Hymn of the Day: “Jesus on the Mountain Peak”, ELW 318
Text: Brian A. Wren, (1936)
Tune: BETHOLD, Mark Sedio, (1954)
Brian Wren is a major British figure in the revival of contemporary hymn writing whose writings have been influential in raising the awareness of theology in hymns. He wrote this text at Mansfield College, Oxford, England, in 1962. Published in the British supplement 100 Hymns for Today (1959), "Christ, upon the Mountain Peak" was the second hymn text that Wren wrote.
The text is based on the gospel story of Christ's transfiguration from Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-8, and Luke 9:28-36. Powerfully poetic, the text not only captures something of the awe in the event–we share in the awe as we sing "Alleluia"–but also presents a cosmic picture: the saints, angels, prophets, all nations, and the whole creation bring praise to the true Son of God! In the style of the transfiguration celebration in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the entire focus is on Christ, the Alpha and Omega (st. 4).
We love to sing this hymn on occasions that emphasize the cosmic awe proper before God's beloved Son.
Musical Meditation: “Allegro” from Trio for Flute by Laszlo Zempleni
This great flute trio by the Hungarian composer Laszlo Zempleni is thoroughly enjoyable. It is a playful and rambunctious Vivace with cross accented rhythms and sudden changes of dynamics - quite a contrast to the first two movements. Zempleni has stamped the country of his birth all over this music, and it has the advantage of being modern but not overly complex.
László Zempléni completed his music studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest. From 1969 to 2008 he was tympanist of the Hungarian State Opera orchestra. At the same time he taught percussion instruments and chamber music at a music school, and for several years at the Ferenc Liszt Music Academy. The fruit of his almost four decades of work in music teaching includes much chamber music and numerous works for string orchestra and wind ensembles, which he composed specifically for young people studying music.
Many thanks to Carole, Cindy and Suzanne for recording the complete Trio. We have stretched out our pleasure, hearing one movement at a time, and today we hear the final movement.
Choir Anthem: “jesus, Savior, Pilot Me”
Stephen Casurella (1973)
An utterly charming setting of this hymn text by Edward Hopper. The nautical theme reflects Hopper’s ministry at the Church of the Sea and Land in New York City.
Organist, conductor, and composer Stephan Casurella was appointed director of music at Christ Church Cathedral in 2009. Stephan was born in England, where he began studying piano, organ and music composition at an early age. Stephan has written for a wide range of media.
Jesus, Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treacherous shoal.
Chart and compass come from Thee;
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
As a mother stills her child,
Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Boisterous waves obey Thy will,
When Thou sayest to them, "Be still!"
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea,
Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore,
And the fearful breakers roar
’Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
Then, while leaning on Thy breast,
May I hear Thee say to me,
Fear not, I will pilot thee.