Saturday, March 25, 2017

Music for the OSHC Service of March 26, 2017, the Fourth Sunday of Lent

From: Richard Thomas
Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2017 1:17 AM

                The introit is "Father, Fill Us with Thy Love."  The tune is HORSHAM.


                “This Is My Father’s World,” hymn no. 293, is the opening hymn.

                The words are by Maltbie Davenport Babcock who was born at Syracuse, NY, on 03 Aug 1858.  He was a graduate of Syracuse University in 1879.  He then studied theology at Auburn Theological Seminary, graduating in 1882.  He first served a congregation at Lockport, NY.  He was the pastor of Brown Memorial Church in Baltimore from 28 Sep 1887 until 17 Jan 1900, when he left to serve Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City.  (He succeeded Dr. Henry Van Dyke, who had been the pastor there from 1883 to 1900.  Henry Van Dyke is the author of the words of “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.”)

                The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography says, “He was a clear thinker and a fluent speaker with a marvelous personal magnetism which appealed to all classes of people . . .”

                He died at Naples, Italy, on 18 May 1901, at age 42. 

                None of the biographies revealed how he died, but I discovered it by looking up the newspapers of the day.  It was a suicide.  He developed “Mediterranean fever” while on a homeward voyage from Constantinople after visiting the Holy Land.  On 08 May 1901, his group reached Naples, and he was taken to the International Hospital there, suffering from “neurasthenia and gastric fever.”  He became “much depressed in spirits” and was, at times, delirious.  On 18 May 1901, he “was seized with an acute attack of mania. He locked his door” (he had a private room) and then committed suicide by swallowing corrosive sublimate (used to treat wounds before bandaging) and cutting an artery of his wrist with a knife. 

                Another paper said that “homesickness is blamed in part for the suicide,” also saying that he was suffering from gastric fever and “extreme melancholia.”  Mrs. Babcock was called to the hospital, “and on the awful news being broken to her was almost demented with grief.  She threw herself on the body in a paroxysm of weeping, and it was only by the use of force that she was finally compelled to leave it.”

                “Dr. Babcock left no letter or any hint of any reason for the awful occurrence.  The hospital authorities, however, have no doubt that the act was committed while the patient was temporarily demented as the result of the fever.”

                He was to be buried in the British cemetery at Naples, but ultimately his body was shipped back to America on May 30, 1901, and he was buried in Syracuse (Oakwood cemetery) on 13 Jun 1901.  His will bequeathed his estate to his wife, Katherine, but it was found to have a value of only $1,000.  The Brick Presbyterian Church was criticized for having failed to have provided their pastor with life insurance.

       Rev. Maltbie Davenport Babcock

                The tune, TERRA BEATA, is based on a traditional English melody.  It is an arrangement by Franklin Sheppard.  

                In 1915, Franklin L. Sheppard (1852-1930) set the poem of his deceased close friend, Rev. Babcock, to this tune. At the time, Franklin Sheppard was the President of the Presbyterian Board of Publications and Sabbath-School Work. The poem had 16 verses, but only three were selected by Shepherd for the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World.”

                Franklin L. Sheppard was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as valedictorian in 1872.  He died in Philadelphia on 15 Feb 1930.

                                There are a number of good videos for this piece showing different ways of performing the piece.

         "This Is My Father's World" sung traditionally with only minor accompaniment, lyrics on screen

         "This Is My Father's World" on classical guitar  "This Is My Father's World" music video with the Prague Orchestra and Tenore (The Christian Tenors) with good accompanying video

                The readings are the same readings as for the service of 14 June 2015, except this time, verses 26 through 37 of the ninth chapter of John are omitted.  (On 14 June 2015, the gospel reading was the whole ninth chapter.)  So I can just copy and paste.

                The Old Testament reading is 1 Samuel 16:1 - 16:13, which is about how Yahweh sees compared to how mortals see.  (People look on the outward appearance , but the Lord looks at the heart.)

                Yahweh speaks as directly to Samuel as he did to Moses—not in some mystical way that requires interpretation, but directly and plainly.

                Yahweh says things to Samuel like, “I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem, for I have selected a king for myself from among his sons.  Fill your horn with olive oil and go!”  “And take a heifer with you,” etc., etc., “You will anoint for me the one I point out to you,” –very conversational for the Creator of the universe.

