use the rhyme “clearly, dearly, nearly” is thought to be one from 1913; the first including the phrase “day by day” followed in 1931. The prayer became especially popular in America following its adaptation for the musical Godspell in 1971. Martin How’s version dates from 1977.  †   Allegri’s famous setting of Psalm 51 was written in the 1630s for use in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and Friday of Holy Week, for tenebrae services dating back to 1514. At some point, it became forbidden to transcribe the music and it was allowed to be performed only at those particular services, adding to the mystery surrounding it. Writing it down or performing it elsewhere was punishable by excommunication. According to the popular story (backed up by family letters), the fourteen-year-old Mozart was visiting Rome when he first heard the piece during the Wednesday service. Later that day, he wrote it down entirely from memory, returning to the Chapel that Friday to make minor corrections. Some time during his travels, he met a British historian who obtained the piece from him and took it to London, where it was published in 1771. Once the piece was published, the ban was lifted; Mozart was summoned to Rome by the Pope only instead of excommunicating the boy, the Pope showered praises on him for his feat of musical genius. (Wikipedia.) The setting contrasts two choirs interspersed with traditional plainchant verses. The second choir is traditionally placed at some distance from the first for an ethereal echo effect, and sings a particularly poignant, ornamented passage with a high soprano C.


February 19, 2012  +  The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Prelude and Fugue in C Major, S. 545  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise   Salzburg

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn (insert):  Blessed Assurance    Assurance

Offertory anthem: Prayer for Transfiguration Day  John Weaver

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Phillips

Communion anthem: O nata lux   Morten Lauridsen

Communion Hymn 312  Strengthen for service, Lord   Malabar

Closing Hymn 460  Alleluia! sing to Jesus!  Hyfrydol

Organ: Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)  Dietrich Buxtehude

Music Note: The first hymn today is repeated from the first Sunday after the Epiphany (January 8) as a bookend to the observance of the season. The last Sunday after the Epiphany, or Transfiguration Sunday, is the last before the beginning of Lent and thus is the last opportunity until Easter to say or sing the word Alleluia. The prelude and postlude reflect this spirit of joyful enthusiasm, by both the nature of the music and the “radiant” key of C Major. In the Baroque period of their composition, keyboard instruments were tuned in such a way that some keys sounded more pure than others. Much music was written in keys with few sharps or flats, to avoid the out of tune “wolf” when playing in keys with many flats or sharps. Even after an “equal tempered” system of tuning made all keys sound more or less in tune, C Major continued to be particularly associated in the Classical period with festivity and grandeur, and has always been a triumphant key in organ music owing to C being the lowest note on the pedalboard, thus playing the largest, lowest available pipes.   †   The Fraction Anthem and Sanctus, being introduced throughout Epiphany, come from a new festival setting of the Eucharist commissioned for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to commemorate the ministry of the Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III as the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California.

 

February 12, 2012  +  The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Gospel Prelude on “What a friend we have in Jesus”  William Bolcom

Opening Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 545  Lo! What a cloud of witnesses   St. Fulbert

Offertory anthem: I hear a voice a-prayin’   Houston Bright

Sanctus S114  Willan

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Craig Phillips

Communion anthem: Deep River  Gerre Hancock

Communion Hymn 304  I come with joy to meet my Lord  Land of Rest

Closing Hymn 482  Lord of all hopefulness    Slane

Organ: Prelude on ‘Slane’   Hancock

Music Note: Absalom Jones (1746-February 13, 1818) was the first African-American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church (1804). In the Episcopal calendar of saints he is listed on February 13 as “Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818.” Jones was born into slavery in Philadelphia. By 1778 he had purchased his wife’s freedom so that their children would be free, and in another seven years he was able to purchase his own. Tired of relegation to a gallery as was the custom in interracial congregations, Jones and his followers founded the first black church in Philadelphia which petitioned to become an Episcopal parish. Jones was also part of the first group of African Americans to petition the U.S. Congress, in criticism of the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. Originally a poem, “What a friend we have in Jesus” was never intended by the hymn writer, Joseph Scriven, for publication. Upon learning of his mother’s serious illness and unable to be with her in faraway Dublin, he wrote a letter of comfort enclosing the words of the text. Some time later when he himself was ill, a friend who came to see him chanced to see the poem scribbled on scratch paper near his bed. The friend read it with interest and asked if he had written the words. With typical modesty, Scriven replied, “The Lord and I did it between us.” (Hymn note by Kenneth J. Osbeck.) In 1869 a small collection of his poems was published, entitled Hymns and Other Verses, and the musical setting soon followed which launched the enduring popularity of the pairing. In the prelude, University of Michigan composer William Bolcom captures the verve of a gospel hymn improvisation with the tune heard in very long note values.  †   Houston Bright, son of a Methodist minister, grew up in West Texas and spent his entire career there as a composer and music educator. The most popular of his some 100 original compositions remains the 1955 spiritual heard today: unexpected fare, perhaps, from the pen of one whose Ph.D. dissertation was “The Early Tudor Part-song from Newarke to Cornyshe,” and revealing of a diverse and largely unknown talent.  †  Another West Texan, one internationally known in Anglican circles is Gerre Hancock, from 1971-2004 Organist and Master of Choristers at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. His postlude on the final hymn “previews” each phrase of the melody with imitative counterpoint in the manner of early Baroque hymn-tune composers, then disguises the tune somewhat by doubling its note values, all in the context of modern harmony. A second verse of the hymn is treated as an exciting build-up of the instrument with a reflective ending, reminiscent of the composer’s legendary improvisations following Evensong. Dr. Hancock passed away this past January 21. His beloved setting of Deep River was sung at Evensong at Saint Thomas Church on January 22 in his memory.   The Fraction Anthem, being introduced throughout Epiphany, come from a new festival setting of the Eucharist commissioned for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to commemorate the ministry of the Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III as the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California.


February 5 at 5:00 p.m.: Choral Evensong for Candlemass (with Tea at 4:00 p.m.)

Sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs:

Organ:  Fugue on ‘How brightly shines the morning star’    Max Reger

My soul doth magnify the Lord, S. 643   Johann Sebastian Bach

Introit: O nata lux   Thomas Tallis

Preces and Responses    William Smith

Psalms 48 and 87   Anglican Chants by Edward Elgar and Jonathan Battishill 

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in D     George Dyson

Anthem: When to the temple Mary went    Johannes Eccard

Organ: Lord God, now open wide thy heaven, S. 617   Bach

At the conclusion of Evensong: Organ Recital

   Graham Schultz, The Cathedral of All Saints, Albany, NY


February 5, 2012  +  The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: How bright appears the morning star  Dietrich Buxtehude

Opening Hymn  381  Thy strong word did cleave the darkness  Ton-y-Botel

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Anthem (Youth Choir): The Birds  Benjamin Britten

Sequence Hymn 423  Immortal, invisible, God only wise  St. Denio

Offertory anthem: Sing we merrily  Sidney Campbell

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Phillips

Communion anthem: We have seen his star  Everett Titcomb

Communion Hymn 300   Glory, love, and praise, and honor   Benifold

Closing Hymn 493 O for a thousand tongues to sing   Azmon

Organ: How bright appears the morning star  Paul Manz

Music NoteThe prelude is essentially a treatment of two stanzas of the Epiphany hymn “How bright appears the morning star,” although owing to the repeated phrases in the melody and its overall length, the composition unfolds rather like a set of variations, with color and texture matching the mood of the stanzas.  (Dietrich Buxtehude was the outstanding composer of organ music in North Germany in the generation before J. S. Bach; at the age of twenty, Bach famously walked some 250 miles each way from Arnstadt to Lubeck to hear Buxtehude play, and outstayed his authorized absence from his church post by several months! According to legend, both Bach and George Frideric Handel wanted to become amanuesis (assistant and successor) to Buxtehude, but neither wanted to marry his daughter, which was a condition for the position).  The postlude presents the same hymn tune in a light, whimsical mood, employing quiet high-pitched stops.  †  Belloc’s beguiling poem “The Birds'” published in 1910, has inspired at least twenty-five musical settings. That by Benjamin Britten (dating from 1929 when the composer was sixteen) sets the action of the birds into the colorful accompaniment, and also into the way the range of the voices takes flight. The concluding prayer comes back to earth with disarming simplicity, both profound and childlike.  †  Virtuoso Sidney Campbell served successively as organist of Southwark Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, and St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. His joyous setting of Psalm 81 treats the voice in a nimble instrumental manner, similar to the choral and solo vocal writing of J. S. Bach.  †  Everett Titcomb served for fifty years as Director of Music of the church of St. John the Evangelist in Boston, beginning in 1910. Many of his organ and choral compositions are based on plainchant themes or pay stylistic homage to the works of former periods.  †   The Fraction Anthem and Sanctus, being introduced throughout Epiphany, come from a new festival setting of the Eucharist commissioned for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to commemorate the ministry of the Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III as the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California.


January 29, 2012  +  The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Opening Hymn 616  Hail to the Lord’s anointed   Es flog ein kleins Waldvogelein

Gloria S280  Robert Powell 

Anthem (Youth Choir): Light of the world   John Dankworth

Sequence Hymn 567  Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old   St. Matthew

Offertory anthem: When to the temple mary went  Johannes Eccard

Communion anthem: O nata lux  Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn: 336   Come with us, O blessed Jesus   Werde munter

Closing Hymn  460 Alleluia! sing to Jesus! Hyfrydol

Music Note (archival): This service was conducted in the absence of the Music Director who was ill. Some of the scheduled music was changed; what appears above is what was heard in the service. Thanks to Richard Knapp and Ben Rechel, organists, and John Janeiro, choir director, for filling in on short notice.  †  Sir John Dankworth, known in his early career as Johnny Dankworth, was an English jazz musician and the husband of jazz singer Cleo Laine.   


January 22, 2012  +  The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:00 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs (followed by the Annual Parish Meeting)

Prelude: Meditation   Johann Sebastian Bach and Charles Gounod

         Whitney Perrine-Dziura, flute

Opening Hymn 537  Christ for the world we sing  Moscow

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 549  Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult  St. Andrew

Offertory anthem: Christ, whose glory fills the skies  T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Phillips

Communion anthem: They cast their nets in Galilee  Michael McCabe

Communion Hymn 321  My God, thy table now is spread  Rockingham

Closing Hymn 653  Dear Lord and Father of mankind  Repton

Organ: Variation on ‘Rockingham’   George Thalben-Ball

Music Note:  The prelude is a curiosity in musical history–a collaboration between two great composers whose lives did not overlap! In 1840, Gounod met Mendelssohn’s sister, who introduced him to some of Bach’s then long-dormant keyboard works including the Prelude in C, the first piece in the Well-Tempered Clavier (1722). A decade later, Gounod spent many evenings at the home of his fiancee Anna Zimmerman and one evening her father, an accomplished musician overheard Gounod improvising a beautiful melody over Bach’s Prelude in C. As Gounod played, Zimmerman wrote the melody down, and later organized a concert where the piece was played with piano and violin. The work appears to have been published in 1853 under the title “Meditation on the First Prelude of Bach.” Gounod set words to his melody only later, possibly not until 1859 when it was published with the text Ave Maria; the rest is history. Curiously, the first text Gounod chose was a short French poem instead. (Adapted from an essay by Tom Potter.)  †   Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn was an English-born church musician who spent twenty-eight years at St. Paul’s Church, Albany, New York, and the final ten of his career at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem is an enduring favorite of his some two hundred works, and contains a splendid example of text-painting at the beginning of the second verse. “Day-spring” is the beginning of dawn; “Day-star” is the morning star. “Sun of Righteousness” is an attribute spoken of Christ in Malachi 4:2 (referring to God’s blessings on the good): “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.” This reference also underscores the double-meaning of “Sun” as “Son” in the context of Epiphany.  †  The Fraction Anthem and Sanctus, being introduced throughout Epiphany, come from a new festival setting of the Eucharist commissioned for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to commemorate the ministry of the Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III as the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California.  †  Michael McCabe is a former pupil of Leo Sowerby and the elder composer’s influence can be heard in the dissonance of “head down was crucified,” along with a slightly jazzy rhythm.  †  The closing hymn’s quiet call to bold evangelism is echoed in the brief postlude by George Thalben-Ball, organist of London’s famous Temple Church for fifty-nine years (1923-1982). The ‘still small voice of calm’ heard as a sustained note in the hymn’s descant continues in the hands, then in the feet; this musical device is known as a “pedal point” from the way it is typically executed on the organ.


January 15, 2012  +  The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Aria   Flor Peeters

Opening Hymn 599  Lift every voice and sing  Lift Every Voice

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 707  Take my life, and let it be   Hollingside

Offertory anthem: Lord, you have searched me out   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sanctus  Craig Phillips

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Phillips

Communion anthem: Eternal light   Leo Sowerby

Communion Hymn 319   You, Lord, we praise in sings of celebration    Gott sei gelobet

Closing Hymn 477  All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine  Engelberg

Organ: Tuba Tune in D Major  Craig Sellar Lang

Music Note:  In the Episcopal Church’s calendar, Common Saints are a general category of lesser saints such as martyrs, missionaries, pastors, theologians, monastics and teachers, whose personal qualities or traits include heroic faith, love, goodness of life, joyousness, service to others for Christ’s sake, and devotion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is so recognized, with feast days on both his birth on January 15 and death on April 4. The opening hymn is sung in celebration of tomorrow’s holiday. This hymn was composed at the request of a group of young black men who sought to pay tribute to the President of the United States who had signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It was first sung in Jacksonville, Florida, on February 12, 1900, by a chorus of schoolchildren at the all-black Stanton School at a special assembly in honor of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. It became an immediate favorite of schoolchildren throughout Florida, and by the late 1940s was being sung by black Americans throughout the United States as the ‘Negro National Anthem.’ The song became a multiracial favorite after its use as a freedom song in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and has since been adopted by various groups of other races who seek liberation from opression.  While the text is clearly addressed to freedom, it unfolds without anger and admonishes both the Christian and the oppressed to “march on till victory is won.”  (Note by Horace Boyer.)   †  In the offertory anthem, searching is symbolized by the powerful pull between major and minor tonality heard in the opening triplet motive of the accompaniment. A variety of textures and moods suits the wide emotional range of Psalm 139 and pays homage to the long history of musical settings of the psalms, with solo, choral and chant sections. In the chant section, a duet between an adult and a child is based on the interval of the descending minor third, which research shows to be a remarkably constant first musical utterance of children around the world regardless of native cultural tradition. Is it not amazing that God would know us before we are born, each in our individualities, and also give us a common first voice?   † Alcuin of York, author of the text of the communion anthem, became a leading scholar and teacher of the Carolingian Renaissance, as part of the court of Charlemagne. His final decade was spent as Abbott of Marmoutier Abbey in France. In addition to his religious texts and poetry, he is known for a mathematical textbook containing clever word puzzles, several involving river crossings such as the famous problem of the wolf, the goat and the cabbage. Alcuin is also recognized as a Common Saint in the Episcopal Church’s calendar; his feast day is April 20. †  The Fraction Anthem and Sanctus, being introduced throughout Epiphany, come from a new festival setting of the Eucharist commissioned for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to commemorate the ministry of the Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III as the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California.


January 8, 2012  +  The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first Anthem sung by Youth Choir)

Organ: Prelude on the Introit for Epiphany  Maurice Duruflé

Opening Hymn 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise  Salzburg

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Anthem: Brightest and best  Malcolm Archer

Sequence Hymn 121  Christ, when for us you were baptized  Caithness

Offertory anthem: Tomorrow shall be my dancing day  John Gardner

Sanctus S114  Willan

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Craig Phillips

Communion anthem: Epiphany  Skinner Chávez-Melo

Communion Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness  Schmücke dich

Closing Hymn 448  O love, how deep, how broad, how high  Deus tuorum militum

Organ: In thee is gladness, S. 615   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Today’s service begins with an ancient plainchant hymn for Epiphany heard in the trumpet voice of the prelude. The sparkling accompaniment to the trumpet suggests the bright light symbolic of the season. The French composer Maurice Duruflé was highly self-critical and published very little music, of very high quality; this gem is typical of his refined service improvisations. On February 19, the Sunday of The Transfiguration or the last Sunday after Epiphany, we will again sing today’s opening hymn, which summarizes the entire life of Christ with emphasis on the Epiphany season of the revelation of Christ’s divine majesty through miraculous works and events. The offertory anthem makes a similar summary in the guise of a carol text full of larger meaning, narrated by Christ himself. As commonly interpreted by St. Paul from the biblical imagery of the Song of Songs, “My true love” is the one holy, catholic, apostolic church. “Tomorrow” is any time after the resurrection, which allows the disciples to look back at Jesus’ baptism, life, suffering, and death through the filter of the resurrection. And the “dancing day” is the entire feast of salvation in the New Testament era. The theme of the dance is unique among traditional carols and is set by John Gardner in a lighthearted medieval-renaissance style, perhaps inspired by the medieval parallels among many fifteenth-century “cradle prophecy” carol texts, in which the infant Christ foretells his future to his mother while seated in her lap. (Anthem note adapted from the New Oxford Book of Carols by H. Keyte/A. Parrott; and J. Miller.)  †   The Fraction Anthem comes from a new festival setting of the Eucharist commissioned for the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, to commemorate the ministry of the Most Rev. Frank Tracy Griswold III as the 25th Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. It will be used throughout Epiphany; next week the Rite II Sanctus from this setting will also be introduced. Craig Phillips is Music Director of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California.


