Monday, January 30, 2017

FW: Music for the OSHC Service of Sunday, January 29, 2017, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Richard Thomas
Subject: Music for the OSHC Service of Sunday, January 29, 2017, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time


Hi Choir,

                There will be an introit (I think) and also a short anthem.

                The name of the introit isn’t listed in the bulletin.

                The opening hymn is “I Sing the Mighty Power of God,” hymn no. 288.  We last sang this hymn on October 9.

                The text is by Isaac Watts.  The tune is ELLACOMBE.  ELLACOMBE is also the tune for “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” and “The Day of Resurrection.”

                Isaac Watts wrote the words in 1715.  The tune dates from 1784.


            Published in a chapel hymnal for the Duke of Würtemberg (Gesangbuch der Herzogl, 1784), E
LLACOMBE (the name of a village in Devonshire, England) was first set to the words "Ave Maria, klarer und lichter Morgenstern." During the first half of the nineteenth century various German hymnals altered the tune.

            ELLACOMBE is a rounded bar form (AABA), rather cheerful in character, and easily sung in harmony—according to the Psalter Hymnal Handbook (by Emily Brink and Bert Polman, 1998).

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

                Isaac Watts was born in Southampton, UK, on 17 Jul 1674, and died at Stoke Newington, UK, on 25 Nov 1748.  He wrote 750 hymns, many of which are still sung today.  His parents were not members of the Church of England, so, because of the Uniformity Act of 1662, Watts was not allowed to attend Oxford or Cambridge.

                The father of Isaac Watts was a leader of Protestant dissenters and ran a boarding school in Southampton.  He spent several periods in jail for his non-conformity.

                (The Town of Brookhaven had a “dissenting or presbyteran” minister.)

                Even before Isaac Watts could speak plainly, he loved books.  He began to learn Latin at the age of four.  He also learned Greek and studied Hebrew.  He started writing verses or poems at the age of seven or eight. As he was excluded from the colleges, in 1690, at age 16, he went to London to be educated  by the Rev. Mr. Thomas Rowe.

                In addition to being a hymn writer, Isaac Watts was a logician, you can read one of his books on that topic on Google books: 

                                The Improvement of the Mind: Or, A Supplement to the Art of Logick: Containing a Variety of Remarks and Rules for the Attainment and Communication of Useful Knowledge, in Religion, in the Sciences, and in Common Life, 2 ed., London, 1743.


                The best thing about this hymn is that we get to try to rhyme “good” with “food.”

                Here is the rock version:

                       “The Mighty Power of God” by Team Strike Force of the Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

                If you didn’t much care for the rock version, here it is sung a cappella:

       “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” sung a cappella by the Mountain Anthems

                The choir anthem, a delightful quodlibet (“What Does the Lord Require?”) with music by Jim Strathlee, will take place immediately after the Old Testament reading, Micah 6:1-8, (Micah 6:8 being the words of the anthem).

                The Old Testament reading is Micah 6:1-8.  From the New Jerusalem Bible:

. . . Yahweh has a case against his people

And he will argue it with Israel.

‘My people, what have I done to you,

how have I made you tired of me? Answer me!

For I brought you up from Egypt,

I ransomed you from the place of slave-labor

and sent Moses, Aaron and Miriam

to lead you. . . . ‘


‘With what shall I enter Yahweh’s presence

and bow down before God All-high?

Shall I enter with burnt offerings,

with calves one year old?

Will he be pleased with rams by the thousand,

with ten thousand streams of oil?

Shall I offer my eldest son for my wrong-doing,

the child of my own body for my sin?’


‘You have already been told what is right

and what Yahweh wants of you.

Only this, to do what is right,

to love loyalty

and to walk humbly with your God.’


I left out the verses about the story of Balak, the son of Zippor, king of Moab, who sent for Balaam, the son of Beor, to curse the Israelites as they approached Canaan (Micah 6:5). 

My people, recall how King Balak of Moab planned to harm you,

how Balaam son of Beor responded to him.

[Recall how you journeyed] from Shittim to Gilgal,

so you might acknowledge that the Lord has treated you fairly.

The story as told here in Micah appears to be missing some words, (the NET translation inserts “Recall how you journeyed”, the NSRV inserts “what happened”—and doesn’t even supply a footnote to warn you that those two words were “supplied” by the editors and translators), but the story can be found in Numbers 22-24, Deuteronomy 23:4, Judges 11:25, and Joshua 24:9.  [Carolyn J. Sharp, in Irony and Meaning in the Hebrew Bible (2009), p. 149, thinks the inserted words are incorrect and the editors have missed the point Micah was making.]

