Music from Palm Sunday

April 1, 2012 – 11:00

Please click on the links below to hear music from this service; download the service leaflet here.

Palm Sunday is the gate of Holy Week, and it is unlike any other Sunday of the year.  The service begins in an attitude of exaltation as we recall Jesus’s triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem.  Very quickly, however, the mood changes as we turn our focus to Jesus’ passion and death.

At Trinity, we begin the service by gathering outside under the bell tower.  The processional Gospel is read and the palms are blessed.  The choir is lined up on eiether side of the main hallway, and they chant Psalm 118:19-29 (the ‘Processional Psalm’ below) as the congregation walk between them on thier way into the church.  A Collect is said, and then all  join in singing “All glory, laud, and honor” as the altar party and choir process into the church.

To view the text and rubrics of the Palm liturgy, click here.

Processional Psalm:
Psalm 118:19-29

Processional Hymn:
154, All glory, laud and honor (Valet will ich dir geben)

Hymn 158, Ah, holy Jesus (Herzliebster Jesu)

final stanza: organ accompaniment by Donald Busarow (1934-2011)

Conte: Hosanna

Hymn 474, When I survey the wondrous cross (Rockingham)

See more pictures from Palm Sunday at the Trinity Shutterfly site here.

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Music from the Past Few Sundays

Please click on the links below to hear music from these services.

Lent III – March 11

Jessica Miller and Matt Ward, oboes

Download the service leaflet here

Bach: Prelude in F (Well-Tempered Clavier II) and Trio (Brandenburg No. 1)

These two pieces have nothing whatever to do with one another aside from they fact that they are both by Bach.  Furthermore, the “Trio” from the Brandenburg concerto is meant to be played by two oboes and a bassoon alone, not by two oboes and harpsichord playing the bassline and filling in the harmonies.  It’s hard to say whether Bach would have approved of my appropriating and re-packaging his work in this way, although he did this sort of thing with his own music fairly regularly.  For me, the justification is that the claim of “authenticity” is less important than allowing Bach’s music to be heard, especially when one has a fine harpichord and two fine oboe players at one’s disposal.

Eiether way, Bach is still dead and his music is still great.

Bach: ‘Inscribed upon the cross we see’

This also is an invention of mine own making–we took the second stanza of Hymn 471, ‘We sing the praise of him who died,’ and set it to Bach’s harmonization of the 17th-century chorale O heiliger Geist, O heiliger Gott.

Inscribed upon the cross we see
in shining letters, God is love:
Christ bears our sins upon the tree:
he brings us mercy from above.

Thomas Kelly, 1815

Hymn 149, Eternal Lord of love, behold your Church (Old 124th)

Kyrie eleison (Russian Orthodox traditional)

Hymn 439, What wondrous love is this, O my soul (Wondrous Love)

Bach: O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118

O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht,
mein Hort, mein Trost, mein Zuversicht,
auf Erden bin ich nur ein Gast
und drückt mich sehr der Sünden Last.

O Jesus Christ, the light of my life,
my treasure, my comfort, my confidence:
I am only a guest in this world,
and the weight of my sins oppresses me greatly.

Martin Behm (1737)

Bach: Ich hab’ ich ihm ergeben
from Cantata 97, In allen meinen Taten
Lisa Jennings, soprano

Ich hab mich ihm ergeben zu sterben und zu leben,
Sobald er mir gebeut.
Es sei heut oder morgen, dafür lass ich ihn sorgen;
Er weiß die rechte Zeit.

To him I am committed for dying and for living
Whenever he bids me.
If this day or tomorrow I depart to his care;
He knows the proper time.

Paul Fleming (1642)

Lent IV – March 18

Download the service leaflet here

Lloyd: Cleanse me, Lord
(stanzas 2 and 4 of ‘View me, Lord, a work of thine’)

Cleanse me, Lord, that I may kneel at thine altar pure and white;
They that once thy mercies feel, gaze no more on earth’s delight.

In thy word, Lord, is my trust, to thy mercies fast I fly;
Though I am but clay and dust, yet thy grace can lift me high.

– Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

Hymn 475, God himself is with us (Tysk)

arr. Hutto: Just as I am

Music from the First Sunday in Lent

About Lent

Lent is a period of forty days in which the Church prepares itself for the celebration of Easter.  It is a season of penitence and renewal, of careful self-examination and deepened devotion through worship, study, and acts of charity.  The restrained character of our worship will hopefully help us to open ourselves to God’s word through prayer and meditation.  During this season we omit the word “Alleluia” from our liturgy.  We sing “Lord, have mercy” instead of “Glory to God in the highest” and “Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world” instead of “Alleluia, Christ our Passover is sacrificed.”

The Biblical precedent for the season is found in Jesus’s Spirit-led period of prayer and fasting in the desert, in which he was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Forty is the salutary number in the Old Testament for such periods of cleansing and preparation: Noah was in the ark for forty days, and the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.

The forty days of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday do not include the Sundays.  All Sundays, even the Sundays during Lent, are feasts of our Lord Jesus and celebrations of his Resurrection.  Therefore their designation as Sundays in Lent (and not of Lent) is significant.  It is also significant that while the fast (Lent) is forty days long, the feast (Easter) is fifty days.  The power of the Resurrection trumps everything.

