This page lists upcoming and past service music for Sunday mornings.

Details of Sunday afternoon and any weekday special services with music may be found here (for past events) and here (for future events).

Unless a choral setting is indicated, the Mass Setting (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnus Dei) is Healey Willan’s Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena, sung heartily by choir and congregation. In Advent, the Kyrie is replaced by a Trisagion, and Schubert’s Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Deutsche Messe (adapted to traditional language) are sung instead; in Lent, the plainsong Missa de Angelis is used (Kyrie, Sanctus and Benedictus, Agnus Dei, Dismissal).

Sunday 28 May 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Seventh Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Prayer of Christ ascending toward his Father    Olivier Messiaen

Processional Hymn   Hail the day that sees him rise       Hymnal 1940 # 104, Second Tune

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged by John Scott

Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35      Plainsong, Tone VIII

Gospel Hymn     The head that once was crowned with thorns    Hymnal 1940 #106

Offertory Anthem   The Lord ascendeth up on high    Michael Praetorius

Communion Anthem   Be known to us, Lord Jesus    Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn   See the Conqueror mounts in triumph      Hymnal 1940 # 103, First Tune

Final Hymn   Crown him with many crowns   Hymnal 1940 # 352

Voluntary     Alla breve, BVW 589    Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. The early suite The Ascension (1932) concludes with a serene, solemn prayer, rising slowly from the middle of the keyboard to the top: “And now, O Father, I have manifested thy name unto men…and now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee.” (John 17:6,11) These words are taken from Christ’s words at the Last Supper. Messiaen says: “They were said again at the moment of the Ascension and summarize all the solemnity of this departure from the earth for an elevation which infinitely exceeds the celestial orders.” The communion anthem was written in 1997 for a conference of church musicians in Denver, Colorado. The closing voluntary builds a majestic tapestry out of only four voices, based on an ascending theme, with ingeniously overlapping entries.

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PAST SERVICES

Sunday 21 May 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Sixth Sunday of Easter

sung by Ensemble Companio

Voluntaries:

O God, thou faithful God, Op. 122 No. 7

My faithful heart rejoices, Op. 122 No. 4   Johannes Brahms 

Processional Hymn     God himself is with us      Hymnal 1940 # 477

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, arranged by John Scott

Psalm 66:7-18        Anglican Chant by William Crotch

Gospel Hymn     Come down, O Love divine    Hymnal 1940 # 376

Offertory Anthem   Make me a clean heart, O God (Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz), Op. 29 No. 2 (1860)     Johannes Brahms

Communion Anthem   Rejoice, virgin mother of God (Bogoróditse Dyévo),

Op. 37 No. 6 (1915)    Sergei Rachmaninoff

Communion Hymn   Father, we thank thee who hast planted         Hymnal 1940 # 195

Final Hymn      Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us                Hymnal 1940 #567

Voluntary       If thou but suffer God to guide thee, BVW 642         Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The offertory anthem is full of contrapuntal ingenuity throughout its three sections, not to discount Brahms’s characteristic lyricism and emotional intensity. The outer sections contain complex well-hidden canons while the center has a richly chromatic fugue underscoring the pleading nature of the text, presaging the genius of A German Requiem, Op. 45. The luminous Ave Maria is from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil, praised as “the greatest musical achievement of the Russian Orthodox Church.”

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Sunday 14 May 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fifth Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Choral from Symphonie Romane      Charles-Marie Widor 

Processional Hymn   Thou art the Way   Hymnal 1940 # 361

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, arranged by Peter S. Berton

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16        Anglican Chant by James Turle

Gospel Hymn     My God, I love thee     Hymnal 1940 # 456

Offertory Anthem   Greater love     John Ireland

Communion Anthem   The Call   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Hymn     There’s a wideness in God’s mercy         Hymnal 1982 # 469

Final Hymn      Love divine, all loves excelling                Hymnal 1940 #479, First Tune

Voluntary        Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness    Johannes Brahms

Music Note: The second movement of Widor’s tenth organ symphony is a calm, pastoral piece based on the Gregorian chant for Easter Day “Haec dies” (This is the day the Lord has made). A passage in the middle of the piece, for flutes played high on the keyboard, is possibly a description of the singing of Easter birds. John Ireland excelled particularly at writing music for the piano and the solo voice; his few pieces of church music date mostly from the turn of the last century, when both he and Ralph Vaughan Williams were students at London’s Royal Academy of Music. “Greater love” resourcefully draws on several texts to illuminate our inheritance as the Redeemed of God, set to music of a fitting variety of characters.

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Sunday 7 May 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday of Easter

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass setting is Messe Basse (1906) by Gabriel Fauré, with Gloria from Fauré’s Messe des pêcheurs de Villerville (1881)

Voluntaries

Sheep may safely graze, from Cantata 208         Johann Sebastian Bach

Surrounding the Cross, from Hereford Variations   Peter Stoltzfus Berton 

Processional Hymn    Praise, my soul, the King of heaven     Hymnal 1940 # 282

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Psalm 23        Anglican Chant by C. Hylton Stewart

Gospel Hymn     Lamb of God, I look to thee   Hymnal 1940 #251

Offertory Anthem     The Lord is my shepherd     John Rutter

Communion Anthem   The Lord is my shepherd    Howard Goodall

Communion Hymn     Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless       Hymnal 1940 # 213

Final Hymn   The King of Love my shepherd is    Hymnal 1940 # 345, Second Tune

Voluntary   Hornpipe from Water Music    George Frideric Handel 

Music note: The second of the opening Voluntaries is based in part upon the music of the first, in its setting of the hymn-tune Deo Gracias (another tune for Hymn 344, “O love, how deep, how broad, how high”). Rhythmic figuration from Bach’s famous Cantata movement is incorporated and at one point a ‘Sheep may safely graze’ melodic gesture is directly quoted.

The image of God as a shepherd was immensely appealing to the farming societies of Jesus’s day, as well as long before (through the Psalter) and continuing to the present age.  So many versions of Psalm 23 exist partly through this timeline of over three thousand years, and additionally because of the practice of ‘metrical psalmody’ beginning with the Reformation in the 1500s, leading to several of the paraphrases sung in today’s service as hymns. The communion anthem is the theme music of the popular humorous British television show, The Vicar of Dibley.

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Sunday 30 April 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness    Johann Sebastian Bach

Processional Hymn   At the Lamb’s high feast we sing    Hymnal 1940 # 89

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, arranged by Peter S. Berton

Psalm 116:1-3, 10-16        Anglican Chant by Ivor Atkins

Gospel Hymn     Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest   Hymnal 1940 # 207, Second Tune

Offertory Anthem   Up, up, my heart, with gladness     J. S. Bach

Communion Anthem   Be known to us, Lord Jesus    Peter S. Berton

Communion Hymn     Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face          Hymnal 1940 # 208, First Tune

Final Hymn                       Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness                 Hymnal 1940 #210

Voluntary                     Awake, thou wintry earth (from Cantata 129)                      J. S. Bach

Music Note: One of the enrichments of the hymnody of the Episcopal Church came in the Hymnal 1940 with the addition of a number of German Church songs such as the classic Lutheran Eucharistic hymn “Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness.” Interestingly this is one of the few such hymns in the Hymnal 1940 to retain its original German tune name, many others having been suppressed by new English alternatives for wartime reasons. The text, from 1646, is warm, devotional poetry that expresses an intimate relationship between the individual believer and the object of his or her faith, Jesus the Savior. This internalized “Jesus piety” is characteristic of the poetry written during and after the devastation of the Thirty Years War (1616-1648). (From a note by Robin A. Leaver.) The communion anthem was written in 1997 for a conference of church musicians in Denver, Colorado. Its antiphon is intended for congregational singing and may one day be introduced as a fraction anthem at St. John’s; for a few weeks this Eastertide we will introduce it more as a Taizé style anthem, where its simple antiphon can be recalled and sung without music while people are standing and waiting to receive communion.

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Sunday 23 April 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Death and Resurrection           Jean Langlais 

Processional Hymn   He is risen, he is risen!     Hymnal 1940 # 90

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, arranged by Peter S. Berton

Psalm 16        Anglican Chant by James Turle

Gospel Hymn     O sons and daughters, let us sing!     Hymnal 1940 # 99

Offertory Anthem   Blessed be the God and Father     Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Communion Anthem   Rise up my love    Healey Willan

Communion Hymn     Jesus lives! Thy terrors now           Hymnal 1940 # 88

Final Hymn    That Easter Day with joy was bright     Hymnal 1940 #98

Voluntary    Toccata on “O sons and daughters let us sing”       Lynnwood Farnam

Music Note: The opening voluntary bears the inscription, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55). One of Langlais’s earliest works, it portrays a vision of the life hereafter. Death is heard in the somber opening melody in the pedals; eternal life is represented by a Gregorian chant, the Gradual from the Requiem Mass, announced by a trumpet. These two ideas are combined, significantly, not so much in a struggle as in a unified crescendo toward the work’s victorious conclusion. The offertory anthem was written by Wesley during his tenure as organist of Hereford Cathedral, for an Easter Sunday service for which only boy sopranos and one bass (the Dean’s butler!) were available. From this inauspicious beginning it is probably his best known anthem and is still in wide use today. Its center section is often excerpted, and the rousing conclusion announced by a loud organ chord gives a wonderful summary of the Eastertide message conveyed earlier by colorfully accompanied recitatives.

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Sunday 16 April 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   Easter Day

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir, with organ and tympani

Voluntary    Final on Haec Dies   (from Symphonie Romane)  Charles-Marie Widor

Processional Hymn   Jesus Christ is risen today     Hymnal 1982 # 207

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24        Anglican Chant by George Thalben-Ball 

Gospel Hymn     The strife is o’er     Hymnal 1982 # 208

Gospel Acclamation      Christus Vincit     Joseph Noyon, arr. Gerre Hancock

Offertory Anthem     Light’s glittering morn    Horatio Parker

Communion Anthem     Now the green blade riseth     Winfred Johnson

Postcommunion Anthem   (sung by Choir and Congregation):

Hallelujah   (from Messiah)   George Frideric Handel

Final Hymn     The day of resurrection      Hymnal 1982 # 210

Voluntary   Toccata   (from Symphonie No. 5)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: The opening voluntary is Widor’s ‘other’ Easter toccata, from his tenth and last organ symphony, based on the day’s traditional plainsong hymn Haec Dies (“This is the Day the Lord has made”). Widor describes this hymn as “a graceful arabesque…as difficult to fasten upon as the song of a bird…The rhythmical freedom of Gregorian chant clashes with out stern metronomic time…The only mode of fixing on the auditor’s ear so undefined a motive is to repeat it constantly.” In the symphony’s triumphant conclusion, the energy of the toccata rises and falls several times before arriving at a crowning Resurrection hymn, which recedes into a rich texture suggesting the ringing of bells.

American composer Horatio Parker was organist of Trinity Church, Boston and professor of music at Yale University. His most enduring church composition is the offertory anthem, which contrasts a vigorous opening with lyrical solo roles, a passage for a quartet (typical of the day) and fine use of the Easter hymn The strife is o’er, initially in the background and later in full splendor at the close. The communion anthem was written for the chapel choir of St. George’s School, Middletown, by local composer Winfred Johnson, who served for many years as organist and choirmaster of Emmanuel Church, Newport. An original and optimistic melody prepares for the cyclical joy of a refrain, recurring in the manner of Easter itself.

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Sunday 9 April 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   Palm Sunday

sung by Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Hymns sung in Procession from Storer Park beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Processional Hymn All glory, laud, and honor     Hymnal 1982 # 154

Introit    Hosanna to the Son of David   Tomás Luis da Victoria

Psalm 31:10-18        Anglican Chant by Charles Harford Lloyd

The Passion Gospel according to St. Matthew (sung)   Plainsong

Offertory Anthem    Jerusalem  (from Gallia)    Charles Gounod

Communion Anthem   Christus factus est      Felice Anerio

Communion Hymn   My song is love unknown            Hymnal 1982 # 458

Music note: French composer Charles Gounod, along with many others, turned to programmatic subjects in musical response to France’s military defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870). Dating from 1871, and written in England, the oratorio Gallia is thought to draw a parallel between the then national situation and that of Jerusalem stunned by the reversal of fate upon its Messiah. The concluding section asks the populace to consider its own affliction and to turn to God for forgiveness, with an almost barbaric opening, a plaintive solo (one of Gounod’s excellent melodies), and a rousing choral expansion of the solo.

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Sunday 2 April 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fifth Sunday in Lent

sung by the men of the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary       Prélude au Kyrie     Jean Langlais

The Great Litany (sung in procession)   Thomas Tallis

Psalm 130    Plainsong, Tone IV

Gospel Hymn      Breathe on me, Breath of God     Hymnal 1940 #375, Second Tune

Offertory Anthem   A Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester     Louis J. White

Communion Anthem    Wilt thou forgive?     D. G. Mason

Communion Hymn      There’s a wideness in God’s mercy    Hymnal 1982 # 469

Final Hymn     Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us    Hymnal 1940 # 567

Voluntary   O God, thou faithful God        Johannes Brahms

Music note: St. Richard of Chichester is supposed to have recited the popular prayer ascribed to him on his deathbed, written down in Latin by his confessor. The first English translation to use the rhyme ‘clearly, dearly, nearly’ is thought to be one from 1913; the first including the phrase ‘day by day’ followed in 1931. The prayer became especially popular in America following its adaptation for the musical Godspell in 1971. The setting by Louis J. White, a music instructor at Malvern College in England, was published in 1947.

The communion anthem was written in 2002 for an Ash Wednesday service sung by the men of the choir at Worcester Cathedral, England. The text was conceived not as a hymn but as a poem, and a great deal of its universal appeal derives from its unabashed particularity. John Donne calls attention to himself not only by punning on his own surname but also by making it the basis of the two rhymes running through all three stanzas. Less obvious, but no less important, is the second rhyme-word that concludes every stanza: more. This is the surname of Donne’s wife, whose maiden name was Ann More, who had died six years before. Perhaps one reason for the enduring immediacy of this poem is that, despite its particular references and its somewhat veiled theological concerns with original and habitual sin, it manages to convey a convincing sense of assurance. (From a note by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Jeffrey Wasson.)

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Sunday 26 March 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday in Lent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary       Communion (from Triptych, Op. 58)    Louis Vierne

Choral Responses to the Decalogue     Pelham Humfrey

Psalm 23    Anglican Chant: Charles Hylton Stewart

Gospel Hymn              Christ is the world’s true light       Hymnal 1940 #258

Offertory Anthem   Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks     Herbert Howells

Communion Anthem    A Litany     William Walton 

Communion Hymn     Sweet sacrament divine        Insert

Final Hymn     Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing    Hymnal 1940 # 489, First Tune

Voluntary   O God, thou faithful God        Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Music note: William Walton’s style was influenced by the works of Stravinsky, Sibelius and jazz, and is characterized by bittersweet harmony, sweeping Romantic melody and brilliant orchestration. His output includes orchestral and choral works, chamber music and ceremonial music, as well as notable film scores. He was knighted in 1951. A Litany is his earliest choral work having been written initially at age 14, later revised at age 28. The music is remarkably fine for the text, paraphrased here by Gareth McCaughan: “My wet eyes, don’t stop begging for Jesus’s mercy, because my sin continually cries for vengeance to be taken on it. My tears of repentance for my sin and gratitude for forgiveness will delight God so much that he overlooks the sin itself.”

