Friday, January 15, 2016

January 17, 2016

Each week, you may find information here about the music in the traditional worship services at First United Methodist Church in Lewisville, Texas.  Some of this information is original; much of it is "borrowed" from other sources such as Wikipedia, GBOD, and  It is my hope that this information will enhance your understanding and enrich your worship experience.  

About the Organ Music:

Jesus Christus, unser Heiland – J. C. Bach
The model for "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt" (Jesus Christ, our Savior, who turned God's wrath away from us) is a late 14th-century hymn relating to the Eucharist by Jan of Jenštejn, archbishop of Prague. The 14th-century hymn, in content comparable to the 13th century Lauda Sion Salvatorem, exists in two versions with ten stanzas: the first eight verses of the Latin version ("Jesus Christus, nostra salus", Jesus Christ, our salvation) form an acrostic on JOHANNES, while another version, in Czech, was also spread by the Hussite Unity of the Brethren.
Luther wrote hymns to have the congregation actively participate in church services and to strengthen his theological concepts. In Lent of 1524 Luther was explaining his views on Eucharist in a series of sermons.  "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt", probably written around the same time, contained many ideas he had been developing in these sermons, taking the older Eucharistic hymn as a model: he kept the meter, the number of stanzas and the first line of "Jesus Christus nostra salus", but shaped the content to reflect his own theology.
In Luther's time "Jesus Christus nostra salus" was attributed to the church reformer Jan Hus (a "Johannes" like Jenštejn). Luther saw Hus as a precursor and martyr. Early prints of "Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, der von uns den Gotteszorn wandt" came under the header "Das Lied S. Johannes Hus gebessert" (The song of St. Johannes Hus improved).  Luther presented the hymn with several variants of the melody that had been associated with "Jesus Christus nostra salus" for over a century.  The earliest extant copy of "Jesus Christus nostra salus" (text and melody) is found in southern Bohemia, 1410. The earliest extant prints of Luther's hymn (both editions of the Erfurt Enchiridion and Johann Walter's choral hymnal Eyn geystlich Gesangk Buchleyn) originated in 1524
            Christ Jesus, our Redeemer born, who from us did God’s anger turn,
            Through His sufferings sore and main, did help us all out of hell-pain.

            That we never should forget it, gave He us His flesh, to eat it,
            Hid in poor bread, gift divine, and, to drink, His blood in the wine.

            Who will draw near to that table must take heed, all he is able.
            Who unworthy thither goes, thence death instead of life he knows.

            God the Father praise thou duly, that He thee would feed so truly,
            And for ill deeds by thee done up unto death has given His son.

            Have this faith, and do not waver. ‘Tis a fool for every craver
            Who, his heart with sin opprest, can no more for its anguish rest.

            Such kindness and such grace to get, seeks a heart with agony great.
            Is it well with thee? Take care, lest at last thou shouldst evil fare.

            He doth say, come hither, o ye poor, that I may pity show ye.
            No physician the whole man will, He makes a mockery of his skill.

            Hadst thou any claim to proffer, why for thee then should I suffer?
            This table is not for thee, if thou wilt set thine own self free.

            If such faith thy heart possesses, and the same thy mouth confesses,
            Fit guest then thou art indeed, and so the food thy soul will feed.

            But bear fruit, or lose thy labour; take thou heed thou love they neighbour;
            That thou food to him mayst be, as thy God makes Himself to thee.

