Music for Sunday 30th December 2018, 1st Sunday of Christmas, Year C

The readings for this Sunday are:
1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26
Psalm 148
Colossians 3:12-17
Luke 2:41-52

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26 — Samuel was given to the Temple by his parents when he was still a child, and they used to go and visit him each year.

Psalm 148 — a song instructing all to praise God’s glory, including heavens, heights, angels, sun, moon, stars, heavens (again), waters above the heavens, sea monsters and all deeps, et cetera.

Colossians 3:12-17 — advice to the Colossians and to us about behaving in a loving and kind manner, and allowing the peace of Christ to rule in us; being thankful; allowing the word of Christ to dwell in us; singing praises to God; and doing everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 2:41-52 — Jesus and his family go to the Temple for Passover, Mary and Joseph travel back but they can’t find Jesus, after three days he’s still in the Temple.

In terms of musical resources, you might have a visiting choir on this Sunday, or you might have no choir at all, or you might just be a bit thin on the ground.

Alice Tegnér, Psalm 148
Swedish text, SATB with soloist, organ optional, moderately easy, 2min 20s.
Available from CPDL:
http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Psalm_148_(Alice_Tegn%C3%A9r)

Hilary Tann, Contemplations (8, 9)
Latin and English text from Psalm 148 and a poem by Anne Bradstreet.
SSA a capella, moderately challenging, 5min 10s
http://hilarytann.com/2011/12/31/contemplations-8-9
Available from Brichtmark Music, scroll right to the bottom: http://www.brichtmarkmusic.com/catalogue
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8ERiqE88eQ

Patricia Van Ness, Psalm 148
Part of Birds of the Psalms
English text adapted from the Book of Common Prayer by the composer
SSATBB a capella, challenging, 2min
Available from the composer’s website:
http://www.patriciavanness.com/works-psalms.html
Recording: https://youtu.be/MkKpMWvJpHE

Rosephanye Powell, Have you seen the baby Jesus?
English text, SSAA or SATB with soloist, moderately easy, 2min 40s.
Available from JW Pepper:
https://www.jwpepper.com/Have-You-Seen-the-Baby-Jesus%3F/10873687.item (SSAA)
https://www.jwpepper.com/Have-You-Seen-the-Baby-Jesus/10279106.item#/submit (SATB)
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQrG46Q5nVA

Kathryn Rose, BRAXTED, Wherever Love Is.
English text by Marnanel Thurman, SATB hymn tune, easy, 3vv.
Available from CPDL:
https://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Wherever_Love_Is_–_Braxted_(Kathryn_Rose)

Music for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 2018, Year C

Christmas Eve Monday 24th December
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8:11-16
Psalm 89:19-27
Acts 13:16-26
Luke 1:67-79

Christmas Day: Proper I
Isaiah 62:6-12
Psalm 97
Titus 3:4-7
Luke 2:[1-7] 8-20

Christmas Day: Proper II
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14 [15-20]

Christmas Day: Proper III
Isaiah 52:7-10
Psalm 98
Hebrews 1:1-4 [5-12]
John 1:1-14

The idea is that you’re supposed to use Proper III at some point, because of John’s Gospel. Most people seem to use it at Midnight Mass. Sorry, I’m not summarising all of these readings! Maybe next year.

Jennifer Higdon, O Magnum Mysterium
Text in Latin and English, moderately challenging, 6min.
SATB with three accompaniment options:
A – 2 flutes, 2 crystal glasses, chimes;
B – organ;
C – a cappella
Available from the composer’s website: http://jenniferhigdon.com/choralworks.html
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeDqzRPK06I

Tawnie Olson, O Inexpressible Mystery
English text, SSAATBB and viola obbligato, moderately challenging, 2min 30s.
Published by E C Schirmer, available in print and download from Canticle Distributing: https://www.canticledistributing.com/catalog/product/view/id/39673/
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9E5SMz2w4U

Rhian Samuel, So Long Ago
English text by John Pudney, SATB a cappella with soprano solo, moderately challenging, 2min 50s.
Published by Stainer & Bell: https://stainer.co.uk/shop/y154/
Recording: https://youtu.be/-9oCNhKR-ag

