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Sunday Music Musings Oct. 15, 2022

October 14, 2022

We continue our celebration of Ralph (‘Rafe’) Vaughan Williams’ 150th birthday by singing the tune MONK’S GATE as our first hymn. Popular in England this might be less familiar to American churches. It was originally a West Sussex song (“Our captain called all hands/ away tomorrow, Leaving these girls behind in grief and sorrow”!) and used for the text “He who would valiant be.” The hymn text suggested for this week, Jesus Our Mighty Lord, Our Strength in Sadness is attributed to St. Clement of Alexandria (c. 170-220) and paraphrased by American (Virginian) priest and writer F. Bland Tucker (1895-1984).

Hopefully the prelude will get this tune in your ear. Fanfare on Monk’s Gate is the first movement of David Blackwell’s (b. 1961) “Five English Folksongs” Suite. Blackwell is an award-winning composer and freelance arranger, writer and editor who grew up in Oxford, and studied music at Edinburgh University. His educational, choral and organ music is published in the UK and US and performed worldwide. He also works as a freelance publisher for several UK music publishers and writes for Choir and Organ magazine.

Today’s Song of Praise from our choristers is by Estonian composer and jazz musician Uno Naissoo (1928 – 1980). Metsa Telegram or ‘The Woodpeckers Warning’ is a song about protecting the environment that we will also sing in the Halloween Concert on Oct. 29 at 7 pm as we celebrate many creatures! Senior Charlie Love will be our pianist. The tapping/woodblock part vividly portrays the woodpeckers.

Estonian and South African Anthems today

This week’s psalm uses the tune SINE NOMINE (by Vaughan Williams of course) as the basis for a simple Anglican chant of Psalm 119: 97-104.

This week’s offertory is a Zulu prayer setting of the hymn Nearer My God to Thee, arranged for SATB by Dr. Michael Joseph Barrett, Director of Choral Music at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Dr. Barrett is the conductor of the University of Pretoria (Tuks) Camerata. He was a member of the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir from 1992 to 1997. Gargoyles Charlie Love (djembe), Luke Deane (whose family is from South Africa) and William Marinovic will lead the solo part.

(Baba) Mangisondele Nkosi (Nearer my God)

Kuwe Manje (To Thee/me)

Mangisondele Nkosi (Nearer my God)

Kuwe Manje (To Thee/me)

Noma ngiqhutshwa (Though troubles)

Zinhlupheko Nkosi (Follow me)

Ngiyasondela Nkosi (I’m getting nearer my God)

Kuwe Manje (To Thee/me)

Njalo ngovuma (I’ll always agree)

Ngiphinde ngithi nje (And again say)

Ungisondeze Nkosi (Bring me near to You God)

Kuwe manje (To Thee/me)


We will use this Amen for a few weeks as the AMEN for the Eucharistic Prayer.

Our fraction anthem will be sung by the Daughters of Zion. Nos sumus in mundo, by contemporary composer Carlotta Ferrari (b. 1975) is a setting of a text by medieval mystic and visionary Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179). Ferrari is an Italian composer. She served as chair of music composition at Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang, China, and is currently adjunct professor of music composition at the Department of Arts and Music of ESE, Firenze, Italy.

Nos sumus in mundo

et tu in mente nostra,

et amplectimur te in corde

quasi habeamus te presentem.

We are in the world,

And thou in our mind,

And we hug thee to our heart

As thou wert here with us

Hildegard von Bingen receives a divine inspiration and passes it on to her scribe.
Unknown author – Miniature from the Rupertsberg Codex of Liber Scivias. Public domain.

The last two hymns celebrate the importance of the word of God. Book of Books take words by Percy Dearmer (1867–1936) (the author of The Parson’s Handbook and the editor of The English hymnal who had invited Vaughan Williams to be musical editor) and set it to the German chorale LIEBSTER JESU. I will precede this hymn with a J. S. Bach (1685-1750) from his Orgelbüchlein.

Another old German tune, NUN DANKET ALL, attributed to German Lutheran Johann Crüger (1598-1662) will sing us out to words by Bernard Barton (1784-1849) known as the “Quaker Poet.” The postlude on this tune is by the 20th century Helmut Walcha (1907-1991), a blind German organist who specialized in the works of the Dutch and German baroque masters and is known for his recordings of the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach. He played for many years at the Dreikönigskirche (from 1946) in Frankfurt. You can learn more about him and find photos from my blog in Nov. 2020.

Thanks for reading about this international Sunday!

warming up for our #RVW150 hymnsing with the choir of St. George’s Maplewood, Grace and others!


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