Music Notes for May 19, 2024

Hymn of the Day: O Spirit all-embracing and counselor all-wise, ACS 944
Text: Delores Dufner, OSB, (1939)
Tune: THAXED, Gustav Holst, 1874–1934

This hymn text by Benedictine sister Delores Dufner sings praise to the Holy Spirit, which enables prayer and discernment. The sweeping tune THAXED may be familiar from other hymn texts (ELW 710, 880). In this context it is particularly fitting for its ability to express reverence with humility, honesty, and clarity. The most obvious use of this hymn is at Pentecost, but it is appropriate to other seasons and occasions too. Whenever God’s people need passion, inspiration, and a ceaseless wind and undying flame to urge them forward, this hymn can prepare them for prayer and attentiveness to the Spirit’s movement.

Thaxted" is a hymn tune by the English composer Gustav Holst, based on the stately theme from the middle section of the Jupiter movement of his orchestral suite The Planets and named after Thaxted, the English village where he lived much of his life. He adapted the theme in 1921 to fit the patriotic poem "I Vow to Thee, My Country" by Cecil Spring Rice but that was as a unison song with orchestra. It did not appear as a hymn-tune called "Thaxted" until his friend Ralph Vaughan Williams included it in Songs of Praise in 1926.

After THAXTED, was originally set to the text "I vow to thee, my country" it was then used for others. That it is a splendid melody is clear. Whether it is a congregational one is less clear. Like Parry's JERUSALEM is the melody more orchestral than congregational, with problems of length and range?

Offertory: Hark! Ten-thousand Harps and Voices Robert J Powell (1932)

This is an original tune to a well-known text by Thomas Kelly (1759-1865). The text was first published in Kelly’s Hymns, &c, 2nd edition, 1806, in 7 stanzas of 6 lines, and headed with the text "Let all the angels of God worship Him." In 1812 it was included in his Hymns adapted for Social Worship, No. 7, but subsequently it was restored to the original work (edition 1853, No. 42). Its use is mainly confined to America, where it is given in several collections, including Songs for the Sanctuary, 1865. In most cases it is abbreviated.

Robert J. Powell was born in Benoit, Mississippi. Since 1958 he has published over 300 compositions for organ, choir, handbells and instrumental ensembles with leading American and English church music publishers. Robert Powell grew up in sacred music, beginning his training in the 5th grade and starting to compose in 7th grade. By age 18, he was providing piano and organ music for worship services, something he continued through his years in college and as a chaplain’s assistant in the U.S. Army. Mr. Powell holds a Bachelor of Music in Organ and Composition from Louisiana State University (1954) and a Master of Sacred Music from Union Theological Seminary in New York (1958), where he studied under Alec Wyton.

Hark, ten thousand harps and voices
Sound the note of praise above!
Jesus reigns, and Heav’n rejoices,
Jesus reigns, the God of love;
See, He sits on yonder throne;
Jesus rules the world alone.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen!

Jesus, hail! Whose glory brightens
All above, and gives it worth;
Lord of life, Thy smile enlightens,
Cheers, and charms Thy saints on earth;
When we think of love like Thine,
Lord, we own it love divine.

King of glory, reign forever!
Thine an everlasting crown.
Nothing from Thy love shall sever
Those whom Thou hast made Thine own:
Happy objects of Thy grace,
Destined to behold Thy face.

Savior, hasten Thine appearing;
Bring, O bring the glorious day,
When, the awful summons bearing
Heaven and earth shall pass away;
Then with all the saints we’ll sing,
Glory, glory to our king!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Amen!

Organ Voluntaries
March Upon Handel’s “Lift Up Your Heads,” Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911)

Félix-Alexandre Guilmant was a French organist and composer. A student of his father, then of Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, he became an organist and teacher in his place of birth. In 1871 he was appointed as organist of la Trinité church in Paris, a position that he held for 25 years. From then on he followed a career as a virtuoso; he gave concerts in Europe as well as in the USA.

Guilmant created the Schola Cantorum in 1894 with Charles Bordes and Vincent d'Indy. In 1896 he succeeded Charles-Marie Widor as organ teacher of Conservatoire de Paris. With André Pirro, he published a collection of scores, Archives des Maîtres de l'Orgue (archives of the masters of the organ), a compilation of the compositions of numerous classical French composers in ten volumes, from 1898 to 1914. He proceeded in the same manner for foreign masters of the organ, publishing l'Ecole classique de l'Orgue (Classical School of the Organ),

Guilmant was an accomplished composer, particularly for his own instrument, the organ. His organ repertoire includes his 18 collections of Pièces dans différents styles (Pieces in Differing Styles), of which today’s Voluntaries are a part.