Sunday, January 1, 2012  +  The Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Meditation on ‘Picardy’  Leo Sowerby

Opening Hymn 248  To the Name of our salvation  Oriel

Gloria  S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 644  How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds  St. Peter

Offertory anthem:  It came upon the midnight clear  arr. Barry Rose

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem:  S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: O magnum mysterium  Near

Closing Hymn   497  How bright appears the Morning Star  Wie schon leuchtet

Organ: Infant Holy, infant lowly   Keith Chapman

Sunday, January 1, 2012  +  The Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Meditation on ‘Picardy’  Leo Sowerby

Opening Hymn 248  To the Name of our salvation  Oriel

Gloria  S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 644  How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds  St. Peter

Offertory anthem   It came upon the midnight clear   arr. Barry Rose

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem  S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: O magnum mysterium   Near

Closing Hymn   497  How bright appears the Morning Star  Wie schon leuchtet

Organ: Infant Holy, infant lowly   Keith Chapman


Sunday, December 25, 2011  +  Christmas Day

 Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 a.m.  with congregational Carols

 Richard Knapp, organ, John Janeiro, baritone and Lucelia E. Fryer, flute

Organ: Noël   Henri Mulet

   What child is this?  Ralph Vaughan Williams

Opening Hymn 93  Angels from the realms of glory  Regent Square

Sequence Hymn 78  O Little town of Bethlehem  Forest Green

Music at the Peace: In dulci jubilo   Johann Michael Bach

Offertory Solo: Gesu Bambino   Pietro Yon   

Communion Solo: In the bleak mid-winter  Harold Darke

Closing Hymn 98  Unto us a boy is born!  Puer nobis nascitur

Organ: Noël Suisse  Louis-Claude Daquin

Music Note: Noëls are French organ pieces for Christmas. The first is from Mulet’sByzantine Sketches, composed 1914-1919 and inspired by his visits to the church of Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre, Paris. The second is by Daquin, noted for his dazzling keyboard performance ability. He was appointed organist to the king in 1739 and Organiste Titulaire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Paris in 1755.  †  Vaughan Williams based many works such as the music of “What child is this?” on old country tunes, in this case ‘Greensleeves,’ dating from the 16th century.  †  In dulci jubilo was written by J. S. Bach’s father-in-law as a prelude to the familiar Christmas hymn “Good Christian friends, rejoice” (The Hymnal, No. 107).  †   Pietro Yon, an Italian by birth, was a brilliant teacher and became organist at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick in New York City in 1926. His pupils included his godson Norman Dello Joio and Cole Porter.   †   Harold Darke was organist at St. Michael’s, Cornhill, London from 1916 to 1966, leaving only briefly in 1941 to deputize for Boris Ord as organist and Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge during World War II. His setting of Christina Rossetti’s poem “In the bleak mid-winter” was voted the greatest Christmas carol of all time in a poll of choral experts and choirmasters published in 2008. (Note by Richard Knapp.)


Saturday, December 24, 2011  +  Christmas Eve

      Service Schedule:

4:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

10:30 p.m. Choral Prelude (Adult Choir) with String Quartet

11:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult Choir

      Music listing:

  Choral Prelude at 3:50 p.m.

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  arr. Dale Adelmann

What child is this?   arr. Peter Stoltzfus Berton

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 4:00 p.m.

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: Angelus ad virginem  arr. Jefferson McConnaughey

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem  S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, arr. Gerre Hancock

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor

  Choral Prelude at 10:30 p.m. with String Quartet

Hymn 102  Once in royal David’s city  Irby, arr. Paul Halley

    Sussex Carol  arr. David Willcocks

Nativitie   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Gloria (Coronation Mass in C, K. 317)  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Ave Maria  Franz Biebl

Pastoral Symphony from Messiah  George Frideric Handel

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 p.m.

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: In the bleak mid-winter   Harold Darke

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Fraction anthem  S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas Oratorio)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, arr. Gerre Hancock

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor

Music note: The postlude is from Widor’s Symphonie Gothique, based on a Christmas plainsong hymn. The final movement (Toccata) was played annually on Christmas Eve by the composer at the church of St. Sulpice in Paris where he was organist for a remarkable 64-year tenure (1870-1934). Unlike the famous toccata from Widor’s Symphonie No. 5, which is loud throughout, this one gradually builds in excitement, and concludes softly, in a peaceful, almost plaintive mood which can be interpreted as a meditation on the full meaning of Christmas and the life of Christ.


December 18, 2011  +  The Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Church School Christmas Pageant at 10:30 a.m., sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with Thomas Hintz and Jeff Higgins, trumpets

Prelude: Sung by the Choirs

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  Michael Praetorius

Ding dong! Merrily on high  arr. Charles Wood

A merry Christmas  arr. Arthur Warrell

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles  

With traditional pageant carols and the following Anthems:

Ding dong! merrily on high  arr. Mack Wilberg 

Gloria (Coronation Mass in C)  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The friendly beasts  Traditional French Carol

Torches  John Joubert 

Offertory anthem: What child is this?  Greensleeves, arr. Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Closing Hymn 87  Hark, the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn  

Organ and trumpets: My spirit be joyful (Cantata 146)  Johann Sebastian Bach, arr. E. Power Biggs

Music Note: The offertory anthem was composed for today’s pageant (during the blizzard which immediately followed Christmas last year), and is dedicated to the choirs of St. John’s Church. The English traditional melody ‘Greensleeves’ is mentioned twice in Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor (1602). The tune was already at least a generation old when Shakespeare referred to it, having first been licensed in 1580 as “A new Northern Dittye of the Lady Greene Sleeves.” According to hymn scholars Morgan Simmons and Alan Luff, it must have been popular or became so very quickly because a number of other licenses were issued for it within a short time. Within twelve days, in fact, it is recorded as being turned to religious use as “Green Sleves moralised to the Scripture, declaring the manifold benefites and blessing of God bestowed on sinful man.” From its origins as a secular song (a typical lover’s lament) it was thus directed on its journey toward Christmas. It appeared as the tune for a New Year carol in 1642, and finally in 1865 was paired with a poem written for it by William Chatterton Dix, inspired by the Gospel for the Day of Epiphany (Matthew 2:1-12). (Dix was manager of a marine insurance company in Bristol, England, who found time to write many original hymns.) Beginning with the version which appeared in the Episcopal Hymnal 1940, Dix’s text was altered to make a ‘refrain’ common to all three stanzas, using the end of the first stanza. In the original poem, the second stanza continued “Nail, spear shall pierce him through, The Cross be borne for me, for you; Hail! hail the Word Made Flesh, The Babe, the Son of Mary!” and the third continued “Raise, raise the song on high! The Virgin sings her lullaby. Joy! joy! for Christ is born, The Babe, the Son of Mary.” While hymnal editors may well have had young Christmas pageant singers in mind when doing away with the vivid imagery of the crucifixion, the joy mentioned in the original third stanza is less complete without it, not to mention that Mary herself is deprived of a solo! In this new arrangement, one detail of the melody is altered to highlight the chromatic, exotic character of the original: in the original tune, the ‘verse’ consists of two phrases containing notes drawn from a minor scale and the ‘refrain’ has two phrases with notes drawn from the associated Major scale; in the arrangement, this distinction is blurred with each section containing one phrase from each scale. The motive of the accompaniment (which becomes a descant) is also a nod to exoticism, of the 1940s Hollywood sort.


December 11, 2011  +  The Third Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prelude on ‘Aberystwyth’  Claude Means

Opening Hymn 640  Watchman, tell us of the night  Aberystwyth

Kyrie  S96  Franz Schubert

Anthem (Youth Choir): Watchman, tell us of the night  Bruce Saylor

Sequence Hymn 76  On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry  Winchester New

Offertory anthem: This is the record of John  Orlando Gibbons

Sanctus S130  Schubert

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Rejoice in the Lord alway  Henry Purcell

Communion Hymn 597  O day of peace that dimly shines  Jerusalem

Closing Hymn 539  O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling  Tidings

Organ: Magnificat V   Marcel Dupre

Music Note: Today’s two anthems are examples of ‘verse anthems’ which developed and were very popular during the early 17th to the middle of the 18th centuries in England. In a verse anthem the music alternates between contrasting sections for a solo voice or voices (called the ‘verse’) and the full choir. The organ provided accompaniment in liturgical settings, but viols took the accompaniment outside of the church. Verse anthems were a major part of the English Reformation due to the use of English rather than Latin, and because the use of soloists allowed the text to be expressed more clearly as decreed by the monarchy. ‘This is the record of John’ was written by Gibbons for a visit of the Archbishop to his alma mater, St. John’s College, Oxford.  Purcell’s ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway’ (using the early English spelling) is known as ‘The Bell Anthem’ because of its introduction based on a recurring descending scale, such as is heard from change-ringing of eight bells in bell towers.  †   The communion hymn was created for the Hymnal 1982 out of urgings from the hymnal Commission to include hymns on world peace, and also to include the tune ‘Jerusalem’ by the British composer and teacher Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. To satisfy these requests, the Commission asked Carl P. Daw, Jr. to write a text on peace that would fit the Parry tune. The tune was written in 1916 for William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem,” which contains almost fanatical zeal for all things English, and the setting quickly became a second ‘national anthem’, still sung on many great public occasions in England. In a musical context specifically embracing while also redirecting a nationalist association, the new text (a paraphrase of a favorite Advent passage, Isaiah 11:6-9) takes on a meaning perhaps broader than the intention of the creators of any of its individual parts. (Imagine a rendition of ‘Joy to the World’ set to the music of ‘O beautiful for spacious skies.’)(Hymn note adapted from an essay by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Alec Wyton.) †  Unlike last week’s postlude, this week’s is Dupré in a contemplative mood throughout, based on the final section of text of the Magnificat: ‘He remembering his mercy, hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.’  The imminent fulfillment of ancient prophecy is depicted in the long-held chords and the pedals slowly descending as if from heaven to earth; the gentle dissonances resolve into meditative peace. This music is from a set of versets (organ responses to choir passages based on liturgical texts) originally improvised at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1919, and written down at the behest of Dupre’s admirer from across the channel Claude Johnson (president of the Rolls Royce automobile company).


December 4, 2011  +  The Second Sunday of Advent

Service of Advent Lessons and Carols at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Savior of the Nations, come, S. 659  Johann Sebastian Bach

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming   Johannes Brahms

Advent Matin Responsory  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Hymn 60  Creator of the stars of night  Conditor alme siderum

Carols: There is no rose  Gerald Near

A tender shoot  Otto Goldschmidt

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  arr. Dale Adelmann

Of the father’s heart begotten  arr. David Willcocks (sung by choir and congregation)

Angelus ad virginem   arr. Jefferson McConnaughey

Offertory anthem: And I saw a new heaven  Edgar Bainton

Closing Hymn 59 Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding  Merton

Organ: The World awaiting the Savior   Marcel Dupré

Music Note: As the secular season threatens to overshadow the significance of Christmas, the spiritual preparation immediately preceding Christmas is frequently ignored or lost. Advent is a time of contemplative expectation, leading to a major event in the church year, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. This service is offered as part of our spiritual preparation. It is based upon a service first held in Truro Cathedral, England in 1880. The sequence of choral music, scripture, and hymns focuses on the element of expectation and longing for the day when God’s kingdom will be established on earth–and the assertion that in Christ that day has come–with the aim that when Christmas does arrive, we may better comprehend its true meaning. The service begins in a darkened church, with the choir singing from a remote location. In a path leading ultimately to the offertory anthem, a progression is made from darkness to light; concurrently, brightness increases to symbolize the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ to the world. The postlude began its existence as one of the French organist’s legendary improvisations, at the Wanamaker store in Philadelphia on December 8, 1921. It vividly portrays a sense of the tumult and instability of the modern world awaiting its Savior, with irregular rhythms and dissonances. After a pause in the turmoil, an oboe introduces the Gregorian chant “Jesu, redemptor omnium” (Jesus, redeemer of all). This simple tune becomes clouded by the returning struggle, before it triumphs at last in a symbolic blaze of glory.


November 27, 2011  +  The First Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Savior of the Nations, come, S. 599  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 57  Lo! he comes, with clouds descending  Helmsley

Kyrie  S96  Franz Schubert

Sequence Hymn 68  Rejoice! Rejoice, believers  Llangloffan

Offertory anthem: Sleepers, Wake! (St. PaulFelix Mendelssohn

Sanctus S130  Schubert

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: We wait for thy loving kindness, O God  William McKie

Communion Hymn 615 “Thy kingdom come!” on bended knee  St. Flavian

Closing Hymn 73  The King shall come when morning dawns  St. Stephen

Organ: Sleepers, wake! S. 645  Bach

The offertory anthem was composed for the 1947 wedding of H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, by the then organist of Westminster Abbey. It opens with a simple chant-like tenor solo echoed by the choir, when an interruption by the organ leads to a more dramatic section and a glimpse of the full revelation of the Advent season ahead of us, before ending as it began in quiet supplication.  †  Felix Mendelssohn was a guiding force in the rediscovery of choral music from the Baroque and Renaissance periods. His revival of Bach’s long-dormant St. Matthew Passion is well-known, as is his homage to Handel through his oratorios Elijah and St. Paul. The latter was written when Mendelssohn was twenty-five; its overture, and the fanfare-like chorus sung at the offertory today, are based on the Advent chorale “Sleepers, wake” (Hymn 61).  †  The Advent hymn-tune Helmsley was first printed with this text in London in 1765, and first published in America in 1799. An earlier version of the tune exists in an almost flippant, secular style. It was not widely used in Anglican/Episcopal circles until Ralph Vaughan Williams selected it for inclusion in The English Hymnal of 1906. He transformed it into a stately Edwardian melody by his harmonies (faithfully transcribed in our hymnal), revealing the tune’s potential as a solemn processional. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Nicholas Temperley and Geoffrey Wainwright.)


November 20, 2011  +  The Last Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II and Baptism at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prelude on Union Seminary   Charles Callahan

Opening Hymn 450  All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!  Coronation

Anthem (Youth Choir): A grateful heart   Mary Plumstead 

Sequence Hymn 483  The head that once was crowned with thorns  St. Magnus

Baptism Hymn 478  Jesus, our mighty Lord  Monk’s Gate

Offertory anthem: Te Deum, laudamus in B-flat  C. Villiers Stanford

Sanctus S128  William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Draw us in the Spirit’s tether  Harold W. Friedell

Communion Hymn 309  O food to pilgrims given  O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

Closing Hymn 555  Lead on, O King eternal  Lancashire

Organ: Hymne d’action de graces “Te Deum”  Jean Langlais

Music Note: Knighted in 1902, Dublin-born Charles Villiers Stanford had a long and distinguished career in Cambridge and London as a professor, composer and conductor. In addition to his legacy of ever-popular church compositions, and lesser-known orchestral and chamber music, songs and incidental music, he is known for his great influence as a teacher of the next generation of English composers, notably Vaughan Williams, Ireland, Holst and Howells. His stirring music is superbly wedded to the text of the Te Deum, one of the most ancient hymns of praise. Authorship of the Te Deum is traditionally ascribed to Saints Ambrose and Augustine, on the occasion of the latter’s baptism by the former in AD 387.   †   The hymn-tune ‘Union Seminary’, named after the institution in New York City, was written by Harold W. Friedell when he was organist of Calvary Church in New York and then set as an anthem after he became organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue in 1946. The prelude is a treatment of the same tune by the prolific American composer, Charles Callahan, in a lush romantic style. †  Jean Langlais held the esteemed post of organist of the Basilica of Ste. Clothilde, Paris, from 1945 to 1987. Blind from birth, he was the substantial successor to Charles Tournemire (organist 1898-1939), who succeeded Cesar Franck (1859-1890). As part of this “Ste. Clothilde tradition” he sustained a legacy of liturgical improvisation and well-wrought compositions which earned a place in standard recital repertorire. His early Te Deum paraphrase dates from 1933-1934; it opens with phrases of the Te Deum plainchant hymn interspersed with mighty pillars of sound, and perhaps the many realms of angels could be heard in the development section following these outbursts. The work ends as it began, with even mightier chords and a broad fantasia suggesting the eternal praise of God.


November 13, 2011  +  The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II and Baptism at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs

Organ: Requiescat in Pace  Leo Sowerby

Opening Hymn 527  Singing songs of expectation  Ton-y-botel

Sequence Hymn 541  Come, labor on  Ora Labora

Baptism Hymn 516  Come down, O love divine   Down Ampney

Offertory anthem: Greater love hath no man  John Ireland 

Sanctus S128  William Mathias

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Soul of my Savior  Richard Shephard

Communion Hymn 9  Not here for high and holy things  Morning Song

Closing Hymn 718  God of our Fathers, whose almighty hand  National Hymn

Organ: Marche Héroïque  A. Herbert Brewer

Music Note: Of his Requiscat in Pace, Leo Sowerby wrote: ”  It was written as a tribute to those who went ‘over there’ in 1917-1918, and didn’t return. I feel that the music tells its own story of the eventual triumph of the spirit over the unimportance of bodily or material things, but don’t quote me…I wouldn’t want to be taken for a Christian Scientist!”    †   John Ireland excelled particularly at writing music for the piano and the solo voice; his few pieces of church music date mostly from the turn of the last century, when both he and Ralph Vaughan Williams were students at London’s Royal Academy of Music. “Greater love” resourcefully draws on several texts to illuminate our inheritance as the Redeemed of God, set to music of a fitting variety of characters. Written in 1912, the anthem predates specific reference to veterans, referring to the more general stewardship of our lives.   †   Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee.   †   Sir Arthur Herbert Brewer spent his entire life in Gloucester,  as a Cathedral Chorister, as organist at two of its churches, and finally as organist of the Cathedral for 32 years. His popular “Heroic March,” similar in construction to Elgar’s five ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ marches, has two contrasting themes, the second of which (the ‘Big Tune’) is introduced softly and returns with great dignity.


November 6, 2011  +  All Saints’ Sunday

Due to ongoing disruption from the power outage, this service was said, with congregational hymns.

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.

Organ: Meditation (Improvisation)   Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 293  I sing a song of the saints of God  Grand Isle

Sequence Hymn 623  O what their joy and their glory must be  O quanta qualia

Offertory Hymn 620  Jerusalem, my happy home  Land of Rest

Communion anthem: Pie Jesu (from Requiem)  John Rutter

        Louise Penfield Blood, soprano

Communion Hymn 304  I come with joy to meet my Lord  Land of Rest

Closing Hymn 287  For all the saints  Sine Nomine

Organ: Prelude on Sine Nomine   Leo Sowerby


October 30, 2011  +  The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

This service was canceled due to power outage from the previous day’s snowstorm.