Johann Sebastian Bach’s life was surrounded by Johann Christophs:  an uncle, a cousin, an older brother, and a son.  Here we have a chorale prelude by his 1st cousin once removed, who became the town organist in Eisenach in the year 1665 and court chamber musician there in 1700.  Prior to Johann Sebastian, Johann Christoph (1642-1703) would have been considered the most famous musician of the Bach family. His work is of the highest quality and, in some instances, has been improperly attributed to Johann Sebastian himself (e.g. the motet Ich lasse dich nicht). Johann Christoph composed choral works (motets and cantatas) and works for organ (preludes and fugues). Johann Sebastian described his cousin as "the great and expressive composer," and performed his works often as did Carl Philipp Emanuel.
Vorspiel über “Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn u” – Johann Kittel
J. C. Wetzel, i. 46, and ii. 404, relates what seems rather an apocryphal story regarding the origin of this hymn.  Johann Rosenmüller (c.1619-1684), while music director at Leipzig, had been guilty of improper practices with some of his scholars. He was thrown into prison, but having made his escape, went to Hamburg. Thence he sent a petition for restoration to the Elector Johann Georg at Dresden, and to support his petition enclosed this hymn, which Johann Georg Albinus (1624-1679) had written for him, along with a melody by Rosenmuller. If correct, this would mean it was written around 1655.   The earliest hymn-book in which it is found is Luppius's Andachtig Singender Christen Mund, Wesel., 1692.  It is a beautiful hymn of Penitence, in 7 stanzas of 8 lines.
O Lord, do not punish me in your anger, nor chastise me in your ferocity.
Have mercy upon me, Lord, for I am weak.
Lord, heal me, for my bones are terrified,
my soul is very terrified. So, Lord, how long?
Johann Christian Kittel (1732-1809) was a German organist, composer, and teacher. He was one of the last students of Johann Sebastian Bach.  He considered himself to be "grounded in the principles of Bach" and aimed "to awaken, maintain and heighten feelings of devotion in the hearts of his hearers by means of music". His teaching and composition fulfilled this aim by a restriction to simple forms which were best suited to liturgical use. He wrote some large-scale organ works such as double chorale variations based on Bach's examples, though he was influenced by the contemporary galant style, with a strong emphasis on melody.
Horns – Anonymous
Anonymous is the most prolific composer in the history of music, having written music in every genre and for every instrument.  Many people have speculated about the true identity of Anonymous.  Some suggest Anonymous was a woman and that she was unable to affix her name to her compositions if she wished to have them played and published.  I would suggest, rather, that Anonymous is the pen name of Doctor Who (b. 1063?), for only extensive travel in space and time explains the appearance of Anonymous’ music in all nations and eras of history. The Doctor was born on the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous, to a Gallifreyan father and a human mother. He studied law, art, architecture, cybernetics, pharmacology, history, thermodynamics, and engineering at the Prydonian Academy. He also studied tap dancing and voice with Australian opera singer Nellie Melba.  The Doctor was friends with composer Giacomo Puccini and was with him when he died in Brussels in 1924.  There is clear evidence that Doctor Who played the organ and guitar.  After the Sixth Doctor repaired his TARDIS' chameleon circuit, it took on the form of an organ for some time.  The Seventh Doctor had an organ from St Christopher's Church in his control room, and the Tenth Doctor increased the volume of Southwark Cathedral's organ with his sonic screwdriver before improvising on it.  Therefore, it would not be surprising to learn that he composed, also.

This particular work by Anonymous is from the 18th century in England and features figures imitating the sound of hunting horns.

About the Choral Music:

Bless the Lord, O My Soul – Glenn Burleigh

Glenn Burleigh (1949-2007) was born into a family of ministers in Guthrie, Okla., Burleigh grew up to be a renowned pianist, conductor and clinician, as well as composer. His music has been performed on every continent in venues ranging from churches to classical concert stages.  His "Alpha Mass" and "Lamentation and Celebration," (dedicated to the victims and survivors of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing) were recorded by the Choral Arts Society of Racine, Wisconsin.  One of Burleigh's many gifts was his ability to take disparate styles of music such as classical, blues, gospel and jazz, and bring them together.  Burleigh operated his own publishing company in Oklahoma City assisted by his brother, Kenneth. In addition, he served as Director of Music for the National Baptist Congress for five years and as Composer-in-Residence for the Ambassadors’ Concert Choir of Oklahoma City from 1984-2000.  He was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 2014.
“Bless the Lord, O My Soul” was written in 1993, and the text is based on Psalm 103.
            Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me blessed be His Holy name.
            He’ll forgive all our iniquities.  He will heal our diseases.
            He’ll redeem us and renew our strength if we bless the Lord.

