Sunday, March 2, 2014

Lent I - March 9, 2014

  • Organ: Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort (Uphold us, Lord, within thy word) – Dietrich Buxtehude (c1637-1707)
  • Opening Hymn 170 “The glory of these forty days” (Erhalt uns, Herr)
  • Introit: Adam lay ybounden – Howard Skempton (born 1947)
  • Adam lay ybounden, Bounden in a bond; 
    Four thousand winter Thought he not too long.
    And all was for an apple, An apple that he took,
    As clerkës finden written In their book.
    Nor had one apple taken been, The apple taken been,
    Then had never Our Lady A-been heaven's queen.
    Blessed be the time That apple taken was.
    Therefore we may singen Deo gratias!
  • Service Music: New Plainsong Mass – David Hurd
  • Trisagion
  • Psalm 32 (Tone VI)
  • Gospel Alleluia
Choir: Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory.
Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory.
All: Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory.
Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory.
Choir: We do not live on bread alone but on ev’ry word that comes from the mouth of God.
All: Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory.
Praise to you O Christ, King of eternal glory.
  • Offertory Hymn 628 “O love, how deep, how broad, how high” (Puer nobis nascitur)
  • Communion Hymn 176 “By the Holy Spirit sent” (Lew Trenchard)
  • Communion Motet: “Hide not thou thy face” – Richard Farrant (1525-1580)
  • Hide not thou thy face from us, O Lord, and cast not off thy servants in thy displeasure; for we confess our sins unto thee, and hide not our unrighteousness. For thy mercy’s sake deliver us from all our sins. (from Psalm 27)
  • Chorale: Herzliebster Jesu (Ah, Holy Jesus, how hast thou offended) - Bach
  • Ah, Holy Jesus, how has thou offended, that we to judge thee have in hate pretended? By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted.
  • Organ: Chorale Prelude on ‘Herzliebster Jesu’ – Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Music Notes

One might think it unusual to sing “Adam lay ybounden’ outside of the Advent season when it’s usually heard, but the Middle English text ties in with today’s Old Testament reading (Genesis 2: 15-17 and 3:1-7).

Here’s a paraphrase of the original text:
Adam's (Man's) sin enchained him for four thousand years (the accepted time from creation to Jesus' birth.) He did not think it was too long to wait. And all this was because of the apple Adam took, as scribes have recorded in Holy Scripture. If the apple had never been taken, then Mary would never have become Heaven's Queen. Blessed then be that apple's theft (because it ultimately brought salvation.) Therefore we must sing, thanks be to God!

“Adam lay ybounden” is a macaronic (meaning it has a mix of Latin and English words) poem by an unknown author, dating from around 1400. Several composers have set this text to music, one of the more recent being Englishman Howard Skempton (born 1947). His is a simple setting of this medieval carol which has great impact in its originality; the style is controlled, almost austere, and the effect is hypnotic. It is a perhaps unsettling but poignant piece of music.

Richard Farrant (1525-1580) was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, later becoming Master of the Choristers at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where he organized the choristers into an acting company that presented musical plays for the entertainment of the court. Not many other details about his life are known and very little of his music survives, but Hide not thou thy face and the rather similar Call to remembrance were among the most popular anthems of their day and have lost none of their appeal. Farrant’s interest in acting is reflected in his word-setting, which is specially direct, declamatory and expressive; the composer seems to shake a fist at heaven.

At each of the five Lenten Sundays our service will end in a slightly different way. Following the blessing and in place of a concluding hymn, the choir will sing one verse of a chorale (a Lutheran hymn) taken from either the St. Matthew Passion or St. John Passion by J.S. Bach. This will be followed by a short piece of organ music that is based on that chorale by a different composer each week; after that, the dismissal and a quiet procession of clergy and choir from the sanctuary. It is hoped that these few minutes of music will provide you with an opportunity for reflection in keeping with the more sombre mood of Lent.

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