Music Notes for July 23, 2023

Text: John Cawood (1775-1852)
Tune: ST. FLAVIAN, English folk tune

Written about 1815 in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, and designated for use "After a Sermon". The text is stimulated by Jesus’ parable of the sower. It was reprinted in 1825 and from that date it has grown in importance as a congregational hymn, and its use has become extensive in all English-speaking countries. John Cawood published several prose works, but no volume of hymns or poems. His son says, "My father composed about thirteen hymns, which have one by one got into print, though never published by himself, or any one representing him.”

ST. FLAVIAN is an example of an English psalm tune that, like many Genevan Psalter tunes and German chorales, had its original rhythms smoothed out. It is an English tune that has been happily attached to numerous texts.

Offertory from Thirty-five Miniatures for Organ, #18 Flor Peeters (1903-1986)

This is another selection from Flor Peters’ collection of Thirty-five Miniatures for Organ.

His compositions include an organ method, various collections and recital pieces, and work for church use. His "Thirty-Five Miniatures" is perhaps his most popular collection of organ compositions.

Opening Voluntary: “Down Ampney (Hommage to RVW)” David Blackwell (1961)

To ready our hearts and minds for the service, I continue to offer quiet and gentle music to help us feel cool and comfortable in spite of some very hot weather. This is David Blackwell’s setting of DOWN AMPNEY, in which he uses introductory and accompanying material recalling the very pleasing style of last Sunday’s Opening Voluntary, Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “Rosemedre.” In addition, this tune, written for the text "Come Down, O Love Divine" was composed by Vaughn Williams and named DOWN AMPNEY in honor of his birthplace.

Closing Voluntary: "We Are One in the Spirit" (St. Brendan’s)” by David Schelat (1955)

Also known as "They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love," Peter Scholtes (1938–2009) wrote this hymn text and the hymn tune “St. Brendan’s” while he was a parish priest at St. Brendan's on the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s. The idea for the hymn was born when he was leading a youth choir and was looking for an appropriate song for a series of ecumenical, interracial events. When he couldn't find such a song, he wrote the now-famous hymn in a single day. His experiences at St. Brendan's, and in the Chicago Civil Rights movement, influenced him for the rest of his life.

David Schelat is Minister of Music at First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware. He has performed as organist, conductor, or composer for five regional conventions of the AGO, as well as for conferences of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, and National Association of Pastoral Musicians.