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Sunday 19 March 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday in Lent

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and women of the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prélude (from Prélude, Andante et Toccata)    André Fleury

The Great Litany (sung in procession)    Thomas Tallis

Psalm 95     Plainchant, Tone III

Gospel Hymn     Now let us all with one accord    Hymnal 1982 #147

Offertory Anthem     The Pelican    Randall Thompson

Communion Anthem     I heard the voice of Jesus say      Thomas Tallis, arr. Donald Busarow

Communion Hymn     There’s a wideness in God’s mercy    Hymnal 1982 # 469

Final Hymn     Let thy blood in mercy poured    Hymnal 1940 # 190

Voluntary     Prélude from Three Pieces, Op. 29    Gabriel Pierné

Music note: The offertory anthem is from a four-movement cantata, The Place of the Blest, commissioned by Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York in 1968, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of its Choir School. The text of its second movement is quite remarkable. Its author, Phillipe de Thaun, was an Anglo-Norman poet, possibly from Caen in Normandy, who wrote a Bestiary around 1120 which he says he translated into French; evidence shows that he probably used a Latin bestiary possibly at least a hundred years old. In his volume he describes some 41 animals through the lens of Christian attributes. Across the distance of an entire millennium, the original sources of a powerful devotional allegory continue to speak with relevance today, through modern translation and captivating music.

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Sunday 12 March 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday in Lent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary        Fantaisie in C minor, BWV 562           Johann Sebastian Bach

The Great Litany (sung in procession)    Thomas Tallis

Psalm 121    Anglican Chant: Henry Walford Davies

Gospel Hymn    Weary of earth, and laden with my sin    Hymnal 1940 #58

Offertory Anthem   God so loved the world   John Stainer

Communion Anthem    Sicut cervus     Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Communion Hymn     Sweet sacrament divine        Insert

Final Hymn     O for a closer walk with God     Hymnal 1940 # 416, First Tune

Voluntary    I call to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, BWV 643    Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Some scholars have traced the origins of Renaissance polyphony to a kind of musical representation of an ancient philosophy known as the “music of the spheres.” The ancient Greek philosophy of Plato, Pythagoras and many others had been “rediscovered” in the Middle Ages. Among the cosmological theories they advanced was that as the planets swept through the solar system they each made a perfect tone that together created a wonderful and perfect celestial harmony. In the 16th Century Kepler and others reintroduced this ancient cosmology. This may have been one of factors that influenced the sound of Renaissance polyphony which captured the sounds of heaven and brought them to earth for the faithful to contemplate and pray with. Much of it is highly mystical and can assist deep prayer and express great longing for God. One of the great musical masterpieces of the Church, Palestrina’s setting of the beginning of Psalm 42 beautifully depicts a musical “sigh.” As the notes soar the longing builds and you can hear the choir giving an almost perfect expression of the human yearning for God. The music comes to a peaceful end on a note of hope that one day we shall see God. (–Msgr. Charles Pope, Music to Long By: A Brief Meditation on Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus.)

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Sunday 5 March 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The First Sunday in Lent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary    His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me    Marcel Dupré

The Great Litany (sung in procession)    Thomas Tallis

Psalm 32    Plainchant, Tone I

Gospel Hymn   Forty days and forty nights  Hymnal 1940 #55

Offertory Anthem    For he shall give his angels charge over thee   Felix Mendelssohn

Communion Anthem   The secret of Christ   Richard Shephard

Communion Hymn   Bread of the world, in mercy broken     Hymnal 1940 # 196

Final Hymn     The glory of these forty days      Hymnal 1940 # 61

Voluntary     So now as we journey, aid our weak endeavor    Marcel Dupré

Music note: Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Through the communion anthem we are invited to take encouragement for our pilgrimage through Lent. The work was commissioned by the Bishop of Salisbury for a Lent Study program of the same title, used by the Diocese of Salisbury in 1980.

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Sunday 26 February 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntary     Passacaglia, Op. 20 (2011)     Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Opening Hymn     Songs of thankfulness and praise     Hymnal 1940 # 53

Psalm 2       Anglican Chant by John Goss

Gospel Hymn   Alleluia! sing to Jesus!   Hymnal 1940 # 347, Second Tune

Offertory Anthem    Arise, shine, for thy light is come     Huw Williams

Communion Anthem     How beautiful upon the mountains    John Stainer

Communion Hymn     Strengthen for service, Lord      Hymnal 1940 # 201

Final Hymn          O wondrous type! O vision fair            Hymnal 1982 # 137

Voluntary     Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)         Dieterich Buxtehude 

Music Note: The opening voluntary is a set of 20 variations on a fixed bass theme which becomes transfigured from minor to major tonality and combines with a surprise event. The opening hymn summarizes the entire life of Christ with emphasis on the Epiphany season of the revelation of Christ’s divine majesty through miraculous works and events. It was sung on the Feast of the Epiphany and is sung again to ‘bookend’ the season’s conclusion today. As we say goodbye to the word Alleluia until Eastertide, the final voluntary reflects the day’s spirit of joy, by both the nature of the music and the key of C Major. In the Baroque period, keyboard instruments were tuned in such a way that some keys sounded more pure than others. Much music was written in keys with few sharps or flats, to avoid the out of tune ‘wolf’ when playing in keys with many flats or sharps. Even after an ‘equal tempered’ system of tuning made all keys sound more or less in tune, C Major continued to be particularly associated with festivity and grandeur, and has always been a triumphant key in organ music owing to C being the lowest note on the keyboard and pedalboard, thus playing the largest, lowest available pipes.

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Sunday 19 February 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntary     Praeludium in G minor   Dieterich Buxtehude

Opening Hymn     The Church’s one foundation     Hymnal 1940 # 396

Psalm 119:33-40       Plainsong, Tone I

Gospel Hymn   How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds     Hymnal 1940 # 455

Offertory Anthem   Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God     T. Tertius Noble

Communion Anthem     O taste and see    Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Hymn     Father, we thank thee who hast planted       Hymnal 1940 # 195

Final Hymn          How firm a foundation              Hymnal 1940 # 564

Voluntary     Toccata in F Major      Dieterich Buxtehude 

Music Note: Dietrich Buxtehude was the outstanding composer of organ music in North Germany in the generation before J. S. Bach; at the age of twenty, Bach famously walked some 250 miles each way from Arnstadt to Lubeck to hear Buxtehude play, outstaying his authorized absence from his church post by several months. T. Tertius Noble founded the Choir School of Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue in 1919, having previously served as organist of York Minster in his native England. During his thirty years at St. Thomas (1913-1943) he wrote many anthems still in use today, and volumes of alternate hymn hamonizations. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God was published in 1915 and beautifully extols the virtue of ‘turning the other cheek.’

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Sunday 12 February 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntaries     Prelude in b minor, BWV 544    Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn    The people who in darkness walked     Hymnal 1982 # 126

Psalm 119:1-8      Anglican Chant by Edward John Hopkins

Gospel Hymn   Before thy throne, O God, we kneel   Hymnal 1940 # 499

Offertory Anthem   Jesu, joy of man’s desiring     Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Anthem   If ye love me    Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn   Draw nigh and take the body of the Lord     Hymnal 1940 # 202, First Tune

Final Hymn     The Lord is come!    Hymnal 1940 # 327

Voluntary     These are the holy ten commandments, BWV 635      Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Cantata No. 147, with its perenially-excerpted chorale, originally was written in Weimar in 1716 for the fourth Sunday of Advent. Later in his career, Bach found it impossible to perform in Leipzig, because that city observed “tempus clausum”…literally “closed time,” a time of silence, for the last three Sundays of Advent. Thus he expanded and revised it for the feast of the Visitation, where it was first performed in Leipzig in July, 1723. On many occasions Bach recycled and revised his own music, sometimes as a result of genuine inspiration, sometimes to create meaningful connections between pieces, and sometimes simply to find a practical solution to avoid inutility of a movement as beautiful as ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.’ The final hymn has been sung the past two weeks, as we add this to our collective repertoire.

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Sunday 5 February 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntary     Lord God, now open wide thy heaven, BVW 617    Johann Sebastian Bach

Opening Hymn    Hail to the Lord who comes     Hymnal 1940 # 115

Nunc dimmittis     Sarah MacDonald in A-flat

Psalm 112:1-9      Anglican Chant by Ivor Atkins

Gospel Hymn   Christ is the world’s true light      Hymnal 1940 # 258

Offertory Anthem   Maria das Jungfräulein    Johannes Eccard

Communion Anthem     O nata lux    Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn     The Lord is come! On Syrian soil       Hymnal 1940 # 327

Final Hymn          Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing              Hymnal 1940 # 489, First Tune

Voluntary      In peace and joy I now depart, BVW 616       Johann Sebastian Bach 

Music Note: The opening voluntary is a depiction in music of the aged Simeon visiting the Temple in Jerusalem, heard in the rhythm of the pedal part which suggested to Albert Schweitzer the “uncertain steps of a pilgrim who has finished his course and now goes with weary steps to the gate of eternity.” Simeon then sang the Nunc Dimittis, having seen the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. In the companion closing voluntary, the pedal part is vigorous and joyous, as if Simeon had already experienced an anticipatory restored gait in heaven. The offertory anthem sets a five-stanza hymn in German, of which the outer two are sung; the English translation compacts the story from Luke into two stanzas. The communion hymn is a repeat of the new hymn sung last Sunday; it will also be sung next week as we add this to our collective repertoire.

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Sunday 29 January 2017 at 9:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntaries    Duo; Basse de trompette; Récit de nazard    Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Opening Hymn    Earth has many a noble city     Hymnal 1940 # 48

Psalm 15      Anglican Chant by Benjamin Lamb

Gospel Hymn   With thankful hearts thy glory  (Celebrating King Charles, Martyr)   Insert

Offertory Anthem    Jubilate Deo     William Walton

Presentation Hymn    Christ, whose glory fills the skies   Hymnal 1940 # 153

Communion Anthem   The Beatitudes     Russian Orthodox, arr. Richard Proulx

Final Hymn     The Lord is come!    Hymnal 1940 # 327

Voluntary      Caprice sur les grands jeux       Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Music Note: William Walton’s modern British style was influenced by the works of Stravinsky, Sibelius and jazz, and is characterized by rhythmic vitality, bittersweet harmony, sweeping Romantic melody and brilliant orchestration. His output includes orchestral and choral works, chamber music and ceremonial music, as well as notable film scores. He was knighted in 1951. Jubilate Deo (1972), for double chorus, alternates two small groups of voices with the full texture in a celebratory mood. When we have sung this work here in the past, we have sung only one of the chorus parts. Finally we have enough experienced choristers to sing the opening double chorus as written.

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PAST SERVICES

Sunday 22 January 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntary     How bright appears the Morning Star    Dieterich Buxtehude

Opening Hymn    Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old     Hymnal 1940 # 517

Psalm 27:1,4-12      Anglican Chant by Kellow John Pye

Gospel Hymn   They cast their nets in Galilee  Hymnal 1940 # 437

Offertory Anthem   There shall a star from Jacob come forth    Felix Mendelssohn

Communion Anthem     They cast their nets in Galilee   Michael McCabe

Communion Hymn     My God, thy table now is spread    Hymnal 1940 # 203

Final Hymn             How bright appears the Morning Star           Hymnal 1940 # 329

Voluntary     Fugue on ‘How bright appears the Morning Star’         Max Reger

Music Note: The opening voluntary is a treatment of two stanzas of the closing hymn ‘How bright appears the Morning Star,’ although owing to the repeated phrases in the melody and its overall length, the composition unfolds rather like a set of variations, with color and texture matching the mood of the stanzas.  (Dietrich Buxtehude was the outstanding composer of organ music in North Germany in the generation before J. S. Bach; at the age of twenty, Bach famously walked some 250 miles each way from Arnstadt to Lubeck to hear Buxtehude play, outstaying his authorized absence from his church post by several months.)

This Epiphany hymn (abridged musically) is also used by Mendelssohn in the opening chorus of his unfinished Oratorio Christus. If it has been said of Mozart’s music that there are ‘too many notes,’ it is justly said of Max Reger’s music that there are so many notes, it would be most economical to print merely the spaces between them, using white ink on black paper! In the closing voluntary, the text being set by the composer is “Sing! Leap! Be jubilant, Rejoice! Thank the Lord; Great is the King of Glory.”

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Sunday 15 January 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the women of the St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting (Sanctus, Benedictus, Agnus Dei) is Gabriel Fauré, Messe Basse

Voluntary     The wise men       Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn     What star is this, with beams so bright     Hymnal 1940 # 47

Psalm 40:1-14      Anglican Chant by John Leman Rogers 

Gospel Hymn   Brightest and best of the stars of the morning   Hymnal 1940 # 46, First tune

Offertory Anthem    Mater ora filium     Charles Wood, arr. Harrison Oxley

Communion Anthem   Epiphany   Skinner Chávez-Melo

Final Hymn     As with gladness men of old     Hymnal 1940 # 52

Voluntary      In thee is gladness, BWV 615       Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. Continuing New Year’s Day’s excerpt from a set of nine meditations on the birth of Christ (1935), today’s prelude depicts the procession of the magi beneath the guiding star; the stars are heard as brief points of light against soft shimmering chords in the background, while the journey of the kings on camels over uneven terrain is suggested by the unusual undulating rhythm of the melody. The effect of this music certainly can be considered more atmospheric than melodic, more theological-mathematical than ‘beautiful’ in ordinary terms, but as with an Impressionist painting, the effect of the whole can be miraculous. From notes by Messiaen’s student Jon Gillock: “The men are tired, they are half-asleep on their camels, maybe even asleep some of the time – traveling at night so they can see the star. The motion of being on the camel is a mesmerizing movement, one that could put you to sleep, one that could make you feel as if you were in a dream, going on for days – a state of timelessness. It is the energy from the light of the star that seems to draw the caravan forward throughout the piece. Two times the music slows – the first time, perhaps, it is because the wise men have gone to sleep, and the camels (not being urged onward) have decided to take a rest, which in turn wakes the wise men and off they go again. After the second time, however, there is a change of tempo and registration: the wise men have now reached their destination; they are kneeling at the manger, and the music communicates the awe and reverence of being in the presence of God.”

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Sunday 8 January 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

The Mass Setting is Herbert Sumsion in F Major

Voluntary     Our Lord Christ to Jordan came, BWV 684       Johann Sebastian Bach 

Opening Hymn      Songs of thankfulness and praise     Hymnal 1940 # 53

Psalm 29      Anglican Chant by James Turle

Gospel Hymn   Hail to the Lord’s Anointed     Hymnal 1940 # 545, First tune

Offertory Anthem    Brightest and best of the stars of the morning   Malcolm Archer

Communion Anthem   A Welcome World   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn     O God, unseen yet ever near             Hymnal 1940 # 198, First Tune

Final Hymn     Christ is the world’s true light      Hymnal 1940 # 258

Voluntary     Our Lord Christ to Jordan came, BWV 685       Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The voluntaries are settings of a hymn specific to Christ’s baptism in the Jordan river. According to Albert Schweitzer, “the pictorial representation of the play of the waves that is evident in the sixteenth-note runs and the eighth-note figurations of Bach’s music has never been questioned.” In the case of the closing voluntary, “it seems as if Bach wishes to present a pictorial description of great and small waves, their rise and fall overwhelming each other.” Schweitzer goes on to insist that Bach uses these devices not merely to describe moving water, but to “express the dogmatic idea of baptism through the floating sound-waves of the mysticism in the hymn’s text, which symbolizes the red flood stained by Christ’s blood that is used as the baptismal water in the ceremony: There did he consecrate a bath To wash away transgression, And quench the bitterness of death By his own blood and passion.” The communion anthem suggests a gently rocking lullaby. A motive that forms part of the accompaniment, sung first by the men, is based on the name of the composer’s first daughter, spelled out in musical notation. (This was written for her baptism in 2007.) After a glimpse of heaven, child soloists may welcome those newly baptized to the world of the Church by name; today they sing ‘God’s own child’ in reference to each of us in the congregation, at the renewal of our own baptismal covenants.