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Meditation (Improvisation)   Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 632  O Christ, the Word Incarnate  Munich

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Anthem (sung by the Youth Choir): Amani, utupe  Patsy Ford Simms

Sequence Hymn 656  Blest are the pure in heart  Franconia

Offertory anthem: The Beatitudes  Craig Phillips

Sanctus S128  Mathias

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: The Beatitudes  Russian Orthodox, arr. Richard Proulx

Communion Hymn 312  Strengthen for service, Lord  Malabar

Closing Hymn 438  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!  Woodlands

Organ: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, S. 565  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The prelude was improvised for a 78 rpm recording in 1928 by the great blind organist of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. The music was limited by what could fit onto one side of a record in those days. Vierne’s beautiful creation was later transcribed from the recording by one of his pupils, Maurice Duruflé. This written version permits the listener to have an unusual opportunity: to travel back in time and hear the spontaneous muse of Vierne.   †   Two versions of the Beatitudes in one service invites consideration of how a musical setting reinforces the spiritual dimensions of a text. The version sung at communion is a chantlike, hypnotic repetition of two passages such as is a regular part of Russian Orthodox liturgies. The version at the offertory is also chantlike, with a melody of irregular meter, but introducing gently dissonant harmony. It is far from hypnotic, as the text directly colors the repeated statements and the glorious crescendo at the end. One could observe that in the Russian version one is no less “exceeding glad” by the certain hope of everlasting life, and the composer’s restraint is based on liturgical practice. In the American version (by a prolific Los Angeles Episcopalian, music director at All Saints, Beverly Hills) one’s peaceful reassurance is disturbed by a great outburst that has been building throughout the preceding variations. Which version you would take to a desert island no doubt could change from day to day. The Youth Choir anthem is, in essence, a simplistic reduction of the same text; our paths are burdened but our goal is sure.  †  While the postlude is instantly recognized as “phantom of the opera” spooky music, this stereotyped association tends to obscure the brilliance of the composition. Long before it was used in films, video games and ringtones (not to mention a cameo during the 2011 Grammy Awards by pop artist Lady Gaga), it was transcribed and arranged for orchestra, band, piano, brass and other instruments. A theory exists that it may have been an arrangement by Bach of a lost violin piece; since the 1980s, scholars have been debating whether it is even by Bach at all. Various stylistic departures from the rest of Bach’s output are generally explained by it being an early work, based on the improvisatory forms of North German composers much studied and admired by Bach. Even if the music is by one of his predecessors, a listener can in any case imagine a teenage Bach pulling out all the stops and having fun with the massive chords, virtuosic use of the pedals, echo effects and startling dissonance. Happy Halloween.


October 23, 2011  +  The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prelude in B Major, Op. 99 No. 2   Camille Saint-Saens

Opening Hymn 574  Before thy throne, O God, we kneel  St. Petersburg

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 517  How lovely is thy dwelling-place  Brother James’s Air

Offertory anthem: The Lord is my shepherd  John Rutter

Sanctus S114  Willan

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Batter my heart  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 336  Come with us, O blessed Jesus   Werde munter

Closing Hymn 680  O God, our help in ages past  St. Anne

Organ: Fugue in E-flat Major, S. 552  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The opening hymn is attributed to Dmitri Bortniansky, said to be included in an 1822 mass by the composer. Wesley Milgate in Songs of the People of God remarks that “the melody was not ordinarily used in Russian churches, but was played on such semi-religious occasions as the ‘blessing of the waters’ on 6 January at St. Petersburg; it sounded on the bells of the church of St. Peter and St. Paul in that city.” The tune traveled swiftly to England, where it was published in a hymnal in 1827. (From a note by Raymond Glover.)   John Rutter’s setting of Psalm 23 was written in 1976 for the choir of First Methodist Church, Omaha, Nebraska, and incorporated a decade later as a movement of his Requiem (to be sung in its entirety in a candlelight concert here on November 10). It makes appealing use of the ‘pastoral’ sound of the oboe, echoed by a flute playing passages suggesting running water.   †   The communion hymn is the one on which Bach based a cantata containing arguably his best-known composition, ‘Jesu, Joy of man’s desiring,’ which was last week’s communion anthem. This is the chorale melody (hymn tune) as arranged by Bach, which would have been sung at the end of the cantata, after various elaborations of it and other commentaries on its text had been heard. At the November 10 concert, our choirs will sing another Bach cantata following this structure. By placing the source hymn unadorned at the end, Bach created profound new associations of text and tunes for his congregation, whenever those hymns were sung in the future. If you are familiar enough with the choir’s part of ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’ (perhaps recalling the instantly recognizable triplet figure of its accompaniment), you experience just such a connection when singing this hymn today.  †  The genius of J. S. Bach manifested itself in many ways, including a fascination with numerology and symbolism. His fugue associated with the hymn-tune St. Anne (today’s final hymn) is a testament to the Trinity, written in triple meter, with a key signature of three flats, and in three sections. The first section represents God the Father with the stately foundation stops of the organ; God the Son is depicted in the lighter second section (without pedals); the exuberant conclusion evokes the power of the Holy Spirit. The association with the hymn tune is obviously from the similarity of the first six notes of the subject, for which it is often referred to by the popular nickname of the “St. Anne” fugue.


October 16, 2011  +  The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude: Divertimento No. 2 in G Major  Franz Joseph Haydn

Lu Sun, violin; Pat Daly Vance, viola; Kathy Schiano, cello

Opening Hymn 544 Jesus shall reign, where’er the sun  Duke Street

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Anthem (sung by the Youth Choir): Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace  Malcolm Boyle

Sequence Hymn 691  My faith looks up to thee  Olivet

Offertory anthem: Sicut cervus  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Sanctus S128  Mathias

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Jesu, joy of man’s desiring  Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Hymn 315  Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray  Song 1

Closing Hymn 537  Christ for the world we sing!  Moscow

Organ: Sonata in C Major for Organ and Strings, K. 336  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Music Note: The Bach Communion anthem, a perennial favorite, is from a cantata written originally in Weimar in 1716 for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Later in Bach’s career he found it impossible to perform in Leipzig, because that city observed “tempus clausum”…literally “closed time,” a time of silence, for the last three Sundays of Advent. Thus he expanded and revised it for the feast of the Visitation, where it was first performed in Leipzig in July, 1723. On many occasions Bach recycled and revised his own music, sometimes as a result of genuine inspiration, sometimes to create meaningful connections between pieces, and sometimes simply to find a practical solution to avoid inutility of a movement as beautiful as ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.’   †  Today’s closing hymn has a fascinating musical origin. It was written to accompany the text of Hymn 365 (Come, thou almighty King) which was an intentional homage or parody (in the eighteenth century sense of the word) of the British National Anthem (God save our gracious King). Thus the music intentionally parodies the tune of that Anthem (sung in America to the words My country, ’tis of thee, Hymn 717). Compare, for example, the music for “the poor, and them that mourn” in Hymn 537 with “land where my fathers died” in 717. This dignified mashup was created by an Italian composer working in London at the time; the tune name Moscow references the place of his death. (Adapted from writing of Robin A. Leaver.) The text of the hymn, with its strong ecumenical and missionary theme, was inspired by a convention motto of the YMCA in 1869:” Christ for the world, and the world for Christ.”  It was matched with this tune in 1916.    Instrumental music formed an important part of the eighteenth-century church service. We know that Mozart composed a trumpet concerto for the inauguration of Vienna’s Orphanage Church and that he played a violin concerto in a service in 1773. The term church sonata or epistle sonata or sonata in the example of the postlude covers a total of seventeen single-movement instrumental compositions by Mozart (two of which were discovered and published as late as 1940). Some of them are simple trios for two violins and bass; others are more elaborate with solo organ roles. In a letter to his teacher in 1776, Mozart introduces the term Sonata al Epistola, which would have been played between the choir’s singing of the Gloria and the Creed during the celebration of the Eucharist. Oddly, no other composers at Salzburg Cathedral cultivated this genre. In 1783, a few years after Mozart had left for Vienna, the Archbishop decreed that the epistle sonatas be replaced by vocal pieces. (Note from Mozart’s publisher, Carlus Verlag.) Perhaps Mozart had written “too many notes” for the Archbishop’s taste; we are fortunate that these delightful creations survived to be enjoyed today.


October 9, 2011  +  The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness, S. 654   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 493  O for a thousand tongues to sing  Azmon

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness  Schmücke dich

Offertory anthem: I sat down   Edward C. Bairstow

Sanctus S114  Willan

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: O lux beatissima  Howard Helvey

Communion Hymn 300  Glory, love, and praise, and honor   Benifold

Closing Hymn 535  Ye servants of God, your master proclaim  Paderborn

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johannes Brahms

Music Note: Today’s hymns are a celebration of the work of John and Charles Wesley. Anyone who finds a hymn of six stanzas to be overly long, can be grateful not to have lived in the eighteenth century. Charles Wesley was the brother of two Anglican clergymen, and an English leader of the Methodist movement. He authored over eight thousand hymn texts, of which six thousand were published and of which dozens are still in regular use by many denominations. “O for a thousand tongues to sing” opened his brother John Wesley’s definitive A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists (London, 1780) and has continued, with one exception (1935) as the opening hymn of every official American hymnal in the Methodist Episcopal tradition since that time. The present version is made up of six of the original eighteen stanzas of a hymn “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion,” written in 1739 on the first anniversary of the Charles’s evangelical conversion, and first published one year later. The present opening line may recall a friend’s remark to the author, “Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise Him (Christ) with them all.” (Note by Geoffrey Wainwright.) The communion hymn is from a Wesley collection of Graces, wedded to a tune having “a sturdy 18th-century integrity” in the opinion of hymnologist Erik Routley. The tune was composed by hymnal editors at a meeting in Benifold, England in 1968. The closing hymn combines an actual 18th-century tune (a folk song which found its way into usage at the Catholic Cathedral in Paderborn, Germany) with a text first published in the Wesleys’ Hymns for Times of Trouble and Persecution (1744). The first among “Hymns to be sung in a tumult,” the imagery is from the Book of Revelation; the original’s omitted stanzas are filled with maritime references, such as “The waves of the sea Have lift up their voice, Sore troubled that we In Jesus rejoice; … Their fury shall never Our steadfastness shock, The weakest believer Is built on a Rock.” Anglican and even Methodist hymnals have been willing to drop such imagery for the sake of a more general use of the hymn. The only hymn not from the Wesleys today is No. 339, which has become one of the beloved Eucharistic hymns in the Episcopal tradition since its introduction into the Hymnal 1940. It comes from the Lutherans, mid-1600s, and inspired the likes of Bach and Brahms to write beautiful settings for liturgical use. Without the lasting influence of other traditions on Anglican hymnody, at least today, even were we to have a thousand tongues we would be mute.


October 2, 2011  +  The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

 Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Adagio from Symphony No. 3   Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 598  Lord Christ, when first thou cam’st to earth   Mit Freuden zart

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 495  Hail, thou once despised Jesus!  In Babilone

Offertory anthem: The eyes of all hope in theeO Lord  Richard Felciano

Sanctus S128  Mathias

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: If ye love me  Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn 305  Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest  Rosedale

Closing Hymn 448  O love, how deep, how broad, how high  Deus tuorum militum

Organ: These are the holy ten commandments  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Louis Vierne, the blind organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900-1937, composed six organ symphonies.  His third (1911) is widely regarded as a masterpiece of form and melodic development. The poetic Adagio was later orchestrated by Vierne, and is especially marked by the influence of his two great teachers, Franck and Widor. Described as a “Song without words,” it is based entirely on the material heard in the first two measures; a sense of melancholy is resolved when the material is recast in a major key at the luminous conclusion.  †   Richard Felciano is a contemporary classical and electronic composer whose musical career spans over fifty years; he is Professor of Composition, Emeritus, at the school of music of the University of California, Berkeley. Felciano’s music “reflects an acute interest in acoustics and sonority and an attempt to cast them in ritual, architectural, or dramatic forms,” according to Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th-Century Classical Musicians. In 1987 he founded the Center for New Music & Audio Technologies (CNMAT), an interdisciplinary facility linking all of Berkeley’s disciplines related to sound (music, cognitive psychology, linguistics, computer science, and architecture). His early offertory anthem (1955) contains premonitions of his brilliant creativity, with fairly traditional outer sections framing an exuberant, complex tapestry of sound that begins with sopranos repeating a simple Alleluia, then lower voices joining in with English text. The overall effect of the music matches that of the text, where yearning souls are given a glimpse of future glory but are not yet fully answered.  †  Thomas Tallis flourished as a composer in Tudor England. He served the Chapel Royal from 1543-1585, composing and performing for four successive monarchs. He altered the language and style of his compositions according to the monarchs’ greatly varying demands (primarily in Latin for Henry VIII, then English for Edward VI who established Protestantism in England, back to Latin for ‘Bloody’ Mary who restored Catholicism briefly, and finally English for Elizabeth I), also composing church music in French and Italian. Tallis was a teacher of William Byrd, and in 1575 Elizabeth granted to Tallis and Byrd an exclusive twenty-one year monopoly on music publishing. Were it not for these political considerations, sacred choral repertoire today might not contain such a gem as “If ye love me” or many other works from this elegant period.  †  Bach the numerologist-symbolist is much in evidence in the postlude, where an accompanimental motive of repeated notes (taken from the first notes of the Lutheran hymn tune on which the piece is based), occurs exactly ten times in its original melodic structure. As observed by musicologist Russell Stinson, this sturdy motive is followed in imitation many times over to symbolize obedience to divine law (that is, man ‘following’ God).


September 25, 2011  +  The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Adagio from Symphony No. 5   Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn 492  Sing ye faithful, sing with gladness  Finnian

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 411  O bless the Lord, my soul!   St. Thomas

Offertory anthem: Jesu, the very thought of thee  Paul Halley

Sanctus S114  Willan

Fraction Anthem S 155  Christ our Passover  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Be known to us, Lord Jesus  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 313  Let thy blood in mercy poured  Jesu, meine Zuversicht

Closing Hymn 477  All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine  Engelberg

Organ: Prelude on ‘Engelberg’  Craig Phillips

Music Note: British-born Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he directed the long-established intergenerational choir program and transformed the Cathedral’s music program into a rich combination of classical and contemporary music. He then was founder and artistic director of Connecticut’s acclaimed choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, based in Torrington. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The basis of today’s offertory anthem is the hymn-tune St. Botolph (Hymnal 1982 No. 209), set with highly imaginative harmony and a virtuosic accompaniment. As in his work ‘Freedom Trilogy’ heard last May on Youth Sunday, Halley’s pen forges new territory combining the traditional with the distinctly modern. After one sustained high note creates a magical transition back to the opening accompaniment figure, the anthem concludes (as do many hymn-anthems) with a descant soaring over the final stanza, and an ecstatic Amen.  †   The communion anthem was written in 1997 for a conference of church musicians in Denver, Colorado. Its refrain is intended for congregational singing and may one day be introduced as a fraction anthem at St. John’s.   †   Craig Phillips is Music Director at All Saints Episcopal Church, Beverly Hills, California and another prolific composer of organ and choral music. His early setting of Stanford’s hymn tune is designed for an instrument with a distinctive fanfare trumpet (or better yet, as at St. John’s, two such sets of pipes, one at each end of the building). The hymn tune appears in the middle of the composition, punctuated by a soft dance on the pedals, while the outer sections have suggested to some listeners the triumphant music of the film Star Wars.


September 18, 2011  +  The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with ceremony of chorister commitment

Organ: Cantabile  César Franck

Opening Hymn 410  Praise, my soul, the King of heaven   Lauda anima

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Anthem (sung by the Youth Choir)  Praise the Lord, his glories show   Peter Niedmann

Sequence Hymn 707  Take my life and let it be  Hollingside

Offertory anthem: Jubilate Deo  William Walton

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem S155  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Brother James’s Air  arr. Gordon Jacob

Communion Hymn 343  Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless   St. Agnes

Closing Hymn 690  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah  Cwm Rhondda

Organ: Guide me, O thou great Jehovah  Paul Manz

Music Note: Cantabile (singing) describes the lovely melody of Franck’s prelude (1870), one of a set of Three Pieces which became popular concert works in the Parisian composer’s lifetime. The title is of course also a reminder to attend the inaugural concert of Sacred Music at the Red Door this Thursday at 7.  †  Peter Niedmann is director of music at Church of Christ, Congregational in Newington, Connecticut. He is an active composer and a past member of the faculty of the Hartt School of Music and a past Dean of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. His merry setting of Henry Lyte’s hymn responds to the text’s basis of Psalm 150.  †  British composer William Walton wrote in many styles, including film scores and opera. His suitably joyous Psalm 100 is a late work, written for events celebrating his seventieth birthday in 1972. After a rhythmically intense opening for two four-part choirs, it contrasts two alternating trios (expressing the ‘quiet’ side of joy) with simpler choral passages supported by an ostinato organ part.  †  “Brother James” is the familiar name ascribed to the spiritual leader James Macbeth Bain, born in Scotland in 1860. A somewhat eccentric personality of great popularity, he worked among the poor in London and wandered in nature for refreshment. The tune upon which the communion anthem is based is one of many beautiful melodies which came to him spontaneously. It has, in its simplicity, something of that rare quality of appeal which Maurice Baring describes as “a wonderful tune–a tune that opened its arms.”  †   Paul Manz improvised many preludes and responses to hymns during his long tenure at his Lutheran parish in Minnesota; a set of one hundred were published in the 1960s and became staples of liturgical repertoire crossing denominational lines for their straightforward appeal and craft. Today’s postlude combines a ritornello (repeated refrain) construction with just enough of a good hint of Handel’s Hallelujah chorus.


September 11, 2011  +  The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with Pat Daly Vance, viola

Organ: Adagio in G minor   Tomaso Albinoni

Opening Hymn   When sudden terror tears apart*  Kingsfold

Sequence Hymn 609  Where cross the crowded ways of life  Gardiner

Offertory anthem: Cantique de Jean Racine   Gabriel Fauré

Sanctus S128  William Mathias

Agnus Dei S166  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Bread of the world  John Abdenour

Communion Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love  Unde et memores

Closing Hymn 665  All my hope on God is founded  Michael

Organ: Kyrie! Thou Spirit divine!   Johann Sebastian Bach

* a hymn text by Carl P. Daw, Jr., copyright 2001 Hope Publishing Company, sung in observance of the tenth Anniversary of  9-11-2001. Used by permission.
 

