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Sunday Music Musings November 12, 2022

November 13, 2022

The Lone Wild Bird is the Southern Harmony tune PROSPECT, which I remember singing as an anthem as a child. In this prelude setting trilling flute stops evoke the title bird. American organ composer Wilbur Held (1914-2015) earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and for a time served as Leo Sowerby’s assistant at St. James Church. In 1946, Held joined the faculty at Ohio State University, where he became Professor of Organ and Church Music and head of the keyboard department. He remained in this position for more than 30 years, and was organist-choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbus, during which time he also earned a Doctor of Sacred Music degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

I have a friend visiting so I am going to send you here if you want to know more about the wonderful tune MUNICH, our processional, an old German tune adapted by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) with words by William Walsham How (1823-1897) the Anglican Bishop of Wakefield who wrote those 11 verses to For All the Saints.

A favorite setting of Canticle 9, The First Song of Isaiah is Surely it is God Who Saves Me by Jack Noble White (1938-2019). Everyone from the congregation to the Chapel Choir can be involved in this lovely setting. I found this old recording on YouTube and those 3 cute Chapel Choir Children are still singing with me!

The adult choir offertory anthem is by the wonderful contemporary composer Daniel Gawthrop (b.1949). A Little Child Shall Lead Them explores the texts from scripture which recall Edward Hicks’ famous painting The Peaceable Kingdom. The poetic adaptation is by Gawthrop’s wife, poet Janet Griner, who also wrote the text of his most famous work, Sing Me to Heaven. His motet style is simple yet poignant, with diatonic chords that use added tones for expressive color. As a youth Gawthrop sang in numerous school and church choirs, and studied piano, organ, and trombone. Later studies included organ performance and composition at Michigan State University and Brigham Young University. Gawthrop has been the recipient of over one hundred commissions to write original music. This work was commissioned by the TriCounty Community Chorus of Biddeford, Maine in 2004.

And in that day, the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,

and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;

and the calf and the lion and the fatling together;

and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall graze;

their young ones shall lie down together:

and a little child shall lead them.

And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,

and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:

for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as waters cover the sea.

And peace shall be gifted one heart to another

Hatred and envy laid away.

Peace within us, peace to others,

Peace as blessing, peace as journey’s end.

Sought as haven, taught as creed.

Surely then a little child shall lead them.

The postlude today is an organ version of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)’s Autumn (mvt. I) from his famous Four Seasons, a group of four violin concertos composed around 1718−1720 when Vivaldi was the court chapel master in Mantua. I feel like we should grab this gorgeous season before it is gone! Here is a recording of the original string version.


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