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Sunday 1 January 2017 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Feast of the Holy Name

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Eternal purposes          Olivier Messiaen

Opening Hymn    To the Name of our salvation     Hymnal 1940 # 326

Psalm 8        Plainsong, Tonus Peregrinus

Gospel Hymn   Jesus! Name of wondrous love!  Hymnal 1940 # 323, First tune

Offertory Anthem   See, amid the winter’s snow   John Goss

Communion Anthem   A New Year Carol   Benjamin Britten

Communion Carol     Unto us a boy is born   Hymnal 1940 # 34

Final Hymn     At the Name of Jesus   Hymnal 1940 # 356, First Tune

Voluntary     Bring a torch, Jeannette, Isabella          Keith Chapman

Music Note: The opening voluntary is based on Ephesians 1:4-6: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The music, from Messiaen’s pathbreaking suite The Nativity of our Lord (1935), describes God’s eternal purposes with a very slow tempo, luminous chords and timeless time signature. The communion anthem, composed in 1934, is associated with a New Year’s Day custom involving sprinkling people with water newly drawn from a well.

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Sunday 25 December 2016 at 9:00 a.m.   +   Christmas Day

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Greensleeves       Richard Purvis

Processional Hymns     Once in Royal David’s City     Hymnal 1982 # 102

Angels from the realms of glory  Hymnal 1982 # 93

Psalm 97          Anglican Chant by Edward C. Bairstow

Gospel Hymn   O little town of Bethlehem   Hymnal 1982 # 79  (St. Louis)

Offertory Anthem   In the bleak mid-winter    Gustav Holst

Communion Anthem   The Infant King   arr. David Willcocks

Communion Carol     What Child is this?     Hymnal 1982 # 115

Final Hymn     Joy to the world    Hymnal 1982 #100

Voluntary     Good Christian Friends, rejoice       Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Richard Purvis was organist and choirmaster of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco from 1947 to 1971. He died on Christmas Day at the age of 81, leaving a legacy of over 200 compositions. In an era when so-called “romantic” music was out of favor with most composers, and atonal, serial music was considered the hallmark of serious composition, he was not afraid to write tuneful, accessible, richly colored, and even whimsical compositions. (Wikipedia) His setting of “Greensleeves” highlights the already exotic, modal flavor of the tune, and is a favorite of the Christmas organ literature.

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Sunday 18 December 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday of Advent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntaries     Magnificats I, V       Marcel Dupré

Entrance Hymn       A message came to a maiden young     Hymnal 1940 # 317

Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18          Plainsong, Tone IV

Gospel Hymn   O come, O come, Emmanuel   Hymnal 1940 # 2

Offertory Anthem   Angelus ad virginem      arr.  Jefferson McConnaughey

Presentation Hymn       Sing of Mary, pure and lowly       Hymnal 1940 #117

Communion Anthem   Maria walks amid the thorn   arr. Christoph Lahme

Communion Hymn     Ye who claim the faith of Jesus      Hymnal 1982 # 268

Final Hymn     Of the Father’s love begotten    Hymnal 1982 # 82

Voluntary     My soul doth magnify the Lord, BWV 648     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The opening voluntaries, originally improvised at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1919, are based on the first and final sections of text of the Magnificat. In ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ Mary’s song of joy and praise upon hearing she would bear the Christ child, appears in a merry lyrical texture of two against three. Then, in ‘He remembering his mercy, hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever,’ the imminent fulfillment of ancient prophecy is depicted in the long-held chords and the pedals slowly descending as if from heaven to earth; the gentle dissonances resolve into meditative peace.

The German original of the communion anthem “Maria durch ein Dornwald ging” is noted in The Gesangbuch of Andernach (1608) as being universally known and liked at that time. The use of the words Kyrie eleison show that it had its origin in the first period of the creation of German religious folk songs during the Middle Ages. (hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com) The carol’s translator, a lawyer, was an avid music enthusiast who assisted the Von Trapp family with visas and other matters during the Second World War.

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PAST SERVICES

Sunday 11 December 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday of Advent

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the women of St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntaries        Preludes on ‘I know a rose-tree springing’            Anton Heiller, Johannes Brahms

Entrance Hymn         I know a rose-tree springing     Hymnal 1940 # 17

Psalm 146:4-9   Plainsong, Tone IV

Gospel Hymn        Rejoice, rejoice, believers     Hymnal 1940 # 761

Offertory Anthem   There is no Rose    Benjamin Britten

Communion Anthem   Ave Maria   Camille Saint-Saëns

Communion Hymn     Let all mortal flesh keep silence             Hymnal 1940 # 197

Final Hymn     Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding    Hymnal 1940 # 9

Voluntary       Come, thou redeemer of the earth        Healey Willan

Music note: A Ceremony of Carols (from which the offertory anthem is excerpted) was written by Benjamin Britten originally for treble choir and harp in March of 1942, while at sea. Because of the immense popularity of the piece, piano or organ accompaniment and a mixed choir arrangement are also often heard. The majority of the text is taken from poems in Middle English (late 12th to late 15th century). Medieval vocabulary and syntax informed the “translation” provided as well as the following note by Thomas Ajack: The message of There is no Rose is that Mary was unparalleled. For the first time, heaven and earth were in the same space: within her womb. Because of her, we learn the mystery of the Trinity.

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Sunday 4 December 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday of Advent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Savior of the Nations, come   BWV 659     Johann Sebastian Bach

Entrance Hymn        Come, thou long-expected Jesus      Hymnal 1940 # 1

Psalm 72:1-7,18-19   Plainsong, Tone VI

Gospel Hymn        On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry      Hymnal 1940 # 10

Offertory Anthem   Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming    arr. Dale Adelmann

Communion Anthem   E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come   Paul Manz

Communion Hymn     Thy kingdom come! On bended knee   Hymnal 1940 # 391

Final Hymn     Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates     Hymnal 1940 # 484

Voluntary       Savior of the Nations, come   BWV 599     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Prolific Lutheran composer Paul Manz wrote the communion anthem in 1954. The appeal of the composition, with modal elements lending a haunting, medieval quality to certain passages, has been enormous; it has sold over a million copies around the world and has been recorded hundreds of times. The origin of the text, assembled from Revelation 22 by the composer’s wife (a frequent collaborator), was in response to the near death of their three year old son from a rare form of pneumonia. Their son was spared and is now a Lutheran bishop in Minnesota.

Dale Adelmann is Music Director of the Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. His powerful setting of the sixteenth-century “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming” was composed for the choir of men and boys of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo. The music takes full advantage of the “new” third stanza of this hymn, added in the 19th century in Germany and added to Episcopal hymnals in 1940.

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Sunday 27 November 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The First Sunday of Advent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prelude on Aberystwyth     Claude Means

Entrance Hymn        Watchman, tell us of the night    Hymnal 1940 # 440, Second Tune

Psalm 122   Plainsong, Tone IV

Gospel Hymn   O come, O come, Emmanuel       Hymnal 1940 # 2

Offertory Anthem   Advent Matin Responsory   Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina 

Presentation Hymn      The King shall come when morning dawns         Hymnal 1940 # 11

Communion Anthem   We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God     William McKie 

Communion Hymn     Strengthen for service, Lord    Hymnal 1940 # 201

Final Hymn     Lo! he comes, with clouds descending       Hymnal 1940 # 5

Voluntary       Sleepers, wake!  BWV 645     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Sir William McKie, born in Melbourne, Australia, was educated at Oxford then became Melbourne City Organist. In 1941 he returned to England to become Organist of Westminster Abbey where he remained until his retirement to Canada in 1963. His best-known composition We wait for thy loving-kindnessO God was written for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947. The Advent hymn-tune Helmsley was first printed with the text “Lo! he comes, with clouds descending” in London in 1765, and first published in America in 1799. An earlier version of the tune exists in an almost flippant, secular style. It was not widely used in Anglican/Episcopal circles until Ralph Vaughan Williams selected it for inclusion in The English Hymnal of 1906. He transformed it into a stately Edwardian melody by his harmonies (faithfully transcribed in our hymnal), revealing the tune’s potential as a solemn processional. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Nicholas Temperley and Geoffrey Wainwright.)

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Sunday 20 November 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  Christ the King

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Toccata on Hanover     Kenneth Leighton

Processional Hymn     O worship the King, all glorious above!    Hymnal 1940# 288

Psalm 46      Anglican Chant after Martin Luther

Gospel Hymn     The head that once was crowned with thorns     Hymnal 1940 # 106

Offertory Anthem      Judge eternal    Gerre Hancock

Communion Anthem    Laudate Dominum     Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Communion Hymn     Draw nigh and take the Body of the Lord      Hymnal 1940 #202

Final Hymn     Crown him with many crowns     Hymnal 1940 #352

Voluntary     Grand-choeur dialogué            Eugène Gigout

Music Note: The offertory anthem was commissioned by the Houston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists for their National Convention in 1988, and first performed there by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Mozart composed two complete settings of the vesper psalms in 1779-80, for use in the celebrated evening services of Salzburg cathedral. From the more well-known setting, Vesperae solennes de confessore (K. 339) comes the soprano aria Laudate Dominum written for the remarkable singer Maria Magdalena Lipp (the wife of composer Michael Haydn). Mozart composed many pieces for her, and this beguiling example, in which the choir enters for a doxology of serene simplicity, was a particular favorite of many nineteenth-century singers and arrangers.

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Sunday 13 November 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Requiescat in Pace     Leo Sowerby 

Entrance Hymn        O God, beneath thy guiding hand     Hymnal 1940 # 148

Psalm 98      Anglican Chant by Josiah Booth

Gospel Hymn     All my hope on God is founded     Hymnal 1982 # 665

Offertory Anthem    Greater love hath no man      John Ireland

Communion Anthem   O taste and see      Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Hymn     O Saving Victim, opening wide      Hymnal 1940 # 209

(sung to alternate tune, Melcombe)

Final Hymn     God of our Fathers, whose almighty hand        Hymnal 1940 # 143

Voluntary       Elegy (1944)     George Thalben-Ball 

Music note: Of his Requiscat in Pace, Leo Sowerby wrote: “It was written as a tribute to those who went ‘over there’ in 1917-1918, and didn’t return. I feel that the music tells its own story of the eventual triumph of the spirit over the unimportance of bodily or material things, but don’t quote me…I wouldn’t want to be taken for a Christian Scientist!”

The offertory anthem resourcefully draws on several texts to illuminate our inheritance as the Redeemed of God, set to music of a fitting variety of characters. Written in 1912, the anthem predates specific reference to veterans, referring to the more general stewardship of our lives.

George Thalben-Ball was organist and choir director of London’s famed Temple Church for nearly sixty years. He composed several anthems and organ works, of which the best known is his meditative Elegy for organ. This piece originated in an improvisation which Thalben-Ball played at the end of a live BBC daily religious service during World War II, when the service finished a couple of minutes earlier than expected. So many listeners to the broadcast telephoned the BBC to ask what the composition was, that he decided to write down his improvisation as well as he could remember it.

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Sunday 6 November 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by Rachel Hanauer, soprano

Voluntary     Air from Water Music      George Frideric Handel

Processional Hymn       Book of books, our people’s strength   Hymnal 1940# 403

Psalm 17:1-9      Plainsong, Tone VII

Gospel Hymn               Christ is alive! Let Christians sing      Hymnal 1982 # 182

Offertory Anthem     I know that my Redeemer liveth   George Frideric Handel

Communion Anthem     Hear my prayer, O Lord     Antonín Dvořák

Communion Hymn                 O God, unseen yet ever near   Hymnal 1940 # 198, First Tune

Final Hymn     Awake, my soul, stretch every nerve       Hymnal 1940 #577

Voluntary      The runner, from Hereford Variations      Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Music Note: The song cycle of 10 Biblical Songs was written in March 1894. Around that time Dvořák was informed of the death of the famous conductor, and his close personal friend, Hans von Bülow. Just a month earlier, he had been grieved to hear that his father was near death, far away in Bohemia. Dvořák consoled himself in the Psalms. The resulting work, considered the finest of his song cycles, is based on the text of the Czech Bible of Kralice. His father died 2 days after the completion of the work. (Wikipedia)

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Sunday 30 October 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     O Food to pilgrims given         Johannes Brahms

Processional Hymn       Blest are the pure in heart     Hymnal 1940# 418

Psalm 32:1-8      Anglican Chant by Edward John Hopkins

Gospel Hymn               Amazing grace     Hymnal 1982 # 671

Offertory Anthem     Soul of my Savior      Richard Shepherd

Communion Anthem     As torrents in summer    Edward Elgar

Communion Hymn     O Food to pilgrims given    Hymnal 1982 #309

Final Hymn     Joyful, joyful, we adore thee    Hymnal 1940 #769

Voluntary     Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)          Dieterich Buxtehude

Music Note: Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. Through his offertory anthem we have a preview of All Saints and All Souls observances this coming week. As torrents in summer is a part-song from Elgar’s cantata Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf, Op. 30 (1896). As the work’s unaccompanied concluding chorus, it summarizes the life, conversion and death of a Norse crusader in England. Use of a simple hymn-like tune for this purpose parallels Bach’s poignant use of chorales at the conclusion of his cantatas.

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Sunday 23 October 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the women of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Adagio from Organ Symphony No. 3             Louis Vierne

Processional Hymn       Awake, awake to love and work!      Hymnal 1940# 156

Psalm 84:1-6      Anglican Chant by C. H. H. Parry

Gospel Hymn                Spirit of mercy, truth and love     Hymnal 1940 # 111

Offertory Anthem     A song of Wisdom      Charles Villiers Stanford

Communion Anthem     O mysterium ineffabile!      Jean-François Lallouette

Communion Hymn     And now, O Father, mindful of the love     Hymnal 1940 #189

Final Hymn     All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine     Hymnal 1940 #366

Voluntary      Prelude on Engelberg     Craig Phillips

Music Note: The last of Sir Charles Stanford’s Six Biblical Songs. Stanford (also composer of today’s closing hymn) richly imagined his texts with demanding and evocative accompaniments. Here the music “shows tonally the worth of God’s wisdom, as the travels and searches for wisdom in an E major opening section cannot provide the certainty the narrator seeks, as shown in the tonal ambiguity of the second section. Once the narrator discovers the Lord’s wisdom, joy reigns over the text and the music.” (Andrew Lindemann Malone.) Jean-Francois Lalouette began his musical education as a boy in the choir of the church of St. Eustache in Paris. After a varied career as violinist, choirmaster, composer and court musician, he held the post of choirmaster of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris from 1700-1717 and again from 1718 to 1727. His quietly ecstatic anthem is well suited to describe the mystery of communion.

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Sunday 16 October 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Meditation on Luise        Leo Sowerby                                        

Processional Hymn     When morning gilds the skies        Hymnal 1940# 367

Psalm 121      Anglican Chant by Henry Walford Davies

Gospel Hymn     Fight the good fight      Hymnal 1940 # 560, Second Tune

Offertory Anthem     I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills     Leo Sowerby

Communion Anthem    I will bless the Lord at all times    John Abdenour

Communion Hymn   Let thy blood in mercy poured   Hymnal 1940 # 190

Final Hymn     Dear Lord and Father of mankind      Hymnal 1940 #435, Second Tune

Voluntary     Blessed Jesus, here we are         Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The opening voluntary is based on today’s communion hymn, from Sowerby’s Meditations on Communion Hymns (1942); here each phrase of the the melody is ‘previewed’ in a gently flowing manner. The Offertory anthem is one of the same composer’s most loved choral works. For it Sowerby was paid $10 outright by a publisher, an arrangement he was later to regret as it became a best seller for which he earned no royalties. The shimmering harmonies at ‘and the moon by night,’ and the beautiful melody of the alto solo, are elements of the piece’s understandable popularity as they are so reflective of the text. The introspection of this psalm is also unusually reflected in Walford Davies’s unique Anglican Chant written for it, half of which is sung by soloists.