Music Note: Albinoni’s celebrated Adagio in G minor, heard in many films and on Baroque ‘greatest hits’ compilations, is more the creation of the composer’s twentieth-century biographer than from the pen of the eighteenth century Venetian master. From a fragment of a manuscript, the music was constructed and published by Remo Giazotto in 1958 under the title “Adagio in G minor for Strings and Organ, on two thematic ideas and on a figured bass by Tomaso Albinoni.” Regardless of its exact provenance, it is a work of enduring pathos and beauty, which was played at a prayer vigil in New York City on the night of September 11, 2001. Along with Molière and Corneille, Jean Racine was one of the “Big Three” 17th-century French dramatists. His paraphrase-translation (published in 1688) of an early Latin hymn, was set to music by Fauré at the age of nineteen, as his opus 11. This piece won first prize when Fauré graduated from the Niedermeyer School in Paris, and was first performed the next year in 1866, accompanied by strings and organ. It was published about a decade later and has become one of his best-known works, sharing with his Requiem a general mood of quiet consolation, and melodic beauty.  John Abdenour is organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Fairfield, Connecticut. The closing hymn is a response by Herbert Howells to the death of his son Michael at age 9, from polio. The postlude is an ecstatic setting of a German hymn version of Kyrie eleison (Lord have mercy upon us) which contains additional text between its two Greek words: “Kyrie! Thou Spirit Divine! Oh grant us thy power evermore, That we when life is o’er With joy uprising may leave our sorrows. Eleison!” The sentiment therein is matched by a majestic and elaborate fantasia. The initial three rising notes of the melody (heard in long pedal tones) is also the motive upon which all the accompanying material is based, either right-side-up or upside-down. The startlingly dissonant conclusion to this music could have been written in modern times.

September 4, 2011  +  The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m.

Prelude: Awake, awake to love and work   Joseph M. Martin

Opening Hymn 376  Joyful, joyful, we adore thee  Hymn to Joy

Sequence Hymn 593  Lord, make us servants of your peace  Dickinson College

Offertory anthem: Et exultavit from Magnificat   Johann Sebastian Bach

Margaret Beers, soprano

Communion anthem: Maria Wiegenlied   Max Reger

Closing Hymn 541  Come, labor on  Ora Labora

Organ: Praise to the Lord   Vernon Butcher


 August 28, 2011  +  The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

This service was canceled due to Hurricane Irene.

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 9:00 a.m.

Prelude: Psalm-Prelude, “Out of the depths”  Herbert Howells

Opening Hymn 401  The God of Abraham praise  Leoni

Sequence Hymn 707  Take my life, and let it be  Hollingside

Offertory anthem: Wir eilen from Cantata 78  Johann Sebastian Bach

Jennifer Berton, soprano; Peter Berton, alto

Music during communion: Adagio from Symphony No. 5   Charles-Marie Widor

Closing Hymn 644  How sweet the name of Jesus sounds  St. Peter

Organ: Allegro from Symphony No. 5  Charles-Marie Widor


August 21, 2011  +  The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m.

Prelude: Choral No. 2 in B minor  César Franck

Opening Hymn 427  When morning gilds the skies  Laudes Domini

Sequence Hymn 304  I come with joy to meet my Lord  Land of Rest

Offertory anthem: Sound the trumpet  Henry Purcell

Carrie Hammond and Liz Hammond, sopranos

Communion anthem: Day by day   Martin How

Closing Hymn 523  Glorious things of thee are spoken  Abbot’s Leigh

Organ: Tu es petra  Henri Mulet


August 14, 2011  +  The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 9:00 a.m.

Prelude: Prelude au Kyrie  Jean Langlais

Opening Hymn 371  Thou, whose almighty word  Moscow

Sequence Hymn 380  From all that dwell below the skies  Old 100th

Offertory anthem: Come, let’s rejoice  John Amner

Helen Douglas, Frisha Hugessen, John Church, Stephan Christiansen, quartet

Communion anthem: O God, be merciful   Christopher Tye 

Closing Hymn 544  Jesus shall reign where’er the sun  Duke Street

Organ: Rondeau from Sinfonie de Fanfares   Jean-Joseph Mouret


August 7, 2011  +  The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 9:00 a.m.

Prelude: Lotus  William Thomas Strayhorn

Opening Hymn 390  Praise to the Lord! The almighty  Lobe den Herren

Sequence Hymn 398  I sing the almighty power of God  Forest Green

Offertory anthem: Ave, verum corpus  Gabriel Fauré

Marjorie Hardge and Nancy Sichler, sopranos

Communion anthem: Pie Jesu from Requiem  Andrew Lloyd Webber 

Closing Hymn 414  God, my King, thy might confessing  Stuttgart

Organ: Salvation unto us has come, S. 638  Bach


During the month of July 2011, services were said in the Cloister Garden.


June 26, 2011  +  The Second Sunday after Pentecost

Baptism and Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Cantabile (Symphony No. 2)  Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 525  The church’s one foundation  Aurelia

Sequence Hymn 609  Where cross the crowded ways of life  Gardner

Baptism Hymn 296  We know that Christ is raised and dies no more  Engelberg

Offertory anthem: Laudate Dominum   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: I will not leave you comfortless   Everett Titcomb

Communion Hymn 321  My God, thy table now is spread  Rockingham

Closing Hymn 438  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord  Woodlands

Organ: Prelude in D Major, S. 532   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Mozart composed two complete settings of the vesper psalms in 1779-80, for use in the celebrated evening services of Salzburg cathedral. From the more well-known setting, Vesperae solennes de confessore (K. 339) comes the soprano aria “Laudate Dominum,” written for the remarkable singer Maria Magdalena Lipp (the wife of composer Michael Haydn). Mozart composed many pieces for her, and this beguiling example, in which the choir enters for a doxology of serene simplicity, was a particular favorite of many nineteenth-century singers and arrangers.  †   Everett Titcomb served for fifty years as Director of Music of the church of St. John the Evangelist in Boston, beginning in 1910. Many of his organ and choral compositions are based on plainchant themes or pay stylistic homage to the works of former periods. The communion anthem, chosen in relation to the reassurance offered by God to Abraham thus sparing Isaac, is based on a plainchant hymn for Pentecost, Veni Creator Spiritus (Hymn 504), which may be heard in long note values in the bass part at the beginning of the second ‘Alleluia’ section.


June 19, 2011  +  The First Sunday after Pentecost:  Trinity Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Amoroso  Thomas Arne

Gigue and Adagio (Trio Sonata in C, S. 1037)  Johann Sebastian Bach

Virginia Kramer, violin; Gabriel Remillard, viola; Kathy Schiano, cello

Opening Hymn 409  The spacious firmament on high  Creation

Sequence Hymn 423  Immortal, invisible, God only wise   St. Denio

Offertory anthem: Sanctus (from St. Cecilia Mass)   Charles Gounod

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Sanctus (from Requiem)  Gabriel Fauré

Communion Hymn 367  Round the Lord in glory seated  Rustington

Closing Hymn 362  Holy, holy, holy! Lord God almighty!  Nicea

Organ: Fugue in E-flat Major, S. 552  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The special string trio today in celebration of Trinity Sunday is made possible by the Ralph Valentine Music Fund at St. John’s Church.  †  Charles Gounod, because of his great popularity (especially from his operas) and his stylistic influence on the next generation of composers, was a towering figure in French music in the mid-nineteenth century. For two years he studied theology, but chose not to take holy orders; still, he was often referred to as “l’Abbé (Father) Gounod.” The Sanctus sung at the offertory is from his Mass dedicated to Saint Cecilia (the patron saint of music), written in 1855.  †  The genius of J. S. Bach manifested itself in many ways, including a fascination with numerology and symbolism. Bach’s fugue associated with the hymn-tune “St. Anne” (O God, our help in ages past) is a testament to the Trinity, written in triple meter, with a key signature of three flats, and in three sections. The first section represents God the Father with the stately foundation stops of the organ; God the Son is depicted in the lighter second section; the exuberant conclusion evokes the power of the Holy Spirit.  †  Perhaps taking a cue from Bach’s famous fugue, Gabriel Fauré, in the generation after Gounod, set the Sanctus from his 1887 Requiemsimilarly in triple time, in three flats. Instead of a tenor solo echoed by the full choir (Gounod’s rather operatic construction), Fauré opts for a more universal and ecclesiastical dialogue between the upper and lower voices of the choir, in simple unison phrases inflected by gradually richer harmonies. The choir finally sings all together for the last word, softly, under a stratospheric solo violin.


June 12, 2011  +  The Day of Pentecost

Baptism and Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Fanfares to the tongues of fire   Larry King

Opening Hymn 225  Hail thee festival day!  Salva festa dies

Sequence Hymn 511  Holy Spirit, ever living  Abbot’s Leigh

Baptism Hymn 516  Come down, O Love divine  Down Ampney

Offertory anthem: Listen, sweet dove   Grayston Ives

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Batter my heart  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn 504  Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire  Veni Creator Spiritus

Closing Hymn 507  Praise the Spirit in creation  Julion

Organ: Final on ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’  Maurice Duruflé

Music Note: Pentecost, the fiftieth day after Easter, is celebrated in many parts of Christendom as a major festival whose significance surpasses that of Christmas and equals that of Easter. From the time of the earliest recorded sacred melodies, music for Christmas, Easter and Pentecost has proliferated more uniformly and survived longer than any other music associated with Christian worship. Much as the Latin hymn “Adeste Fidelis” (O Come, all ye faithful)  is associated with Christmas in many different traditions, the ninth-century “Veni Creator Spiritus” (today’s communion hymn, and basis of the prelude and postlude) is the hymn most universally associated with Pentecost. Throughout Christian history, the descending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost has been portrayed in literature and art in one of two images: as a dove or in tongues of fire. The organ music today conveys the tongues of fire image primarily. Larry King was organist and Music Director of Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York from 1968 to 1989. The 1978 “Fanfares to the tongues of fire” is based on Acts 2:1-3: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them.” The offertory anthem, by contrast, meditates on the image of the Holy Spirit as a dove, alongside a charming poetic image of the sun made jealous by the dazzling evangelism of the twelve apostles.


June 5, 2011  + The Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Sunday after Ascension Day

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Prayer of Christ Ascending   Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 214  Hail the day that sees him rise  Llanfair

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 483  The head that once was crowned with thorns  St. Magnus

Offertory anthem: O clap your hands   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover   Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Coelos ascendit  C. Villiers Stanford

Communion Hymn 219  The Lord ascendeth up on high  Ach Herr, du allerhöchster Gott

Closing Hymn 494  Crown him with many crowns  Diademata

Organ: Paraphrase on the Te Deum  Marcel Dupré

Music Note: Messiaen’s quietly ecstatic prayer of ‘Christ ascending towards his Father’ is from his 1932 Ascension Suite, described by the composer as “Four meditations for orchestra.” He arranged it for organ the next year, and it is still one of his most frequently performed pieces. Over the course of some nine minutes the music takes on a radiant glow, using gradually ascending notes and progressively ascending sections, as part of a typically weightless, timeless experience created by very long note values and unpredictable rhythms. †  Dating from 1920, Vaughan Williams’s arrangement of Psalm 47 was originally orchestrated for organ, brass and percussion, and can be heard in arrangements for organ alone and for full orchestra. The joyous mood of the text is capitalized upon in a setting of extroverted jubilation. The brass and organ parts work fanfare-like counterpoints around the vocal lines. After an anticipated climax on “Sing praises unto our King,” the music reaches a moment of quiet introspection. Here the vocal lines take on an almost speech-like quality that seems to pay homage to the tradition of Anglican chant. The moment, however, is quickly interrupted by the brass, and the energy of the music returns to the same joyous mood as the opening. This is a piece clearly designed to fill a space with a grand noise in praise of God. (Stephen Kingsbury)  †  Irish-born Stanford was teacher to Vaughan Williams among a host of other prominent composers over the course of two generations of teaching in London and Cambridge. His own compositions still hold a very high place in Anglican church literature and, after a long period of neglect, his many substantial orchestral works are enjoying a welcome revival. From a set of Three Latin Motets (1905), Coelos ascendit creates a merry noise echoing back and forth between two equal choirs, sung today from the transepts to more nearly generate the stereophonic excitement offered by the divided, facing placement of traditional choir-stalls in larger spaces.  †  Te Deum, laudamus (Prayer Book, page 52) is one of the most ancient hymns of praise. Authorship of the Te Deum is traditionally ascribed to Saints Ambrose and Augustine, on the occasion of the latter’s baptism by the former in AD 387. The bold paraphrase of the plainsong tune associated with this hymn by French virtuoso Marcel Dupré was commissioned by his American publisher, H. W. Gray in 1945. The minor key of the tune, and the recent devastation of World War II, help to define the character of the rhythmically intense sections, which alternate with lyrical passages for relief (based on the more comforting sections of the text). It is, altogether, a fiery vision of angels resounding in praise.


May 29, 2011  + The Sixth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Prelude in E-flat Major, S. 552   Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 705  As those of old their first fruits brought   Forest Green

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 488  Be thou my vision   Slane

Offertory anthem: The Holy City   Alfred R. Gaul

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: If ye love me  Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn 593  Lord make us servants of your peace   Dickinson College

Closing Hymn 291   We plow the fields, and scatter  Wir pflugen

Organ: Allegro from Sonata No. 3 in F Major  Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Music Note: Bach’s majestic Prelude in E-flat Major, and its accompanying Fugue (to be played as the postlude on Trinity Sunday this year, June 19),  frame a large set of pieces based on hymn tunes of the Lutheran church, collectively known as “Clavierubung III” (Keyboard Practice). As in many other of his composition projects, Bach was the consummate multi-tasker, or multi-use composer. He sought simultaneously to educate students of keyboard technique, composition and improvisation, to provide music of practical utility in playing services, to create works of refined and lasting beauty, and certainly not least to make a theological statement in praise of God. The E-flat Prelude is known familiarly as the “St. Anne” because the subject of its accompanying fugue takes its first several notes from the hymn tune of that name (sung to the hymn “O God our help in ages past”). The prelude and fugue are bookends to about two hours of music, and if we calculated all the music heard in services between today’s prelude and the postlude on June 19, we might come out about right. The exuberant writing was intended for students of either the organ or the pedal cembalo, a sort of harpsichord with a pedalboard. The delightful echoes and sectional contrasts brought into relief by the antiphonal placement of pipes at St. John’s, would not be as characteristic on a pedal cembalo which, in addition to being a fine instrument in its own right, was a practical way for organists to practice without heating a church or paying someone to pump the bellows in the pre-electricity era.  †  Alfred Gaul spent his life as a church musician and music educator in Birmingham, England. He composed prolifically in a simple, melodious style influenced by Mendelssohn and Spohr, and his cantatas became very popular with provincial choirs in the Victorian era. His lovely solo The Holy City, written in 1882, is still sung today, although history has relegated most of his other music to the ‘unfashionable’ file. †  Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was Johann Sebastian’s fifth child and second (surviving) son. He was educated as a chorister at the St. Thomas Church Choir School in Leipzig, where his father was Cantor, and continued his education in the field of law at the University of Leipzig. However, at age 24 he gave up his law career and devoted himself to music, becoming an important transitional composer between the Baroque and Classical periods. In his light-hearted Sonata No. 3 one can hear the emerging style of Mozart and his generation. The work is scored for organ but without the use of pedals, making it ideal music for a holiday weekend when undue exertion is to be avoided (or, perhaps, for a Sunday after a skiing accident).


May 22, 2011  + The Fifth Sunday of Easter – Youth Sunday

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude:  Psalm 100  Justin Heinrich Knecht

Opening Hymn: 484  Praise the Lord through every nation  Wachet auf

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 405  All things bright and beautiful   Royal Oak

Offertory anthem: Freedom Trilogy  Paul Halley

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: God be in my head  H. Walford Davies

Communion Hymn 51  We the Lord’s people, heart and voice uniting   Decatur Place

Closing Hymn 432  O praise ye the Lord  Laudate Dominum

Organ: Festival Voluntary  Flor Peeters

Music Note:  British-born Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, where he directed the long-established intergenerational choir program and transformed the Cathedral’s music program into a rich combination of classical and contemporary music. He then was founder and artistic director of Connecticut’s acclaimed choirs, Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus, based in Torrington. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In his Freedom Trilogy (1997), Halley freely integrates elements from a diversity of styles into a convincing new entity.  †  Welsh-born Henry Walford Davies grew up as a chorister at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, where he then became assistant organist. After serving at London’s Temple Church from 1898-1917, as the first music director of the newly created Royal Air Force, and as a music professor, he returned to St. George’s Chapel as organist in 1927. Following the death of Sir Edward Elgar in 1934, he was appointed Master of the King’s Musick. His brief and effective setting of the sixteenth century prayer God be in my head was composed around 1930, a distillation of a long career into a profound meditation that sounds youthful. The successive phrases each begin alike in the soprano part, the repetition rising like a gentle litany. The text reminds us of God’s presence at all times throughout life’s journey.  †  During the 1960s and 1970s, “The Lord’s People in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day for the Lord’s Service” was a saying often quoted in the Church of England and used as a teaching device to try to express succinctly the essence of Christian liturgy. Today’s communion hymn was the author’s first, and based on that idea. The music was written specifically for the text for inclusion in The Hymnal 1982 by Richard Wayne Dirksen, former Organist and Choirmaster and Precentor of Washington National Cathedral. The tune name Decatur Place honors the Washington home of Paul Callaway, the composer’s longtime friend and predecessor as Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral. (Hymn note by Raymond Glover and Russell Schulz-Widmar.)