            I will bless the Lord at all times and His praises shall continually be in my mouth.
            I will praise his name at all times.  Bless the Lord O my soul.

About the Hymns:

For the Healing of the Nations

During the 1960s and 1970s, four English-language hymn writers emerged on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean who were the leaders of the “hymnic explosion.” Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000), Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926) and Brian Wren (b. 1936) all were born in Great Britain.   Unlike the other three, Fred Kaan (b. 1929), though ordained in the United Reformed Church and serving in England, is a native of Haarlem, The Netherlands.   These writers, along with their counterparts from the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, brought the language and theological vision of hymnody out of the earlier Victorian era into the late 20th century. In many cases, their work continues to enrich 21st-century congregational song.

After serving congregations in England, Kaan served as minister-secretary of the International Congregational Council in Geneva, Switzerland and the executive secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches.  He
returned to England in 1978 as a moderator of the Western Midlands Conference of the United Reformed Church. From 1986-1989 he returned to parish ministry in the United Reformed Church.

Kaan’s linguistic ability, ecumenical service and fervent concern for the powerless are apparent in his hymns, numbering more than 200.  Collections of his hymns appear in this country as The Hymn Texts of Fred Kaan (1985), Planting Trees and Sowing Seeds (1989) and The Only Earth We Know (1999). He was elected Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada in 2001. His hymns have been translated into more than 15 languages.

In 1985, Dr. Kaan reflected on “For the healing of the nations,” saying, “Of all the hymns I have written, this is the text that has been more widely reprinted and incorporated in major hymnbooks than any other. It was first used in 1965 in a worship service at the Pilgrim Church, Plymouth, to mark Human Rights Day. Subsequently, it has been used on many official occasions, such as the 25th anniversary of the United Nations organization.”

Dr. Kaan reminds us to care for a world where we are inter-dependant and to use our political will, global influence and natural resources for the good of all humanity in seeking justice and “abundant living” for all.Alleluia!

Happy the Home when God is There

Henry Ware (1793-1843) was the son of a Unitarian minister who was a professor at Harvard College. Ware studied theology at Harvard and became minister of the Second Unitarian Society, in Boston, in 1817. After a ministry of twelve years, he made a foreign tour, and on his return was elected "Parkman Professor of Pulpit Eloquence and Pastoral Theology" at Harvard College. His collected works in four volumes were published after his death by the Rev. Chandler Robbins.  “Happy the Home when God is There” was published in Selection of Hymns and Poetry for Use of Infants and Juvenile Schools and Families, third edition, 1846.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was written by the 18th century pastor and hymnist Robert Robinson. Robert Robinson (1735-1790) was eight years old at the time of his father's death. He was a very bright, headstrong boy who became increasingly more difficult for his mother to handle. When Robert turned 14, she sent him to London for an apprenticeship with a barber. Robert proceeded to get into even more trouble, taking on a life of drinking and gambling. 
At 17, Robert and some of his drinking buddies decided to attend an evangelistic meeting, with a plan to make fun of the proceedings. When George Whitfield began to preach, Robert felt as if the sermon was just for him. He did not respond to the altar call that night, but the words of the evangelist would haunt him for the next three years.  On Dec. 10, 1755, at age 20, Robert finally yielded his life to Christ, and very soon thereafter answered a call to the ministry. Three years later, as he was preparing to preach a sermon at the Calvinist Methodist Chapel in Norfolk, England, Robert wrote “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” to complement his sermon. The music for the hymn was composed by Asahel Nettleton in 1813.

The lyrics, which dwell on the theme of divine grace, are based on 1 Samuel 7:12, in which the prophet Samuel raises a stone as a monument, saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us". The English transliteration of the name Samuel gives to the stone is Ebenezer, meaning Stone of Help. The unusual word "Ebenezer" commonly appears in hymnal presentations of the lyrics.

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