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Sunday 9 October 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Communion, Op. 58 No. 2    Louis Vierne

Processional Hymn       Lord Christ, when first thou cam’st to men          Hymnal 1940# 522

Psalm 111      Anglican Chant by Ivor Atkins

Gospel Hymn     Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old    Hymnal 1940 # 517

Offertory Anthem     Christ our Passover    Jeffrey Rickard

Communion Anthem    Bread of the world     John Abdenour

Communion Hymn    Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face   Hymnal 1940 # 208, First Tune

Final Hymn      How firm a foundation      Hymnal 1940 #564

Voluntary     Andantino, Op. 51 No. 2       Louis Vierne

Music Note: The refrain of Rickard’s Christ our Passover is sung here in Eastertide; please join in the refrains. The singing of the complete canticle today is linked to today’s passage from 2 Timothy: “For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” John Abdenour has been Director of Music at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fairfield, CT since 2000. The choirs and congregation of St. Paul’s Church enjoy several of his unpublished anthems annually, as do churches of many of John’s friends and colleagues. The touching, slightly bluesy setting of Heber’s profound communion text was written in 1992.

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Sunday 2 October 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     The visible body of God; Pastorale     Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Processional Hymn       The spacious firmament on high    Hymnal 1940# 309

Psalm 8      Plainsong, Tone V with fauxbourdons by Gerre Hancock

Gospel Hymn     God who made the earth      Hymnal 1940 # 248

Offertory Anthem      The Old Hundredth    arrRalph Vaughan Williams

Communion Anthem    Brother James’s Air     arr. Gordon Jacob

Communion Hymn     Make me a channel of your peace    A Prayer of St. Francis

Final Hymn     All things bright and beautiful      Hymnal 1940 #311

Voluntary     Hornpipe from Water Music                  George Frideric Handel

Music Note: The opening voluntaries from Hereford Variations celebrate the revelation of God in nature, as perceived by the Herefordshire priest and poet Thomas Traherne (1636-1674). Metrical psalmody was created to permit the easy congregational singing of psalms to pre-existing familiar hymn tunes, such as Psalm 100 paired with the tune of that name, “Old Hundredth” heard today as arranged for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Metrical versions of psalm texts are by nature paraphrases, adjusting the number of syllables per line into a formula determined by the meter of the music. “Brother James” is the familiar name ascribed to the spiritual leader James Macbeth Bain, born in Scotland in 1860. A somewhat eccentric personality of great popularity, he worked among the poor in London and wandered in nature for refreshment. He has been compared to St. Francis for his mystic insights combined with an irresistible charm and childlike trust of one who loves all people and all creatures. (Once when walking in the woods he caught his cast on a tree branch, and in freeing himself accidentally broke the branch, much to his annoyance. When asked to explain his annoyance, he responded “Man, I’ve just lost a real good friend. Many a fine cast have I found on that self-same branch.”) The metrical tune upon which the communion anthem is based is one of many beautiful melodies which came to him spontaneously. It has, in its simplicity, something of that rare quality of appeal which Maurice Baring describes as “a wonderful tune–a tune that opened its arms.”

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Sunday 25 September 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas)

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Prelude in B Major, Op. 99 No. 2            Camille Saint-Saëns

Processional Hymn       Christ, the fair glory           Hymnal 1940# 123, Second Tune

Psalm 103:19-22      Anglican Chant by Thomas Norris

Gospel Hymn     Around the throne of God a band     Hymnal 1940 # 120

Offertory Anthem     For he shall give his angels charge over thee    Felix Mendelssohn

Communion Anthem     Ave verum corpus     Ludovico da Viadiana

Communion Hymn     Let all mortal flesh keep silence                        Hymnal 1940 # 197

Final Hymn      Ye holy angels bright      Hymnal 1940 #600

Voluntary     Kyrie, thou Spirit Divine, BWV 671    Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Viadana, an Italian composer, teacher, and Franciscan friar, was the first significant figure to make use of the newly developed technique of figured bass, one of the musical devices which was to define the end of the Renaissance and beginning of the Baroque eras in music. (Wikipedia) His Ave verum corpus, originally written for men’s voices, is simple and direct, and at the end has an unusual variant of the text: miserere nobis rather than miserere mei (have mercy upon us, rather than upon me). The closing voluntary is a setting of a German hymn version of Kyrie eleison which contains additional text between its two Greek words: “Kyrie! Thou Spirit Divine! Oh grant us thy power evermore That we when life is o’er With joy uprising may leave our sorrows. Eleison!” The sentiment therein is matched by a majestic and elaborate fantasia. The initial three rising notes of the melody (heard in long pedal tones) is also the motive upon which all the accompanying material is based, either right-side-up or upside-down. The startlingly dissonant conclusion to this music could have been written in modern times.

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Sunday 18 September 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the professional choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Prelude on Slane        Gerre Hancock

Processional Hymn       Be thou my vision     Hymnal 1982# 488

Psalm 113      Anglican Chant by Robert Prescott Stewart

Gospel Hymn     Son of God, eternal Savior    Hymnal 1940 # 500

Offertory Anthem      Christ, whose glory fills the skies    T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Communion Anthem     Thee we adore     T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Communion Hymn     Bread of the world, in mercy broken       Hymnal 1940 # 196

Final Hymn     Faith of our fathers       Hymnal 1940 #393

Voluntary     O God, thou Faithful God          Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Music Note: Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn was an English-born church musician who spent twenty-eight years at St. Paul’s Church, Albany, New York, and the final ten of his career at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem is an enduring favorite of his some two hundred works, and contains a splendid example of text-painting at the beginning of the second verse. “Day-spring” is the beginning of dawn; “Day-star” is the morning star. “Sun of Righteousness” is an attribute spoken of Christ in Malachi 4:2 (referring to God’s blessings on the good): “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.” This reference also underscores the double-meaning of “Sun” as “Son.”

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Sunday 11 September 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Magnificat V        Marcel Dupré

Processional Hymn       The God of Abraham praise   Hymnal 1940# 285, First Tune

Psalm 51:1-11      Anglican Chant by Charles Macpherson

Gospel Hymn     Amazing grace     Hymnal 1982 # 671

Offertory Anthem      Magnificat in C    Charles V. Stanford

Communion Anthem     Wash me throughly     Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Communion Hymn     Bread of the world, in mercy broken       Hymnal 1940 # 196

Final Hymn     O God, our help in ages past        Hymnal 1940 #289

Voluntary       Toccata: Tu es petra     Henri Mulet 

Music Note: The opening voluntary, originally improvised at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1919, is based on the final section of the Magnificat: ‘He remembering his mercy, hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.’ The fulfillment of ancient prophecy is depicted in the long-held chords and the pedals slowly descending as if from heaven to earth; the gentle dissonances resolve into meditative peace. This text is an echo of today’s reading from Exodus, heard also in the canticle sung at the offertory and in the opening and closing hymns.

The best-known organ work of the French composer Henri Mulet is from a set of “Byzantine sketches” inspired by the church of Sacré-Coeur in Paris. Written in 1918, it pays tribute to the refuge which the famous hilltop church provided during the shelling of the city during the First World War. It bears an inscription (Matthew 16:18) of courage and strength in the face of adversity: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

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Sunday 4 September 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Prelude on Puer nobis        Healey Willan

Processional Hymn       O Splendor of God’s glory bright     Hymnal 1940# 158

Psalm 1      Anglican Chant by Ivor Atkins

Gospel Hymn     Take up your cross, the Savior said     Hymnal 1982 # 675

Offertory Anthem      The secret of Christ    Richard Shephard

Communion Anthem     If ye love me     Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn     Strengthen for service, Lord      Hymnal 1940 # 201

Final Hymn     Come, labor on     Hymnal 1940 #576

Voluntary       Fugue from Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue      Healey Willan 

Music Note: Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. Through the offertory anthem we are invited to take encouragement for our labor through the coming year. The work was commissioned by the Bishop of Salisbury for a Lent Study program of the same title, used by the Diocese of Salisbury in 1980.  Healey Willan, composer of our most used congregational mass setting, was a virtuoso organist and prolific choral composer. His prelude on the tune of the entrance hymn develops the melody in canon against a beautiful accompaniment. The closing voluntary is the final section of his magnum opus for organ, being played in full for the last of the summer organ recitals this weekend.

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Sunday 28 August 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Meditation on Picardy        Leo Sowerby

Processional Hymn       Christ, whose glory fills the skies      Hymnal 1940# 153

Psalm 112      Anglican Chant by Ivor Atkins

Gospel Hymn   Immortal, invisible, God only wise      Hymnal 1940 # 301

Offertory Anthem      Jubilate Deo in C    Leo Sowerby

Communion Anthem     I will not leave you comfortless     William Byrd

Communion Hymn      Let all mortal flesh keep silence       Hymnal 1940 # 197

Final Hymn     Awake, my soul, and with the sun     Hymnal 1940 #151

Voluntary       “Little” Prelude Fugue in C Major BVW 553    Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The opening voluntary is essentially a set of variations on today’s communion hymn. After a career of thirty-five years at St. James Cathedral in Chicago, Leo Sowerby founded the College of Church Musicians at Washington National Cathedral. His vigorous unison setting of the Jubilate Deo in C Major was published in 1954. The text of the communion anthem today relates to the middle of the second lesson. In its context in John 14 (where Jesus comforts his disciples, affirms the gifts of the Spirit, and explains that he must leave them), it is a reminder that each time we receive communion, we celebrate the resurrection.

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Sunday 21 August 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary     Adagio from Organ Symphony No. 5       Charles-Marie Widor

Processional Hymn       Judge eternal, throned in splendor       Hymnal 1940# 518

Psalm 103:1-8      Anglican Chant by Thomas Norris 

Gospel Hymn     Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old       Hymnal 1940 # 517

Offertory Anthem      Sing we merrily    Sidney Campbell

Presentation Hymn      Father, we praise thee      Hymnal 1940 # 157, Second Tune

Communion Anthem     The Virgin’s slumber song     Max Reger

Communion Hymn      Let thy blood in mercy poured       Hymnal 1940 # 190

Final Hymn     All my hope on God is founded      Hymnal 1982 #665

Voluntary       Trumpet Tune in D Major       David N. Johnson

Music Note: The joyous offertory anthem was written in 1962 for the St. Albans Cathedral Diocesan Choirs’ Festival. Sidney Campbell was successively organist and master of the choristers at the cathedrals of Ely, Southwark and Canterbury, and finally at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle from 1961-74.  +  The time of year for Max Reger’s summertime lullaby for the baby Jesus is interpreted by some as warm December in the Holy Land, and by others as the summer after the first “bleak mid-winter.” In either case, children need lullabies year ’round!  + David Johnson was a professor of music and college organist at St. Olaf College, Syracuse University and the University of Arizona. Many of his original trumpet tunes have been published; the one heard today is used as opening and closing music for the nationally syndicated radio broadcast With Heart and Voice which explores Western sacred music.

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Sunday 14 August 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the adults of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntary   Adagio from Organ Sonata No. 1        Felix Mendelssohn  

Processional Hymn       The great Creator of the worlds      Hymnal 1940# 298, First Tune

Psalm 82      Anglican Chant by James Turle

Gospel Hymn     Lo! what a cloud of witnesses    Hymnal 1940 # 569

Offertory Anthem     He that shall endure to the end    Felix Mendelssohn

Presentation Hymn      Give praise and glory unto God                Hymnal 1940 # 287

Communion Anthem   Lift thine eyes    Felix Mendelssohn

Communion Hymn      Sweet Sacrament Divine        insert

Final Hymn     The God of Abraham praise    Hymnal 1940 # 285, First Tune

Voluntary  Allegro maestoso e vivace from Organ Sonata No. 2      Felix Mendelssohn

Music Note: Mendelssohn was born into a wealthy and cultured Berlin family. He was a precociously gifted child, so much so that the finest musicians of the day hailed him as a second Mozart. Mendelssohn’s extraordinary gifts were not confined to composition; he went on to become a brilliant pianist and organist, a fine string player and an inspirational conductor. In 1829, when he was still only twenty, he conducted the first public performance of the St. Matthew Passion since Bach’s death, an event which, probably more than any other, provided the impetus for the 19th century rediscovery of Bach. He was also a great admirer of the music of Handel and Haydn, whose oratorios he conducted in Leipzig. Mendelssohn visited England many times, where he was received with adulation, feted by the press, and became a great favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Ever since Handel’s Messiah had first captivated audiences in 1743, the oratorio form had occupied a pre-eminent position in the concert halls of England. After its resounding first performance (170 years ago this month), Elijah immediately established itself as second only to Messiah in the public’s affections. (Excerpts from note by John Bawden, used by permission.) The two movements from Elijah heard today are examples notable for their clear delivery of text, fine counterpoint and beautiful melody; the latter two qualities are found equally in his six organ sonatas.

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Sunday 7 August 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost; Bishop’s Visitation and Confirmation 

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

The setting of the Mass is Mass in C Major, K 317 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Voluntary     Sonata No. 1 in E-flat Major, K. 61          Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Introit    Ecce sacerdos magnus     Edward Elgar

Processional Hymn   I bind myself unto this day      Hymnal 1982 # 370, stanzas 1,2,6,7

Psalm 33:12-21      Anglican Chant by James Turle

Gospel Hymn     Take up your cross, the Savior said      Hymnal 1982 # 675

Offertory Anthem    Jesu, joy of man’s desiring     Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Anthem   O Lord, increase our faith      Henry Loosemore

Communion Hymn   Lord, we have come at your own invitation       Hymnal 1982 # 348

Final Hymn   O Jesus, I have promised      Hymnal 1982 # 655

Voluntary    Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 552 (“St. Anne”)      Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Of the sacred works that Mozart composed in Salzburg none is as well known or as popular as the Mass in C, K. 317. In 1779 Mozart took up a position in the Archbishop’s service in Salzburg. He was to “unbegrudgingly and with great diligence discharge his duties both in the cathedral and at court and in the chapel house, and as occasion presents, to provide the court and church with new compositions of his own creation.” At the first opportunity Mozart fulfilled this demand, composing the mass for the Easter Day service on 4th April 1779.

The musical style of the piece corresponds to the hybrid form that was preferred by the Archbishop: its use of wind instruments suggests a “Solemn Mass,” and its length suggests a “Short Mass.” Mozart himself described his task in a letter: “Our church music is very different to that of Italy, all the more so since a mass with all its movements, even for the most solemn occasions when the sovereign himself reads the mass [e.g. Easter Day], must not last more than 3 quarters of an hour. One needs a special training for this kind type of composition, and it must also be a mass with all instruments – war trumpets, tympani etc.” It therefore had to be a grand ceremonial setting, but the mass also needed to have a compact structure. Mozart therefore omits a formal closing fugue for the Gloria, and the Dona nobis pacem recalls the music of the Kyrie.

