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Sunday Music Musings January 8, 2022

January 8, 2022

Today we celebrate the Baptism of Christ. The 16th century German chorale Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (words by Martin Luther-“Christ our Lord came to the Jordan”) is actually found in our hymnal at #139, but we do not often do it. It would have been well-known to the 17th century Lutheran though, who may have recognized it despite the very ornamented quality of the great Buxtehude’s setting.

Although it is customary to sing a Gloria in this season, the choristers will lead us in a Kyrie they know well since choir was cancelled last week. I still carry on with whoever wants to be in person, and we will keep our routine (which they are getting good at) of warming up in the big room of Grace Hall, processing single file and standing far apart as we briefly sing masked. I just want to say again how proud I am of everyone for their Christmas season singing, including last week’s New Year Carol by Britten with a very small group. Watch it here 5 minutes in.

Charles Callahan

I always describe Charles Callahan (b.1951) as prolific yet it seems like an understatement with over 300 works in print! The offertory is a hymn-anthem style composition using his own tune, anonymous words, and in the middle, the Christmas tune Von Himmel hoch (From Heaven Above – HYMNAL 80-more Martin Luther). This tune has been set by zillions of composers, especially in the Baroque. Henry will play a setting by J.G. Walther (1684 – 1748) at communion and I will play one of Johann Pachelbel’s (1653 –1706) as the postlude.

Our communion music sung by the choir is HYMNAL 294, the tune POINT LOMA by David Charles Walker (1938-2018), words by Michael Saward (b. 1932-2015). Seward was residentiary Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, and also served several congregations and as radio and television officer for the Church Information Office, as well as writing over 60 hymns. David Charles Walker was an American organist/choir director turned priest who served a number of parishes, as a hospital chaplain, as a teacher at seminary/college. His most well-known hymn is GENERAL SEMINARY, a setting of the George Herbert text, “King of Glory, King of Peace,” and my favorite hymn!

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