                [This isn’t the only time Yahweh has been so loquacious.  You should check out the verses in Exodus 28 where Yahweh shows off his skills as a fashion designer. In that chapter, Yahweh gives Moses all the details of how to make and decorate the clothes to be worn by the priests.  I especially like Exodus 28:40, where Yahweh additionally says to Moses that not only does he want the High Priest to look impressive, he wants Aaron’s sons to look pretty too: “And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make vests; and thou shalt make for them girdles; and high caps shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.”]

                In this story, Samuel has to figure out which of Jesse’s eight sons is to be the next King.  Yahweh tells Samuel not to be impressed by a guy’s height.  After going through the seven older sons, Jesse has only one son left, the youngest one who is out tending the flock.

So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And Yahweh said, "This is the one; anoint him." 1 Samuel 16:12 (New Living Translation)

[I’m not sure why David’s good looks and beautiful eyes are even mentioned if the lesson is supposed to be “People look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b.]

                     Samuel Anointing David by François Victor Eloi Biennourry, 1842

[Note that one of David’s seven older brothers is standing with legs crossed and heel raised, and he’s holding something behind his back.  I wonder what he’s thinking.]

                The gospel lesson is John 9:1-25, 38-41.  It starts with Jesus and the disciples coming across a blind man, and the disciples wanting to know whether this man is blind because of the sins of his parents or because of his own sins. 
      Jesus replies, “Neither.”  Jesus says this man has experienced a lifetime of blindness in order that “the acts of God may be revealed.”  (One would almost prefer that the man was blind due to sin rather than it somehow being a part of God’s lesson plan so that God might teach humans something.)  Anyway, Jesus only needs a little dirt and spit to cure the blind man  (which the blind man was then instructed to wash off in the pool of Siloam).  The dirt and spit also seems odd.  Couldn’t Jesus have cured the blind man simply by just touching the man’s eyelids with his fingers, and it would also have been more sanitary.  However, it was important that Jesus actually do something physical in order to teach the next part of the lesson.

     Jesus Heals the Man Born Blind

from a collection of paintings produced in the 1970s

in a collaboration between the Mafa Christians of northern Cameroon

and the French Catholic missionary François Vidil


     Because Jesus took some dirt and spit on it to make mud and then put the mud on the blind man’s eyes, Jesus got into trouble as that meant he had been working on the Sabbath.

     The Fourth Commandment Is the longest of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).


Remember the Sabbath day to set it apart as holy. For six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or the resident foreigner who is in your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.


     Strict obedience to God’s laws was very important to the Pharisees because they believed that the kingdom of God would never come upon the earth until a moment arrived  when every Jew was acting in obedience to every one of God’s laws.  So disobedience was frustrating the arrival of the Kingdom.

     At the end of the chapter, Jesus reveals to the man who had been blind that he, Jesus, is the Son of Man, and tells him: “For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see may gain their sight, and the ones who see may become blind.”

                The second hymn is “Open My Eyes that I May See,” no 324.   The words and music are by Clara H. (Fiske) Scott. piano instrumental with lyrics, so you can sing along (relaxing scenic photos accompany the music) Baptists singing it, with lyrics on screen, with direction, piano, and organ  (In the Southern Baptist Church I attended in Smithville, Missouri, the Director of Music would usually direct the congregation in the singing of each hymn, as happens here in Raleigh, North Carolina.)


    The tune was composed by Clara H. Fiske Scott, who died at age 55 on June 21, 1897, in Dubuque, Iowa, when she was thrown from a buggy by a runaway horse.  She is also the author of the words of the hymn.  Her book of anthems, the Royal Anthem Book, was the first book of anthems by a woman ever published.  It was published in 1882.

    Clara Fiske was born on December 3, 1841, in Elk Grove, Illinois. She studied music at the Music Institute in Chicago, then she taught music at the Ladies Seminary in Lyons, Iowa.

    In 1861 she married Henry Clay Scott.

   Clara H. (Fiske) Scott


Sermon: "Seeing the 'Wow' "

                The closing hymn is “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound,” hymn no. 280.


     John Newton, British sailor and,

       later, an Anglican Minister

                The first four verses of “Amazing Grace” were authored by John Newton (1725-1807, England).  The fifth verse is often attributed to John Rees (1828-1900, USA), but that attribution is incorrect.