Even as early as the 19th Century the mass was already popularly referred to as the “Coronation Mass.” The nickname grew out of the misguided belief that Mozart had written the mass for Salzburg’s annual celebration of the anniversary of the crowning of the Shrine of the Virgin. The more likely explanation is that it was one of the works that was performed during the coronation festivities in Prague, either as early as August 1791 for Leopold II, or certainly for Leopold’s successor Francis I in August 1792. Certainly the music itself is celebratory in nature, and would have fitted a coronation or Easter Day service perfectly.              (Notes used by permission of Aylesbury Choral Society)

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Sunday 31 July 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the women of the St. John’s Choir

Voluntaries    The visible body of God; Pastorale (from Hereford Variations)   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Processional Hymn       O thou who camest from above           Hymnal 1940# 463

Psalm 49:1-11      Anglican Chant by John Goss

Gospel Hymn      In Christ there is no East or West    Hymnal 1982 # 529

Offertory Anthem      A song of Wisdom    Charles Villiers Stanford

Communion Anthem     O sacrum convivium     Richard Funk

Communion Hymn     Bread of the world, in mercy broken        Hymnal 1940 # 196

Final Hymn     All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine       Hymnal 1940 #366

Voluntary    Toccata: The wondrous Cross (from Hereford Variations)   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Music Note: Last Sunday the choral music was sung by men; today it is sung by women. Today’s ‘instrument’ gives us the opportunity to sing one of the gems of Anglican repertoire from the Victorian era, the last of Sir Charles Stanford’s Six Biblical Songs. Stanford (also composer of today’s closing hymn) richly imagined his texts with demanding and evocative accompaniments. Here the music “shows tonally the worth of God’s wisdom, as the travels and searches for wisdom in an E major opening section cannot provide the certainty the narrator seeks, as shown in the tonal ambiguity of the second section. Once the narrator discovers the Lord’s wisdom, joy reigns over the text and the music.” (Andrew Lindemann Malone.) Richard Funk was an assistant to his teacher McNeil Robinson at the church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City in the mid-1970s. His O Sacrum Convivium was composed for Evensong and Benediction to be sung at that church in 1975. Richard is a retired musician currently living in Newport.

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Sunday 24 July 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the men of the St. John’s Choir

Mass setting: Missa Brevis, Denis Bédard

Voluntary     Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness      Johann Sebastian Bach

Processional Hymn   Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy       Hymnal 1940# 363

Psalm 138      Anglican Chant by Joseph Leopold Roeckel

Gospel Hymn     Thy kingdom come! On bended knee     Hymnal 1940 # 391

Offertory Anthem      Ave Maria     Denis Bédard

Communion Anthem   Otche nash (The Lord’s Prayer)      Nikolai Kedroff, Sr.

Communion Hymn     Humbly, I adore thee                            Hymnal 1940 # 204

Final Hymn     Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness       Hymnal 1940 #210

Voluntary     Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness    Johannes Brahms

Music Note: Today’s choral music is sung by men; next Sunday it is sung by women. Today’s ‘instrument’ gives us the opportunity to sing a men’s voices Mass setting, a Missa Brevis (lacking Gloria and generally brief) written in 1994 by Denis Bédard, a modern Canadian composer of organ and choral works. His setting of Ave Maria shares with the Missa Brevis a refreshing use of the close harmony of lower voices. Perhaps no sound is more characteristic of sacred male choral music than that of the Russian Orthodox Church, heard today during communion in a sublime setting of the Lord’s Prayer, sung in Russian.

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Sunday 17 July 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by Joseph Burdick and Thomas Burdick, Jr.

Voluntary     Improvisation      Michael Ryan 

Processional Hymn   O Splendor of God’s glory bright    Hymnal 1940# 158, Second Tune

Psalm 15      Plainsong, Tone III

Gospel Hymn     Thou, whose almighty word      Hymnal 1940 # 272

Offertory Anthem      Comfort ye; Every valley (from Messiah)   George Frideric Handel

Communion Anthem    Ave verum corpus    Edward Elgar

Communion Hymn     My God, thy table now is spread                    Hymnal 1940 # 203

Final Hymn      Father, we praise thee      Hymnal 1940 # 157, Second Tune

Voluntary     Toccata in D minor, “Dorian”        Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The first performance of Handel’s oratorio Messiah, in Dublin in April 1742, was given for relief of jailed prisoners, and for the support of a hospital and a charitable infirmary. A large crowd being expected, the concert announcement requested “the Favour of the Ladies not to come with Hoops this Day… The Gentlemen [were] desired to come without their Swords.” Some days later, after a public rehearsal, the Dublin Journal said nothing less than that Messiah “was allowed by the greatest Judges to be the finest Composition of Musick that ever was heard.” (Michael Steinberg.) Its remarkable freshness and popularity remain today.

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Sunday 10 July 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost; Peter Quire Sunday

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Panis angelicus     Rachel Long, trumpet      César Franck

Processional Hymn   We come unto our fathers’ God   Hymnal 1940# 303

Psalm 25:1-9      Anglican Chant by Thomas Norris

Gospel Hymn     O God of Bethel, by whose hand    Hymnal 1940 # 497

Offertory Anthem      Freedom Trilogy    Paul Halley

Communion Anthem    If ye love me    Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn     Father, we thank thee who hast planted         Hymnal 1940 # 195

Final Hymn   O God, our help in ages past    Hymnal 1940 # 289

Voluntary     Marche Joyeuse (organ and trumpet)         John H. Head

Music Note: British-born Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. He is winner of five Grammy awards for his contributions as a writer and performer on recordings by the Paul Winter Consort, of which he was a member for eighteen years. Since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In his Freedom Trilogy (1997), Halley integrates elements from a diversity of styles. As we consider the contributions of abolitionist and missionary Peter Quire in establishing the first church in this neighborhood, we may continue to delight in how ancient and new combine.

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Sunday 3 July 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +  The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     O beautiful for spacious skies        Emma Lou Diemer

Processional Hymn   O beautiful for spacious skies    Hymnal 1982# 719

Psalm 66:1-9       Plainsong, Tone I

Gospel Hymn     Go, labor on, spend and be spent      Hymnal 1940 # 573

Offertory Anthem      God bless America     Irving Berlin

Presentation Hymn      We plow the fields, and scatter         Hymnal 1940 #138

Communion Anthem    Here, O my Lord    Barry Rose

Communion Hymn     Strengthen for service, Lord           Hymnal 1940 # 201

Final Hymn    There’s a wideness in God’s mercy    Hymnal 1940 # 304

Voluntary      In thee is gladness         Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The offertory anthem was written by Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised by him in the form of a prayer in 1938. (The congregation is invited join in repeating the second part, doubling the length of the final ‘home sweet home.’) Born Israel Isidore Baline in Imperial Russia, Berlin arrived in the United States at the age of five. During his 60-year career he wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, and was known for writing music and lyrics in the American vernacular: uncomplicated, simple and direct, with his stated aim being to “reach the heart of the average American,” whom he saw as the “real soul of the country.” In doing so, said Walter Cronkite, at Berlin’s 100th birthday tribute, he “helped write the story of this country, capturing the best of who we are and the dreams that shape our lives.” (Wikipedia)

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Sunday 26 June 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

sung by the Professional Choristers of the Choir School of Newport County, and St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     To love (from Hereford Variations)     Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Processional Hymn   Ye watchers and ye holy ones     Hymnal 1940 # 599

Psalm 87       Anglican Chant by Stephen Elvey

Gospel Hymn      For thy dear saints, O Lord      Hymnal 1940 # 124

Offertory Anthem      The Key     Anthony Piccolo

Communion Anthem    A Welcome World      Peter S. Berton

Communion Hymn    O God, unseen yet ever near        Hymnal 1940 # 198, First Tune

Final Hymn     Ye holy angels bright     Hymnal 1940 # 600

Voluntary   Toccata: Tu es petra    Henri Mulet

Music Note: The communion anthem suggests a gently rocking lullaby. A motive that forms part of the accompaniment, sung first by the men, is based on the name of the composer’s first daughter, spelled out in musical notation. (This was written for her baptism in 2007.) After a glimpse of heaven, child soloists welcome God’s own child to the world by name.

­The best-known organ work of the French composer Henri Mulet is from a set of “Byzantine sketches” inspired by the church of Sacré-Coeur in Paris. Written in 1918, this brilliant toccata pays tribute to the refuge which the famous hilltop church provided during the shelling of the city during the First World War. It bears an inscription (Matthew 16:18) of courage and strength in the face of adversity: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

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Sunday 19 June 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Blessed Jesus, at thy word, BVW 731     Johann Sebastian Bach

Processional Hymn   Blessed Jesus, at thy word      Hymnal 1982 # 440

Psalm 22:19-28       Anglican Chant by Matthew Camidge

Gospel Hymn     O Word of God incarnate   Hymnal 1940 # 402

Offertory Anthem   Thou, O Lord, art my hope    Peter S. Berton

Communion Anthem   Be still, my soul    Percy Whitlock

Communion Hymn   Sweet Sacrament Divine

Final Hymn   Faith of our Fathers     Hymnal 1940 # 393

Voluntary   Allegro from Sonata No. 1 in E-flat Major  BWV 525   Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note:  The offertory anthem was composed in 1994 as a training piece for the Junior Choristers of Saint Thomas Church, New York. Several musical dangers to be navigated by young singers, perhaps in the forefront of their interpretation of the text, also represent some of life’s larger challenges. The communion anthem is by a long neglected composer who died much too young of tuberculosis, and whose fine works are enjoying enthusiastic revival after long neglect. The superb eucharistic text was written by the Archbishop of York (1891-1908).

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Sunday 15 May 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Day of Pentecost

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Variations on ‘Veni Creator’       Maurice Duruflé

Processional Hymn   Hail thee, festival day!       Hymnal 1940 # 107

Psalm 104:24-35       Anglican Chant by Edward C. Bairstow 

Gospel Hymn     Praise the Spirit in creation     Hymnal 1982 #506

Offertory Anthem   Ubi caritas    Paul Halley

Communion Anthem   Listen sweet dove    Grayson Ives

Communion Hymn   Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire      Hymnal 1940 # 217, First Tune

Final Hymn   Come down, O Love divine     Hymnal 1940 # 376

Voluntary    Final on ‘Veni Creator’      Maurice Duruflé

Music Note: Paul Halley was from 1977-1990 Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York; since 2007 he has been Director of Music at St. George’s Anglican Church and at the University of King’s College Chapel, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In Ubi Caritas (1991), he integrates diverse elements into a convincing new entity, and we can glimpse a bit of the mystery of the first Pentecost with unfamiliar language communicating the love of the Holy Spirit. Halley writes of the work’s creation at St. John the Divine: “There is a wonderful kind of upstairs/downstairs scenario at the Cathedral…a daily round of services in the church itself, while below in the crypt all these groups are doing their own forms of worship—whether in the soup kitchen, the gymnasium, the theater, or the studios. One of the downstairs groups is called “The Forces Of Nature,” an African chant group of great power and vibrancy. Occasionally during a service we’d be in the middle of some sublime Gregorian chant, when we would hear “Forces Of Nature” start up their rehearsal with some intense drumming, giving us some stiff competition! At the time, it irritated me. Now it is one of my favorite combinations. I tried to bring out the inherent power and optimism of the Gregorian Chant by juxtaposing it with the chant of another culture. Sometimes we need to look at the obvious through other people’s eyes.” This work can be heard sung by 40 singers and accompanied by piano, organ, violins, electric bass and percussion, at the Spring Concert of The Choir School of Newport County, this Saturday May 21. The communion anthem describes the Holy Spirit as a dove, alongside a charming poetic image of the sun made jealous by the dazzling evangelism of the twelve apostles.

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Sunday 8 May 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Seventh Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Prayer of Christ ascending toward his Father    Olivier Messiaen

Processional Hymn   Hail the day that sees him rise       Hymnal 1940 # 104, Second Tune

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Psalm 97       Anglican Chant by Edward C. Bairstow

Gospel Hymn     The head that once was crowned with thorns    Hymnal 1940 #106

Offertory Anthem   King of glory  T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Communion Anthem   I will not leave you comfortless   William Byrd

Communion Hymn   See the Conqueror mounts in triumph      Hymnal 1940 # 103, First Tune

Final Hymn   Crown him with many crowns   Hymnal 1940 # 352

Voluntary     Prelude to a Te Deum        Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Music Note: Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. The early suite The Ascension (1932) concludes with a serene, solemn prayer, rising slowly from the middle of the keyboard to the top: “And now, O Father, I have manifested thy name unto men…and now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee.” (John 17:6,11) These words are taken from Christ’s words at the Last Supper. Messiaen says: “They were said again at the moment of the Ascension and summarize all the solemnity of this departure from the earth for an elevation which infinitely exceeds the celestial orders.”

Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn was an English-born church musician who spent twenty-eight years at St. Paul’s Church, Albany, New York, and the final ten of his career at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem is an enduring favorite of his some two hundred works.

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Sunday 1 May 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Sixth Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   The heavens declare the glory of God   Benedetto Marcello

Processional Hymn   For the beauty of the earth    Hymnal 1940 # 296

(Alternate tune, Dix, No. 140)

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Psalm 67       Anglican Chant by Thomas Kelway

Gospel Hymn     Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all  Hymnal 1940 #460

Offertory Anthem   I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills   Leo Sowerby

Communion Anthem   If ye love me    Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn     Now the green blade riseth      Hymnal 1982 # 204

Final Hymn   That Easter Day with joy was bright Hymnal 1940 # 98

Voluntary     Final on Noël Nouvelet  (from Variations on a Noël )     Marcel Dupré

Music Note: J.M.C. Crum (1872-1958) wrote the text of the communion hymn to be paired with the popular French carol melody Noël Nouvelet. This tune was also used by the famous French organ composer Marcel Dupré for his Variations on a Noel, Opus 20 (1922). This hymn text first appeared in the 1928 edition of the Oxford Book of Carols. It was first printed in the United States in the 1966 edition of The Methodist Hymnal. The vivid imagery of the hymn is biblically based: John 12:23-24: “And Jesus answered them, saying, the hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” The connection of the Easter event is unmistakable. In the third line, we find “Love” being used as a metaphor for Jesus. We are now reminded why Jesus came to the earth in the first place: “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). After speaking directly about Jesus’ death and resurrection, Crum turns to our lifetime struggles. In the fourth stanza, Crum emphasizes that no matter what we are going through, “Jesus’ touch can call us back to life again.”

(C. Michael Hawn, http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-now-the-green-blade-riseth)

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Sunday 24 April 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fifth Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness    Johann Sebastian Bach

Processional Hymn   Thou art the Way     Hymnal 1940 # 361

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Psalm 148       Anglican Chant by David V. Willcocks

Gospel Hymn     My God, I love thee   Hymnal 1940 #456

Offertory Anthem     And I saw a new heaven   Edgar L. Bainton

Communion Anthem   The Father’s Love    Simon Lole

Communion Hymn     Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness       Hymnal 1940 # 210

Final Hymn   Love divine, all loves excelling   Hymnal 1940 # 479, First Tune

Voluntary  Awake, thou wintry earth (from Cantata 129)        Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: Edgar Bainton is remembered today primarily for one anthem And I saw a new heaven, secure in the annals of Anglican church music. Son of a Congregational minister, he was a child prodigy pianist and wrote many works including anthems, songs and symphonic music, only recently coming to light and being recorded. After fifty years in England, Bainton spent another twenty-three working in Australia. In the offertory anthem, the dramatic vision from Revelation is splendidly matched by changing musical moods. An especially lovely melody introduced by the tenors partway through is echoed at the vision’s peaceful conclusion.

