• 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 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…

  • Hymns

    A hymn for Good Shepherd Sunday

    The gospel reading for the second Sunday after Easter is from St. John 10:11-16, in which Jesus proclaims himself the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. This text invites us to reflect on Psalm 23, in which the attributes and gifts of a divine Shepherd are also expressed. In past years, we have often on this day sung “The King of love my shepherd is,” the text of which contains one of the many English-language paraphrases of Psalm 23. Here is an enthusiastic rendition of this hymn by the Cardiff Festival Choir, conducted by Owain Arwel Hughes.

  • Hymns,  Service music

    A canticle for a quarantined people

    We haven’t sung the Te Deum laudamus together since before Ash Wednesday. So to provide some encouragement for the parish to sing this canticle at home, the choir (with Wallace’s help) has made a recording of it. Be assured that social distancing was observed; the average distance between singers was probably about 60 miles, with James in Northern Virginia, Braxton in Fluvanna, and myself sequestered in the County of Greene. This permanent page also includes our humble recording, and will soon include information about many other ways this text has been and is still being sung throughout the Church’s history.

  • Hymns,  Service music

    Te Deum laudamus, “We praise thee, O God”

    If one excludes hymns with texts taken from the Bible, the Te Deum laudamus is the best known hymn in the history of the Western Church. It was long claimed to have been spontaneously improvised by St. Augustine and St. Ambrose, but other venerable saints have also been named as its author. In his book Te Deum: The Church and Music, music historian Paul Westermeyer summarizes the theology in this venerable text: Long associated with morning prayer, it is cast in three parts. First, praise to God everlasting includes a ‘Holy, holy, holy’ Sanctus-like section in which apostles, prophets, martyrs, and the whole church praise the Father, Son, and Holy…

  • Hymns

    Hymns for Easter

    Enjoy singing along with these hymns at home this Easter. If you don’t have one of our Hymnals at home, here is a pdf of the hymns included on this page. (The words sung on these recordings may differ slight from what is in our Hymnal, and all of the stanzas may not be sung.) Jesus Christ is ris’n today (#85) This week, each member of the All Saints choir recorded themselves in their own homes, singing the hymn with which we usually open our Easter service. The recordings were then mixed together, along with an organ track recorded by Wallace Hornady (safely in Alabama). Here is the result, in…

  • Hymns

    Music for Passiontide, X — “Ah, holy Jesus”

    One of the hymns that we often sing at Good Friday services is “Ah, holy Jesus.” The hymn powerfully combines an expression of grief at the horrible suffering of the innocent Jesus with the sorrowful recognition of the guilt of each individual believer, whose sin was the occasion for Christ’s death. Our hymn is an English translation of a German hymn inspired by a passage of devotional prose written in Latin by an an Italian-Norman Benedictine monk. Leaving most of the genealogical details aside for now, the German hymn — known as Herzliebster Jesu — was written in 1630 by Johann Heermann (1585-1647), a Lutheran pastor and poet. Our Hymnal’s…

  • Hymns

    Music for Passiontide VIII — “Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle”

    Every year on Good Friday, we sing this ancient hymn to a traditional plainchant tune (you can read more about the hymn here). Father Glenn often quotes this hymn in his Good Friday sermons, citing what is in our Hymnal the 4th stanza, which begins: “Faithful cross! above all other, one and only noble tree.” Since we’re not together to sing it this year, I thought it would be edifying to find a recording of a choir and/or congregation singing it to encourage our homebound worship. The recording below includes some of the stanzas from the original hymn that our Hymnal doesn’t have (and omits one of them). But the…