May 15, 2011  + The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude: Sheep may safely graze  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn: 495  Hail, thou once-despised Jesus  In Babilone

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 708  Savior, like a shepherd lead us   Sicilian Mariners

Offertory anthem: The Lord is my shepherd  John Rutter

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Brother James’s Air  arr. Gordon Jacob

Communion Hymn 343  Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless  St. Agnes

Closing Hymn 646  The King of love my shepherd is  Dominus regit me

Organ: Hornpipe from Water Music  George Frideric Handel

Music Note: The Fourth Sunday of Easter, known as “Good Shepherd Sunday,” is often filled with musical versions of Psalm 23, and today is no exception. The image of God as a shepherd was immensely appealing to the farming societies of Jesus’s day, as well as before (the Psalter) and through to the present age. So many versions of Psalm 23 exist partly through this timeline of over two thousand years, and additionally because of the practice of “metrical psalmody” beginning with the Reformation in the 1500s. Initially a literary and then a musical pursuit, metrical psalmody led to the easy congregational singing of psalms to pre-existing familiar hymn tunes, such as Psalm 100 being paired with the tune of that name, “Old Hundredth” which we sing weekly at the presentation of the offering. Metrical versions of psalm texts (for example, today’s communion anthem and final hymn) are by nature paraphrases, adjusting the number of syllables per line into a formula determined by the meter of the music. This is the reverse of the process made possible by chant, such as our corporate singing of Psalm 23 today, which allows a familiar tune to fit the pre-existing syllables of irregular text. (We are singing the King James translation today, in observance of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible this year.) Isaac Watts observed that when we hear the word of God read, God speaks to us; when we sing a Psalm, we speak to God. Through the Psalms “we are inspired to enter into a dialogue with God, hearing those ancient expressions of joy and sorrow and judgment and praise and making them our own petitions” (Michael Morgan). John Rutter’s through-composed setting was incorporated a decade later as a movement of his Requiem, and makes appealing use of the ‘pastoral’ sound of the oboe, echoed by a flute playing passages suggesting running water.  “Brother James” is the familiar name ascribed to the spiritual leader James Macbeth Bain, born in Scotland in 1860. A somewhat eccentric personality of great popularity, he worked among the poor in London and wandered in nature for refreshment. He has been compared to St. Francis for his mystic insights combined with an irresistible charm and childlike trust of one who loves all people and all creatures. Once when walking in the woods he caught his cast on a tree branch, and in freeing himself accidentally broke the branch, much to his annoyance. When asked to explain his annoyance, he responded “Man, I’ve just lost a real good friend. Many a fine cast have I found on that self-same branch.” The tune upon which the communion anthem is based is one of many beautiful melodies which came to him spontaneously. It has, in its simplicity, something of that rare quality of appeal which Maurice Baring describes as “a wonderful tune–a tune that opened its arms.”


May 8, 2011  + The Third Sunday of Easter

Order for Baptism and Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude: Choral (from Symphonie Romane)  Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn: 492  Sing, ye faithful, sing with gladness  Finnian

Anthem (sung by the Youth Choir): Praise the Lord, his glories show  Peter Niedmann

Sequence Hymn 205  Good Christians all, rejoice and sing  Gelobt sei Gott

Offertory anthem: Surgens Jesus  Peter Philips

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Up, up, my heart, with gladness  Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Hymn 334  Praise the Lord, rise up rejoicing  Alles ist an Gottes Segen

Closing Hymn 296  We know that Christ is raised and dies no more  Engelberg

Organ: Awake, thou wintry earth  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The second movement of Widor’s tenth organ symphony is a calm, pastoral piece based (as was the toccata from this symphony heard as the Prelude on Easter Day) on the Gregorian chant for Easter Day “Haec dies” (This is the day the Lord has made). A passage in the middle of the piece, for flutes played high on the keyboard, is possibly a description of the singing of Easter birds.  † Peter Niedmann is director of music at Church of Christ, Congregational in Newington, Connecticut. He is an active composer and a past member of the faculty of the Hartt School of Music and a past Dean of the Greater Hartford Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. His setting of Henry Lyte’s hymn responds to the text’s basis of Psalm 150.  †  Peter Philips was an English composer, organist and Catholic priest, who began his musical career as a boy chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Because of his religion, at the age of twenty he left England for good, as did many other English Catholics. He settled in Belgium, where after the death of his wife and child he became ordained and gained a court chapel position, through which he was able to meet many of the best musicians of his day. Thanks to his ability to publish music in exile, large portion of his prolific output survives today, consisting of hundreds of motets and madrigals, and instrumental and keyboard works. ‘Surgens Jesus’ describes the Resurrection in merry music for five part choir. Sections of imitative counterpoint are contrasted by a brief passage of quiet homophony (all parts singing together in the same rhythm) at the words of Jesus.  †  Today’s postlude is a chorale (a German hymn-tune) from the Bach cantata “Praised be the Lord,” transcribed for organ in the twentieth century by Homer Whitford. Phrases of the hymn are interspersed with the joyous motive of the accompaniment. The music is based on this text: “Awake, thou wintry earth, Fling off, fling off thy sadness. Ye vernal flowers, laugh forth, laugh forth your ancient gladness. A new and lovely tale Throughout the land is sped, It floats o’er hill and dale To tell that death is dead.”


May 1, 2011  + The Second Sunday of Easter

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

Prelude: Death and Resurrection  Jean Langlais

Opening Hymn: 193  That Easter day with joy was bright  Puer nobis

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 209  We walk by faith, and not by sight  St. Botolph

Offertory anthem: O filii et filiae   arr. Franz Liszt; Volckmar Leisring

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Rise up, my love  Healey Willan

Communion Hymn 212  Awake, arise, lift up your voice  Richmond

Closing Hymn 208  Alleluia! The strife is o’er, the battle done  Victory

Organ: Toccata on ‘O filii et filiae’  Lynnwood Farnam

Music Note: Today’s organ prelude bears the inscription, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55). One of Langlais’s earliest works, it portrays a vision of the life hereafter. Death is heard in the somber opening melody in the pedals; eternal life is represented by a Gregorian chant, the Gradual from the Requiem Mass, announced by a trumpet. These two ideas are combined, significantly, not so much in a struggle as in a unified crescendo toward the work’s victorious conclusion.  †  ‘O filii et filiae’ is a hymn tune of uncertain origin, assumed to be either a French folk melody probably dating from the late fifteenth century, or perhaps a tune which began as a chant melody. Although the melody is included in the compendium of chant Liber Usualis, it is one of the few melodies that appears in standard modern notation, instead of chant notation. Most likely it is a composed melody in chant-like style. (Hymn note by Jeffrey Wasson and Louis Weil.) Our hymnal includes one of each type of setting, at Nos. 203 and 206. It was included as a three-part chorus for women by Franz Liszt, late in his monumental, Messiah-length oratorioChristus completed in 1866. Its setting by the early 17th century German composer Volckmar Leisring echoes the upper and lower voices of the choir antiphonally.  †  Healey Willan, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Canadian composers’ of church music, penned many ravishing miniatures. His 1929 motet “Rise up, my love” uses gentle flowing chords to describe flowers appearing in Eastertide, and ends with a reiteration of the invitation to ‘come away.’  †  Lynnwood Farnam was an exceptional Canadian organ recitalist who moved to New York in 1918, first to Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and then to the Church of the Holy Communion. His tremendous American touring career tragically was cut short by a brain tumor. His only composition is this brief Toccata, and reportedly he launched into it invariably as a test piece when trying out an instrument new to him. Speaking of Death and Resurrection, Farnam made several recordings onto automatic player rolls, and in 1953 the Austin Organ Company of Hartford arranged with St. John’s organist Clarence Watters to transfer several of Farnam’s rolls to long playing records. A roll-player mechanism was temporarily attached to the St. John’s instrument, and the stops were selected by Watters, allowing Farnam, who had been deceased for 23 years, to “return” to “play” pieces by Bach, Handel and others. These can be heard on our website, in the section about the St. John’s Organ. (Farnam recording note by Bill Uricchio.)


April 24, 2011  + The Sunday of the Resurrection: Easter Day

at 8:00 a.m. sung by the Adult Choir

and at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs, with brass and tympani

Prelude: Final (from Symphonie Romane)  Charles-Marie Widor

Opening Hymn: 207  Jesus Christ is risen today   Easter Hymn

Pascha nostrum: Hymn 417  This is the feast  Festival Canticle

Sequence Hymn 180  He is risen, he is risen!  Unser Herrscher

Offertory anthem: Ye choirs of new Jerusalem   Charles Villiers Stanford

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Fraction anthem: Christ our Passover  Jeffrey Rickard

Communion anthem: Alleluia  Randall Thompson

Communion Hymn 305  Come, risen Lord  Rosedale

Postcommunion anthem: Hallelujah (from Messiah George Frideric Handel

Closing Hymn 199  Come, ye faithful, raise the strain  St. Kevin

Organ, brass and tympani: Toccata (from Symphonie V)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: The prelude is Widor’s ‘other’ Easter toccata, from his tenth and last organ symphony, based on the day’s traditional plainchant hymn Haec Dies (“This is the Day the Lord has made”). Widor describes this hymn as “a graceful arabesque…as difficult to fasten upon as the song of a bird…The rhythmical freedom of Gregorian chant clashes with our stern metronomic time…The only mode of fixing on the auditor’s ear so undefined a motive is to repeat it constantly.” In the symphony’s triumphant conclusion, the energy of the toccata rises and falls several times before arriving at a crowning Resurrection hymn, which recedes into a rich texture suggesting the ringing of bells.  †  Charles Stanford, as professor of composition at London’s Royal Academy of Music, taught several generations of composers and did much to raise standards of church music in late Victorian England. His setting of a twelfth-century text by St. Fulbert, Bishop of Chartres, conveys the celebration of the Resurrection with jubilant “strains of holy joy” and “alleluia,” contrasted against darker musical descriptions of “devouring depths.”  †  Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia,” surely established as one of the most beloved American choral compositions, was written in 1940 for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. Composed during wartime, the piece’s many moods around a single word of acclamation express the totality of the Easter message. 


April 17, 2011  +  The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday

The Liturgy begins in the Cloister at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Choral Prelude: Hosanna to the Son of David  Thomas Weelkes

Opening Hymn: Ride on! ride on in majesty!   Winchester New

Processional Hymn 154  All glory, laud, and honor   Valet will ich dir geben

Sequence Hymn 474 When I survey the wondrous cross  Rockingham

Offertory anthem: Jerusalem (from Gallia)  Charles Gounod

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Agnus Dei S159  Plainsong, Missa Marialis

Communion anthem: Crucifixus  Antonio Lotti

Communion Hymn 458  My song is love unknown  Love unknown

Closing Hymn 158  Ah, holy Jesus!  Herzliebster Jesu

Organ: Final (Symphony No. 7)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note:  French composer Charles Gounod, along with many others, turned to programmatic subjects in musical response to France’s military defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870). Dating from 1871, and written in England, the oratorio Gallia is thought to draw a parallel between the then national situation and that of Jerusalem stunned by the reversal of fate upon its Messiah. The concluding section asks the populace to consider its own affliction and to turn to God for forgiveness, with an almost barbaric opening, a tender solo sung by the Youth Choir, and a rousing choral expansion of the solo. †  Excepting two years in Dresden producing operas, Antonio Lotti spent his entire career at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, first as an alto singer, then as assisting assistant organist, assistant organist, main organist, and finally music director for the final four years of his life. Bach and Handel knew his work and may have been influenced by it. His 8-part setting of a brief text is justifiably famous, for its lavish dissonances and other expressive qualities so well suited to the event described.  †  In an apt comparison, Albert Reimenschneider compared the last movement of Widor’s Seventh Symphony for organ (1885) with Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries for orchestra (1856). In the context of Palm Sunday this music could be considered a depiction of the swift and devastating events following Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Various developmental ideas propel the energy of a sturdy main theme, including an unexpected cadenza near the end.


April 10, 2011  +  The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Psalm-Prelude, “Out of the depths”  Herbert Howells

Opening Hymn 149  Eternal Lord of Love, behold your Church   Old 124th

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Sequence Hymn 457  Thou art the Way, to thee alone  St. James

Offertory anthem: Out of the deep (from Requiem)  John Rutter

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Agnus Dei S159  Plainsong, Missa Marialis

Communion anthem: Let nothing ever grieve thee   Johannes Brahms

Communion Hymn 314  Humbly I adore thee  Adore devote

Closing Hymn 669  Commit thou all that grieves thee  Herzlich tut mich verlangen

Organ: I call to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, S. 639  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Today’s appointed Psalm is the inspiration for the prelude, Offertory anthem and postlude. One of the penitential Psalms, Psalm 130 is part of the prayers for the faithful departed in Western liturgical tradition, is recited as part of the High Holidays in Jewish tradition, and has inspired countless musical settings. Its Latin title, De profundis, is used as a title to poems by Alfred Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charles Baudelaire, Christina Rossetti and C. S. Lewis, among others. In deep sorrow the psalmist cries to God (verse 1), asking for mercy (2-3). The psalmist’s trust (4-5) becomes a model for the people (6-7). The experience of God’s mercy leads the people to a greater sense of God. Herbert Howells created of it in 1938 a dark, brooding work building to a cry of great anguish, which is relieved and ends peacefully. John Rutter’s setting from his 1985 Requiem features a solo cello and traces a similar journey, however ending where it began with a return to the opening text and music. Bach’s beautiful trio for organ has been arranged for other instruments and is perhaps the most profound of the three. It is from his book of teaching pieces entitled “Little Organ Book” which instructs the student in techniques of both playing and composition, while also serving as a collection of music for church services and a religious statement. In the words of humanitarian and Bach scholar Albert Schweitzer, “Here Bach has realized the ideal of the chorale prelude. The method is the most simple imaginable and at the same time the most perfect. Nowhere is the Dürer-like character of his musical style so evident as in these small chorale-preludes. Simply by the precision and the characteristic quality of each line of the contrapuntal motive he expresses all that has to be said, and so makes clear the relation of the music to the text whose title it bears.”  In a related mood presaging that of his sublime Requiem, Brahms’s communion anthem reinforces the message of God as guide, with a double canon, the tenor following the soprano and the bass the alto. This technique is employed at the dissonant interval of a ninth, its effect disguised by beautifully constructed harmony. The work ends with an especially lovely and prolonged Amen, which would not be found wanting on many a “desert island” list of essential favorite passages from choral music.


April 3, 2011  +  The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prélude funèbre Op. 4  Louis Vierne

Opening Hymn 646  The King of love my shepherd is  Dominus regit me

Kyrie S86  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Anthem (Youth Choir): Thou, O Lord, art my hope   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Sequence Hymn 567  Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old  St. Matthew

Offertory anthem: The secret of Christ  Richard Shephard

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Agnus Dei S161  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Communion anthem: Lead, kindly light  William H. Harris

Communion Hymn 490  I want to walk as a child of the light  Houston

Closing Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Schmücke dich

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness   Johannes Brahms

Music Note: Louis Vierne, the organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900 until 1937, composed his early and profound “funeral prelude” in 1896 while serving as assistant to Charles-Marie Widor at the church of Saint-Sulpice. The Youth Choir anthem was written in 1994 for training the junior class of boy choristers at the Saint Thomas Choir School in New York. Its sections therefore contain several deceptively difficult similarities to encourage reading music from the printed page rather than remembering it by rote; the successful navigation of the music may be one of the early trials described by the psalmist. Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South in Tennessee. Through the Offertory anthem we are invited to take encouragement for our pilgrimage through Lent. William Harris served the Chapel Royal in Windsor Castle from 1933 until 1961, where he had very productive years as a composer for choir festivals and two Coronations. Several of his anthems and canticles are still in regular use, as well as his hymn-tune “Alberta” often sung in England to the text arranged as the communion anthem today. The Youth and Communion anthems are being sung this afternoon by over sixty singers as part of the Youth Choir Festival Evensong at Trinity Church, and will be sung next Sunday at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine as well. Brahms’s setting of the final hymn is from a set of eleven chorale preludes based on Lutheran hymns, his final compositions. Written in the same year as Vierne’s prelude, and published posthumously in 1902, they are considered a final statement on Brahms’s life and pending death.


March 27, 2011  +  The Third Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prélude (Prélude, Andante et Toccata)  André Fleury

Opening Hymn 455  O Love of God, how strong and true   Dunedin

Kyrie S89  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Anthem (Youth Choir): Ex ore innocentium  John Ireland

Sequence Hymn 665  All my hope on God is founded  Michael

Offertory anthem: Sicut cervus  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Agnus Dei S159  Plainsong, Missa Marialis

Communion anthem: Hear my prayer, O Lord  Henry Purcell

Communion Hymn 692  I heard the voice of Jesus say  The Third Tune

Closing Hymn 690  Guide me, O thou great Jehovah  Cwm Rhondda

Organ: Fantasie in C minor, S. 582  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Fleury’s 1931 Prélude shows the influence of his teachers Vierne and Dupré in its rich chromaticism and sustained sense of melody. Ireland excelled particularly at writing for piano and solo voice; his few pieces of church music date mostly from the turn of the last century, when both he and Vaughan Williams were students at London’s Royal College of Music. The text of “Ex ore innocentium” (“From the mouths of innocents”) does not limit the view of Christ’s sacrifice to a child’s perspective, but invites all to consider the meaning of the cross through its vivid imagery, accompanied by compelling music. Its author, Bishop William Walsham How, was known for his ministry to children and was commonly called the children’s bishop. In addition to publishing several volumes of sermons he wrote a good deal of verse, including such well-known hymns as “Jesus! Name of wondrous love!” (the Hymnal 1982, No. 252),“O Christ, the Word Incarnate (632), and “For all the Saints” (287).  The hymn before the Gospel is named for the composer’s son, who died of polio at the age of nine. Of the over 300 motets from the pen of the Italian Renaissance master, Palestrina’s ‘Sicut cervus’ is perhaps the most often performed. Its gentle counterpoint flowing from a very simple theme creates a signature atmosphere of meditative devotion.  Although it is apparent from the autograph that Purcell originally intended to add to the anthem ‘Hear my Prayer,’ it seems quite likely that having written it he realized how difficult it would be to match its brilliance, and deliberately wrote no more. What makes the music so outstanding is not so much its skillful construction for eight parts out of the most economical of means, namely two simple phrases and their inversions (one based on two notes only and the other on a short chromatic scale), but its strong sense of climax in the final bars. Not only is this prepared in gradually increasing intensity, but the reservation of the full eight-part texture, and the restrained range of the parts up to the last few bars, gives this climax the maximum effect. Then, very quickly and inevitably, the music comes to rest as the sonoroties clarify, and resolve into a simple four-part chord. (Purcell note by Christopher Dearnley.) Bach’s mournful Fantaisie is similarly based on sparse musical materials: a descending minor figure which begins with an ornament. The latter detail makes the theme easily recognizable within the five-part texture. A flourish of faster notes brings the searching music to rest at last on a hopeful major chord.