Rosephanye Powell, The Word Was God
English text, SSAATTBB a cappella (also available in SATB, SSAA, TTBB)
Available from J W Pepper: https://www.jwpepper.com/The-Word-Was-God/8068120.item
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWvCNrTrx_s

Patricia Van Ness, Into Winter’s Glimm’ring Night
English text by Patricia Van Ness, SSAATTB a cappella, moderately challenging, 4min. Available from the composer’s website: http://www.patriciavanness.com/works-CM-acappella.html
Recording: http://www.patriciavanness.com/mp3/INTO%20WINTERS%20GLIMMRING%20NIGHT.mp3

This is, of course, an incomplete list. I have quite a backlog to add to the site again, as soon as things quiet down a bit on the PhD front.

May you have a happy, holy and blessed Christmas.

Music for Sunday 23rd December: Advent 4, Year C

Micah 5:2-5a
Canticle: Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) or Psalm 80:1-8
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45 [46-55]

If you choose Psalm 80:1-8 then you should include the square bracketed verses from Luke, so the Magnificat is included whichever way you do things.

Micah 5:2-5a is a prophecy about one who will come from Bethlehem to restore his people and care for them as a shepherd cares for his flock.

Luke 1:46-55 is the Magnificat.

Psalm 80:1-8 is a prayer for the restoration of Israel. “Turn us again, Lord God of hosts”.

Hebrews 10:5-10 is about the sacrifice of Jesus being the will of God, rather than the Temple sacrifices that were offered according to the Law.

Luke 1:39-55 is Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth.

Patricia Van Ness, Magnificat
Latin text, SSA (or TTB) and organ, moderately challenging, 6min.
Available from the composer’s website: http://www.patriciavanness.com/works-CM-accompanied.html
Recording:
http://www.patriciavanness.com/mp3/Magnificat.mp3

Gwyneth Walker, Magnificat from Bethesda Evensong
English text, SSAA Chorus, Solo Mezzo-soprano, Organ or Piano or Brass intet, Percussion, and Piano, moderately easy, 5min.
Published by E C Schirmer, availble from Presto: https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/sheet-music/products/8101708–gwyneth-walker-bethesda-evensong-be-our-light-in-the-darkness
Recording: http://www.coomanarts.com/gw/mp3/magnificat-ssa.mp3

Helen Williams, Mary’s Whys
English text by Sarah Lutton
SATB with organ, moderately easy (extended a cappella passages), 3min.
Score and recording available from Canossa Choral Music: http://www.canossa.co.uk/MarysWhys.html

Music for Sunday 16th December: Advent 3, Year C

Zephaniah 3:14-20
Canticle: Isaiah 12:2-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18
.

Zephaniah 3:14-20 — a song of joy at the coming of the Lord, the King of Israel, who will restore the people and gather them and bring them home.

Isaiah 12:2-6 — a song of trust in God, and thanks and praise to God.

Philippians 4:4-7 — the letter writer tells the recipients (and us!) to rejoice in the Lord, to let our gentleness be known to everyone, and not to worry about anything but to pray to the Lord with thanksgiving.

Luke 3:7-18 — John the Baptist calls the crowd of people coming to be baptized a brood of vipers, and tells people what they should do: someone with two coats must give one away, tax collectors must only collect what they are meant to, soldiers must not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusations but be satisfied with their wages. People wonder if he is the Messiah and he tells them that one who is coming who will baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Gwyneth Walker, I Thank You God
English text by e e cummings
SSA or SSATB and piano (or orchestra), moderately challenging, 5min 35s.
Available from Presto Classical. https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/sheet-music/products/8102799–gwyneth-walker-i-thank-you-god
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zrq9GRMVyo
Additional comments and resources: https://www.gwynethwalker.com/ithankyo.html

It’s also Sapientiatide – the ‘O’ Antiphons start on 16th December (if you sing eight of them; if you sing only seven, they start on the 17th). There are various settings of relevant texts which are suitable:

Melissa Dunphy, O Oriens.
Latin text from the O Antiphons.
SATB a cappella, moderately challenging, 4min.
Availble from the composer’s website: http://melissadunphy.com/composition.php?id=62
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cM-H9l5PtC4

Carlotta Ferrari, O Oriens.
Latin text from the O Antiphons.
SATB a cappella, moderately challenging, 2min.
Available from CPDL. http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/O_oriens_(Carlotta_Ferrari)
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OP-Zl0kXN00

Music for Sunday 9th December: Advent 2, Year C

Baruch 5:1-9 or Malachi 3:1-4
Canticle: Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79)
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 3:1-6
.

