Category Archives: musical performance

Sure Provisions

Written by Isaac Watts in 1719, a paraphrase of Psalm 23, and the tune titled “Resignation” in Southern Harmony, and “Irwinton” in Sacred Harp.

My Shepherd will supply my need: Jehovah is His name:
In pastures fresh He makes me feed, Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back, When I forsake His ways;
And leads me, for His mercy’s sake, In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death Thy presence is my stay;
One word of Thy supporting breath Drives all my fears away.
Thy Hand, in sight of all my foes, Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows, Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode, And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest, While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest, But like a child at home.

From the 2017 Sacred Harp Convention in Germany:

 

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Come Ye Disconsolate

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish;
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure,
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.”

Here see the bread of life; see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above;
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.

This hymn was written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852), the third verse later altered to the current version by another hymn writer, Thomas Hastings (1784-1872).

From a site dedicated to hymns, Wordwise Hymns:

This is a great hymn of comfort, encouragement for the disconsolate in the face of sorrow and loss….According to the promises of the Scriptures, the Lord is ready to help those who come to Him in faith. And who are the ones who need grace, and mercy, and comfort? Two particular examples are given in the hymn. Those who are sorrowing, who have “wounded hearts” (CH-1); those who have sinned and strayed from the path, and come in a spirit of repentance (CH-2).

For each believer the hymn reassures us, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” Through Christ, our great High Priest at the Father’s right hand, there is “mercy and…grace to help in time of need,” and we are invited to “come boldly” before the throne and seek it (Heb. 4:14-16). “Boldly.” That does not mean irreverently, or carelessly, but honestly and openly, with cheerful confidence that we’re coming to One who understands and has compassion on us.

For more, including the story behind another song penned by Moore, Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms, go here.

 

 

 

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

 

Wikipedia:

Tallis’s original tune is in the Phrygian mode and was one of the nine he contributed to the Psalter of 1567 for the Archbishop of CanterburyMatthew Parker. When Vaughan Williams edited the English Hymnal of 1906, he also included this melody (number 92). Parker’s original words were:

Why fumeth in fight: The Gentils spite,
    In fury raging stout?
Why taketh in hond: The people fond,
    Vayne thinges to bring about?
The kinges arise: The lordes devise,
    In counsayles mett thereto:
Agaynst the Lord: With false accord,
    Against his Christ they go.
  —  Psalm 2:1–2 —  Archbishop Parker’s Psalter (1567)[4]

Part of Vaughan’s composition was featured in the 2003 film, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Music of the Reformation

 

Who trusts in God, a strong abode in heaven and earth possesses;
Who looks in love to Christ above, no fear his heart oppresses.
In thee alone, dear Lord, we own sweet hope and consolation;
Our shield from foes, our balm for woes, our great and sure salvation.
Tho’ Satan’s wrath beset our path, and worldly scorn assail us,
While thou art near we will not fear, thy strength shall never fail us:
Thy rod and staff shall keep us safe, and guide our steps forever;
Nor shades of death, nor hell beneath, our souls from thee shall sever.
In all the strife of mortal life our feet shall stand securely;
Temptation’s hour shall lose its pow’r, for thou shalt guard us surely.
O God, renew, with heav’nly dew, our body, soul, and spirit,
Until we stand at thy right hand, thro’ Jesus’ saving merit.
Written by Joachim Magdeburg in 1572, I discovered this hymn today in my 1935 Pilgrim Hymnal.    The CD set from which the above performance comes looks like something I would like to own, especially after reading this review:
“Heirs of the Reformation is nothing if not ambitious. Over forty chorales (dating from the time of Luther to German high Orthodoxy) are set by an encyclopedic list of cantors spanning the centuries, from Praetorius and Scheidt to Robert Buckley Farlee and Kevin Hildebrand. The dedicated vocal performances are backed by a kaleidoscopic variety of instrumentation, ranging from organ, brass and woodwinds to the period ensemble Musik Ekklesia. Kudos go to recording consultants Henry Gerike, Peter Reske, and Philip Spray; they and all the performers involved have produced not only a fine reference work, but a richly devotional listening experience.”
—GraceNotes (June/July 2009)
You can sample each of the hymns here.

Haydn: Joy Begats Joy

On this day in 1809 Franz Josef Haydn died, at the age of 77.  In The Imaginative Conservative Robert Reilly writes why he enjoys Haydn’s music:

While listening to Haydn, I feel gratitude, which is hardly strange, as it is gratitude that his work expresses. In the April 2009 Gramophone, Geraint Lewis wrote, “When he was berated late in life for the cheerful tone of his religious music, Haydn simply said that every time he thought of God his heart leapt for joy.” My heart leaps for joy when I hear him. Joy begets joy. As a result, I never tire of his music. I am always refreshed by it.

This effect exactly fits Haydn’s intention. Here is how he saw the purpose of his life’s labor, as expressed in 1802:

Often, when struggling against obstacles of every sort which oppose my labors: often, when the powers of mind and body weakened, and it was difficult to continue the course I had entered on; — a secret voice whispered to me: “there are so few happy and contented peoples here below; grief and sorrow are always their lot; perhaps your labors will once be a source from which the care-worn, or the man burdened with affairs, can derive a few moments rest and refreshment.” This was indeed a powerful motive to press onwards, and this is why I now look back with cheerful satisfaction on the labors expended on this art, to which I have devoted so many long years of uninterrupted effort and exertion.

And here is a pleasant interlude for today from Haydn.  The art is pleasing as well.

It has only been a couple of years since I first heard Haydn’s Creation.  Like so many things, experiencing it for the first time can’t be repeated, but the joy can.  Here it is in English.