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Sunday 17 April 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday of Easter

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntaries

Sheep may safely graze, from Cantata 208         Johann Sebastian Bach

Surrounding the Cross, from Hereford Variations   Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Processional Hymn    Praise, my soul, the King of heaven     Hymnal 1940 # 282

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Psalm 23        Anglican Chant by C. Hylton Stewart

Gospel Hymn     Lamb of God, I look to thee   Hymnal 1940 #251

Offertory Anthem     Most glorious Lord of life    William H. Harris

Presentation Hymn   Savior, like a shepherd lead us   Hymnal 1940 # 247

Communion Anthem   The Lord is my shepherd    Howard Goodall

Communion Hymn     Shepherd of souls, refresh and bless       Hymnal 1940 # 213

Final Hymn   The King of Love my shepherd is    Hymnal 1940 # 345, Second Tune

Voluntary   Hornpipe from Water Music    George Frideric Handel

Music note: The second of the opening Voluntaries is based in part upon the music of the first, in its setting of the hymn-tune Deo Gracias (another tune for Hymn 344, “O love, how deep, how broad, how high”). Rhythmic figuration from Bach’s famous Cantata movement is incorporated and at one point a ‘Sheep may safely graze’ melodic gesture is directly quoted.

The image of God as a shepherd was immensely appealing to the farming societies of Jesus’s day, as well as long before (through the Psalter) and continuing to the present age.  So many versions of Psalm 23 exist partly through this timeline of over three thousand years, and additionally because of the practice of ‘metrical psalmody’ beginning with the Reformation in the 1500s, leading to several of the paraphrases sung in today’s service as hymns. The communion anthem is the theme music of the popular humorous British television show, The Vicar of Dibley.

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Sunday 10 April 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Choral from Symphonie Romane      Charles-Marie Widor

Processional Hymn   At the Lamb’s high feast we sing    Hymnal 1940 # 89

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged John Scott

Psalm 30        Anglican Chants by William Hayes

Gospel Hymn     They cast their nets in Galilee     Hymnal 1940 #437

Offertory Anthem   Christo resurgenti     François Couperin

Presentation Hymn    O Jesus, crowned with all renown   Hymnal 1940 # 101

Communion Anthem   Rise up my love    Healey Willan

Communion Hymn     Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest

Hymnal 1940 # 207, Second Tune

Final Hymn   Joyful, joyful, we adore thee     Hymnal 1940 # 769

Voluntary    Sortie      Louis Couperin

Music note: The second movement of Widor’s tenth organ symphony is a calm, pastoral piece based on the Gregorian chant for Easter Day “Haec dies” (This is the day the Lord has made). A passage in the middle of the piece, for flutes played high on the keyboard, is possibly a description of the singing of Easter birds.

In 1685, the year of Bach’s birth, François Couperin became the organist at the church of Saint-Gervais, Paris, a post earlier held by his father and uncle which he would pass on to his cousin, and other members of the talented Couperin family. In 1693 he became organist at the Chapelle Royale (Royal Chapel) with the title organiste du Roi, organist by appointment to Louis XIV; in 1717 he became court organist and composer. His cheerful compositions had a wide following, such as the offertory anthem in the early galant style (a movement ca. 1720-1770 which featured a return to simplicity and immediacy of appeal after the complexity of the late Baroque era). (Wikipedia)

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Sunday 3 April 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday of Easter

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Death and Resurrection           Jean Langlais 

Processional Hymn   He is risen, he is risen!     Hymnal 1940 # 90

Vidi Aquam     Mode VIII, Arranged John Scott

Psalm 118:14-29        Anglican Chant by George Thalben-Ball

Gospel Hymn     O sons and daughters, let us sing!     Hymnal 1940 # 99

Offertory Anthem   Up, up, my heart, with gladness     Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Anthem   Rise up my love    Healey Willan

Communion Hymn     Jesus lives! Thy terrors now           Hymnal 1940 # 88

Final Hymn    That Easter Day with joy was bright     Hymnal 1940 #98

Voluntary    Toccata on “O sons and daughters let us sing”       Lynnwood Farnam

Music note: The opening voluntary bears the inscription, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (I Corinthians 15:55). One of Langlais’s earliest works, it portrays a vision of the life hereafter. Death is heard in the somber opening melody in the pedals; eternal life is represented by a Gregorian chant, the Gradual from the Requiem Mass, announced by a trumpet. These two ideas are combined, significantly, not so much in a struggle as in a unified crescendo toward the work’s victorious conclusion.

Healey Willan, often referred to as the ‘Dean of Canadian composers’ of church music, penned many ravishing miniatures. His 1929 motet “Rise up, my love” uses gentle flowing chords to describe flowers appearing in Eastertide, and ends with a reiteration of the invitation to ‘come away.’

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Sunday 27 March 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   Easter Day

sung by Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir, with organ and tympani

Voluntary    Final on Haec Dies   (from Symphonie Romane)  Charles-Marie Widor

Processional Hymn   Jesus Christ is risen today     Hymnal 1982 # 207

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24        Anglican Chant by George Thalben-Ball

Gospel Hymn     The strife is o’er     Hymnal 1982 # 208

Gospel Acclamation      Christus Vincit     Joseph Noyon, arr. Gerre Hancock

Offertory Anthem    Sing ye to the Lord    Edward C. Bairstow

Communion Anthem   This joyful Eastertide     Charles Wood

Postcommunion Anthem   (sung by Choir and Congregation)

Hallelujah   (from Messiah)   George Frideric Handel

Final Hymn     The day of resurrection      Hymnal 1982 # 210

Voluntary   Toccata   (from Symphonie No. 5)  Charles-Marie Widor

Music Note: The opening voluntary is Widor’s ‘other’ Easter toccata, from his tenth and last organ symphony, based on the day’s traditional plainsong hymn Haec Dies (“This is the Day the Lord has made”). Widor describes this hymn as “a graceful arabesque…as difficult to fasten upon as the song of a bird…The rhythmical freedom of Gregorian chant clashes with out stern metronomic time…The only mode of fixing on the auditor’s ear so undefined a motive is to repeat it constantly.” In the symphony’s triumphant conclusion, the energy of the toccata rises and falls several times before arriving at a crowning Resurrection hymn, which recedes into a rich texture suggesting the ringing of bells.

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Sunday 20 March 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   Palm Sunday

sung by Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Hymns sung in Procession from Storer Park beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Processional Hymn All glory, laud, and honor     Hymnal 1982 # 154

Introit    Hosanna to the Son of David   Tomás Luis da Victoria

Psalm 31:10-18        Anglican Chant by Charles Harford Lloyd

The Passion Gospel according to St. Matthew (sung)   Plainsong

Offertory Anthem    Jerusalem  (from Gallia)    Charles Gounod

Communion Anthem   Christus factus est      Felice Anerio

Communion Hymn   My song is love unknown            Hymnal 1982 # 458

 

Music note: French composer Charles Gounod, along with many others, turned to programmatic subjects in musical response to France’s military defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870). Dating from 1871, and written in England, the oratorio Gallia is thought to draw a parallel between the then national situation and that of Jerusalem stunned by the reversal of fate upon its Messiah. The concluding section asks the populace to consider its own affliction and to turn to God for forgiveness, with an almost barbaric opening, a plaintive solo (one of Gounod’s excellent melodies), and a rousing choral expansion of the solo.

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Sunday 13 March 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fifth Sunday in Lent

sung by the men of the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prélude au Kyrie (from Hommage à Frescobaldi)     Jean Langlais

The Great Litany (sung in procession)  Thomas Tallis

Psalm 126     Plainchant, Tone I

Gospel Hymn     Father, whate’er of earthly bliss    Hymnal 1940 # 447

Offertory Anthem    Lord, rebuke me not     Matthew Locke

Presentation Hymn    Lord Jesus, think on me    Hymnal 1940, # 417

Communion Anthem     Wilt thou forgive      D.G. Mason

Communion Hymn     O saving Victim, opening wide            Hymnal 1940 # 209, First Tune

Final Hymn     Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us        Hymnal 1940 # 567

Voluntary    O God, thou faithful God        Johannes Brahms

Music note: The communion anthem was written in 2002 for an Ash Wednesday service sung by the men of the choir at Worcester Cathedral, England. The text was conceived not as a hymn but as a poem, and a great deal of its universal appeal derives from its unabashed particularity. John Donne calls attention to himself not only by punning on his own surname but also by making it the basis of the two rhymes running through all three stanzas. Less obvious, but no less important, is the second rhyme-word that concludes every stanza: more. This is the surname of Donne’s wife, whose maiden name was Ann More, who had died six years before. Perhaps one reason for the enduring immediacy of this poem is that, despite its particular references and its somewhat veiled theological concerns with original and habitual sin, it manages to convey a convincing sense of assurance. (From a note by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Jeffrey Wasson.)

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Sunday 6 March 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday in Lent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prélude funèbre      Louis Vierne

Psalm 32     Plainchant, Tone I

Gospel Hymn     O Love that wilt not let me go  Hymnal 1940 #458, Second Tune

Offertory Anthem    Like as the hart desireth the waterbrooks   Herbert Howells

Communion Anthem     Sicut cervus       Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Communion Hymn     There’s a wideness in God’s mercy     Hymnal 1982 # 469

Final Hymn     My faith looks up to thee    Hymnal 1940 # 449

Voluntary    Prelude from Three Pieces, Op. 29                 Gabriel Pierné

Music note: Some scholars have traced the origins of Renaissance polyphony to a kind of musical representation of an ancient philosophy known as the “music of the spheres.” The ancient Greek philosophy of Plato, Pythagoras and many others had been “rediscovered” in the Middle Ages. Among the cosmological theories they advanced was that as the planets swept through the solar system they each made a perfect tone that together created a wonderful and perfect celestial harmony. In the 16th Century Kepler and others reintroduced this ancient cosmology. This may have been one of factors that influenced the sound of Renaissance polyphony which captured the sounds of heaven and brought them to earth for the faithful to contemplate and pray with. Much of it is highly mystical and can assist deep prayer and express great longing for God. One of the great musical masterpieces of the Church, Palestrina’s setting of the beginning of Psalm 42 beautifully depicts a musical “sigh.” As the notes soar the longing builds and you can hear the choir giving an almost perfect expression of the human yearning for God. The music comes to a peaceful end on a note of hope that one day we shall see God. (–Msgr. Charles Pope, Music to Long By: A Brief Meditation on Palestrina’s Sicut Cervus.) Howells’s setting is no less effective an expression of yearning, in a twentieth century musical context.

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Sunday 28 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday in Lent

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County, and women of the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Fantaisie in C minor, BWV 562       Johann Sebastian Bach

The Great Litany (sung in procession)    Thomas Tallis

Psalm 63:1-8     Plainchant, Tone VIII

Gospel Hymn     Now let us all with one accord    Hymnal 1982 #147

Offertory Anthem     The Pelican    Randall Thompson

Communion Anthem     God so loved the world       Joel Martinson

Communion Hymn     Let thy blood in mercy poured     Hymnal 1940 # 190

Final Hymn     Lord, who throughout these forty days     Hymnal 1940 # 59

Voluntary     Antiphon II      Marcel Dupré

Music note: The offertory anthem is from a four-movement cantata, The Place of the Blest, commissioned by Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York in 1968, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of its Choir School. The text of its second movement is quite remarkable. Its author, Phillipe de Thaun, was an Anglo-Norman poet, possibly from Caen in Normandy, who wrote a Bestiary around 1120 which he says he translated into French; evidence shows that he probably used a Latin bestiary possibly at least a hundred years old. In his volume he describes some 41 animals through the lens of Christian attributes. Across the distance of an entire millennium, the original sources of a powerful devotional allegory continue to speak with relevance today, through modern translation and captivating music.

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Sunday 21 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday in Lent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prélude (from Prélude, Andante et Toccata)    André Fleury

The Great Litany (sung in procession)    Thomas Tallis

Psalm 27     Plainchant, Tone VII

Gospel Hymn     Weary of earth, and laden with my sin     Hymnal 1940 #58

Offertory Anthem     The secret of Christ    Richard Shephard

Communion Anthem     Call to remembrance       Richard Farrant

Communion Hymn      Here, O my Lord     Hymnal 1940 # 208, First Tune

Final Hymn     O for a closer walk with God      Hymnal 1940 # 416, First Tune

Voluntary     I call to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, S. 643      Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Richard Shephard is Director of Development and former Headmaster of the Choir School of York Minster in northern England. He has always had a dual career as an administrator and composer; many of his compositions have become popular in America, for which work he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Through the Offertory anthem we are invited to take encouragement for our pilgrimage through Lent. The work was commissioned by the Bishop of Salisbury for a Lent Study program of the same title, used by the Diocese of Salisbury in 1980.

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Sunday 14 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The First Sunday in Lent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Prelude    Louis Vierne

The Great Litany (sung in place)    Thomas Tallis

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16    Plainchant, Tone VIII

Gospel Hymn   Forty days and forty nights  Hymnal 1940 #55

Offertory Anthem   Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun    John Hilton

Communion Anthem   Psalm 51:1-13       Plainsong, Tone IV

Communion Hymn   Bread of the world, in mercy broken     Hymnal 1940 # 196

Final Hymn     The glory of these forty days      Hymnal 1940 # 61

Voluntary   Fugue in C minor        Jean-Jacques Beauvarlet-Charpentier

Music note: The text of the offertory anthem was conceived not as a hymn but as a poem, and a great deal of its universal appeal derives from its unabashed particularity. John Donne calls attention to himself not only by punning on his own surname but also by making it the basis of the two rhymes running through all three stanzas. Less obvious, but no less important, is the second rhyme-word that concludes every stanza: more. This is the surname of Donne’s wife, whose maiden name was Ann More, who had died six years before. Perhaps one reason for the enduring immediacy of this poem is that, despite its particular references and its somewhat veiled theological concerns with original and habitual sin, it manages to convey a convincing sense of assurance. (From a note by Carl P. Daw, Jr. and Jeffrey Wasson.)

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Sunday 7 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Last Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Lord God, now open wide thy heaven, BWV 617    Johann Sebastian Bach

Introit at the blessing of candles: Nunc Dimittis      George Dyson in C minor

Psalm 99      Anglican Chant by John Goss

Gospel Hymn   Alleluia! sing to Jesus!   Hymnal 1940 #347, Second Tune

Offertory Anthem   The Transfiguration   Larry King

Communion Anthem   Prayer for the blessing of light     Malcolm Archer

Communion Hymn   Father, we thank thee who hast planted   Hymnal 1940 # 195

Final Hymn     O wondrous type! O vision fair    Hymnal 1982 # 137

Voluntary   Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)     Dieterich Buxtehude

Music note: The opening voluntary is a depiction in music of the aged Simeon visiting the Temple in Jerusalem, heard in the rhythm of the pedal part which suggested to Albert Schweitzer the “uncertain steps of a pilgrim who has finished his course and now goes with weary steps to the gate of eternity.” Simeon then sang the Nunc Dimittis, having seen the Presentation of Christ in the Temple. 

Larry King was organist and choir director of Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York from 1968 to 1989. He composed several works incorporating pre-recorded synthesized sounds alongside traditional organ and choral writing, of an iconoclastic yet deeply spiritual nature. The offertory anthem is one of these, and there is little that could be said to prepare the listener for the experience, intentionally as mystifying and bizarre and hopefully transcendent as the event it describes in music. The pre-recorded part is coordinated with the live performance using a stopwatch. It includes not only sounds from a synthesizer, but also echoing filtered sounds of the choir of Trinity Church, Wall Street.