                The Numbers version of the story is fairly detailed and includes the fabulous bit about Balaam, an angel of God, and Balaam’s talking donkey, Numbers 22:22-35.

                   Balaam and the Ass, Rembrandt, 1626


                  Balaam and the Angel, Gustav Jaeger, 1836


                The choir will then sing the short anthem.


                The gospel reading is Matthew 5:1-12, the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.  (“Beatitude” is from the Latin noun beatitudo which means “happiness.”)  Jesus teaches the people that happiness cannot be achieved through the exertion of force or the demonstration of power.  Happiness comes through humility and love.  The beatitudes aren’t entirely clear about when those who meekly surrender will actually experience this happiness. 

                One verse says “your reward is in heaven,” though I suppose knowing that there will ultimately be a reward might make a person, who is confident that that is indeed the case, happy in the present.

                Friedrich Nietzsche didn’t care for the Beatitudes at all, especially  the one about “Blessed are the meek,” which he labeled a “slave morality.”

                Do the Beatitudes mean that the colonists were wrong to take up arms against their King? (Perhaps, after all, the Canadians seem to have done OK.)

                Do the Beatitudes mean that no one should have used force against Hitler and Nazism?

                The second hymn is no. 335, “Though I May Speak with Greatest Fire.”  The words are by Hal Hopson.  The choir has sung anthems by Hal Hopson (“Jesus Took the Cup” and “All Earth Rejoice with Gladsome Voice,” and others).

                The tune is the well-known O WALY WALY.

                Here is the tune played on bagpipes by the massed bands at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  They start the tune on the smallpipes, then we hear the Great Highland Bagpipes of the massed bands. “O Waly Waly” on bagpipes at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, with band and chorus

“Waly Waly” means “wail, wail” or “woe is me.”  From Wikipedia: “The imagery of the lyrics describes the challenges of love: ‘Love is handsome, love is kind’ during the novel honeymoon phase of any relationship. However, as time progresses, ‘love grows old, and waxes cold.’ Even true love, the lyrics say, can ‘fade away like morning dew.’ "

                John and his daughter, Sharon, went to Great Britain, rented motorcycles, and rode up to Scotland to the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  I don’t know whether they heard the bands play “O Waly Waly.”


1. Waly, waly up the bank,

And waly, waly down the brae!

And waly, waly to yon burn-side,

Where me and my love wunt to gae!


2. As I lay sick, and very sick,

And sick was I, and like to die,

And Blacklaywood put in my love's ears

That he staid in bower too lang wi' me.


                John and I have actually played highland bagpipes in a military tattoo ourselves--at West Point.  On 26 Apr 1998, we participated in the West Point Pipes & Drums 19th Annual Tattoo, West Point, NY, (and I have the T-shirt to prove it).  We even played in the massed bands at the end.

                We didn’t play “O Waly Waly” though.

                (We were younger then.)

                Hal Hopson lives in Dallas, Texas.  He was born 12 Jun 1933.  This hymn sometimes goes by the title, “The Gift of Love” or “The Gifts of Love.”

                Here is “Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire” sung a cappella by the Haynes Sisters.

                       “Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire” sung by the Haynes Sisters, a women’s trio    

The sermon title is “The Blessed Ones.”

                “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” hymn no. 345, is the closing hymn.  (If one doesn’t like the male-oriented language, one can instead sing “Dear Lord, Creator good and kind.”)  The words are by John Greenleaf Whittier.

                If you went to a school like the one I attended, you will remember reading the poem “The Barefoot Boy” by John Greenleaf Whittier.  I think we had to memorize the beginning of it in the fourth grade:

                Blessings on thee, little man,

                Barefoot boy, with check of tan!

                With thy turned-up pantaloons,

                And thy merry whistled tunes;

                With thy red lip, redder still

                Kissed by strawberries on the hill;

                With the sunshine on thy face,

                Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;

                From my heart I give thee joy, -

                I was once a barefoot boy!

                John Greenleaf Whittier was a Quaker who was born in the country in Massachusetts on 17 Dec 1807.  As a farm-boy, he may have once been a bare-foot boy himself.

