Music for Sunday, 10th June 2018: 2nd after Trinity, Year B

The readings for this Sunday are:

1 Samuel 18:4-11 [12-15] 16-20 [11:14-15] (Continuous)
Psalm 138 (Continuous)
Genesis 3:8-15 (Related)
Psalm 130 (Related)
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Mark 3:20-35

1 Samuel: Saul is getting pretty jealous of David’s military victories and the resulting praise from the Israelites.

Psalm 138: a song of thanksgiving and praise to God, for preservation from and victory over one’s enemies.

Genesis 3:8-15: The man and the woman (that’s Adam and Eve), having eaten of the tree God told them not to, know that they are naked, and hide from God when he calls them. The man blames “the woman who you gave to me” for tricking him into eating the fruit; the woman blames the snek serpent. God curses the serpent.

Psalm 130: a song of waiting for divine redemption, waiting on God’s word in hope.

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1: waiting in faith for the glory of resurrection — the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.

Mark 3:20-35: Pharisees saying that Jesus has demons in him and that’s why he can cast them out; Jesus’s denouncement of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; relationship to Jesus through doing the will of God: ‘Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’

The connection is a bit tenous, but Cecilia McDowell’s De Profundis (Night Raid) does draw on Psalm 130. It’s really a commemoration of WWI, though, so probably only suitable if you happen to be looking at that this Sunday.

Also using the Related set of readings, you could go with a Salve Regina — particularly for the reference to humankind as “poor banished children of Eve”, and the sense of waiting for redemption. Here’s one by Jocelyn Hagen.

Another piece which focuses on this faithful waiting for God is As the Pauper Waits for Plenty by Rosalie Bonighton.

Music for Thursday, 10th May: Ascension Day

The readings for Ascension Day are:

Daniel 7:9-14
Acts 1:1-11
Psalm 47 or Psalm 93
Ephesians 1:15-23
Luke 24:44-53

It’s still Easter, gotta use the reading from Acts, you know the deal by now if you’ve been reading along…

Daniel 7:9-14 is a vivid, awesome vision of God, and of the “one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven” being given all dominion and kingship.

Acts 1:1-11 is a description of Jesus promising the disciples that they would receive the Holy Spirit, and then being taken up to heaven.

Psalm 47 is about praising God, and about God’s kingship; and of course there is the verse “God has gone up with a shout”, or, as the Coverdale version has and Common Worship has retained, with a “merry noise”.

Psalm 93 is about the kingship and mightiness of God.

Ephesians 1:15-23 is the letter writer praying that the Ephesians might receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they can know the hope they are called to, the inheritance of the saints, and the kingship and power of Christ.

Luke 24:44-53 is another description of the Ascension of Jesus.

The traditional text for Ascension Day is Psallite Domino, and in 2010 Cecilia McDowall wrote a setting of it for SSATB. I haven’t found it available to purchase online so the best thing to do would be to contact the composer via her website.

Alternately, there is also this German hymn for SAB by Sigrid Schultz-Kokerbeck.

When I asked about German translations I got a number of them back, but the one by Rosemary Riepma stands head and shoulders above the rest, because it fits the metre of the original:

Let every child of God rejoice
The Lord ascends triumphantly
So sing his praise with hearty voice

The Lord himself prepares a place
To keep us in eternal grace
So sing his praise with hearty voice

Now may he send the Holy Ghost
To bathe sore hearts that need it most
And comfort us with his own word
And guard us from the Devil’s sword

Although we’re living in this world
Our actions do not satisfy
The world, but we obey God’s word
And live as he has told us to

So let’s give thanks to our dear Lord
And offer him our heartfelt praise
Sing praises with the angels’ choir
Sing praises for the heavens to hear

In the German, the final line of the first two verses is repeated, and it would make sense to do this in English too.

Signal Boost: Aurora Nova choir at St Paul’s Cathedral, London

I mentioned on Thursday that the Aurora Nova choir would be singing d’Este’s O salutaris sostia on Sunday at St Paul’s. Well, that’s not all they’re singing. From a tweet by Sarah MacDonald, it looks like the music list is as follows:

11:30am Sung Eucharist:

Mass Setting — Missa Mariae, Cecilia McDowall
Anthem — O salutaris hostia, d’Este
Voluntary — Carillon, Kerensa Briggs
Hymns: 351, 342 (452), R&S 244 (Part II), 114 (I recognise some of these from the New English Hymnal and I don’t think they have music by women, but the ones that aren’t from NEH might; and I don’t know about the words, off the top of my head.)

3.15pm Evensong (Eve of the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary):

Responses — Sarah MacDonald
Canticles — Magnificat and Nunc dimittis Regina caeli, Katherine Dienes
Anthem — Ave Maria, Roxanna Panufnik
Voluntary — The Tree of Peace, Judith Weir
Hymns: 181 (ii), 187, 186 (Again, from memory, I don’t think music for any of these hymns is by women, though I’m uncertain about the words.)

This is a pretty good lineup, and a strong challenge to the idea that music by women, or sung by women, isn’t suitable for “serious” cathedral services (scare quotes because ordinary parish services can be serious, too). It would be great to see more hymns by women, but perhaps for that we need to look more to the compilers of hymnals, as (especially in a cathedral context with a visiting choir) there is a strong tendency to want to stick to the book when it comes to congregational hymnody. I understand that the Revised English Hymnal, the successor to the New English Hymnal, will be published sometime this year; I hope that it offers a better gender balance than previous editions.

In any case, for my part I’m planning to go along to St Paul’s on Sunday; perhaps I’ll see you there.