Sunday, May 6 2018
Sixth Sunday of Easter
by Paul Stott
VU 820 – Make a Joyful Noise (1991)
This upbeat setting of Psalm 100 is by Vancouver composer Linea Good, from her collection Stickpeople (1992). Linnea is a well known United Church musician, who tours extensively across Canada. Five of her hymns are in Voices United and ten in More Voices.
The arrangement is by David Kai, who grew up in Toronto attending the Centennial-Japanese United Church. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, the Humber College music program where he specialized in arranging and composing, and The Centre for Christian Studies. Commissioned as a diaconal minister in 1987, David served in pastoral charges in Birtle, Manitoba, Orleans, Ontario and Ajax, Ontario. David has written hymn tunes and arrangements in collaboration with authors and composers such as Ruth Duck, Linnea Good, Neil Lemke, Pat Mayberry, Jeeva Sam, Doreen Lankshear-Smith and Brian Wren. He was a member of the committee that produced the Voices United hymn book, and also provided music for the Bible Quest curriculum. His hymns and arrangements have appeared in hymn books and collections in Canada, China and the USA.
MV 145 – Draw the Circle Wide (1994)
We continue to use the refrain and first stanza of this hymn with our children before they leave for Childrens’ Church. See previous weeks blogs for additional information about this hymn.
VU 460 – All Who Hunger (1990)
This text by the late Sylvia Dunstan uses the image of manna in the wilderness for the bread of communion. It originally appeared in In Search of Hope and Grace: 40 Hymns and Gospel Songs (Chicago, 1991). Sylvia said she wrote the text after attending the 1990 Hymn Society conference in Charleston, South Carolina. It was here that she became acquainted with shape-note tunes, and when on vacation following the conference she worked out the text while walking up and down Folly Beach, singing the tune HOLY MANNA.
HOLY MANNA was written in the early nineteenth century and was first published in The Columbian Harmony ed. William Moore (Cincinnati, 1825).
The original text by George Askins (d. 1816) for this tune, which provides the tune name, begins:
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
VU 466 – Eat This Bread (1983)
Our Communion chant was written by Robert J. Batastini, in collaboration with Brother Robert and Jacques Bertier, while he was at the Taizé centre in France in 1983. The text is adapted from
John 6:35. In the Taizé style, it is simple enough to be used in coming to communion without needing a hymn book. Batastini was born in Chicago, studied music education, instrumental music, and church music at DePaul University, and served Roman Catholic churches as organist and choirmaster in several locations in Illinois. He began work at GIA Publications as an editor, later becoming vice president and senior editor. He is a fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
The setting, EAT THIS BREAD, also called BERTHIER, is by Jacques Berthier, written the afternoon the text was written. He is the composer of much of the Taizé Community music. Born in 1923, he was the son of two organists who were his first teachers. He studied chant, harmony, composition and organ at the César Franck School in Paris. He served as organist at St Ignace Jesuit Church in Paris from 1961 until his death in 1994. He began his work on the Taizé repertoire in the 1970’s.
VU 367 – Come Down, O Love Divine c.1400
The original Italian text was written by Bianco da Siena (c. 1350-c. 1434), a lay member of a 14th-century order, one of approximately 90 hymns that were finally published more than 400 years after his death as Laudi Spirituali [Spiritual Songs] (Lucca, 1851). Siena was the centre for the development of spiritual song, written in the vernacular Italian, and thus intended for the ordinary people. The translator, Richard Frederick Littledale (1833-1890) chose four of the seven original stanzas for his translation, of which three are in common use today. The translation first appeared in The People’s Hymnal (London, 1867). The text emphasises the gift of the Holy Spirit to the individual without any triumphalism, but with a sense of awed, humbled acceptance, not a possession to be boasted about, but a blessing to be cherished.
The tune DOWN AMPNEY is by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Down Ampney is the Gloucestershire village where the composer was born, the son of the vicar there. The tune is one of the few original hymn settings Vaughan Williams created for The English Hymnal (London, 1906) and has ever been identified with this text. Unlike many of his other well-known hymn tunes, this one was composed as a four-part setting, rather than a unison vocal line against a full organ accompaniment.