Baruch 5:1-9: an exhortation to Jerusalem to leave off sorrow and affliction, because the Lord will come to save Israel

Malachi 3:1-4: a prophecy of the coming of the messenger who will prepare the way for the Lord — who will come to his Temple and purify his people.

Benedictus: careful with this one, it’s the song of Zechariah, not the bit of the Mass setting that comes after the Sanctus! The backstory here is that Zechariah didn’t believe the angel Gabriel about his wife bearing a son, and so he was made mute until the birth, and these words are the first thing he said after the birth of the child — who was John the Baptist.

Philippians 1:3-11: Paul’s prayer for the Philippians, that their love may overflow with knowledge and insight so that at the return of Christ they may be pure and blameless.

Luke 3:1-6: A brief description of John the Baptist proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and quoting Isaiah.

Kathryn Rose, COLWALL
SATB hymn tune, 87 87 887, to words “Lo in the wilderness a voice” by Percy Dearmer. Download from CPDL: http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Colwall_(Kathryn_Rose)

Thea Musgrave, Hear the Voice of the Bard
English text by William Blake
TrATB a cappella, challenging, 3min.
Available from Music Room: https://www.musicroom.com/product-detail/product1097973/variant1097973/
Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mDUg8HQIDc beginning at 19:00

Music for Sunday 9th September: Trinity 15, Year B

Time got ahead of me and I didn’t get back to this after my summer break quite as quickly as I wanted to. Never mind: better to start from where I am. I had a lovely summer that included two weeks of cathedral singing: in Ely with a Canadian choir, and in Ripon with the University of London Church Choir, which included one of my psalm chants and my Nunc dimittis.

So, anyway, the readings for, er, yesterday, were:


Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23 (continuous)
Psalm 125 (continuous)
Isaiah 35:4-7a (related)
Psalm 146 (related)
James 2:1-10 [11-13] 14-17
Mark 7:24-37

Proverbs: The Lord is on the side of the poor and afflicted

Psalm 125: Those who trust in the Lord are safe like mountains that cannot be moved

Isaiah: Do not be afraid! God will come with vengeance, heal people, and transform the land from desert to oasis.

Psalm 146: Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who executes justice, feeds the hungry, opens the eyes of the blind, frees the prisoners, watches over the strangers, upholds the orphan and widow, but brings the wicked to ruin.

James: A warning against showing favouritism or partiality toward the rich; faith without works is dead.

Mark: The healing of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter; the restoration of hearing and speech to a deaf man.

Music:

Kate Keefe, Psalm 125
Responsorial psalm using the NRSV; cantor or unison choir and congregation, with keyboard and recorder (the recorder part looks optional to me).
PDF: https://www.musicformass.co.uk/episcopal/music/psalm-125-us-16th-after-pentecost-year-b.pdf
mp3 (robots): https://www.musicformass.co.uk/episcopal/sound/psalm-125-us-16th-after-pentecost-year-b.mp3
(and do read Kate’s recent blog post on women being given a voice by Jesus.)

It’s well worth looking at Kate Keefe’s other responsorial psalms and canticles, too; mind that the numbering for the psalms is slightly different for Roman Catholics.

The Syrophoenician woman’s challenge to Jesus, to heal her daughter even though they are Gentiles, is a strong one. Along those lines, Elizabeth Alexander’s No Other People’s Children is a good reminder that the divisions we find it so easy to make between people are false. Whether it’s appropriate for liturgical use will depend on your own church, though; written for a Unitarian context, the text doesn’t refer to God at all.

If you’re planning music ahead, I do have advance music recommendations available for December 2018 (£3.50) and January 2019 (£2.50), and I hope to have February online before the end of this month, PhD work allowing. If you’re not planning your music that far ahead but you want to support my work on this site, buying the music recommendations PDF is a great way to do that.

Advance Music Recommendations are here!

You can now purchase a PDF of the Cecilia’s List advance music recommendations for December 2018. It costs £3.50 and includes all four Sundays of Advent, Christmas Eve/Day, and the First Sunday of Christmas.