March 20, 2011  +  The Second Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Choral No. 2 in B minor  César Franck

Opening Hymn 401  The God of Abraham Praise   Leoni

Kyrie S86  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Sequence Hymn 635  If thou but trust in God to guide thee  Wer nur den lieben Gott

Offertory anthem: God so loved the world  John Stainer

Sanctus S124  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Agnus Dei S161  David Hurd, New Plainsong

Communion anthem: Lift thine eyes  Felix Mendelssohn

Communion Hymn 152  Kind maker of the world, O hear  A la venue de Noë

Closing Hymn 448  O love, how deep, how broad, how high  Deus tuorum militum

Organ: Andante con moto (Sonata V)  Felix  Mendelssohn

Music Note: César Franck did much to return dignity to organ-lofts in nineteenth century France, where during typical church services, organists routinely provided battle and storm pieces, or improvised upon popular tunes of the day. As professor at the Paris conservatory he taught primarily works by the then unappreciated J. S. Bach. His influence as a composer and improviser led others, especially his contemporary Charles-Marie Widor and his star pupil Louis Vierne, to adopt a cultured, highly expressive and organized musical language, which formed the basis of France’s preeminance in the organ world well into the twentieth century. The Three Chorals are Franck’s final compositions, his musical last will and testament. The poignant circumstances of their composition have often been discussed. They were written while he was already in frail health recuperating from a traffic accident suffered three months earlier; he deteriorated rapidly right after he completed them and died less than two months later. Because of his infirmity he was unable to take the scores to an organ; except for one occasion, when he played through the Chorals on the piano in a private session (with a pupil playing the pedal part), he never publicly performed the works or had the opportunity to teach them to his pupils. So, paradoxically, Franck himself never heard the music played on an organ. It is left for us to be the ones to hear it. Largely a piece in variation form (interrupted by a central improvisatory outburst), the second Choral is a profound revelation of the composer’s unmistakable soul. His music expresses at once the searching uncertainty of the human condition, where strength and hope grapple with yearning and despair; and spiritual triumph, courage, and trust. (Includes writings of Brian Du Sell and Karl Schrock.) The two excerpts from oratorios sung today have been sung by choirs all over the world and help to sustain the interest in the larger works from which they come. Stainer’s Passion meditation The Crucifixion (1887) dates from his years at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London and is his main work still performed; Mendelssohn’s Elijah (1846) is reckoned to be the second most widely known and sung work in this genre (after Handel’s Messiah). ‘God so loved the world’ and ‘Lift thine eyes’ share a disarming simplicity combined with the essence of inspiration found in Franck’s music, assuring their enduring appeal and effectiveness.


March 13, 2011  +  The First Sunday in Lent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first anthem sung by Youth Choir)

Organ: Prélude au Kyrie (Hommage à Frescobaldi)  Jean Langlais

Opening Hymn 150  Forty days and forty nights   Aus der Tiefe rufe ich

The Great Litany S67

Anthem (Youth Choir): Day by Day  Martin How

Sequence Hymn 147  Now let us all with one accord  Bourbon

Offertory anthem: Wash me throughly  Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Sanctus S117  James McGregor, after Hans Leo Hassler

Agnus Dei S159  Plainsong, Missa Marialis

Communion anthem: Call to remembrance  Richard Farrant

Communion Hymn 313  Let thy blood in mercy poured  Jesus, meine Zuversicht

Closing Hymn 143  The glory of these forty days  Erhalt uns, Herr

Organ: So now as we journey, aid our weak endeavor  Marcel Dupré

Music Note: The beginning of the journey of Lent is aided by several familiar hymns of the season, whose origins are quite diverse. In the minds and experience of most Episcopalians, ‘Forty days and forty nights’ is forever associated with the tune matched to the words since 1861. The original text for this hymn was described as “impossible for public worship” in 1637, and included stanzas recalling the trials of Christ’s temptation and the many ways that Christians are drawn into sin: “Sunbeams scorching all the day, Chilly dewdrop nightly shed, Prowling beasts about thy way, Stones thy pillow, sand thy bed?  And shall we in silken ease, Festal mirth, carousals high,–All that can our senses please,–Let our Lenten hours pass by?”  The hymn before the Gospel pairs a nineteenth-century rural American tune with an anonymous text which is likely to be at least a thousand years older. The tune is pentatonic (based on a scale of five notes) and first appeared in a four-part version in the shape-note tunebook Beauties of Harmony (Pittsburgh, 1814), where it was printed with stanzas from Isaac Watts’s metrical version of Psalm 143, beginning “Look down in pity, Lord and see.” The tune name Bourbon may have come from an association with Bourbon County, Kentucky, the site of the famous Cane Ridge meeting of August 1801. This large camp meeting, using music from shape-note hymnals, drew thousands of Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians and was a precursor of popular “revival” meetings. The closing hymn is a Reformation chorale, believed by some to be the work of Martin Luther himself, based on a twelfth century plainsong tune. It appears in our hymnal as harmonized by Johann Sebastian Bach.  (Hymn notes compiled from writings of Carol Doran, Marion Hatchett and Carl Schalk.)Composer and church musician Martin How is the son of a former Primate of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. He spent most of his career with the Royal School of Church Music where he initiated and developed the chorister training scheme used in many parts of the world. St. Richard of Chichester is supposed to have recited the popular prayer ascribed to him on his deathbed, written down in Latin by his confessor. The first English translation to use the rhyme “clearly, dearly, nearly” is thought to be one from 1913; the first including the phrase “day by day” followed in 1931. The prayer became especially popular in America following its adaptation for the musical Godspell in 1971. Martin How’s setting dates from 1977.


March 6, 2011  +  The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prelude and Fugue in C Major, S. 545  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise   Salzburg

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 137  O wondrous type! O vision fair  Wareham

Offertory anthem: The Transfiguration  Larry King

Sanctus S129  Powell

Agnus Dei S163  Powell

Communion anthem: O lux beatissima  Howard Helvey

Communion Hymn 312  Strengthen for service, Lord  Malabar

Closing Hymn 460  Alleluia! sing to Jesus!  Hyfrydol

Organ: Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)  Dietrich Buxtehude

Music Note: The first hymn today is repeated from the first Sunday after the Epiphany (January 9) as a bookend to the especially long observance of the season this year, owing to the late date of Easter. The last Sunday after the Epiphany, or Transfiguration Sunday, is the last before the beginning of Lent and thus is the last opportunity until Easter to say or sing the word Alleluia. The prelude and postlude reflect this spirit of joyful enthusiasm, by both the nature of the music and the “radiant” key of C Major. In the Baroque period of their composition, keyboard instruments were tuned in such a way that some keys sounded more pure than others. Much music was written in keys with few sharps or flats, to avoid the out of tune “wolf” when playing in keys with many flats or sharps. Even after an “equal tempered” system of tuning made all keys sound more or less in tune, C Major continued to be particularly associated in the Classical period with festivity and grandeur, and has always been a triumphant key in organ music owing to C being the lowest note on the pedalboard, thus playing the largest, lowest available pipes. Larry King was organist and choir director of Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City from 1968 to 1989. He composed several works incorporating pre-recorded synthesized sounds alongside traditional organ and choral writing, of an iconoclastic yet deeply spiritual nature. Today’s offertory anthem is one of these, and there is little that could be said to prepare the listener for the experience, intentionally as mystifying and bizarre and hopefully transcendent as the event it describes in music. The pre-recorded part is coordinated with the live performance using a stopwatch. It includes not only sounds from a synthesizer, but also echoing filtered sounds of the choir of Trinity Church, Wall Street. Howard Helvey is organist-choirmaster of Calvary Episcopal Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a prolific composer and concert pianist. O lux beatissima creates the effect of shimmering light with close harmonies and gentle pacing. If today’s modern choral music is disquieting, hopefully it is in a positive way, allowing us to think about past miraculous events in new ways. Its effect might be offset somewhat by the C Major organ music, although if it is ultimately disagreeable, one can adopt the attitude some take concerning weather in New England…just wait twenty minutes! During Lent there will be a good deal of traditional music for the season.


Choral Evensong   March 6 at 5:00 p.m.

Sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir and Trinity Church Adult Choir combined, at Trinity Church, Hartford.

Music by the combined Adult Choirs:

Introit: O nata lux   Thomas Tallis

Preces and Responses    Paul Halley

Psalms 114 and 115   Anglican Chants by George Thalben-Ball and Michael Camidge

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis    Herbert Murrill in E

Anthem: Evening Hymn   H. Balfour Gardiner


February 27, 2011  +  The Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness, S. 654  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 398  I sing the almighty power of God  Forest Green

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Anthem (Youth Choir): Amani, utupe  Patsy Ford Simms

Sequence Hymn 711  Seek ye first the kingdom of God  Seek ye first

Offertory anthem: The Lord is my light  Stephen Sturk

Sanctus S114  Willan

Agnus Dei S158  Willan

Communion anthem: Jesu, joy of man’s desiring  Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Hymn 309  O Food to pilgrims given  O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

Closing Hymn 559  Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us  Dulce carmen

Organ: Allegro maestoso e vivace (Sonata No. 2)  Felix Mendelssohn

Music Note: The text of today’s first hymn first appeared for use by Episcopalians in the 1874 edition of The Hymnal. It was dropped from subsequent editions until its restoration in The Hymnal 1982. Written as a song for children, this text by Isaac Watts was printed in his Divine Songs attempted in Easy Language for the use of Children (London, 1715) under the heading “Praise for Creation and Providence.” (The title of the collection was changed to Divine and Moral Songs in 1795.) The text was first paired with the much-loved English folk melody by the editors of the Methodist Hymnal (Nashville, 1964). This melody first appeared in The English Hymnal, arranged as in our hymnal by Ralph Vaughan Williams, who transcribed it from the singing of a Mr. Garman of Forest Green near Ockley, Surrey, in December 1903. It is a typical ballad tune and was sung to “The ploughboy’s dream.” The doubling of the note value at the beginning of the seventh line of the poem is by the arranger and appears to be an attempt to give the tune a little poise at that point. (Hymn note by Carol A. Doran, Alan Luff, Raymond Glover and Thomas Remenschneider.) The Youth anthem is dedicated to the Menya family and their homeland, Kenya, Africa; the Offertory anthem was commissioned in honor of Mildred Buttrey by a San Diego area composer for a conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians in New Haven, CT in 1988). These two anthems are settings, in basic terms, of the same text. The Bach Communion anthem, a perennial favorite, is from a cantata (No. 147) written originally in Weimar in 1716 for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Later in Bach’s career he found it impossible to perform in Leipzig, because that city observed “tempus clausum”…literally “closed time,” a time of silence, for the last three Sundays of Advent. Thus he expanded and revised it for the feast of the Visitation, where it was first performed in Leipzig in July, 1723. On many occasions Bach recycled and revised his own music, sometimes as a result of genuine inspiration, sometimes to create meaningful connections between pieces, and sometimes simply to find a practical solution to avoid inutility of a movement as beautiful as ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.’


February 20, 2011  +  The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Duo, Basse de cromorne, Récit de nazard  Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Opening Hymn 518  Christ is made the sure foundation  Westminster Abbey

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 674 Forgive our sins as we forgive   Detroit

Offertory anthem: Grieve not the holy spirit of God   T. Tertius Noble

Sanctus S129  Powell

Agnus Dei S163  Powell

Communion anthem: We have seen his star   Everett Titcomb

Communion Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love  Unde et memores

Closing Hymn 379  God is Love, let heaven adore him   Abbot’s Leigh

Organ:  Caprice sur les grands jeux – Clérambault

Music Note: A prolific composer and esteemed teacher of the French Baroque period, Louis-Nicolas Clérambault was organist of the church of St. Sulpice in Paris, where later Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré were to have similar impacts on the field. His sprightly, ornamented organ works bear titles indicating the stops used to produce the sounds he intended, hence: basse de cromorne (the bass register of a pungent clarinet),récit de nazard (recitative for the nazard stop, which sounds two and a half octaves higher than written), and grands jeux (full organ). This music can be created with great authenticity with the French colors of the instrument here at St. John’s. T. Tertius Noble became a “British import” to the American church music scene when, after serving at Ely Cathedral and York Minster, he moved to New York in 1913 to establish a choir program along Cathedral lines at then-newly-rebuilt Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue. In 1919 Dr. Noble founded the Saint Thomas Choir School to educate the parish’s boy choristers, an institution that continues to thrive today as the only remaining such school in America(enrolling solely church-affiliated choristers), and one of only four remaining in the world. The much-beloved anthem ‘Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God’ was published in 1915, and is dedicated to Noble’s friend and colleague Arthur S. Hyde, who in 1908 succeeded Leopold Stokowski as organist and choirmaster of nearby St. Bartholomew’s Church, Park Avenue. Hyde had been a pupil of Charles-Marie Widor; in the music of the anthem one can hear the influence of Edward Elgar (in the harmonies and the long phrases), and perhaps also Widor (in the organ interludes when a solo tone blending into the bass register recalls textures from the French master’s organ symphonies). Everett Titcomb served for fifty years as Director of Music of the church of St. John the Evangelist in Boston, beginning in 1910. Many of his organ and choral compositions are based on plainchant themes or pay stylistic homage to the works of former periods. 


February 13, 2011  +  The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first anthem sung by Youth Choir)

Organ: Gospel Prelude on “What a friend we have in Jesus”  William Bolcom

Opening Hymn: What a friend we have in Jesus

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Anthem (Youth Choir): The Birds  Benjamin Britten

Sequence Hymn 593  Lord, make us servants of your peace  Dickinson College

Offertory anthem: Now there lightens upon us  Leo Sowerby

Sanctus S114  Willan

Agnus Dei S158  Willan

Communion anthem: Deep River  Gerre Hancock

Communion Hymn 304  I come with joy to meet my Lord  Land of Rest

Closing Hymn 344  Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing  Sicilian Mariners

Organ: These are the holy ten commandments, S. 635  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Absalom Jones (1746-February 13, 1818) was the first African-American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church (1804). In the Episcopal calendar of saints he is listed on February 13 as “Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818.” Jones was born into slavery in Philadelphia. By 1778 he had purchased his wife’s freedom so that their children would be free, and in another seven years he was able to purchase his own. Tired of relegation to a gallery as was the custom in interracial congregations, Jones and his followers founded the first black church in Philadelphia which petitioned to become an Episcopal parish. Jones was also part of the first group of African Americans to petition the U.S. Congress, in criticism of the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. Originally a poem, “What a friend we have in Jesus” was never intended by the hymn writer, Joseph Scriven, for publication. Upon learning of his mother’s serious illness and unable to be with her in faraway Dublin, he wrote a letter of comfort enclosing the words of the text. Some time later when he himself was ill, a friend who came to see him chanced to see the poem scribbled on scratch paper near his bed. The friend read it with interest and asked if he had written the words. With typical modesty, Scriven replied, “The Lord and I did it between us.” (Hymn note by Kenneth J. Osbeck.) In 1869 a small collection of his poems was published, entitled Hymns and Other Verses, and the musical setting soon followed which launched the enduring popularity of the pairing. In the prelude, University of Michigan composer William Bolcom captures the verve of a gospel hymn improvisation with the tune heard in very long note values. Leo Sowerby is considered among the twentieth century’s finest American composers of choral music for the church. Raised in Chicago and first American recipient of the coveted Prix de Rome for composition, Sowerby devoted the last six years of his life to founding and directing a College of Church Musicians at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC. The offertory anthem conveys both the joy and the mystery of Epiphany, and makes a passing musical reference to the Eastern origins of the star before its serene conclusion. Bach the numerologist-symbolist is much in evidence in the postlude, where an accompanimental motive of repeated notes (taken from the first notes of the Lutheran hymn tune on which the piece is based), occurs exactly ten times in its original melodic structure. As observed by musicologist Russell Stinson, this sturdy motive is followed in imitation many times over to symbolize obedience to divine law (that is, man ‘following’ God).


February 6, 2011  +  The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prelude on “Slane”  Gerre Hancock

Opening Hymn 488  Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart   Slane

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 707  Take my life, and let it be   Hollingside

Offertory anthem: I hear a voice a-prayin’   Houston Bright

Sanctus S129  Powell

Agnus Dei S163  Powell

Communion anthem: Lord, you have searched me out   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Closing Hymn 555  Lead on, O King eternal   Lancashire

Organ: Tuba Tune in D Major  Craig Sellar Lang

Music Note: Houston Bright, son of a Methodist minister, grew up in West Texas and spent his entire career there as a composer and music educator. The most popular of his some 100 original compositions remains the 1955 spiritual heard today: unexpected fare, perhaps, from the pen of one whose Ph.D. dissertation was “The Early Tudor Part-song from Newarke to Cornyshe,” and revealing of a diverse and largely unknown talent. A West Texan internationally known in Anglican circles is Gerre Hancock, from 1971-2004 Organist and Master of Choristers at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. His prelude on today’s first hymn “previews” each phrase of the melody with imitative counterpoint in the manner of early Baroque hymn-tune composers, then disguises the tune somewhat by doubling its note values, all in the context of modern harmony. A second verse of the hymn is treated as an exciting build-up of the instrument with a reflective ending. The prayer of the hymn, “Be thou my vision,” is from the Irish monastic tradition and may be as ancient as the year 700. It is one of two examples in our hymnal of the Celtic lorica or breastplate, almost a sort of incantation to be recited for protection, arming oneself for physical or spiritual battle. (The other lorica is “St. Patrick’s Breastplate,” No. 370.) (Hymn note by May Daw.) It is in this context that today’s concluding hymn is selected, with “deeds of love and mercy” joining those of a long-standing military allegory. Given just two examples from West Texas, what may some day be contributed to the Christian tradition by youth of West Hartford? In the communion anthem, searching is symbolized by the powerful pull between major and minor tonality heard in the opening triplet motive of the accompaniment. A variety of textures and moods suits the wide emotional range of Psalm 139 and pays homage to the long history of musical settings of the psalms, with solo, choral and chant sections. In the chant section, a duet between an adult and a child is based on the interval of the descending minor third, which research shows to be a remarkably constant first musical utterance of children around the world regardless of native cultural tradition. Is it not amazing that God would know us before we are born, each in our individualities, and also give us a common first voice?


