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Notes on the Notes – Dec. 23, 2012

This Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Advent.   On our journey, the theme this week is”Coming home – the light in the window.”

The music we will use this Sunday is:

“Come and Journey with a Saviour” – The text for this hymn, by Herbert O’Driscoll, comes from “The Catholic Book of Worship III.”   We will be singing it to the tune “Holy Manna” (VU 460), which was written by American composer, William Moore, in 1825.

“Emmanuel Will Come” – The Joyful Noise will sing this anthem by Becki Slagle Mayo that anticipates the coming of the Messiah.

“What Child is This?”  (VU #74) –    William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898), the author of this hymn, was the manager of an English marine insurance company.  At the age of 29, he was bedridden for many months due to a near fatal illness. During this trying time William began to write hymns. The most memorable and well-loved of his songs is the Christmas Carol “What Child is This?”, which is sung to the melody of the traditional English 16th-century folk song Greensleeves.  For a beautiful violin rendition of Greensleeves, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A3i0GATnRI

“Calypso Lullaby” – This anthem is based on “Mary’s Little  Boy Child” by Jester Hairston and is arranged by Joel Raney.  By combining the lively Jester Hairston classic, “Mary’s Little Boy Child” with additional new text and a beautiful lullaby setting, Joel Raney has crafted a spirited Christmas celebration. The calypso rhythms provide a joyful expression of the angels’ song, “Alleluia, shout for joy,” alongside an original cradlesong, “Sleep little one, rest your head.”  Raney also includes a portion of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” which fits with the Hairston tune.

“Celebrate Jesus the King” – This lively anthem by J. Paul Williams and Michael Barrett celebrates the birth of Jesus.

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” (VU #60) – The original four verses of “O Come All Ye Faithful” were discovered in an eighteenth century Jacobean manuscript with John Francis Wade’s signature. At one time historians believed that Wade had simply discovered an ancient hymn by an unknown author, possibly St. Bonaventura, a thirteenth century Italian scholar. Further examination, however, has led many to believe that Wade wrote both the words and music of this hymn himself.

Wade, a Catholic who sympathized with the Jacobite cause in England, created several masses that promoted the return of exiled Catholics to the country of England. Interestingly, the “Jacobite manuscript” including an original copy of “O Come All Ye Faithful,” was one such mass. Printed in the margins of the song, Wade had called on faithful Jacobites to come together and rally against the English throne. Though most songbooks include only four verses to this hymn, four other verses exist, three of them possibly written by Abbe’ Etienne Jean Francois Borderies in 1794. One other verse has been discovered, but its origins are unknown.

As exiled Catholics returned to England, they took Wade’s hymn with them. And in 1841, the words were translated into English. A copy of Wade’s hymn was also sent to the Portuguese chapel in London, where the Duke of Leeds heard it and introduced it to a group of concert singers he conducted. From there it circled the globe, becoming one of our most well loved Christmas hymns.

To see a tradition version by Celtic Women, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45VGDNHJ4Zo

A more contemporary version by Casting Crowns is as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcJYW1oN6fw

The Carols this week will be:

“There’s a Star in the East” (VU #70) – Also known as “Rise Up, Shepherd, And Follow,”  this carol is a 19th-century African-Americal Christmas spiritual based upon Luke 2:8-15.  For an interesting article on this spiritual, go to:  http://revkory.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/this-weeks-sermon-rise-up-shepherd-and-follow/

“O Little Town of Bethlehem” (VU #64) – Phillip Brooks (1835-1893) was well known as a preacher of excellence within the Episcopal Church, and as an American patriot. During the American Civil War he took a firm public stand against slavery. He held a Doctorate of Divinity from Oxford, and was a teacher at Yale University.  In 1865, Brooks traveled to the Holy Lands. On December 24th he made his way on horseback from Jerusalem to Bethlehem where he attended a five-hour Christmas musical praise celebration at the Church of the Nativity — just a short distance from the hillside where the shepherds heard the very first Christmas song.
At Christmastime three years later, recalling that magical night in Bethlehem, Phillip wrote a song for the children’s choir of his church in Philadelphia. His organist, Lewis Henry Radner, put melody to his words and on Christmas Eve, 1868, O Little Town of Bethlehem was sung for the very first time.

To hear a children’s choir, followed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, go to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpHY3jU27dc

“Away in a Manger”  (Vu 69) – This traditional children’s carol is an anonymous text which seems to have come from the German Lutheran community in Pennsylania.  Most current publications of Away in a Manger indicate that the writer of the first two stanzas is unknown. Others name Martin Luther as the author. The song was first published in an 1885 Lutheran Sunday School book compiled by James R. Murray (1841-1905), who gave the song a subtitle of Luther’s Cradle Hymn. The third verse was written by John T. McFarland in 1904.

To hear the King’s College Choir, Cambridge, sing this carol, go to:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQbLLowNgSI


Categories: Notes on the Notes