Music Notes for November 5, 2023

Hymn of the Day: “Jerusalem My Happy Home” ELW 422
Text: F. B. P., 16th cent.
Tune: LAND OF REST, North American traditional; arr. hymnal version

This hymn is five stanzas - #11, 2, 17, 21 and 6 - taken from a twenty-six stanza English hymn found in a manuscript in the British Museum, c. 1616, where it is headed “A Song Mad [sic] by F:B:P. To the tune of Diana." Behind it lies the medieval Latin Liber Mediationum (which also lies behind "Ah, holy Jesus”). In Julian’s Dictionary William T. Brooke discusses this hymn at length. He gives the Latin, all twenty-six stanzas by F. B. P., points to a corrupted nineteen-stanza version from The Song of Mary the Mother of Christ (1601), and suggests a prior common but now unknown source. He gives another version of the hymn from The Glass of vain-glorie (1585). It has forty-four stanzas, most of which relate to the new Jerusalem, F. B. P., and the Liber Meditationum, but some of which paraphrase the Song of Solomon (which prompted "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds"). The best guess about the initials F. B. P. is that they may denote a Roman Catholic priest, and the "tune of Diana" is equally unclear.

This "originally pentatonic tune" was paired with "O land of rest, for thee I sigh!" in the 1836 Appendix of Samuel Wakefield's shape-note tune book called The Christian Harp (Pittsburgh, 1832). As we have it, the tune is hexatonic but only slightly so: the fourth degree of the scale is used twice, once as a passing tone at measure 5 and once in a more accented fashion four notes from the end. The seventh degree is not present (E in this key that is otherwise F major), which gives the tune an open, rustic flavor. Herbranson linked his hymn with John Dahle's tune LUTHER SEMINARY, found in the Service Book and Hymnal (1958). In Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) it was paired with a more pensive tune by Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) called PERRY, for which Kevin Norris wrote a chorale concertato. In Evangelical Lutheran Worship it gets a third tune. More than the first two, LAND OF REST highlights the motion and physicality of the text. If one finds such things significant, it also has a compound background beat whose three can be seen as reflecting or underscoring the trinitarian Three in whose name the church baptizes.

Offertory Anthem: “And We’ll All Sing Hallelujah” Harold Stover

“O what are all my sufferings here compared to life above?" This Charles Wesley text is set to a sturdy tune by William Walker, compiler of shape-note books such as Southern Harmony. It celebrates our joining with the saints and finding eternal rest. The music has rhythmic drive and a real sense of jubilation.

And let this feeble body fail,
And let it faint or die;
My soul shall leave the realms of earth,
And soar to worlds on high;

And I’ll sing hallelujah and you’ll sing hallelujah,
and we’ll sing hallelujah when we arrive at home.

I’ll join the disembodied saints,
And find my long sought rest,
The happiness for which I long
And life among the blest. Refrain

O what are all my sufferings here,
Compared to life above,
With all the glorious heavenly host
To live with God in love? Refrain
Give joy or grief, give ease or pain,
Take life or friends away,
But let me find them all again
In that eternal day. Refrain

Communion Anthem: “O Quam Gloriosum” Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611)

Tomás Luis de Victoria was the most famous Spanish composer of the Renaissance. His surviving works, unlike that of his colleagues, are almost exclusively sacred and polyphonic vocal music, set to Latin texts. “O quam gloriosum” is an All Saints Antiphon to the Magnificat, Second Vespers, published in 1572.

O quam gloriosum est regnum,
in quo cum Christo gaudent omnes Sancti!
Amicti stolis albis, sequuntur Agnum,
quocumque ierit.

O how glorious is the kingdom
in which all the saints rejoice with Christ!
Clothed in white robes, they follow the Lamb,
wherever He goes.

Opening Voluntary: Land of Rest” Richard Proulx (1937 - 2010)

Richard Proulx was one of the most important composers of liturgical music in the twentieth century. Modern Liturgy Magazine called him the "most significant liturgical composer of the last twenty years." He has more than 300 published works, including congregational music in every form, sacred and secular choral works, song cycles, two operas, and instrumental and organ music.

Closing Voluntary: Sine Nomine, Arthur Hutchings (1906–1989)

Arthur James Bramwell Hutchings was an English musicologist, composer, and professor of music successively at the University of Durham and the University of Exeter. He wrote extensively on topics as varied as nineteenth-century English liturgical composition, Schubert, Purcell, Edmund Rubbra, and baroque concertos; but his most famous book was the Companion to Mozart's Piano Concertos, published in 1948 and often reissued since. Among his other books are The Invention and Composition of Music and Church Music in the Nineteenth Century. His compositions include the Seasonal Preludes for organ, the overture Oriana Triumphans, the opera Marriage à la Mode, and the operetta The Plumber's Arms. Among his choral works are Hosanna to the Son of David, God is Gone Up, Grant Them Rest, and the Communion Service on Russian Themes. Hutchings served for many years as a director of the English Hymnal Company and three of his tunes were included in the 1986 New English Hymnal.