February 6 at 5:00 p.m.: Choral Evensong

Sung by the Youth and Adult Choirs:

Introit: O nata lux   Thomas Tallis

Preces and Responses    Plainsong

Psalms 87 and 48   Anglican Chants by Jonathan Battishill and Edward Elgar

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis     David Hogan (Washington Service)

Anthem: When to the temple Mary went    Johannes Eccard

Organ: Lord God, now open wide thy heaven, S. 617    Johann Sebastian Bach

Organ: Fugue on ‘How brightly shines the morning star’    Max Reger 


January 30, 2011  +  The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: How bright appears the morning star  Dietrich Buxtehude

Opening Hymn 477  All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine   Engelberg

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 542  Christ is the world’s true light  St. Joan

Offertory anthem: O nata lux  Thomas Tallis

Sanctus S129  Powell

Agnus Dei S163  Powell

Communion anthem: The Beatitudes  Russian Orthodox, arr. Richard Proulx

Communion Hymn 324  Let all mortal flesh keep silence  Picardy

Closing Hymn 497  How bright appears the morning star  Wie schön leuchtet

Organ: Fugue on “Wie schön leuchtet”  Max Reger

Music NoteThe Epiphany hymn “How bright appears the morning star,” heard on January 2 as an accompanimental background to a solo about the Three Kings, has been found in countless other choral and organ compositions. The prelude today is essentially a treatment of two stanzas of the hymn, though owing to the repeated phrases in the melody and its overall length, the composition unfolds rather like a set of variations, with color and texture matching the mood of the stanzas.  Dietrich Buxtehude was the outstanding composer of organ music in North Germany in the generation before J. S. Bach, who at age 20 walked some 250 miles each way from Arnstadt to Lubeck to hear Buxtehude play, and outstayed his authorized absence from his church post by several months! According to legend, both Bach and George Frideric Handel wanted to become amanuesis (assistant and successor) to Buxtehude, but neither wanted to marry his daughter, which was a condition for the position. Generations later, the German Romantic Max Reger set the hymn as a densely written twenty-minute chorale-fantasy describing some five stanzas of the hymn, with the text included in the score. The brilliant concluding fugue combines an exuberant original subject with the hymn tune which appears in long note values. If it has been said of Mozart’s music that there are “too many notes,” it is all the more justly said of Reger’s music that there are so many notes, it would be most economical to print merely the spaces between them, using white ink on black paper! In both settings, the final text clearly being kept in mind by the composers is “Sing! Leap! Be jubilant, Rejoice! Thank the Lord; Great is the King of Glory.”


January 23, 2011  +  The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Benedictus  Max Reger

Opening Hymn 525  The Church’s one foundation   Aurelia

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 126  The people who in darkness walked  Dundee

Offertory anthem: Christ, whose glory fills the skies  T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Sanctus S129  Powell

Agnus Dei S163  Powell

Communion anthem: They cast their nets in Galilee  Michael McCabe

Communion Hymn 321  My God, thy table now is spread  Rockingham

Closing Hymn 539  O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling  Tidings

Organ: A Joyous March  Leo Sowerby

Music Note:  The serene opening and closing music of the German Romantic composer Max Reger’s Benedictus suggests the title text “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” while the exuberant contrapuntal middle section proclaims “Hosanna in the highest!”  Sir John Dankworth, known in his early career as Johnny Dankworth, was an English jazz musician and the husband of jazz singer Cleo Laine. Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn was an English-born church musician who spent twenty-eight years at St. Paul’s Church, Albany, New York, and the final ten of his career at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem is an enduring favorite of his some two hundred works, and contains a splendid example of text-painting at the beginning of the second verse. “Day-spring” is the beginning of dawn; “Day-star” is the morning star. “Sun of Righteousness” is an attribute spoken of Christ in Malachi 4:2 (referring to God’s blessings on the good): “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.” This reference also underscores the double-meaning of “Sun” as “Son” in the context of Epiphany. Michael McCabe is a former pupil of Leo Sowerby and the elder composer’s influence can be heard in the dissonance of “head down was crucified,” along with a slightly jazzy rhythm. Sowerby’s postlude bears the infectious flavor of the American popular musical scene following World War I, during which the composer served as an army bandmaster. 


January 16, 2011  +  The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Adagio (Sonata I)  Felix Mendelssohn

Opening Hymn 7  Christ, whose glory fills the skies   Ratisbon

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 607  O God of every nation  Llangloffan

Offertory anthem: I waited for the Lord  Mendelssohn

Sanctus S129  Powell

Agnus Dei S163  Powell

Communion anthem: Eternal light  Leo Sowerby

Communion Hymn 336  Come with us, O blessed Jesus  Werde munter

Closing Hymn 535  Ye servants of God, your master proclaim  Paderborn

Organ: Allegro maestoso (Sonata II)  Mendelssohn

Music Note: Alcuin of York, author of the text of the communion anthem, became a leading scholar and teacher of the Carolingian Renaissance, as part of the court of Charlemagne. His final decade was spent as Abbott of Marmoutier Abbey in France. In addition to his religious texts and poetry, he is known for a mathematical textbook containing clever word puzzles, several involving river crossings such as the famous problem of the wolf, the goat and the cabbage. Alcuin is recognized as a Common Saint in the Episcopal Church’s calendar; his feast day is April 20. Common Saints are a general category of lesser saints such as martyrs, missionaries, pastors, theologians, monastics and teachers, whose personal qualities or traits include heroic faith, love, goodness of life, joyousness, service to others for Christ’s sake, and devotion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is also so recognized, with feast days on both his birth on January 15 and death on April 4. The hymn before the Gospel today is sung in celebration of tomorrow’s holiday. The closing hymn combines a popular eighteenth century tune (a folk song which found its way into usage at the Catholic Cathedral in Paderborn, Germany) with a text  first published in John and Charles Wesley’s Hymns for Times of Trouble and Persecution (London, 1744). The first among “Hymns to be sung in a tumult,” the imagery is from the Book of Revelations; the original contained additional stanzas filled with maritime references, such as “The waves of the sea Have lift up their voice, Sore troubled that we In Jesus rejoice; … Their fury shall never Our steadfastness shock, The weakest believer Is built on a Rock.” Anglican and even Methodist hymnals have been willing to drop such imagery for the sake of a more general use of the hymn. The Hymnal 1982 contains the first appearance of this text and tune in an Episcopal hymnal. (From a note by Geoffrey Wainwright and Alec Wyton.) With another revision of the hymnal of the Episcopal Church under consideration, in is interesting to wonder what contemporary references will pass the muster of editors shaping the imagery of our future common worship.


January 9, 2011  +  The First Sunday after the Epiphany

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first Anthem sung by Youth Choir)

Organ: Prelude on the Introit for Epiphany  Maurice Duruflé

Opening Hymn 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise  Salzburg

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Anthem: Brightest and best  Malcolm Archer

Sequence Hymn 121  Christ, when for us you were baptized  Caithness

Offertory anthem: Tomorrow shall be my dancing day  John Gardner

Sanctus S114  Willan

Agnus Dei S158  Willan

Communion anthem: Epiphany  Skinner Chávez-Melo

Communion Hymn 339  Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness  Schmücke dich

Closing Hymn 448  O love, how deep, how broad, how high  Deus tuorum militum

Organ: In thee is gladness, S. 615   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The season of Epiphany is especially long this year given the late date of Easter. It runs from January 6 until Shrove Tuesday, March 8. Today’s service begins with an ancient plainchant hymn for Epiphany heard in the trumpet voice of the prelude. The sparkling accompaniment to the trumpet suggests the bright light symbolic of the season. The French composer Maurice Duruflé was highly self-critical and published very little music, of very high quality; this gem is typical of his refined service improvisations. On March 6, the Sunday of The Transfiguration or the last Sunday after Epiphany, we will again sing today’s opening hymn, which summarizes the entire life of Christ with emphasis on the Epiphany season of the revelation of Christ’s divine majesty through miraculous works and events. The offertory anthem makes a similar summary in the guise of a carol text full of larger meaning, narrated by Christ himself. As commonly interpreted by St. Paul from the biblical imagery of the Song of Songs, “My true love” is the one holy, catholic, apostolic church. “Tomorrow” is any time after the resurrection, which allows the disciples to look back at Jesus’ baptism, life, suffering, and death through the filter of the resurrection. And the “dancing day” is the entire feast of salvation in the New Testament era. The theme of the dance is unique among traditional carols and is set by John Gardner in a lighthearted medieval-renaissance style, perhaps inspired by the medieval parallels among many fifteenth-century “cradle prophecy” carol texts, in which the infant Christ foretells his future to his mother while seated in her lap. (Anthem note adapted from the New Oxford Book of Carols by H. Keyte/A. Parrott; and J. Miller.)

January 2, 2011  +  The 2nd Sunday after Christmas

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: What star is this with beams so bright  Healey Willan

Opening Hymn 124  What star is this with beams so bright   Puer nobis

Gloria S280  Robert Powell

Sequence Hymn 480  When Jesus left his father’s throne  Kingsfold

Offertory anthem: The three kings  Peter Cornelius, arr. Ivor Atkins

Sanctus S129  Powell

Agnus Dei S163  Powell

Communion anthem: Love came down at Christmas  Leo Sowerby

Communion Hymn 336  Come with us, O blessed Jesus  Werde munter

Closing Hymn 109  The first Nowell  The First Nowell

Organ: The wise men  Olivier Messiaen

Music Note: The Epiphany hymn “How bright appears the morning star” (No. 497) is sung as an accompaniment to the soloist in the offertory anthem. Another hymn-tune of Lutheran origin is Werde munter, known in a more florid version with a famous accompaniment as Bach’s “Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.” Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. Another from a set of nine meditations on the birth of Christ (1935), today’s postlude depicts the procession of the magi beneath the guiding star; the stars are heard as brief points of light against soft shimmering chords in the background, while the journey of the kings on camels over uneven terrain is suggested by the unusual undulating rhythm of the melody. As with the prelude “The shepherds” last Sunday, the effect of this music can certainly be considered more atmospheric than melodic, more theological-mathematical than “beautiful” in ordinary terms, but as with an Impressionist painting, the effect of the whole can be miraculous. From notes by Messiaen’s student Jon Gillock: “The men are tired, they are half-asleep on their camels, maybe even asleep some of the time – traveling at night so they can see the star. The motion of being on the camel is a mesmerizing movement, one that could put you to sleep, one that could make you feel as if you were in a dream, going on for days – a state of timelessness. It is the energy from the light of the star that seems to draw the caravan forward throughout the piece. Two times the music slows – the first time, perhaps, it is because the wise men have gone to sleep, and the camels (not being urged onward) have decided to take a rest, which in turn wakes the wise men and off they go again. After the second time, however, there is a change of tempo and registration: the wise men have now reached their destination; they are kneeling at the manger, and the music communicates the awe and reverence of being in the presence of God.”


December 26, 2010  +  The First Sunday after Christmas Day

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: The shepherds  Olivier Messiaen

Solo: O holy night  Adolphe Adam   Mrs. Nikita Wells, soloist

Opening Hymn 82  Of the Father’s love begotten  Divinum mysterium

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 92  On this day, earth shall ring  Personent hodie

Offertory anthem: It came upon the midnight clear  arr. Barry Rose 

Sanctus S114  Willan

Agnus Dei S158  Willan

Communion anthem: The infant King  Basque Noël, arr. David Willcocks

Communion Hymn 104  A stable lamp is lighted  Andújar 

Closing Hymn 107  Good Christian friends, rejoice  In dulci jubilo

Organ: Good Christian friends, rejoice, S. 729   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note:  Today we welcome Mrs. Nikita Wells, one of the Bahamas’ leading sopranos and a colleague of parishioner Cleveland Williams. Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. From a set of nine meditations on the birth of Christ (1935), today’s prelude depicts colorfully the shepherds, initially placed in a starry landscape (serene and mysterious, they have just found the babe lying in the manger); then “having seen the child, returning, glorifying and praising God.” The shepherds can be heard warming up their pipes, then playing a merry tune. As Messiaen’s pupil Jon Gillock observes: “A simple, naive melody comes forth in the style of an organ Noël popular during the French classical period (such as those of Daquin), always with variations. First we hear the simple melody…followed by its echo, taken by another instrument; and then, the melody ornamented, again repeated in echo. Perhaps two of the shepherds are taking turns playing while the others listen in contemplation.” This is done in the context of Messiaen’s distinctive, exotic harmonic language and rhythms. The communion carol and the hymn which follows it are matched in mood and theology; each looks past the moment of Christ’s birth to the later events in his life and ultimate meaning for humankind. Richard Wilbur’s text “A stable lamp is lighted” was written for a candlelight service held in the Memorial Chapel of Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in 1958. On that occasion the text was prefaced with a quotation from the Gospel of Luke 19:40: “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” The constant unifying symbol throughout the hymn is the word “stone,” referring in successive stanzas to the stable in which Christ was born; the road on which he rode on Palm Sunday; the coldness of heart of those who by their sin reject their Lord; and, finally, the earth joining the stars in the union of all creation in songs of praise. (Hymn note by Raymond Glover.)


December 25, 2010  +  Christmas Day

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 11:00 a.m.  with congregational Carols

Richard Knapp, organ and Lucelia E. Fryer, flute

Organ: Noël Etranger; Noël sur les Flûtes  Louis-Claude Daquin

Opening Hymn 93  Angels from the realms of glory  Regent Square

Offertory Hymn 78  O Little town of Bethlehem  Forest Green

Music during Communion: What child is this?  Ralph Vaughan Williams

Closing Hymn 98  Unto us a boy is born!  Puer nobis nascitur

Organ: Noël Suisse  Louis-Claude Daquin


December 24, 2010  +  Christmas Eve

      Service Schedule:

4:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

10:30 p.m. Choral Prelude (Adult Choir) with String Quartet

11:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist sung by the Adult Choir

 

      Music listing:

  Choral Prelude at 3:50 p.m.

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  arr. Dale Adelmann

Away in a manger  arr. David Hill

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 4:00 p.m.

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: Ding dong! Merrily on high  arr. Mack Wilberg

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Agnus Dei S 164  Schubert

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas OratorioJohann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, arr. Gerre Hancock

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor

 

  Choral Prelude at 10:30 p.m. with String Quartet

Hymn 102  Once in royal David’s city  Irby, arr. Paul Halley

Ding dong! Merrily on high  arr. Mack Wilberg

No small wonder  Paul Edwards

Gloria (Coronation Mass in C, K. 317)  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Ave Maria  Franz Biebl

Pastoral Symphony from Messiah  George Frideric Handel

O holy night  Adolphe Adam, arr. John E. West, Peter S. Berton

  Holy Eucharist Rite II at 11:00 p.m.

Processional Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles, arr. David Willcocks

Sequence Hymn 79  O little town of Bethlehem  St. Louis, arr. Peter S. Berton

Offertory anthem: Sussex Carol  arr. David Willcocks

Sanctus  S130  Franz Schubert

Agnus Dei S 164  Schubert

Communion anthem: Candlelight Carol  John Rutter

Communion Hymn 112  In the bleak mid-winter  Cranham, arr. Jane Penfield

Postcommunion anthem: Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light

(Choral from the Christmas OratorioJohann Sebastian Bach

Postcommunion Hymn 111  Silent night  Stille nacht, arr. Gerre Hancock

Closing Hymn 87  Hark the hearld angels sing  Mendelssohn, arr. David Willcocks

Final on Puer natus est   Charles-Marie Widor

Music note: The postlude is from Widor’s Symphonie Gothique, based on a Christmas plainsong hymn. The final movement (Toccata) was played annually on Christmas Eve by the composer at the church of St. Sulpice in Paris where he was organist for a remarkable 64-year tenure (1870-1934). Unlike the famous toccata from Widor’sSymphonie No. 5, which is loud throughout, this one gradually builds in excitement, and concludes softly, in a peaceful, almost plaintive mood which can be interpreted as a meditation on the full meaning of Christmas and the life of Christ.


December 19, 2010  +  The Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Church School Christmas Pageant at 10:30 a.m.,  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Prelude: Sung by the Choirs

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  Michael Praetorius

Ding dong! Merrily on high  arr. Charles Wood

A merry Christmas  arr. Arthur Warrell

Break forth, O beauteous heavenly light  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 83  O come, all ye faithful  Adeste fideles  

With traditional pageant carols and the following Anthems:

Ding dong! merrily on high  arr. Mack Wilberg 

Gloria (Coronation Mass in C)  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The friendly beasts  Traditional French Carol

Torches  John Joubert 

In the bleak midwinter   Gustav Holst

Away in a manger   arr. David Hill

Offertory anthem: Angelus ad virginem  arr. Jefferson McConnaughey

 

Closing Hymn 87  Hark, the herald angels sing  Mendelssohn  

Organ: Bring a torch, Jeannette, Isabella  Keith Chapman


December 12, 2010  +  The Third Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir (first anthem by Youth Choir)

Organ: Magnificats I, V  Marcel Dupré

Opening Hymn 268  Ye who claim the faith of Jesus  Julion

Canticle 4 (Benedictus Dominus Deus)  Simplified Anglican Chant

Jerome Webster Meachem

Youth choir anthem: Watchmen, tell us of the night  Bruce Saylor

Sequence Hymn 76  On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry  Winchester New

Offertory anthem: Magnificat in E  Herbert Murrill

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Agnus Dei S158  Schubert

Communion anthem: A Hymn to the Virgin  Benjamin Britten

Communion Hymn 67  Comfort, comfort ye my people  Psalm 42

Closing Hymn 438  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord  Woodlands

Organ: My soul doth magnify the Lord, S. 648  Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The Magnificat (Song of Mary) is heard in today’s organ music and in the descant to the first hymn, where it is sung in Latin. Latin settings of the Magnificat are naturally quite common, the text from the Gospel of Luke being nearly two thousand years old, and Latin being the official language of the Church in the West for much of that time. In France in the early part of the last century, it was common for the Magnificat to be sung antiphonally, with a phrase or two sung by a choir at the front of a church, answered by an organ improvisation from the rear gallery. This is the circumstance of Marcel Dupré’s organ setting which divides the text into six versets. These were improvised at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1919, and at the urging of an English enthusiast (a director of the Rolls Royce Company), Dupré wrote them down for publication. Herbert Murrill’s often-performed English setting pays subtle homage to the antiphonal heritage of the text, in the organ’s playful dialogue with the choir. The beginning of the Gloria, where the choir enters strongly in response to a very soft organ interlude, is quite unusual. A Hymn to the Virgin is Benjamin Britten’s earliest surviving piece of church music, written in 1930 while he was stuck in the infirmary at his school. He did not have access to music writing paper, so drew music staves on plain paper. A second choir answers the first, in Latin. This pattern of echoes continues throughout the work and the devotional aspect is heightened by locating the second choir at some distance from the first, as if reflecting Mary’s, God’s, or our own thoughts from afar.


