Music Notes for August 28. 2022

Gathering Hymn: "Look Who Gathers", ACS 977
Text: Thomas H. Troeger (1945)
Tune: COPELAND, Michael Corzine (1947)

This hymn imagines the assembly gathered for worship, bringing their whole lives with them—their joy and their pain. The text was commissioned by the First Presbyterian Church of Tallahassee, Florida, to honor its pastor, Brant S. Copeland, and was first sung there in October 2000. The tune was created specifically for this text. There might be some who feel unworthy because of their sin, but Jesus assures them they are welcome: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Opening Voluntary: “Schmucke Dich” (Deck Thyself, My Soul) J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

This text is often considered the best and most popular of the Lutheran chorales for the Lord's Supper. The dominant tone is one of deep joy enhanced by a sense of awe. We express joy and praise for "this wondrous banquet" (st. 1), and we show reverence in receiving Christ (st. 2). Thankful for "heavenly food" and drink (st. 3), we rejoice in Christ's love for us and in its power to unite us (st. 4).

Johann Cruger composed the hymn tune specifically for the text. Johann S. Bach used this tune in his Cantata 180; he and many other composers have written organ preludes on the melody.

Closing Voluntary: “When Morning Gilds the Skies” Robert Lind (1940)

Robert Lind studied at North Park College and the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, majoring in organ, composition, and music theory. At the age of 20, he worked with Leo Sowerby and became his assistant at the Cathedral of St. James, Chicago. He succeeded Dr. Sowerby as Organist-Choirmaster at the cathedral two years later. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era, Mr. Lind entered the publishing world, while continuing to serve various churches in the Chicago area. He is currently Organist at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Joseph Barnby (1838-1896) composed the tune, LAUDES DOMINI (“When Morning Gilds the Skies”) for this anonymous German text, a litany of praise to Christ, translated by Edward Caswall (1814- 1878). Tune and text were published together in the 1868 Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern and they have been inseparable ever since. The tune's Latin title, which means "the praises of the Lord," is derived from the litany refrain “may Jesus Christ be praised”.

Caswall's translations of Latin hymns from the Roman Breviary and other sources have a wider circulation in modern hymnals than those of any other translator. This is owing to his general faithfulness to the originals, and the purity of his rhythm, the latter feature specially adapting his hymns to music, and for congregational purposes. His original compositions, although marked by considerable poetical ability, are not extensive in their use, their doctrinal teaching being against their general adoption outside the Roman communion.