                [The hymn first appeared in 1779 (Olney Hymns, vol. 1, hymn no. 41). It had six verses by John Newton.] 

                The Olney Hymns are the combined work of John Newton and the poet William Cowper, a friend of Newton.  “The hymns were written for use in Newton's rural parish, which was made up of relatively poor and uneducated followers.”

                I happened to come across a 1797 edition of the Olney Hymns on the web, so we can see for ourselves the original six verses by John Newton:

The familiar verse that is missing is the one often incorrectly attributed to John P. Rees:

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.

The 1990 blue Presbyterian Hymnal doesn’t attribute that verse to anyone.

                This verse appeared in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Or, Life Among the Lowly (1852).  For reasons unknown, Harriet Beecher Stowe tacked it onto the end of “Amazing Grace” when she has Uncle Tom singing the hymn in her novel.

                We can be sure it wasn’t John P. Rees who wrote it, as I found that verse in Divine Hymns, or Spiritual Songs; for the Use of Religious Assemblies and Private Christians: Being a Collection by Joshua Smith, Samson Occum, and Others, published in Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, in 1802.  I also find an edition published in Portland in 1803, and a “Sixth Edition—Greatly Improved” published in Albany, New York, in 1804.

                John Rees wasn’t born until 1828, so he certainly didn’t write the verse.  It’s verse 10 of a hymn entitled “The Heavenly Jerusalem.”  Here are verses 7 through 10 of this hymn, which begins “Jerusalem, my happy home, O how I long for thee!” from the 1803 hymnal.

                There were more than twenty different tunes used as a setting for “Amazing Grace” before 1835.

                In 1835, William Walker joined the words with a tune called NEW BRITAIN.  NEW BRITAIN was itself a combination of two other tunes GALLAHER and ST. MARY, which were first published in 1829, but have no known authors.

                Newton’s words first appear with the tune NEW BRITAIN in 1847.  They were published together in Walker’s shape-note tunebook Southern Harmony.

                The Southern Harmony version was considered a bit rustic, so Professor Edwin Othello Excell produced a more cultivated arrangement of NEW BRITAIN in 1900 which is the tune that appears in the hymnal.

Prof. E. O. Excell (1851-1921)

                The tune of “Amazing Grace” is one of those mandatory songs that bagpipers have to learn to play, which they do here: “Amazing Grace” performed by the Czestochowa Pipes & Drums (Southern Poland) and the Royal Symphony Orchestra

                I found a video of the massed pipe bands performing “Amazing Grace” at the West Point Military Tattoo, but the audio wasn’t very good.  John and I once played at the West Point Military Tattoo.  (I have the T-shirt to prove it.)  I don’t recall whether we played “Amazing Grace” though.

                Here is a performance with more singing and fewer bagpipers: “Amazing Grace,” performed by Celtic Woman (with bagpipes)

Here’s an instrumental version done by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band: “Amazing Grace,” performed by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band

If you would rather hear Celtic men sing it instead of Celtic Woman, here is Celtic Thunder: “Amazing Grace,” performed by Celtic Thunder

                I was going to put in a link to a version by one of the steel drum bands on YouTube, but I didn’t find any that were especially appealing.

Instrumental Music

                The prelude is “Offertory in E Flat” by Ludwig Van Beethoven (arr. Franklin Ritter, 1987)

                I couldn’t find this piece, but I did find this short piece, “Toccata Festiva” by Franklin Ritter, which is entertaining, and you can watch his feet:

       “Toccata Festiva,” played by Marko Hakanpää at the Grönlund organ of St. Michael's Church in Turku, Finland.

                Other than his being a 20th century American, for a long while I couldn’t find any biographical information on Franklin Ritter either.  I discovered many of his compositions were published by Lorenz.  One source said he was born in 1934. I began to suspect that “Franklin Ritter” was a pseudonym, and it was.

                Franklin Ritter is really Lani Smith, one of Lorenz Publishing Company’s most prolific composers/arrangers.  He used at least six pen names:

                “Because of his large body of work, Smith published compositions under numerous pen names, including Edward Broughton, David Paxton, Franklin Ritter, Tom Birchwood, Gerald Peterson, and Christopher Gale.”