December 5, 2010  +  The Second Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m. sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Savior of the Nations, come, S. 659  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 616  Hail to the Lord’s Anointed  Es flog ein kleins Waldvogelein

Canticle 4 (Benedictus Dominus Deus)  Simplified Anglican Chant

Jerome Webster Meachem

Sequence Hymn 65 Prepare the way, O Zion  Bereden vag for Herran

Offertory anthem: Advent Matin Responsory  Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Agnus Dei S164  Franz Schubert
Communion anthem: Lo, how a rose e’er blooming  arr. Dale Adelmann

Communion Hymn 597 O day of peace that dimly shines   Jerusalem

Closing Hymn 59 Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding  Merton
Organ: The World awaiting the Savior  Marcel Dupré

Music Note: The communion hymn was created for the Hymnal 1982 out of urgings from the hymnal Commission to include hymns on world peace, and also to include the tune Jerusalemby the British composer and teacher Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. To satisfy these requests, the Commission asked Carl P. Daw, Jr. to write a text on peace that would fit the Parry tune. The tune was written in 1916 for William Blake’s poem “Jerusalem,” which contains almost fanatical zeal for all things English, and the setting quickly became a second ‘national anthem’, still sung on many great public occasions in England. In a musical context specifically embracing while also redirecting a nationalist association, the new text (a paraphrase of a favorite Advent passage, Isaiah 11:6-9) takes on a meaning perhaps broader than the intention of the creators of any of its individual parts. (Imagine a rendition of ‘Joy to the World’ set to the music of ‘O beautiful for spacious skies.’)   The postlude began its existence as one of the French organist’s legendary improvisations, at the Wanamaker store in Philadelphia on December 8, 1921. It vividly protrays a sense of the tumult and instability of the modern world awaiting its Savior, with irregular rhythms and dissonances. After a pause in the turmoil, an oboe introduces the Gregorian chant “Jesu, redemptor omnium” (Jesus, redeemer of all). This simple tune becomes clouded by the returning struggle, before it triumphs at last in a symbolic blaze of glory. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Alec Wyton.)


November 28, 2010  +  The First Sunday of Advent

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Savior of the Nations, come, S. 599  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 73  The King shall come when morning dawns  St. Stephen

Canticle 4 (Benedictus Dominus Deus)  Simplified Anglican Chant

Jerome Webster Meachem

Sequence Hymn 61  “Sleepers, wake!” A voice astounds us  Wachet auf

Offertory anthem: We wait for thy loving kindness, O God  William McKie

Sanctus S130  Franz Schubert

Agnus Dei S158  Schubert

Communion anthem: E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come  Paul Manz

Communion Hymn 324  Let all mortal flesh keep silence  Picardy 

Closing Hymn 57  Lo! he comes, with clouds descending  Helmsley

Organ: Sleepers, wake! S. 645  Bach

Music Note: The offertory anthem was composed for the 1947 wedding of H.R.H. The Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, by the then organist of Westminster Abbey. It opens with a simple chant-like tenor solo echoed by the choir, when an interruption by the organ leads to a more dramatic section and a glimpse of the full revelation of the Advent season ahead of us, before ending as it began in quiet supplication. Prolific Lutheran composer Paul Manz wrote the communion anthem in 1954. The appeal of the composition, with modal elements lending a haunting, medieval quality to certain passages, has been enormous; it has sold over a million copies around the world and has been recorded hundreds of times. The origin of the text, assembled from Revelation 22 by the composer’s wife (a frequent collaborator), was in response to the near death of their three year old son from a rare form of pneumonia. Their son was spared and is now a Lutheran bishop in Minnesota. The Advent hymn-tune Helmsley was first printed with this text in London in 1765, and first published in America in 1799. A earlier version of the tune exists in an almost flippant, secular style. It was not widely used in Anglican/Episcopal circles until Ralph Vaughan Williams selected it for inclusion in The English Hymnal of 1906. He transformed it into a stately Edwardian melody by his harmonies (faithfully transcribed in our hymnal), revealing the tune’s potential as a solemn processional. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Nicholas Temperley and Geoffrey Wainwright.)


November 21, 2010  +  The Last Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Prelude on Union Seminary   Charles Callahan

Opening Hymn 494  Crown him with many crowns  Diademata

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Canticle 16 (The Song of Zechariah)  Simplified Anglican Chant

Jerome Webster Meachem

Sequence Hymn 483  The head that once was crowned with thorns  St. Magnus

Offertory anthem: Te Deum, laudamus in B-flat  C. Villiers Stanford

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Agnus Dei S166  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Draw us in the Spirit’s tether  Harold W. Friedell

Communion Hymn 309  O food to pilgrims given  O Welt, ich muss dich lassen

Closing Hymn 477  All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine  Engelberg

Organ: Prelude on Engelberg   Craig Phillips

Music Note: Knighted in 1902, Dublin-born Charles Villiers Stanford had a long and distinguished career in Cambridge and London as a professor, composer and conductor. In addition to his legacy of ever-popular church compositions, and lesser-known orchestral and chamber music, songs and incidental music, he is known for his great influence as a teacher of the next generation of English composers, notably Vaughan Williams, Ireland, Holst and Howells. His stirring music is superbly wedded to the text of the Te Deum, one of the most ancient hymns of praise. Authorship of the Te Deum is traditionally ascribed to Saints Ambrose and Augustine, on the occasion of the latter’s baptism by the former in AD 387. The hymn-tune ‘Union Seminary’, named after the institution in New York City, was written by Harold W. Friedell when he was organist of Calvary Church in New York and then set as an anthem after he became organist of St. Bartholomew’s Church on Park Avenue in 1946. The prelude is a treatment of the same tune by the prolific American composer, Charles Callahan, in a lush romantic style. Los Angeles composer Craig Phillips sets Stanford’s hymn-tune ‘Engelberg’ in a fanfare style befitting today’s observance of ‘Christ the King’ Sunday, the last before Advent each year. The tune appears in the middle of the composition, punctuated by a soft dance on the organ pedals, while the outer sections have suggested to some listeners the triumphant music of the film ‘Star Wars.’


November 14, 2010  +  The 25th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir,

with first anthem sung by the Youth Choir

Organ: Requiescat in Pace  Leo Sowerby

Opening Hymn 7  Christ, whose glory fills the skies  Ratisbon

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Anthem: A grateful heart  Mary Plumstead

Sequence Hymn 413  New songs of celebration render  Rendez à Dieu

Offertory anthem: Greater love hath no man  John Ireland 

Sanctus S114  Willan

Agnus Dei S158  Willan

Communion anthem: Holy is the true light  William H. Harris

Communion Hymn 678  Surely it is God who saves me  College of Preachers 

Closing Hymn 718  God of our Fathers, whose almighty hand  National Hymn

Organ: Marche Héroïque  A. Herbert Brewer

Music Note: Of his Requiscat in Pace, Leo Sowerby wrote: “It was written as a tribute to those who went ‘over there’ in 1917-1918, and didn’t return. I feel that the music tells its own story of the eventual triumph of the spirit over the unimportance of bodily or material things, but don’t quote me…I wouldn’t want to be taken for a Christian Scientist!”  John Ireland excelled particularly at writing music for the piano and the solo voice; his few pieces of church music date mostly from the turn of the last century, when both he and Ralph Vaughan Williams were students at London’s Royal Academy of Music. “Greater love” resourcefully draws on several texts to illuminate our inheritance as the Redeemed of God, set to music of a fitting variety of characters. Written in 1912, the anthem predates specific reference to veterans, referring to the more general stewardship of our lives. Sir Arthur Herbert Brewer spent his entire life in Gloucester,  as a Cathedral Chorister, as organist at two of its churches, and finally as organist of the Cathedral for 32 years. His popular “Heroic March,” similar in construction to Elgar’s five ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ marches, has two contrasting themes, the second of which (the ‘Big Tune’) is introduced softly and returns with great dignity.


November 7, 2010  +  All Saints’ Sunday

The instrumental music this morning is offered to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the life of Chris Dziura, with gifts made in his memory by Renbrook School to the Ralph Valentine Music Fund of St. John’s Church.

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Harp, Flute and Cello Prelude:

Three Part Invention in g minor  Johann Sebastian Bach

Song Without Words, Op. 19 No. 1  Felix Mendelssohn

Heavenly Radiance, “Angel Chorus” (from Faust)  Charles Gounod 

Opening Hymn 293  I sing a song of the saints of God  Grand Isle

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 623  O what their joy and their glory must be  O quanta qualia

Offertory anthem: I heard a voice (from Requiem)  John Rutter

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Agnus Dei S166  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: O nata lux (from Requiem)  Mack Wilberg 

Communion Hymn 304  I come with joy to meet my Lord  Land of Rest

Closing Hymn 287  For all the saints  Sine Nomine

Harp, Flute and Cello Postlude: Rondo from ‘Hamburger’ Sonata in G Major

 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

Music Note: Each of the two excerpts from Requiems heard this morning creates a sense of timeless, eternal peace through repeated (ostinato) musical patterns. The final section of Rutter’s 1985 work begins with a heartbeat-like bass note (played by drums in the full orchestral version), and the repeated triplets at the introduction of the Latin text create a shimmering effect against the sustained stillness of the voices. Mack Wilberg, current conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, also relies on harmony as well as texture to create a representation of celestial dwelling places, with a more universal text not from the Requiem Mass but incorporated into his vision of it (in the manner of Brahms’s Requiem and others which are personal statements about death drawing on scriptural and other sources). In this case, the voices repeat one rhythm while the orchestra repeats another, in the context of a weightless, suspended harmonic language which never fully resolves. Sine Nomine (literally, ‘without a name’) may be a reference to the many saints whose names are known only to God. The tune by Ralph Vaughan Williams interestingly combines within it two melodic fragments that can be recognized as the composer’s fingerprints found in many of his works, the opening four notes and the first “alleluia”. The “alleluias” also show his way of introducing variety in the rhythm of his tunes and thus avoiding monotony, particularly in a hymn of eight stanzas. (Hymn note by W. Thomas Jones/Alan Luff)


October 31, 2010  +  The 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Vision of the Eternal Church  Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn 448 O love, how deep, how broad, how high  Deus tuorum militum

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 382  King of glory, King of peace  General Seminary

Offertory anthem: I will lift up mine eyes  Leo Sowerby

Sanctus S128  Mathias

Agnus Dei S166  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Soul of my Savior  Richard Shephard  

Communion Hymn 312  Strengthen for service, Lord  Malabar

Closing Hymn 470  There’s a wideness in God’s mercy  Beecher

Organ: Toccata on ‘Beecher’  Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Music Note: Olivier Messiaen’s early iconoclasm and prophetic brilliance are heard in today’s prelude dating from 1932, when the Parisian composer was 24 years old. Aside from the Halloween association, the music is disturbing, thrilling, or both; strongly varied reactions to this piece and its perceived meaning are the subject of a 2006 documentary film (www.apparitionfilm.com). The ten-minute meditation contrasts alarming dissonances and pure consonances, growing gradually to the full power of the organ and then receding into the distance. It suggests the great struggles and sacrifices which are part of the history of the Christian Church, along with its eternal strength. The postlude was written in 2000 at Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn Heights, New York, where the composer was then organist and where some 150 years earlier, Plymouth’s organist John Zundel composed the tune of today’s closing hymn, and named it in honor of The Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, the church’s founding minister. Beyond his galvanizing abolitionist politics, Beecher is remembered for advancing the cause of congregational singing. His new hymnal The Plymouth Collection (1855) was the first to print music and words on the same page. His search for a more meaningful and immediate style of worship, through music, has had a lasting impact. Before The Plymouth Collection, music during worship was the domain of organists, choirmasters and choirs. When congregations did join together in song, the choirmaster would ‘feed’ the hymn to worshippers in a technique known as ‘lining out.’ A line would be sung, then echoed in response, line by line, through each verse of every hymn. Hymnals existed, but they contained no music and only a few texts, mostly psalms and hymns introduced a century earlier by Isaac Watts. (History from www.plymouthchurch.org)


 October 24, 2010  +  The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist and Baptism Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult and Youth Choirs

Organ: Let thy blood in mercy poured  Leo Sowerby

Opening Hymn 637  How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord  Lyons

Sequence Hymn 517  How lovely is thy dwelling place  Brother James’ Air

Baptism Hymn 516  Come down, O love divine  Down Ampney

Offertory anthem: Jubilate Deo  William Walton

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Agnus Dei S166  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Be known to us, Lord Jesus  Peter Stoltzfus Berton  

Communion Hymn 313  Let thy blood in mercy poured  Jesu, meine Zuversicht

Closing Hymn 555  Lead on, O King eternal  Lancashire

Organ: Final from Symphony No. 1  Vierne

Music Note: British composer William Walton wrote in many styles, including film scores and opera. His suitably joyous setting of Psalm 100 is a late work, written for events celebrating his seventieth birthday in 1972. After a rhythmically intense opening for two four-part choirs, it contrasts two alternating trios (expressing the ‘quiet’ side of joy) with simpler choral passages supported by an ostinato organ part. The communion anthem was written in 1997 for a conference of church musicians in Denver, Colorado. Its refrain is intended for congregational singing and may one day be introduced as a fraction anthem at St. John’s. Louis Vierne was the great blind organist of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from 1900 until 1937. The first of his six organ symphonies was written in the year of his appointment to the Cathedral and its success launched his career as a composer. The simple and exuberant theme of the Final is introduced in the pedals and later is taken up by the hands, developed through many keys with Vierne’s characteristic harmonies and canonic inventiveness. HALLOWEEN PRELUDE WARNING! Please be advised: those of questionable stomach may wish to skip the Olivier Messiaen prelude next Sunday, a ten minute noisy affair so controversial it is the subject of a 2006 documentary (www.apparitionfilm.com). It is genuinely loud and creepy (though ends softly); anyone wearing a hearing aid is advised to lower the volume. Be in church by 10:20 to experience the complete effect the composer intended…if you dare!


October 17, 2010  +  The 21st Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Fantaisia in f minor/Major, K. 594  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Opening Hymn 366 Holy God, we praise thy name  Grosser Gott

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 709  O God of Bethel, by whose hand  Dundee

Offertory anthem: The Last Words of David  Randall Thompson

Sanctus S128  Mathias

Agnus Dei S166  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: Set me as a seal  René Clausen

Communion Hymn 314  Godhead here in hiding  Adoro devote

Closing Hymn 337  And now, O Father, mindful of the love  Unde et memores

Organ: Sonata No. 1 in E-flat Major, K. 61  Mozart

Music Note: Though it is well documented that Mozart impressed people throughout Europe with his skill in playing the organ, he never wrote a thing for manual performance on the instrument. However, several wealthy patrons commissioned automated clockwork organs of various sizes and, consequently, commissioned significant composers of the day to write music for them. Thus, Mozart composed two extended Fantaisies which took full advantage of the capabilities of an organ not limited by what ten fingers and two feet could handle. Given their origins, these pieces are unusually demanding, and yet despite “too many notes” (a criticism often leveled by those jealous of his music), Mozart’s elegant simplicity shines through, nearly as clearly as it does in the trio texture of today’s postlude. The dramatic offertory anthem, by the distinguished Harvard professor and composer Randall Thompson, was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1949. Its text is an oracle from the psalmist David, and the context of its message is clarified by the Revised Standard translation of 2 Samuel 23:2-4:    

    The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me, his word is on my tongue.

    The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me:

    “When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God,

     he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth upon a

     cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth.”

René Clausen, another beloved American composer, teaches music at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.


October 10, 2010  +  The 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite I at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: Prelude on ‘Rhosymedre’  Ralph Vaughan Williams

Opening Hymn 410 Praise, my soul, the King of heaven  Lauda anima

Gloria S202  Healey Willan

Sequence Hymn 411  O bless the Lord, my soul  St. Thomas

Offertory anthem: O how amiable  Vaughan Williams

Sanctus S114  Willan

Agnus Dei S158  Willan

Communion anthem: O taste and see  Vaughan Williams

Closing Hymn 493  O for a thousand tongues to sing  Azmon

Organ: Tu es petra  Henri Mulet

 

Music Note: The best-known organ work of the rather obscure French composer Henri Mulet is from a set of “Byzantine sketches” inspired by the church of Sacré-Coeur in Paris. Written in 1918, this brilliant toccata pays tribute to the refuge which the famous hilltop church provided during the shelling of the city during the First World War. It bears an inscription (Matthew 16:18) of courage and strength in the face of adversity: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”


October 3, 2010  +  The 19th Sunday after Pentecost

Holy Eucharist Rite II at 10:30 a.m.  sung by the Adult Choir

Organ: From God will naught divide me  Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn 594  God of grace and God of glory  Cwm Rhondda

Gloria S278  William Mathias

Sequence Hymn 660  O Master, let me walk with thee  Maryton

Offertory anthem: The ways of Zion do mourn  Michael Wise

Sanctus S125  Richard Proulx

Agnus Dei S166  Gerald Near

Communion anthem: O Lord, increase my faith  Orlando Gibbons

Closing Hymn 518  Christ is made the sure foundation  Westminster Abbey

Organ: Praise God, all Christians  Bach