Sunday, April 29, 2012

Easter 4 (Mattins) - Sunday 29 April, 2012

  • Organ Prelude: Prelude founded on an Old Irish Church Melody" - Charles Villiers Stanford 
  • Processional Hymn 224 “Awake, arise, lift up your voice” (Richmond) 
  • Psalm 23 (Hymn 519 – Crimond) 
  • Solo: Sheep may safely graze – J.S. Bach (Fiona Strachan, soprano) 
  • Offertory Hymn 375 “At the Name of Jesus” (King’s Weston) 
  • Concluding Hymn 325 “Angel voices, ever singing” (Angel Voices) 
  • Organ Postlude: Prelude on Saint Columba - Healey Willan

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter 3 - Earth Day - Sunday, April 22, 2012

  • Organ Prelude: In Springtime – Alfred Hollins 
  • Processional Hymn 427 “All beautiful the march of days” (Forest Green) 
  • Psalm 4 (Tone II.1) 
  • Anthem: For the beauty of the earth – Andrew Carter 
  • Offertory Hymn 428 “God who gives to life its goodness” (Abbot’s Leigh) 
  • Communion Hymn 409 “Before the earth had yet begun” (Craigleith) 
  • Concluding Hymn 387 “All praise to thee” (Sine nomine) 
  • Organ Postlude: Forest Music – G.F. Handel

Music Notes
Alfred Hollins (1865-1942) was a blind-from-birth Yorkshire organist and composer, although he lived in Scotland for most of his life. Late in the nineteenth century he became organist of Free St. George’s Church in Edinburgh, whose founding minister had virulently opposed the installation of the ‘kist of whistles’ into his church. He regarded it definitely as the thin edge of the wedge – to the sacramental system of popery and the work of the very devil himself! Fortunately, a more enlightened assistant minister persuaded the elders to move with the times and install an organ and appoint Alfred Hollins as organist. Hollins was a prolific composer. He wrote much for the organ – there are some fifty-five pieces, one of which is the very pastoral and evocative “In Springtime”, today’s organ prelude.

Recognized as the best known and one of the most highly regarded preachers in the Anglican Church, Herbert O'Driscoll (born 1928) is a former Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, and former Warden of the College of Preachers at Washington National Cathedral. He is the author of 30 books, including A Doorway in Time, a reflection of his own Celtic spirituality, and Emmanuel, written during a visit to the Holy Land. O'Driscoll is at once a brilliant scholar and mesmerizing Irish storyteller. He has also written several hymns, one of which is our communion hymn this morning – “Before the earth had yet begun”.

In November 1741 Georg Frederic Handel (1685-1758) visited Dublin, Ireland where he had been asked by the Governors of Mercer's Hospital, and of the Charitable Infirmary, to compose something “special” in aid of the Dublin sick. That ‘something special’ was Messiah, which Handel composed in England in just three weeks and completed on September 14, 1741. Between November 1741 and April of 1742 when Messiah received its first performance, he participated in concerts of several of his other works, and his Irish visit ended in June with a second Messiah performance. Handel was very taken with Ireland and its folk music, and this influence can be heard in Forest Music, composed in Ireland in 1742 for a German lady friend – it is this morning’s organ postlude.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easter 2 - Sunday April 15, 2012

  • Organ Prelude: Dolcezza – Percy Whitlock 
  • Opening Hymn 205 “The day of resurrection”
  • Offertory Hymn 378 “Crown him with many crowns” 
  • Organ Music During Communion: 
    • Air (from Orchestral Suite in D) – J.S. Bach 
    • Bist du bei mir (Be Thou with me) – J.S. Bach 
  • Concluding Hymn 619 “Fairest Lord Jesus” 
  • Organ Postlude: “Heute triumphieret Gottes Sohn” (Today the Son of God triumphs) – J.S. Bach 
  •  (no choir)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Day - Sunday, April 8, 2012

Organ Prelude: Prelude on 'The Easter Hymn' - Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
  • Processional Hymn 203: Jesus Christ is Risen Today - Easter Hymn 
  • Offertory Hymn 231: That Eastertide with joy was bright - Lasst uns erfreuen 
  • Communion Hymn 84: Lord enthroned in heavenly splendour - St. Osmund 
  • Communion Hymn 569: Come, my way, my truth, my life - The Call 
  • Recessional Hymn 216: Ye choirs of New Jerusalem - St. Fulbert 
Anthem: Alleluia (from cantata Der Herr is mit mir - God is with me – Dietrich Buxtehude
Organ Postlude: Toccata - Johann Pachelbel

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012 - Palm Sunday / Sunday of the Passion

  • Procession of Palms – Malcolm Williamson 
  • Processional Hymn 181 All Glory, Laud and Honour (St. Theodulph)
  • Offertory Hymn 184 My Song is Love Unknown (Love Unknown) 
  • Communion Hymns 
    • 202 “There is a Green Hill” (Horsley) 
    • 56 “I am the Bread” (Picket Wood) 
  • Recessional Hymn 187 “As Royal Banners” (Gonfalon Royal) 
  • To emphasize the transition from the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to the solemnity of Holy Week, there is no organ postlude. Please take a minute in silence to ponder and pray about the events of the week ahead. 


In the late 1960s I was introduced to Procession of Palms by my organ teacher who had the confidence to ask me to accompany his choir in a Palm Sunday service. Since that time I’ve incorporated it into several Palm Sunday services in different ways, the most effective being at the start of the service in place of an organ prelude and preceding the traditional procession. The work is a bit longer than the usual anthem, being in 5 sections and using words familiar to us all. It begins with a contemporary musical setting of “Ride on, ride on in majesty”, followed by a jaunty “All glory, laud and honour”. Then comes a more somber setting of the text “O Saviour of the world, who by thy cross and precious blood …..”, sung by 2 soloists. A beautiful “Benedictus qui venit” (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord) follows, and the work ends with rousing shouts of “Hosanna” from the choir.

Malcolm Williamson (1931-2003) was Australian born but spent his working life in the UK where he was Master of the Queen’s Musick from 1975 until his death. He composed Procession of Palms in 1961.

Neil Houlton