Music for Sunday, 22nd April: Easter 4, Year B

The readings for this week are:

Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18, 8:6-18, 9:9-13
Acts 4:5-12
Psalm 23
1 John 3:16-24
John 10:11-18

(Still Eastertide, so you’re still meant to use Acts as the first or second reading — omitting either the Old Testament reading or the Epistle.)

Genesis is the story of the Flood, including the rainbow afterward, the sign of God’s covenant with every living thing, never again to destroy all the earth by flood.

Acts is another scene where Peter is telling people that healing has happened because of Jesus Christ, and quoting to them the scripture about the stone that has been rejected becoming the cornerstone.

Psalm 23 is a psalm of thanksgiving for all the care and safety and blessings bestowed on the psalmist by the Lord, as a shepherd.

1 John talks about recognising Jesus’s love for us by the fact that he laid down his life for us, and reminding the readers of the letter (and us) that we should, in turn, love one another.

The Gospel reading is Jesus saying “I am the Good Shepherd” and all that follows from that.

With all the sheep/shepherd imagery, there really is no excuse for not having music by a woman this week, given that the tune CRIMOND, usually used for “The Lord’s My Shepherd,” was written by Jessie Seymour Irvine. It’s certainly well-known, and in many different hymnals.

There’s also a setting of the same psalm by Sungji Hong, which you can listen to on Youtube:

It’s a challenging piece for choir and congregation alike, needing a certain amount of concentration, but also very beautiful. I couldn’t find a score available for purchase online, but contacting her via her website would be a good option; there’s a good selection of choral music in her catalog of works, much of it with recordings available.

Music for Sunday 10th December: Advent 2 (Year B)

The readings for this Sunday are:

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

Isaiah: Comfort ye my people. Make the way straight. The Lord is coming, and he will feed his flock like a shepherd.
Psalm: A prayer for God’s favour. Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
2 Peter: It’s all a bit wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey… The Lord is not slow, but patient; and then some stuff about what it will be like when God does turn up, new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. In the meantime we are to wait patiently and strive to be found at peace.
Gospel: good old John the Baptist, telling us who’s coming next. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

I was expecting to run into a Sunday eventually where I couldn’t make many recommendations yet, but I wasn’t expecting it so soon.

There’s always Crimond, if you didn’t use it last week, given the feeding of flocks like a shepherd; but that isn’t particularly Advent-y.

So, I wrote a hymn tune myself, to some words by Percy Dearmer.

Music for Sunday 26th November: Christ the King (Year A)

It’s the very last Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year this Sunday: Christ the King. For year A, the readings are:

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100 or Psalm 95:1-7a
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

Amy Beach set “All hail the power of Jesu’s name” as an anthem for SATB and piano or organ. You can download the score from MusOpen. It’s pretty straightforward and rather dramatic, but it does require a good top A of your sopranos. I haven’t found a recording of it yet, though, so if you know of one then do drop me a line in comments.

The hymn tune CRIMOND is also by a woman (I only found this out on Tuesday!), Jessie Seymour Irvine; so if you’ll be singing “The Lord’s my shepherd”, as well you might with that Old Testament reading, and you have no other music by women, then CRIMOND is a good and reliable choice of tune; and it’s in most hymnals (sometimes attributed to David Grant), and very well-known.