• Hymns

    “I will fear no evil, for thou art with me”

    This week, we’ll sing together — weather permitting — a hymn first published in 1863. The caption that appeared above the hymn is the title I’ve used for this post. The hymn — “In heav’nly love abiding” — is one of many hymns inspired by Psalm 23, a text with great reassuring power especially treasured in times of uncertainty. The text is by Anna Laetitia Waring (1823-1910), a Welsh poet who was raised in the Society of Friends but converted to the Church of England because of her eagerness to participate in the sacramental life of the Church. She is also known to have learned to read Hebrew so she…

  • Hymns

    A hopeful hymn for anxious times

    This week, our parish welcomes a new hymn to our repertoire. “If thou but suffer God to guide thee” is not in our Hymnal, though it is familiar to many of us who have worshiped in churches that rely on other hymnals. The hymn has inspired many composers to incorporate it in their own work. Bach, Mendelssohn, and Schumann used the tune very straightforwardly, and Brahms may have allusions to it in his Requiem. The hymn also made an appearance in the 1987 film Babette’s Feast. Near the end of the movie, one of the two pious sisters at the center of the narrative sits at the piano and sings…

  • Hymns

    Hymn for Trinity VIII

    We continue our outdoor singing after the services this week with a hymn that stresses God’s power and might: “Give praise and glory unto God” (#287). Throughout the hymn, divine power is portrayed as merciful and protective: God’s might is not a display of sheer unlimited will, but the agency of righteousness and justice. The hymn’s Lutheran author, Johann Jacob Schütz (1640-1690), practiced law in Frankfurt and is noted for his friendship with Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705), a central figure in the Pietist movement which transformed Lutheranism and later influenced John Wesley. The tune ELBING is named for the birthplace of its composer Peter Sohren (d. c. 1693), a Lutheran…

  • Hymns

    Hymn for Trinity III

    Next Saturday and Sunday, our after-service hymn-sing will feature a favorite hymn in our parish, “The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” By letting everyone know in advance what hymn we‘ll be singing together, families who wish to do so may teach the hymn to their children. If you don’t have a hymnal at home, you may download a page with the music here. I’ve also prepared some audio files that will help those of you interested in learning to sing the harmonies to this hymn, instead of just the melody. Here is the entire hymn as recorded by our choir several weeks ago, as part of our Choir-in-Quarantine project.…

  • Hymns,  Service music

    Sunday after Ascension (May 24, 2020)

    If we were together this morning, our processional hymn would probably be Charles Wesley’s triumphant “Hail the day that sees him rise.” Since we’re not together, as part of our continuing Choir-in-Quarantine series, we’ve recorded this hymn from our individual spaces (you can sing along at #104, second tune). Wesley’s original poem (first published in 1739) contained ten stanzas (our Hymnal includes four of these, with some alterations). The hymn affirms Christ’s kingly rule (he is seated at the right hand of the Father to rule, not to relax), his continued full humanity (his human hands still bear the scars of his crucifixion), and our destiny to behold him face…

  • Hymns,  Poetry

    Christopher Wordsworth, “See the Conqueror mounts in triumph”

    One of the most compelling hymns about the Ascension, “See the Conqu’ror mounts in triumph” was written by Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885), Bishop of Lincoln (1869-1885) and nephew of the poet William Wordsworth. Between 1830 and 1836 he was a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. The most celebrated Greek scholar of his day, from 1836 until 1844 Wordsworth was headmaster at Harrow. As Sheila Doyle explains, this hymn was “First published in The Holy Year (1862), where it was a long hymn of 10 stanzas in the author’s favoured 15.15.15.15 metre. It was originally intended for both Ascension Day and Pentecost, and was subsequently divided to give two separate hymns, five…

  • Hymns,  Service music

    Rogation Sunday music

    Our singing hymns together has been suspended for some time. I hope that there is music in your homes. The choir recorded a hymn for Rogation Sunday (and the next three Rogation days), which you can listen to here. It is hymn #101, if you care to sing along. With Wallace’s help, we’ve also recorded one of the parish’s favorite Communion hymns: “Deck thyself my soul with gladness.” You listen to our quarantine-style recording right here. You may be interested in reading more about this hymn here, and reading the text to the 6 stanzas in the original that are missing from our Hymnal. Since we’ve been unable to take…

  • Hymns,  Service music

    More music from quarantine

    During Lent, our Eucharistic service does not include the singing of the Gloria. This means that it has been a long time (February 23rd) since we have been able to sing one of the most ancient and joyous portions of our liturgy. So our choir has made a recording (each recording in our discrete spaces) of the Scottish Chant setting of the Gloria (p. 739 in the Hymnal) to aid in your singing together at home. We have also made a new recording of one of the favorite hymns in our parish, “The King of Love my Shepherd is.” The sixth stanza features a stirring descant that our sopranos can’t…

  • Service music

    The Introit, two hymns, and three cantatas for Jubilate Sunday

    The Introit for the third Sunday after Easter is from Psalm 66, which begins “O be joyful in God, all ye lands.” The first words of this Introit in Latin are Jubilate Deo, so this Sunday has traditionally been known as Jubilate Sunday. This Sunday is known as “Jubilate Sunday,” because the first word in the Introit (when sung in Latin) is Jubilate, “Be joyful.” (By the way, if you’re explaining this to your kids, remember that the initial “J” in the word is silent.) The persistent presence of alleluias reminds us that we are still in Eastertide. One Introit O be joyful in God, all ye lands, alleluia: sing…

  • Psalms,  Service music

    Psalm 23 chanted, for Good Shepherd Sunday

    One of the most frequently chanted settings of Psalm 23 is by Charles Hylton Stewart (1884-1932). The son of an Anglican organist who was also a priest, Stewart served as an organist in Rochester Cathedral and St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Stewart’s setting of Psalm 23 does not conform to the strict structure of Anglican chant, but is one of our choir’s favorite Psalm settings. It is sung here by the choir of St John’s Anglican Church in Elora, Ontario, directed by Noel Edison.