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Sunday 31 January 2016 at 9:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Special combined service time owing to rescheduled Annual Meeting following

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Duo; Basse de trompette; Récit de nazard     Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Processional Hymn     Christ is the world’s true light    Hymnal 1940 # 258

Psalm 71:1-6      Anglican Chant by C. Hubert H. Parry

Gospel Hymn   Come down, O love divine!   Hymnal 1940 # 376

Offertory Anthem   Lord, you have searched me out    Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Anthem   To love     Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Communion Hymn   Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness  Hymnal 1940 # 210

Final Hymn     The people who in darkness walked  Hymnal 1982 # 126

Voluntary   Caprice sur les grands jeux     Louis-Nicolas Clérambault

Music note: In the offertory anthem, searching is symbolized by the powerful pull between major and minor tonality heard in the opening triplet motive of the accompaniment. A variety of textures and moods suits the wide emotional range of Psalm 139 and pays homage to the long history of musical settings of the psalms, with solo, choral and chant sections. In the chant section, a duet between an adult and a child is based on the interval of the descending minor third, which research shows to be a remarkably constant first musical utterance of children around the world regardless of native cultural tradition. Is it not amazing that God would know us before we are born, each in our individualities, and also give us a common first voice? The communion anthem was written for the composer’s wedding and reflects the second lesson, expressing love (charity) as the centerpiece of God’s design.

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Sunday 24 January 2016 at 9:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Special combined service time owing to Annual Meeting following

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   How bright appears the Morning Star     Dieterich Buxtehude

Processional Hymn     Hail to the Lord’s Anointed     Hymnal 1940 # 545, First Tune

Psalm 19      Anglican Chants by Jonathan Battishill and Henry Aldrich

Gospel Hymn   Book of books, our people’s strength    Hymnal 1940 # 403

Offertory Anthem   Christ, whose glory fills the skies     T. Frederick H. Candlyn

Communion Anthem   Jesu, joy of man’s desiring     Johann Sebastian Bach

Communion Hymn   My God, thy table now is spread   Hymnal 1940 # 203

Final Hymn     How bright appears the Morning Star    Hymnal 1982 # 497

Voluntary    Fugue on How bright appears the Morning Star    Max Reger

Music note: The prelude is a treatment of two stanzas of the Epiphany hymn ‘How bright appears the morning star,’ although owing to the repeated phrases in the melody and its overall length, the composition unfolds rather like a set of variations, with color and texture matching the mood of the stanzas.  (Dietrich Buxtehude was the outstanding composer of organ music in North Germany in the generation before J. S. Bach; at the age of twenty, Bach famously walked some 250 miles each way from Arnstadt to Lubeck to hear Buxtehude play, outstaying his authorized absence from his church post by several months.)

If it has been said of Mozart’s music that there are ‘too many notes,’ it is all the more justly said of Max Reger’s music that there are so many notes, it would be most economical to print merely the spaces between them, using white ink on black paper! In the postlude, the text being set by the composer is “Sing! Leap! Be jubilant, Rejoice! Thank the Lord; Great is the King of Glory.”

 Thomas Frederick Handel Candlyn was an English-born church musician who spent twenty-eight years at St. Paul’s Church, Albany, New York, and the final ten of his career at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York. The offertory anthem is an enduring favorite of his some two hundred works, and contains a splendid example of text-painting at the beginning of the second verse. “Day-spring” is the beginning of dawn; “Day-star” is the morning star. “Sun of Righteousness” is an attribute spoken of Christ in Malachi 4:2 (referring to God’s blessings on the good): “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.” This reference also underscores the double-meaning of “Sun” as “Son” in the context of Epiphany.

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Sunday 17 January 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary   Gratefully praise Almighty God     Johann Sebastian Bach

Processional Hymn     What star is this, with beams so bright     Hymnal 1940 # 47

Psalm 36:5-10      Anglican Chant by Henry Aldrich

Gospel Hymn   All praise to thee, O Lord     Hymnal 1982 # 138

Offertory Anthem   Brightest and best of the stars of the morning   arr. Malcolm Archer

Presentation Hymn   Christ is the world’s true light      Hymnal 1940 #258

Communion Anthem   Here, O my Lord     Barry Rose

Communion Hymn    O God, unseen yet ever near    Hymnal 1940 # 198, First Tune

Final Hymn     Earth has many a noble city     Hymnal 1940 # 48

Voluntary    Break forth, ye heavens     Edward Broughton

Music note: Barry Rose is a composer, choir trainer and organist most well known for his tenure as sub-organist and later music director of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London (1974-1984) during which he directed the music of the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. The communion anthem was originally written for treble voices and is dedicated to the Choristers of Saint Paul’s Church, Fairfield, Connecticut and their then music director, Vincent Edwards (now music director of Grace Church, Providence).

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Sunday 10 January 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The First Sunday after the Epiphany

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntaries   Good Christian men, rejoice                   Johann Sebastian Bach

Good Christian men, rejoice                    Johann Michael Bach

Processional Hymn     Songs of thankfulness and praise     Hymnal 1940 # 53

Psalm 29       Anglican Chant by James Turle

Gospel Hymn   Brightest and best of the stars of the morning     Hymnal 1940 # 46, First tune

Offertory Anthem    The Gallery Carol     arr. Robin Wells

Presentation Hymn   Christ whose glory fills the skies      Hymnal 1940 #153

Communion Anthem    Epiphany     Skinner Chávez-Melo

Final Hymn     As with gladness men of old                 Hymnal 1940 # 52

Voluntary     In thee is gladness, BWV 615         Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: The offertory carol is also sometimes called ‘The Gallery Carol’ because it belongs to the tradition associated with the choirs and bands sited in the west galleries of English churches before the advent of organs in the mid-19th century. This particular carol was discovered in the early 20th century in an old Dorset west-gallery songbook and included in the English Carol Book of 1919. The original songbook has been lost but the original carol probably dates back to the early or mid-18th century. (hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com) The tune is here colorfully arranged by Robin Wells, director of the Godalming Operatic Society since 1966, regarded as one of England’s leading Gilbert and Sullivan Societies.

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Sunday 3 January 2016 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday of Christmas

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary    Eternal purposes      Olivier Messiaen

Processional Hymn     God rest you merry, gentlemen     Hymnal 1940 # 40

Psalm 84       Anglican Chant by C. Hubert H. Parry

Gospel Hymn   Jesus! Name of wondrous love!     Hymnal 1940 # 323, First Tune

Offertory Anthem    Coventry Carol     arr. Martin Shaw

Presentation Hymn    Unto us a boy is born!       Hymnal 1940 #34

Communion Anthem  The Shepherds’ farewell

(from The Childhood of Christ, Op. 25)   Hector Berlioz

Communion Hymn   The snow lay on the ground        Hymnal 1940 # 41

Final Hymn     He whom joyous shepherds praised   Hymnal 1940 # 35

Voluntary     Good Christian friends, rejoice, BWV 729          Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: The opening voluntary is based on this passage from today’s Epistle: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6) The music, from Messiaen’s pathbreaking suite The Nativity of our Lord (1935), describes God’s eternal purposes with a very slow tempo, luminous chords and timeless time signature.

The “Coventry Carol” was traditionally performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew: the carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents, in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlehem to be killed, and takes the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of the doomed children. The music contains a well-known example of a Picardy third (a glimpse of happiness from a major chord at the end of a minor-key piece). The author is unknown; the oldest known text was written down by Robert Croo in 1534, and the oldest known setting of the melody dates from 1591. (Wikipedia)

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Sunday 27 December 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Feast of St. John the Evangelist

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary    The shepherds       Olivier Messiaen

Processional Hymn #1     Once in royal David’s city     Hymnal 1982 # 102

Processional Hymn #2     Come sing, ye choirs exultant   Hymnal 1982 # 235

Psalm 92: 1-4, 11-14       Anglican Chant by John Leman Rogers

Gospel Hymn    They cast their nets in Galilee      Hymnal 1982 # 661

Offertory Anthem    In the bleak mid-winter      Harold Darke

Communion Anthem   The infant King    arr. David Willcocks

Communion Hymn     A stable lamp is lighted         Hymnal 1982 # 104

Final Hymn     On this day earth shall ring    Hymnal 1982 # 92

Voluntary     Bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella     Keith Chapman

Music note: Olivier Messiaen’s unique musical voice was one of the most revolutionary in the twentieth century. From a set of nine meditations on the birth of Christ (1935), today’s opening voluntary depicts colorfully the shepherds, initially placed in a starry landscape (serene and mysterious, they have just found the babe lying in the manger); then “having seen the child, returning, glorifying and praising God.” The shepherds can be heard warming up their pipes, then playing a merry tune. As Messiaen’s pupil Jon Gillock observes: “A simple, naive melody comes forth in the style of an organ Noël popular during the French classical period (such as those of Daquin), always with variations. First we hear the simple melody…followed by its echo, taken by another instrument; and then, the melody ornamented, again repeated in echo. Perhaps two of the shepherds are taking turns playing while the others listen in contemplation.” This is done in the context of Messiaen’s distinctive, exotic harmonic language and rhythms.

Sir David Willcocks (December 30, 1919-September 17, 2015) is remembered in this service through the disarmingly simple carol he arranged in Carols for Choirs 2, the second of his immensely popular carol books edited and published during his seventeen years as organist and choirmaster of King’s College, Cambridge (1957-1974). Through these collections and through recordings of the King’s College Choir during a revolutionary age in recorded sound, his relatively brief tenure had immense influence in the Anglican musical world and indeed across all musical ‘denominations.’ In The Infant King we experience, much as in the communion hymn following it, the whole arc of Christ’s life and death, resurrection and living presence among us.

From the age of 21 until his untimely death in a plane crash at age 44, Keith Chapman was organist of the John Wanamaker department store (now Macy’s) Grand Court organ in Philadelphia, the largest functioning pipe organ in the world. Twice daily he gave recitals on the famous seven-story instrument, accompanying the sounds of commerce. He was widely known as a genius improviser, composer and educator who worked tirelessly to make music understandable to the public. Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella, sadly out of print, reflects Chapman’s attractive musical personality, similar to his public improvisations.

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Sunday 20 December 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Fourth Sunday of Advent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir [The Professional Choristers of The Choir School are singing at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Newport]

Voluntaries     Magnificats I, V       Marcel Dupré

Entrance Hymn       A message came to a maiden young     Hymnal 1940 # 317

Canticle: Magnificat     Plainsong, Tonus Peregrinus

Gospel Hymn   O come, O come, Emmanuel   Hymnal 1940 # 2

Offertory Anthem   Angelus ad virginem       Jefferson McConnaughey

Presentation Hymn       Sing of Mary, pure and lowly       Hymnal 1940 #117

Communion Anthem   Ave Maria    Simon Lindley

Communion Hymn     Ye who claim the faith of Jesus      Hymnal 1982 # 268

Final Hymn     Of the Father’s love begotten    Hymnal 1982 # 82

Voluntary     My soul doth magnify the Lord, BWV 648     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: The opening voluntaries are based on the first and final sections of text of the Magnificat. In ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord,’ Mary’s song of joy and praise upon hearing she would bear the Christ child, appears in a merry lyrical texture of two against three. Then, in ‘He remembering his mercy, hath holpen his servant Israel; as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever,’ the imminent fulfillment of ancient prophecy is depicted in the long-held chords and the pedals slowly descending as if from heaven to earth; the gentle dissonances resolve into meditative peace. This music is from a set of versets (organ responses to choir passages based on liturgical texts) originally improvised at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1919, and written down at the behest of Dupré’s admirer from across the channel Claude Johnson (president of the Rolls Royce automobile company).

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Sunday 13 December 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Third Sunday of Advent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntaries     Preludes on ‘I know a rose-tree springing’        Anton Heiller, Johannes Brahms

Entrance Hymn        I know a rose-tree springing     Hymnal 1940 # 17

Canticle: Behold, God is my salvation    Ecce, Deus     Plainsong, Tone III

Gospel Hymn   Rejoice, rejoice, believers    Hymnal 1940 # 761

Offertory Anthem   Rejoice in the Lord alway       Henry Purcell

Communion Anthem   This is the truth sent from above     Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Hymn     Once he came in blessing      Hymnal 1982 # 53

Final Hymn     Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding    Hymnal 1982 # 59

Voluntary       Once he came in blessing  BWV 600     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: This is the truth sent from above, a carol sung at communion, is one of the many treasures collected from oral tradition in rural England and written down by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the early twentieth century. The words and melody were collected from a Mr. W. Jenkins of Kings Pyon, Herefordshire in 1909 (the carol is sometimes known as The Herefordshire Carol), and arranged (harmonized) by Vaughan Williams. The text had been around for a few generations at least; a version sixteen verses long was published in a collection of 58 carols, A Good Christmas Box, in Staffordshire in 1847. The relative gloom of this message (lifted only at the final line), tied to today’s Gospel, is lightened by the contrasting joy of prophecy fulfilled, of the first and second lessons. Purcell’s “Bell anthem” (Rejoice in the Lord alway), so called because of the continuously pealing descending scales in the organ introduction, colorfully depicts the second lesson with a trio of soloists and a merry choral refrain.

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Sunday 6 December 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Second Sunday of Advent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Savior of the Nations, come   BWV 659     Johann Sebastian Bach

Entrance Hymn        Come, thou long-expected Jesus      Hymnal 1940 # 1

Canticle: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel   Benedictus Dominus Deus     Plainsong, Tonus Peregrinus

Gospel Hymn   On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry     Hymnal 1940 # 10

Offertory Anthem   This is the record of John       Orlando Gibbons

Communion Anthem   A tender shoot     Otto Goldschmidt

Communion Hymn     Thy kingdom come! On bended knee   Hymnal 1940 # 391

Final Hymn     Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates     Hymnal 1940 # 484

Voluntary       Savior of the Nations, come   BWV 599     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Today’s offertory anthem is an example of a ‘verse anthem,’  a type which developed and was very popular during the early 17th to the middle of the 18th centuries in England. In a verse anthem the music alternates between contrasting sections for a solo voice or voices and the full choir. The organ provided accompaniment in liturgical settings, but viols took the accompaniment outside of the church. Verse anthems were a major part of the English Reformation due to the use of English rather than Latin, and because the use of soloists allowed the text to be expressed more clearly as decreed by the monarchy. This is the record of John was written by Gibbons for a visit of the Archbishop to his alma mater, St. John’s College, Oxford.

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Sunday 29 November 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The First Sunday of Advent

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prelude on Aberystwyth     Claude Means

Entrance Hymn        Watchman, tell us of the night    Hymnal 1940 # 440, Second Tune

Psalm 25:1-9   Plainsong, Tone I

Gospel Hymn   O come, O come, Emmanuel       Hymnal 1940 # 2

Offertory Anthem   Advent Matin Responsory   Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina

Presentation Hymn      The King shall come when morning dawns         Hymnal 1940 # 11

Communion Anthem   We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God     William McKie

Communion Hymn     Let all mortal flesh keep silence    Hymnal 1940 # 197

Final Hymn     Lo! he comes, with clouds descending       Hymnal 1940 # 5

Voluntary       Sleepers, wake!  BWV 645     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Sir William McKie, born in Melbourne, Australia, was educated at Oxford then became Melbourne City Organist. In 1941 he returned to England to become Organist of Westminster Abbey where he remained until his retirement to Canada in 1963. His best-known composition We wait for thy loving-kindness, O God was written for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947. The Advent hymn-tune Helmsley was first printed with the text “Lo! he comes, with clouds descending” in London in 1765, and first published in America in 1799. An earlier version of the tune exists in an almost flippant, secular style. It was not widely used in Anglican/Episcopal circles until Ralph Vaughan Williams selected it for inclusion in The English Hymnal of 1906. He transformed it into a stately Edwardian melody by his harmonies (faithfully transcribed in our hymnal), revealing the tune’s potential as a solemn processional. (Hymn note adapted from an essay by Nicholas Temperley and Geoffrey Wainwright.)

