Music Notes for September 18, 2022

Hymn of the Day: “God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending” ELW 678
Text: Robert Lansing Edwards (1915- 2006)

For its fortieth anniversary celebration the Department of Stewardship and Benevolence of the National Council of Churches in the U.S.A., in cooperation with the Hymn Society of America (now of the United States and Canada) asked for new hymns on stewardship. From about 450 submissions a committee chose ten and published them in a little pamphlet called Ten New Stewardship Hymns (1961). This one by Robert L. Edwards (August 15, 1915-January 15, 2006) was included. Edwards recalls writing the text "in the White Mountains of New Hampshire while we were summering at our cottage in the tiny town of Randolph. It had four stanzas. Like Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Evangelical Lutheran Worship, most hymnals have used the first three with alterations and updated language.

Robert Lansing Edwards was born in Auburn, NY on 5 August 1915. He graduated from Princeton University in 1937. He earned an MA in history from Harvard University in 1938, and a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological University in 1949. He was minister at First Congregational Church, Litchfield, Conn. for 7 years and was minister at Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford, Conn. from 1956 until 1980. He was active in establishing low income senior housing, in prison ministry and with other community endeavors. He wrote several hymn texts as well as four books including Of Singular Genius, Of Singular Grace, a biography of Horace Bushnell, a famous pastor from Hartford; and his autobiography My Moment in History.

C. Hubert H. Parry's RUSTINGTON first appeared in the Westminster Abbey Hymn Book (London, 1897). It was first published in the Westminster Abbey Hymn Book (1897) as a setting for Benjamin Webb's "Praise the Rock of Our Salvation." The tune is named for the village in Sussex, England, where Parry lived for some years and where he died. This is such a distinguished melody and pairs well with this text.

Opening Voluntary: “Toplady” Al Roberts

This hymn text, “Rock of Ages” is usually sung to TOPLADY by Thomas Hastings. Written for this text, TOPLADY was first published in Spiritual Songs for Social Worship, edited by Hastings and Lowell Mason, in 1832. The tune's name comes from the author of the text, Augustus Toplady.

Offertory: From the Rising of the Sun” F. A. Gore Ouseley (1825-1889)

Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley is a neglected but fascinating character in nineteenth century church music. A precious child, at the age of five, he exclaimed “Only look, Papa blows his nose in G!” His short anthem “From the rising of the sun” has a hymn-like character and the words speak clearly to the listener. The text is from the Book of Malachi.

From the rising of the sun
unto the going down of the same
my name shall be great, among the Gentiles;
and in ev'ry place incense shall be offer'd up unto my name:
for my name shall be great among the heathen,
thus saith the Lord!

Closing Voluntary: “Hornpipe in D” John S. Dixon (1957)

The hornpipe is a dance form played and danced in Britain (and elsewhere) from the late 17th century until the present day. It is said that hornpipe as a dance began on English sailing vessels. This is a fun, active piece.

Born in London, England, John S. Dixon was classically trained in piano and organ. During his school years he was active in music in the Anglican church, and was a founding member of The Southend Boys Choir, one of Britain's foremost youth choirs. He earned degrees from The Queen's College, Oxford University, and Harvard Business School. His composing has flourished since moving to America in 1988, largely through his involvement in the music ministry at Providence Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, where he is currently organist and composer-in-residence. He has written hundreds of pieces for church and secular use.