                His first poem was published in 1826, when he was 19.  He was a strong abolitionist and wrote anti-slavery pamphlets and poems also.  He edited newspapers in Boston and Hartford and was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  As a Quaker, he believed that slavery should be gradually abolished through political changes, which caused him to fall out with those who demanded “immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves.”  He didn’t write “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” until 1872. His best known poem is said to be “Snow-Bound,” but I remember “The Barefoot Boy.”  He died in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, on 07 Sep 1892.  Whittier, California, is named for him.

                The words of “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind” are taken from a much longer poem, “The Brewing of Soma” beginning at the twelfth stanza.

                His poems were used for many other hymns, including “All Things Are Thine, No Gift Have We,” “O Brother Man, Fold to Thy Heart Thy Brother,” “We May Not Climb the Heavenly Steeps” ( ), “Another Hand Is Beckoning Us,”  “I Ask Not Now for Gold to Gild,” “O Lord and Master of Us All” ( ), “We Faintly Hear, We Dimly See,” “Immortal Love, Forever Full,” “O Pure Reformers, Not in Vain,” and “Shall We Grow Weary in Our Watch?”

       “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind,” by John Greenleaf Whittier; tune REST by Frederick Charles Maker

                In the U.S., the hymn is usually sung to REST by Frederick C. Maker, though if you watch it sung in Great Britain, it is almost always sung to C. Hubert H. Parry’s REPTON.

  Frederick Charles Maker (b. 16 Aug 1844, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England; d. 01 Jan 1927, Bristol) was the organist for several non-conformist churches in Bristol: the Milk Street Free Methodist Church, Redland Park Free Congregational Church, and Clifton Downs Free Congregational Church  He was also Professor of Music at Clifton College.

                Frederick C. Maker also composed the tune for “Beneath the Cross of Jesus,”  ST. CHRISTOPHER.

Instrumental Music

                The prelude, offertory, and postlude were published in 1916 in Ecclesiae Organum : a Book of Organ Music for the Church Service.  We last heard these pieces together at the service held on 19 Oct 2014.

                “Adagio Vesperale” by Arthur Page is the prelude.  Arthur Page was born in 1846 and died in 1916.  (His name may actually have been James Arthur Page.)  He was the organist at Nottingham St. Mary’s from 1867-1904.

                Here is a snippet of the piece, played by David K. Lamb:

                       Click the play icon.

                You’ll have to wait until Sunday to hear the rest.

                The offertory is “Meditation-Religieuse” by W. Schütze, which we also heard on 27 July 2014.

                In the e-mail on the music for that service, I noted that I couldn’t find this work, but I was able to find an opera by Jules Massenet called ""Thaïs” (1894) which has a part called: "Méditation religieuse"

                       "Méditation religieuse"/"Thaïs' Conversion"  which is very pretty, even if it isn’t the right piece

                The opera had an Egyptian theme and was set during the Byzantine era. In the opera, a Christian monk attempts to convert a priestess of Venus (Thais).  Wikipedia says the opera had “a sort of religious eroticism,” whatever that is, and also said the opera had “many controversial productions.”

                I’m sure that W. Schütze’s work of the same name will be free of any “religious eroticism,” though I’m not sure I’d recognize it if I heard it.

                You can hear Itzhak Perlman perform "Méditation religieuse" (not the one by W. Schütze) here:

                       Itzhak Perlman, at Lincoln Center

                I wasn’t able to find out much about W. Schütze. He seems to have been a director of church music in Alt-Döbern, Germany, in the nineteenth century.

                Henry Thomas Smart (1813-1879) composed the postlude: “Andante Grazioso.”

                Henry Smart composed the well-known tune REGENT SQUARE, which Is used with “Angels from the Realms of Glory” and with “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation.”

       Henry Thomas Smart

                From Wikipedia:

                                Henry Thomas Smart (26 October 1813 – 6 July 1879) was an English organist and composer.

                        His many compositions for the organ were described as "effective and melodious, if not strikingly original" by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

                In the last fifteen years of his life Smart was practically blind. He composed by dictation, primarily to his daughter Ellen.

                I did find “Andante Grazioso.”  You can hear it be played on an organ at St. Marien, Emsdetten, Germany, here:

                       “Andante Grazioso” by Henry Smart, played by Julian Bewig

                It gets very interesting about 30 seconds into the piece.


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