Music Notes for March 6, 2022

Hymn of the Day: “O Lord, Throughout These Forty Days” (ELW 319)
Text: Claudia Frances Hernaman (1838-1898)
Tune: CONSOLATION, A. Davisson, Kentucky Harmony, 1816

Claudia Frances Ibotson Hernaman’s hymn, “Lord, who throughout these forty days,” signals the beginning of Lent and is often sung during Ash Wednesday services or throughout the season of Lent. Forty is a number with special biblical significance. It rained for forty days and nights when the earth was overtaken by floodwaters, and Noah waited another forty days before opening the window of the Ark. Israel wandered in the desert for forty years. Jesus was seen on earth following the resurrection for forty days. In this case, Christ’s forty days in the wilderness provides the primary paradigm for the forty days of Lent.

Claudia Hernaman was born in Surrey, England, and died in Brussels, Belgium. She was the daughter of an Anglican minister, and she married a minister who also served as a school inspector. Like so many other women hymn writers of the nineteenth century, she was devoted to the religious education of children. Toward this end, she wrote 150 hymns in several collections, some original and some translated from Latin. "Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days" appeared first in her Child’s Book of Praise; A Manual for Devotion in Simple Verse (1873). It was not included in hymnals, however, until the mid-twentieth century, when it appeared in the Irish Church Hymnal (1960) and Hymns for Church and School (1964).

By the 1970s, “Lord, who throughout these forty days” was a standard hymn in most hymnals in the United States. It is based on the account of the temptation of Jesus found in three Gospels -- Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13. As is the case with many hymns, Christ’s life becomes a model for how his followers should confront temptation. The first two lines of the stanzas focus on a response of Christ when he faced temptation; the last two lines encourage Christians to model their behavior on Christ’s example. This is a familiar pattern for children’s hymns from the days of Isaac Watts. It obviously strikes a chord with adult believers as well. The classic themes of the Lenten season are presented in the stanzas of this hymn: fasting and prayer (stanza one); struggle with Satan and sin (stanza two); dying to self, meditation on scripture (stanza three); penitence (stanza four); looking toward the joy of Easter (stanza five).

MORNING SONG is a folk tune that has some resemblance to the traditional English tune for "Old King Cole." The tune appeared anonymously in Part II of John Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music (1813). In the original harmonization the melody was in the tenor. The tune is also known as CONSOLATION (and KENTUCKY HARMONY), its title in Ananias Davisson's Kentucky Harmony (1816), where it was set to Isaac Watts' morning song, "Once More, My Soul, the Rising Day."—C. Michael Hawn

Choir Anthem: “Bread of the World,” Robert Benson (1942)

A gently flowing anthem on this prayer by Reginald Heber asking Christ to look on us with mercy and to feed us with his grace. Reginald Heber was born in 1783 into a wealthy, educated family. He was a bright youth, translating a Latin classic into English verse by the time he was seven, entering Oxford at 17, and winning two awards for his poetry during his time there. After his graduation he became rector of his father's church in the village of Hodnet near Shrewsbury in the west of England where he remained for 16 years. He was appointed Bishop of Calcutta in 1823 and worked tirelessly for three years until the weather and travel took its toll on his health and he died of a stroke. Most of his 57 hymns, which include "Holy, Holy, Holy," are still in use today.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Robert Benson began organ studies in high school with William Lemmens and continued at the University of Kansas with Richard Gayhart. Since the age of sixteen he has served as organist and/or choirmaster at a number of churches and as church musician, choral conductor and composer in the Cincinnati area.

Bread of the world in mercy broken,
wine of the soul in mercy shed,
by whom the words of life were spoken,
and in whose death our sins are dead.

Look on the heart by sorrow broken,
look on the tears by sinners shed;
and be thy feast to us the token
that by thy grace our souls are fed.

Opening Voluntary: “On Eagle’s Wings", Sylvia Berg Oines

Sylvia Berg Oines, a native of the Pacific Northwest, has taught, performed and studied in the Seattle area for 30 years. As a graduate of Seattle Pacific University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education, Sylvia has taught both in public and private schools and currently serves as Organist for Bethany Presbyterian Church on Queen Anne Hill. Previous positions include general music instructor at King's Schools and Organist/Youth Choir Director at Bethel Lutheran Church of Shoreline. Areas of special interest and study include arranging hymn accompaniments for organ, choral arranging and jazz piano.

“On Eagle's Wings" is a devotional Hymn composed by Michael Joncas. Joncas wrote the piece in either 1976 or 1979, after he and his friend, Douglas Hall, returned from a meal to learn that Hall's father had died of a heart attack. has become popular as a contemplative hymn at Catholic masses as well as at Protestant services of worship.

Closing Voluntary: “Ein feste Burg,” Barbara Harbach

Dr. Barbara Harbach, Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, has a large catalog of works. She is also involved in the research, editing, publication and recording of manuscripts of eighteenth-century keyboard composers, as well as historical and contemporary women composers.