• Repertoire

    Tribus miraculis

    During the season of Epiphany, we reflect on the significance of the revelation of God in Christ that commenced with the birth of Messiah. One of the traditional antiphons sung on the Feast of Epiphany is the Latin text, Tribus miraculis: Tribus miraculis ornatum, diem sanctum colimus: Distinguished by three miracles, this holy day is celebrated: Hodie stella Magos duxit ad praesepium: Today the star led the Magi to the manger; Hodie vinum ex aqua factum est ad nuptias: Today wine was made from water at the wedding; Hodie in Jordane a Joanne Christus baptizari voluit, Today in the Jordan by John, Christ chose to be baptized ut salvaret nos,…

  • Service music

    First Sunday after Epiphany (January 13, 2019)

    On the Sunday after Epiphany, our congregation will sing as its processional hymn “All people that on earth do dwell” (#278). The text for this familiar hymn is a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 100, which — along with Psalm 93 and Psalms 95-99 — celebrate God’s rule over all of Creation. The Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 40 declared that the glory of the Lord would be revealed, “and all flesh shall see it together.” Likewise, the angels told the shepherds that the joy introduced by Christ’s birth “shall be to all people.” As we sang last week on Epiphany, the coming of the wise men from the east signaled the…

  • Hymns

    The Music of Epiphany: Saw you never, in the twilight

    Other than “We three kings,” there aren’t many hymns or carols that are commonly associated with Epiphany. One hymn that we sing on average every other year (but we should probably sing it every year) is “Saw you never, in the twilight” (The Hymnal, #50). This hymn (originally entitled “The Adoration of the Wise Men”) was one of almost 400 hymns and poems written by the wife of an Irish bishop, Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895). Among her better known hymns are “All things bright and beautiful,” “Once in Royal David’s city,” “There is a green hill far away,” and “He is risen, He is risen!” Mrs. Alexander was especially concerned to write…

  • Repertoire

    Howells, Here is the little door

    Between 1918 and 1920, Herbert Howells wrote three Carol-Anthems, of which “Here is the little door” was the first. It is based on a poem by Frances Chesterton (1869–1938), the wife of the great apologist and journalist G. K. Chesterton. In one of his own poem’s — “The Ballad of the White Horse” — Chesterton credited her with playing a crucial role in his own faith: Therefore I bring these rhymes to you Who brought the cross to me. Unable to have any children, Frances Chesterton was deeply moved by the image of the Nativity and regularly wrote poems depicting the Infant Jesus for inclusion in Christmas cards. The best known…

  • Service music

    Epiphany (January 6, 2019)

    The star of Christmas becomes the star of Epiphany as the Magi arrive in Bethlehem. The Greek word behind our English “epiphany” means literally a “showing forth.” What is shown to these Oriental travelers is not simply the presence of God in human form, but — what they were seeking — the “King of the Jews.” And their coming to honor him is a sign that the King of the Jews is in truth the King of all kings. During Advent, we sang “Savor of the nations, come,” Epiphany is the season in which the universality of Christ’s rule is celebrated. It seems that this aspect of Christ’s birth is…