Our opening hymn, “The Church’s one Foundation,” was written to reaffirm and expand on the teaching about the Church in the Apostles’ Creed (for more details, including the text of several stanzas missing from our Hymnal, see this page). The tune was by Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876), the grandson of Charles Wesley, who wrote the text for our closing hymn, “Praise the Lord who reigns above.” We’ve been practicing this hymn on Wednesday nights and to refresh your familiarity of it, it is sung below by the Choral Arts Society of Washington Chamber Singers.
The hymns in between our Wesleyan moments include Isaac Watts’s “Come Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove.” Watts and the Wesleys comprise the two great streams of English-language hymnody. Hymnologist Erik Routley (in Hymns and Human Life) calls Watts the father of the liturgical hymn, and Wesley as the father of the devotional or “enthusiastic” hymn in the English language. “Come Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove” was originally published in 1707, with the caption “Breathing after the Holy Spirit: or, fervency of Devotion Desired,” which sounds more Wesleyan than Wattsy.
The Offertory anthem — Remember not, O Lord God — is one of Thomas Tallis’s early efforts to satisfy the demands of Protestant church leaders to simplify liturgical music by assigning a single note to each syllable (with a few exceptions). Tallis’s pre-Reformation compositions were much more elegant and intricate, but he retained his capacity to write compelling music.
During Communion, the choir sings a setting of Ave verum corpus by the Spanish Renaissance composer Francisco Peñalosa (1470–1528). Though he was one of the most famous Spanish composers of the generation, much of his music was not widely distributed, as there was not a strong printing industry in Spain during his lifetime. His Ave verum corpus