Lani Smith (alias Franklin Ritter)

                Lani Smith died on 24 Jun 2015 in Tucson, Arizona, where he lived with his wife of thirty-five years.  Even in semi-retirement, he wrote several arrangements for organ every week.  He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 09 Jun 1934.


From :

                Lani Smith earned Bachelor and Master degrees in composition from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. From 1967 to 1982 Mr. Smith was a member of the editorial staff of the Lorenz Publishing Company, serving as editor of several choral and organ magazines. Throughout his career, Mr. Smith also served churches in Ohio, Michigan, and California as an organist and choir director.

                Mr. Smith composed and arranged thousands of organ, choral, and piano pieces, as well as over 30 cantatas, special worship services, and youth cantatas. While known primarily for his sacred music, he was equally at home in any musical genre, including rock, pop, jazz, and classical contemporary. He made many musical contributions in the secular field, including works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo voice, ballet, and musical theater.

                Commissions from various musical organizations, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, were received by Lani and many awards came his way, including an annual ASCAP award in recognition of his compositions efforts and the Bearns Prize in Composition awarded through Columbia University. He was also the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation grant.

                The music for the offertory is “Andante” by Édouard Batiste.  I believe this may be the “Andante in G” for organ—the “Pilgrim’s Song of Hope.”

                Here is a piano transcription (recorded at a low volume, so remember to turn your volume back down after listening to it):

                       “Andante in G” (transcribed for piano) by Édouard Batiste

                Here it is played on the NBC organ (an electronic organ—I didn’t even know NBC had an organ):

                       “The Pilgrims Song of Hope, Andante in G” by Édouard Batiste, played by Paul Carson, heavy on the tremolo

                Édouard Batiste was born on 28 Mar 1820 in Paris.  He was a composer and organist.  In 1840, he won the Prix de Rome.  He was the organist at Saint-Nicolas-des-Champs in Paris from 1842 to 1854, then he was organist at Saint-Eustache Church.  When Hector Belioz premiered his Te Deum, April 1855, Édouard Batiste was the organist.  Batiste died in Paris at age 56 on 09 Nov 1876.

                The postlude is "March Pontificale" by William Stickles.

                William Charles Stickles was born in Cohoes, New York, (north of Troy) on 07 Mar 1882.  He was a composer, arranger, teacher, and editor.

                He attended the Utica Conservatory and Syracuse University, then studied abroad.  For five years, he assisted Isadore Braggiotti, a voice teacher, in Florence, Italy.  Then he spent two years as a vocal coach for soloists with Felix Motti at the Hof Theater in Munich.  After that, he taught in Boston and New York. 

                In April 1912, he was the accompanist for Anna Chase of the Metropolitan Opera in her appearance at the White House for President and Mrs. Taft.

                On 01 Dec 1919, he married Clara Hazard of Los Angeles in Trinity Chapel, New York City.  She was a soprano and soloist at St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church in Los Angeles.  He had been touring with her and Theodore Karie (tenor) as their accompanist.

                He produced many arrangements of standard works for chorus, organ, and piano, and also composed original pieces.  He did arrangements of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (music: Jerome Kerns, words: Otto Harbach), “Bali Ha’i” (music: Richard Rogers, words: Oscar Hammerstein II), “Summertime” (SATB) (George Gershwin and Du Bose Heyward), “easy-to-play piano arrangements” of the songs of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” and also a collection of arrangements of “cowboy duets,” along with arrangements of the songs of many other popular musicals (“Oklahoma,” “West Side Story,” etc.). 

                His Book of Preludes, Offertories, Postludes for all Organs was published in 1957.  It was enlarged and published as The Deluxe Book of Preludes, Offertories, Postludes for all Organs ten years later with Chester Nordman as co-editor and composer.

                He died in Queens, New York, in October 1971.

                I couldn’t find “March Pointificale” but here is William Stickles’ arrangement of another march, the “Triumphal March.” “Triumphal March” by William Stickles

                Perhaps it is an arrangement of the national anthem of Vatican City, “Inno e Marcia Pontificale”:

        “Inno e Marcia Pontificale (Pontifical Anthem and March),” also known as the “Papal Anthem,” the national anthem of Vatican City

       “Inno e Marcia Pontificale,” instrumental version


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