The offertory this week is an arrangement by Bill Boyd, for tuba and piano, of the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” This tune, now generally known by the name, “Nettleton,” has origins in the early nineteenth-century American folk-hymn tradition. The melody was widespread, appearing in many variations, including versions in duple as well as triple meter, and with many different names, the earliest of which include “Hallelujah,” “Sinner’s Call,” and “Good Shepherd.” While it appeared with several other texts, the tune was most often matched with Robert Robinson’s 1758 text, “Come Thou fount of every blessing.”
This week is musical week! A large group of talented performers and back-stage magicians are working hard to prepare In the Image, a musical by Texas composer Mark Burrows, for worship this Sunday. As the composer explains, “In the Image features a group of people who have just experienced the story of the Creation. And now they’re starting to wonder what it really means to be created in the image of God. Through humorous, earnest exploration, they discover that being created in the image of God isn’t about physical appearance. It’s about creativity, faithfulness, responsibility, community, and the ability to find the good in things.” The musical features a choir, soloists, actors, violin, bass, percussion and keyboard and is great fun for everyone. We hope you enjoy it.
This week our pick-up choir will sing an anthem by English composer Alan Smith, a setting of the text, “Like the murmur of the dove’s song.” Written by Carl Daw, an Episcopal priest and hymn writer, the poem takes its inspiration from a book by Louis Evely, in which Evely argues that the Holy Spirit is portrayed as a dove not because of its shape or ability to fly, but because of the moaning sound of its call. Romans 8:26, for example, describes the Spirit interceding “with inexpressible groaning.” The hymn is found in many English-language hymnals and has also been translated into Spanish.
This week clarinetists Anne Clements and Reuben Casteneda play the first of a set of twelve Duette by W. A. Mozart for the offertory. First published in 1800, these duos are transcriptions from Mozart’s chamber works, in this case the sonata in B-flat for violin and piano. The music during communion is a solo motet by the French baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier.
This Sunday a vocal quartet will sing two anthems during the service. The first, by Edward Elgar, is a setting of “As Torrents in Summer,” with a text by Samuel Longfellow. This song is probably the best music of a lengthy cantata entitled King Olaf (1896), largely neglected since the turn of the twentieth century. The second anthem, “Exsultate justi” by Lodovico Viadana, dates from three centuries earlier. Viadana was a pioneer in the use of figured bass, in which the accompaniment is notated in shorthand, with numbers indicating the correct harmonies. Viadana’s Cento concerti con il basso continuo (1602) was the first publication to employ the new system. Exsultate justi dates from a few years later (1605).