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Sunday 22 November 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   Christ the King

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prelude to a Te Deum     Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Entrance Hymn        Crown him with many crowns    Hymnal 1940 # 352

Psalm 93      Anglican Chant by  Jonathan Battishill

Gospel Hymn     The head that once was crowned with thorns    Hymnal 1940 # 106

Offertory Anthem    Te deum, laudamus in B-flat      Charles Villiers Stanford

Communion Anthem   Laudate Dominum      Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Communion Hymn     Draw nigh and take the Body of the Lord          Hymnal 1940 #202

Final Hymn     All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine        Hymnal 1940 # 366

Voluntary       Grand-choeur dialogué     Eugène Gigout

Music note: Knighted in 1902, Dublin-born Charles Villiers Stanford had a long and distinguished career in Cambridge and London as a professor, composer and conductor. In addition to his legacy of ever-popular church compositions, and lesser-known orchestral and chamber music, songs and incidental music, he is known for his great influence as a teacher of the next generation of English composers, notably Vaughan Williams, Ireland, Holst and Howells. His stirring music is superbly wedded to the text of the Te Deum, one of the most ancient hymns of praise. Authorship of the Te Deum is traditionally ascribed to Saints Ambrose and Augustine, on the occasion of the latter’s baptism by the former in AD 387.

 

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Sunday 15 November 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The 121st Feast of Dedication

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prelude in E-flat Major, BWV 552     Johann Sebastian Bach

Entrance Hymn        Christ is made the sure foundation     Hymnal 1940 # 780

Psalm 84      Anglican Chant by C. Hubert H. Parry

Gospel Hymn    I love thy kingdom, Lord       Hymnal 1940 # 388

Offertory Anthem    Locus iste      Anton Bruckner

Presentation Hymn   Glorious things of thee are spoken      Hymnal 1940 # 385

Communion Anthem   O sacrum convivium      Richard Funk

Communion Hymn     And now, O Father, mindful of the love     Hymnal 1940 # 189

Final Hymn     O God, our help in ages past        Hymnal 1940 # 289

Voluntary       Fugue in E-flat Major, BWV 552     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music note: Bruckner composed Locus iste in 1869 for the dedication ceremony of the Votivkapelle (votive chapel) at the New Cathedral in Linz, Austria. The Cathedral had been under construction since 1862, and the Votivkapelle was completed in 1869 as its first section. At that time Bruckner lived in Vienna, teaching at the Vienna Conservatory and at the Vienna University. He had a strong connection to Linz Cathedral, where he had been the cathedral organist from 1855 to 1868, and had already been commissioned by the Bishop to compose a Festive Cantata for the laying of the foundation stone of the new cathedral. The text is the Latin gradual for the annual celebration of a church’s dedication. (Wikipedia)  Richard Funk was an assistant to his teacher McNeil Robinson at the church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City in the mid-1970s. O Sacrum Convivium was composed for Evensong and Benediction to be sung at that church in 1975. Richard is a retired musician currently living in Newport. 

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Sunday 8 November 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the Professional Choristers of The Choir School and St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Requiescat in Pace     Leo Sowerby

Entrance Hymn        O God, beneath thy guiding hand     Hymnal 1940 # 148

Psalm 146      Anglican Chant by George Job Elvey

Gospel Hymn     Go, labor on! spend and be spent!      Hymnal 1940 # 473

Offertory Anthem    Greater love hath no man      John Ireland

Communion Anthem   Pie Jesu, from Requiem      Gabriel Fauré

Communion Hymn     O Saving Victim, opening wide      Insert

Final Hymn     God of our Fathers, whose almighty hand        Hymnal 1940 # 143

Voluntary       Elegy (1944)     George Thalben-Ball

Music note: Of his Requiscat in Pace, Leo Sowerby wrote: “It was written as a tribute to those who went ‘over there’ in 1917-1918, and didn’t return. I feel that the music tells its own story of the eventual triumph of the spirit over the unimportance of bodily or material things, but don’t quote me…I wouldn’t want to be taken for a Christian Scientist!”

The offertory anthem resourcefully draws on several texts to illuminate our inheritance as the Redeemed of God, set to music of a fitting variety of characters. Written in 1912, the anthem predates specific reference to veterans, referring to the more general stewardship of our lives.

George Thalben-Ball was organist and choir director of London’s famed Temple Church for nearly sixty years. He composed several anthems and organ works, of which the best known is his meditative Elegy for organ. This piece originated in an improvisation which Thalben-Ball played at the end of a live BBC daily religious service during World War II, when the service finished a couple of minutes earlier than expected. So many listeners to the broadcast telephoned the BBC to ask what the composition was, that he decided to write down his improvisation as well as he could remember it.

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Sunday 1 November 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   All Saints’ Day

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Meditation on Urbs Beata Jerusalem          Gerre Hancock

Entrance Hymn       Who are these like stars appearing             Hymnal 1940 # 130

Psalm 24      Anglican Chant by Joseph Barnby

Gospel Hymn     For all the saints       Hymnal 1940 # 126, First Tune

Offertory Anthem     And I saw a new heaven       Grayston Ives

Communion Anthem   Soul of my Savior      Richard Shephard

Communion Hymn     For thy dear saints, O Lord      Hymnal 1940 # 124

Final Hymn     Ye watchers and ye holy ones          Hymnal 1940 # 599

Voluntary       Prelude on ‘Sine Nomine’            Leo Sowerby

Music note: Edgar Bainton is remembered today primarily for one anthem And I saw a new heaven, secure in the annals of Anglican church music. Son of a Congregational minister, he was a child prodigy pianist and wrote many works including anthems, songs and symphonic music, only recently coming to light and being recorded. After fifty years in England, Bainton spent another twenty-three working in Australia. In the offertory anthem (1938), the dramatic vision from Revelation is splendidly matched by changing musical moods. An especially lovely melody introduced by the tenors partway through is echoed at the vision’s peaceful conclusion.

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Sunday 25 October 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     In thee is gladness, BWV 615           Johann Sebastian Bach

Entrance Hymn       Alleluia, song of gladness             Hymnal 1940 # 54

Psalm 126      Anglican Chant by Edward Cutler

Gospel Hymn     O for a thousand tongues to sing        Hymnal 1940 # 776

Offertory Anthem     Ecce sacerdos magnus       Edward Elgar

Presentation Hymn    Majestic sweetness sits enthroned    Hymnal 1940 # 353

Communion Anthem    As torrents in summer       Elgar

Communion Hymn     O Food to pilgrims given      Hymnal 1982 # 309

Final Hymn     Joyful, joyful, we adore thee           Hymnal 1940 # 769

Voluntary     Fugue in C Major (“Jig”)            Dieterich Buxtehude

Music note: The anthems by Edward Elgar relate to the second lesson and communion hymn. Ecce sacerdos magnus is traditionally sung at the entrance of Bishops into a Nave; the text from Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom), a volume of ethical teachings dating from around 200–175 BC. As torrents in summer is a part-song from Elgar’s cantata Scenes from the Saga of King Olaf, Op. 30 (1896). As the work’s unaccompanied concluding chorus, it summarizes the life, conversion and death of a Norse crusader in England. Use of a simple hymn-like tune for this purpose parallels Bach’s poignant use of chorales at the conclusion of his cantatas.

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Sunday 18 October 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Fantaisie in C minor, BWV 562           Johann Sebastian Bach

Entrance Hymn       When our heads are bowed with woe             Hymnal 1940 # 79

Psalm 91:9-16      Anglican Chant by John Leman Rogers

Gospel Hymn     Jesus calls us; o’er the tumult             Hymnal 1940 # 566, Second Tune

Offertory Anthem     Surely he hath borne our griefs        Antonio Lotti

Communion Anthem    O Lamb of God       John Taverner

Communion Hymn     Here, O my Lord      Hymnal 1940 # 208, First Tune

Final Hymn      Lead us, heav’nly Father, lead us            Hymnal 1940 # 567

Voluntary     Improvisation in A minor, Op. 150 No. 7          Camille Saint-Saëns

Music note: Today’s opening hymn, closely related to the first Lesson, is a Litany first published in Bishop Heber’s Hymns, 1827, and introduced to the Episcopal Hymnal in 1874. The original refrain was “Gracious Son of Mary, hear,” and stanza three, line one, read “The sullen death bell tolls.” (The Hymnal 1940 Companion.) The tune, sometimes known by the tune-name Redhead after its composer, is quite similar in rhythm to another more commonly known as Redhead by the same composer, at No. 70 (Go to dark Gethsemane); neither tune is named Redhead in our hymnal.

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Sunday 11 October 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir 

Voluntary     Prelude in B Major, Op. 99 No. 1          Camille Saint-Saëns

Entrance Hymn       O thou who camest from above             Hymnal 1940 # 463

Psalm 90:12-17      Anglican Chant by Joseph Barnby

Gospel Hymn     I love thy kingdom, Lord                     Hymnal 1940 # 388

Offertory Anthem     O how amiable         Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Anthem    If ye love me     Thomas Tallis

Communion Hymn   Let thy Blood in mercy poured    Hymnal 1940 # 190

Final Hymn   The Church’s one foundation            Hymnal 1940 # 396

Voluntary     These are the holy ten commandments            Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The opening hymn is the basis of a set of organ meditations based on stained glass windows of Hereford Cathedral, composed by Peter Berton and played here this afternoon at 4 pm. Bach the numerologist-symbolist is much in evidence in the closing voluntary, where an accompanimental motive of repeated notes (taken from the first notes of the Lutheran hymn tune on which the piece is based), occurs exactly ten times in its original melodic structure. As observed by musicologist Russell Stinson, this sturdy motive is followed in imitation many times over to symbolize obedience to divine law (that is, man ‘following’ God).

 

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Sunday 4 October 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

with Blessing of the Animals

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir and the Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County

Voluntary     Sheep may safely graze          Johann Sebastian Bach

Entrance Hymn       The spacious firmament on high          Hymnal 1940 # 309

Psalm 8      Plainsong, Tone V2; Fauxbourdon by Gerre Hancock

Gospel Hymn     God who made the earth                       Hymnal 1940 # 248

Offertory Anthem     Jubilate Deo         William Walton

Presentation Hymn   Savior, like a shepherd lead us       Hymnal 1940 # 247

Communion Anthem    The Lord is my shepherd     Howard Goodall

Communion Hymn   Make me a channel of your peace

Final Hymn   All things bright and beautiful            Hymnal 1940 # 311

Voluntary     Hornpipe from Water Music            George Frideric Handel

Music Note: The communion hymn is an adaptation of a text attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of animals and nature whose feast day is October 4. During the World Environment Day 1982, Pope John Paul II said that St. Francis’s love and care for creation was a challenge for contemporary Catholics and a reminder “not to behave like dissident predators where nature is concerned, but to assume responsibility for it, taking all care so that everything stays healthy and integrated, so as to offer a welcoming and friendly environment even to those who succeed us.” The descant was composed by Martin Neary, organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey, for the funeral of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales in 1997.

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Sunday 27 September 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

sung by the St. John’s Adult Choir

Voluntary   Meditation on Picardy     Leo Sowerby

Entrance Hymn       Christ, the fair glory        Hymnal 1940 # 123, Second Tune        

Psalm 103:19-22      Anglican Chant by Samuel Wesley 

Gospel Hymn     Around the throne of God a band                          Hymnal 1940 # 120

Offertory Anthem    Ye watchers and ye holy ones         George Oldroyd

Communion Anthem    O taste and see   Ralph Vaughan Williams

Communion Hymn   Let all mortal flesh keep silence                    Hymnal 1940 # 197

Final Hymn   Ye holy angels bright       Hymnal 1940 # 600

Voluntary     Kyrie, thou Spirit Divine, BWV 671     Johann Sebastian Bach

Music Note: The communion anthem was composed for the 1953 coronation service of Elizabeth II, sung as the new queen made her personal communion.  +  The postlude is a setting of a German hymn version of Kyrie eleison which contains additional text between its two Greek words: “Kyrie! Thou Spirit Divine! Oh grant us thy power evermore That we when life is o’er With joy uprising may leave our sorrows. Eleison!” The sentiment therein is matched by a majestic and elaborate fantasia. The initial three rising notes of the melody (heard in long pedal tones) is also the motive upon which all the accompanying material is based, either right-side-up or upside-down. The startlingly dissonant conclusion to this music could have been written in modern times.

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Sunday 20 September 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   The Feast of St. Matthew

sung by the Women of St. John’s Adult Choir

Voluntary   Improvisation (1994)      Gerre Hancock , transcr. Peter S. Berton

Entrance Hymn       Come, pure hearts, in sweetest measure         Hymnal 1940 # 134        

Psalm 119:33-40      Anglican Chant by John Robinson 

Gospel Hymn     Come sing, ye choirs exultant                           Hymnal 1940 # 133

Offertory Anthem    Strengthen ye the weak hands         William H. Harris

Communion Anthem    A prayer     Richard Lloyd

Communion Hymn    O God, unseen yet ever near         Hymnal 1940 # 198, First Tune

Final Hymn    Be thou my vision     Hymnal 1982 # 488

Voluntary      Prelude on Slane    Gerre Hancock

Music Note: Sir William H. Harris grew up in London as a chorister and at the age of 16 won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music where he would become Professor of Organ and Harmony from 1921 to 1955. He became Organist of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor in 1933, was a conductor at both the 1937 and 1953 coronations, and was knighted in 1954. His extended anthem “Strengthen ye the weak hands” was “composed and sung in Canterbury Cathedral for the opening service in commemoration of the Science and Art of Healing” in 1949. The music begins and ends solemnly, framing a beautifully melodic and exciting vision of healing and abundance.  +  Richard Lloyd was organist of Hereford Cathedral from 1966-1974 before moving to Durham Cathedral. From his time at Hereford comes a lovely prayer dedicated to his wife, sung during communion.

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Sunday 13 September 2015 at 10:00 a.m.   +   Holy Cross Day

sung by the Women of St. John’s Adult Choir with The Professional Choristers of The Choir School of Newport County

Voluntary          Ah, holy Jesus, Op. 122 No. 3          Johannes Brahms

Entrance Hymn       Lord Christ, when first thou cam’st to men         Hymnal 1940 # 522       

Psalm 98:1-4     Anglican Chant by Ivor Atkins

Gospel Hymn     Ah, holy Jesus                           Hymnal 1940 # 71

Offertory Anthem    Crux fidelis         Manoel Dias de Oliveira

Communion Anthem    Ave verum corpus     Edward Elgar

Communion Hymn   Bread of heav’n, on thee we feed         Hymnal 1940 # 212

Final Hymn   Lift high the cross     Hymnal 1982 # 473

Voluntary     Toccata: The wondrous cross, Op. 22 No. 5          Peter Stoltzfus Berton

Music Note: The offertory anthem is a portion of the hymn Pange Lingua (Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle) sung during the ceremony of the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday. The motets of Brazilian composer Manuel Dias de Oliveira generally include homophonic writing (when the voices move together at the same time, as in a hymn), formal concision (short works, but particularly expressive), plus some harmonic conceptions of refined design and creativity.  +  Elgar’s Ave verum corpus, Op. 2 No. 1, was written in 1887 during the three years he had succeeded his father as organist at St. George’s Roman Catholic Church, Worcester. Originally it was a Pie Jesu; Elgar revised it in 1902 adapting it to the text Ave verum corpus and doubling its length.