Lent I – February 26

Please click on the links below to hear music from this service.  Download the service leaflet here.

Schalk: Show me your ways, O Lord

Hymn 665, All my hope on God is founded (Michael)

Psalm 25:3-9 (Plainsong Tone 2)

Hymn 440, Blessed Jesus, at thy word (Liebster Jesu)

arr. Whalum: Sweet home
Kristine Chaney, solo

Hymn 339, Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness (Schmücke dich)
stanza 2, setting bt Donald Busarow (1934-2011)

arr. Callahan: ‘Michael’ (Hymn 665)

That the heart you have broken may rejoice: Music from Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday – February 22

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Please click on the links below to hear music from this service.  View the text of the Ash Wednesday liturgy here.

Psalm 51 (Plainsong Tone 2)

Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, O God,” (in Latin, Miserere mei, Deus) is the classic psalm of penitence, an eloquent heartfelt plea for mercy.  It is sung an Ash Wednesday as a part of the very elaborate and extended confession and absolution that begins the season of Lent.

We sang Psalm 51 back and forth between cantor and congregation to a very simple plainsong chant without any accompaniment.  This may not have been as aesthetically pleasing as singing one of the many “composed” settings we could have used (the famous Allegri Miserere, for example) but there was something very direct and beautiful in the simplicity of it.

Copland: Help us, O Lord (from Four Motets)

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

‘Help us, O Lord’ is the first of four motets (short sacred pieces for unaccompanied chorus) that Copland wrote in 1921 while he was a student of the renowned composition teacher Nadia Boulanger.  Copland wrote them to fulfill an assignment, and did not seem to be very interested in them beyond that.  In fact they remained unpublished for over fifty years because Copland hadn’t especially wanted to write them in the first place and certainly wasn’t interested in hearing them.  In 1979 his publisher, Boosey and Hawkes, persuaded him to allow their publication after he had become very famous for other things.

The indication in the score that the text of these pieces is “from Biblical sources” is not strictly the case.  The texts are cobbled together from various prayers and Scripture passages in a way that evoke the “style” of Old Testament language.  The text of this piece is as follows:

Help us, O lord: for with thee is the fount of life. In thy light shall we see light. Let us march and try our ways: turn to God. It is good that man should wait, it is good that man should hope for the salvation of the Lord.

Despite its spurious lyrics, both the words and music of the piece are appropriate to the mood and message of Ash Wednesday.  It begins with a descending sob-like pattern, hummed by the altos, the repeats throughout the piece.  On top of this the sopranos have a mournful melody that is accompanied by static and austere harmonies in the men’s voices.  My favorite passage is in the middle section where the phrase “turn to God” is repeated with increasing intensity and dissonance to dramatic effect.

Music from Holy Week and Easter

Please click on the links below to hear music from the various services.

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
April 17

Almighty and everliving God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be make partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Hymn 158: Ah, holy Jesus (Herzliebster Jesu)

Leighton: Solus ad victimam

Brahms: Herzliebster Jesu (Hymn 158)

Maundy Thursday
April 21

Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end.

Doug Merritt and Logan Donevant, violins;
Sarah Daniels, viola; Tamat Ben-Pazi, cello;
Don Michner, bass

Albinoni: Adagio

Psalm 71
Plainsing, Tone ii (Lisa Jennings, Cantor)

Hymn 315: Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray (Song 1)

Clausen: Set me as a seal

Hymn 171: Go to dark Gethsemane

Good Friday
April 22

Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. John

A reading of the Passion with stanzas of Hymn 168, O sacred head, sore wounded, interpolated into the reading

Stainer: God so loved the world

DuBois: ‘Christ we do all adore thee’ from The Seven Last Words

Easter Day
April 24

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Chris Ackerman and Bull Canty, trumpets;
Steve Skillman, horn; Marlon McDonald, trombone;
Charles Jennings, tuba

Hymn 207: Jesus Christ is risen today (Easter Hymn)

Mathias: Gloria in excelsis

Psalm 118
Anglican Chant by George Thalben-Ball (1896-1987)

Hymn 210: The day of Resurrection (Ellecombe)

Shephard: The Easter Song of Praise

Gallus: In resurrectione tua, Christe

Alleluia!
In thy resurrection, O Christ,
let heaven and earth rejoice.
The Lord is risen from the tomb,
who hung on the tree for us.
The disciples rejoiced to see the Lord.
Alleluia!

Hymn 208: The strife is o’er, the battle done (Victory)

Friedell: Draw us in the Spirit’s tether

Handel: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ from Messiah
Lisa Jennings, soprano

Hymn: Thine is the glory
arr. Robert A. Hobby

Bach: Chorale from Cantata 129

Music from this Past Sunday

Lent III – 27 March
Morning Prayer II

Please click on the links below to hear music from this service. 

Parry: Elegy

Hymn 671: Amazing grace! how sweet the sound (New Britain)

Psaslm 116:1-4, 10-16 (Plainsong, Tone ii)

Hymn 685: Rock of Ages, cleft for me (Toplady)

Sitton: Tantum ergo sacramentum*

Elgar: O salutaris hostia*

Hymn: Alas! and did my Savior bleed

*For text, translation, and commentary on these two anthems please check the post on the Eucharistic hymns of St Thomas Aquinas here.