Music for Sunday, 27th May: Trinity Sunday, Year B

This week’s readings are:

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 29
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17

Isaiah is the writer seeing the Lord, and angels worshipping him, and being purified by having a live coal pressed to his lips by an angel. THen the Lord says “Who shall go for us? Who shall I send?” and the writer says “Here am I; send me.”

Psalm 29 is about God’s greatness and power and glory, with particular reference to earthquakes, storms and floods; and it ends with a prayer for strength and peace.

Romans 8:12-17 is about how being led by the Spirit of God means we are children of God, and therefore joint heirs with Christ.

John 3:1-17 is Nicodemus visiting Jesus for a nocturnal conversation about being born of flesh and also of water and the Spirit, which Nicodemus doesn’t quite follow despite being a teacher himself. The conversation ends with the assurance that God loved the world so much that he sent his Son into the world, so that whoever believes in him might have eternal life; this is not to condemn the world but to save it.

Hilary Campbell has a setting of O Lux Beata Trinitas in the composition list at her website. I haven’t been able to find a publisher so it’s probably best to contact her for the score.

There’s also a two part setting by Carlotta Ferrari of the same text on CPDL.

If you prefer something in English, I have a two-part accompanied setting of Herbert’s poem “Trinitie Sunday”.

No recordings for any of these I’m afraid!

Some administrivia: later today I’ll be making a few changes to the site because of the EU GDPR laws. I aim not to keep any personal information about composers or other people who communicate with me, with the exception of e-mail addresses; what goes on the site and into my database is either information that’s already public (who wrote which piece and so on) or my own opinion, so this shouldn’t be onerous, but in the interests of simplicity I’ll be removing the music submission form and asking people to e-mail me with submissions instead.

Music for Sunday 4th March: Lent 3, Year B

The readings for this Sunday are:


Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

The reading from Exodus is the Ten Commandments.

The Psalm is about the glory of God, as displayed both by the heavens and by God’s law.

The reading from 1 Corinthians is asking some questions about wisdom, and noting that to those called, Christ is both the power and wisdom of God, rather than the foolishness it might seem to others.

The Gospel reading is Jesus driving the money-changers out of the Temple — and his disciples recognising his actions as prophesied by Scripture. He then claims that he will raise the Temple (meaning his body, this time) in three days, and his disciples remember that, later.

If you’re up for a challenge, there’s Hilary Campbell’s SATB setting of “The spacious firmament on high”, Joseph Addison’s paraphrase of Psalm 19, titled “The Hand That Made Us Is Divine” and available from Jeremy Dibb music. I sang this myself in around 2009, I think — I was still studying at Trinity College of Music at the time, so it must have been around then. The piece has extensive divisi and plenty of challenging rhythms. And yes, that’s the same Hilary Campbell who is the director of the Blossom Street chamber choir, whose album crowdfunder I posted about previously; there are four days left so do support them if you’re going to!

I promised another Ave Regina caelorum, and Carlotta Ferrari’s setting of the Ave Regina caelorum for SSA fits the bill.

Music for Sunday 14th January: Epiphany 2, Year B

The readings for this Sunday are:

1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-18
Revelation 5:1-10
John 1:43-51

1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20] is about God calling Samuel, and Samuel getting all confused and thinking it was Eli. But eventually, with some guidance, he gets the hint, and when he’s called again, he says, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” And in the square bracketed verses, there’s some unpleasant news for old Eli, which he faces with relative equanamity.

Psalm 139:1-5, 12-18 is about the inescapability of God, about God being there with us before we are even formed and no matter where we go.

Revelation 5:1-10 is in full-on visionary mode, with weird creatures and scrolls and harps and incense and elders and a lamb with seven horns and eyes. It’s weird. It’s beautiful. Go read it. I’ll wait.

John 1:43-51 is… back to vocation again. “Follow me,” says Jesus to Phillip. But it’s also about being known by God, in the way that Jesus knows Nathanael, despite his (or our) cynicism. And it’s about what we will see: heaven opened, and angels ascending and descending.

For a congregational hymn about vocation, there’s Ally Barrett’s “Here we are giving” to HILLTOP, which is free to download from CPDL.

For a meditative anthem about seeing God, you could use Truth sees God, Carlotta Ferrari’s setting of words by Julian of Norwich. I couldn’t find a recording, but it’s only in two parts; a bit crunchy but not overly so.

(Administrivia: I wanted to get back to adding new works to the site this week, but due to illness it didn’t happen. I’m looking forward to getting back to it next week!)