Featured composers include Bonnie Duckworth, Thea Musgrave, Gwyneth Walker, Melissa Dunphy, Patricia Van Ness, Helen Williams, Rhian Samuel, Rosephanye Powell, and more.

There are anthems for resources from SSAATTBB a cappella to SAB and organ, and a fair amount of SSA. There are also two hymn tunes, which could work as unison anthems for a smaller choir. Where I could find them, I’ve linked to recordings of the works, as well as to appropriate places to purchase or download the scores.

We should, of course, be including music by women in as many services as possible: it’s out there, we just have to sing it. But at Christmas it’s especially important to sing it and to ensure it’s credited properly in the order of service or pew slip, because people come to church then who don’t at other times of year. How will a young woman feel, exploring faith for the first time since childhood, to go along to a carol service and hear beautiful music, only to look it up later online and find that all of it is composed by men?

If you’re involved in planning music for worship, please use this resource. If you’re not involved in planning music for worship, please tell someone who is. Thank you.


Purchase the PDF

Frampton Saint Cecilia -- St Cecilia and several angels (?), all with gold halos, gather around an organ

Music for Sunday, 17th June 2018: Third Sunday After Trinity, Year B

The readings for this week are:

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 (Continuous)
Psalm 20 (Continuous)
Ezekiel 17:22-24 (Related)
Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15 (Related)
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 [11-13] 14-17
Mark 4:26-34

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13: Samuel anoints David, son of Jesse, at God’s instruction.

Psalm 20: A prayer for victory. Some take pride in horses and chariots, but we trust in the Lord.

Ezekiel 17:22-24: The Lord will plant a shoot on top of a high mountain and all the birds and winged creatures will shelter in it. All the other trees will know that the Lord is God.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15: A song of thanksgiving for the longevity of the righteous.

2 Corinthians 5:6-17: Christ died for all, so that those who live might live for him; if anyone lives in Christ there is a new creation.

Mark 4:26-34: The Kingdom of God is like the sower, who sows seed, doesn’t really understand how it turns into grain, and eventually goes in with the sickle when it’s time for harvest. Also the Kingdom of God is like the tiny mustard seed that grows into the greatest of all shrubs.

As it is in heaven by Dale Trumbore sets text from Leo Tolstoy’s meditation on the Lord’s Prayer, excerpted from his essay “On Reason, Faith and Prayer.”

Do listen and buy sheet music via her site.

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
.

http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Category:Pentecost_IV

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 Sunday, 3rd June 2018: 1st after Trinity, Year B

This week’s readings are:


1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20] (Continuous)
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-18 (Continuous)
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (Related)
Psalm 81:1-10 (Related)
2 Corinthians 4:5-12
Mark 2:23-3:6

(You can use the related readings or the continuous ones, but not both, and it’s best not to mix and match from week to week either but stick with one or the other.)

1 Samuel is the story of Samuel’s calling and prophetic activity, where he hears the Lord calling in the night but mistakes it for Eli — until old Eli wakes up sufficiently to realise what must be going on.

Psalm 139 is about the ubiquity and inescapability of God.

Deuteronomy is about remembering the Sabbath day and keeping it holy, on account of the Lord having brought Israel out of slavery in Egypt.

Psalm 81 is singing a song in praise of God — who brought the people out of slavery in Egypt.

2 Corinthians is about being the light of Christ, but also about being imperfect, “treasure in clay jars”, that it might be obvious that the light we have comes from God, not from ourselves.

In Mark 2:23-3:6, the disciples pluck heads of grain from a field while they are walking, and the Pharisees take issue with it because it’s the Sabbath; then Jesus heals a man in the synagogue and the Pharisees are pretty scandalised about it.

Christ Be Our Light by Bernadette Farrell springs to mind as appropriate, given the combination of the emphasis on light in the epistle, and healing in the Gospel. I have a soft spot for this rendition by the University of Notre Dame Folk Choir, which seems to me to be rather like some of the West Gallery choirs and bands Thomas Hardy wrote about; but it’s in a few hymnals, too, and perfectly acceptable accompanied by organ alone.

Other than that, I’m drawing a bit of a blank for thematically-appropriate music this week, so have a Missa Brevis by Ruth Watson Henderson. There’s a recording on Youtube.