The Rector writes ‘Advent! I think my favourite season of the church year… We watch and wait for the coming of one who will light up the darkness of our world. I was given a present of a very old book ’The Cloud of Witness’ which follows the Church Seasons day by day. It was edited by Hon. Mrs Gell way back in 1891. The entry for Advent Sunday includes the following written by F. Myers.
Hark! What a sound, and too divine for hearing,
stirs on the earth and trembles in the air!
Is it the thunder of the Lord’s appearing?
Is it the music of his people’s prayer?
Surely he cometh, and a thousand voices
Shout to the saints and to the deaf are dumb!
Surely he cometh, and the earth rejoices,
Glad in his coming, who hath sworn, ‘I come!’
The image below, which I emailed out to you earlier this week, depicts Mary, Joseph and the Donkey making their way to Bethlehem. If you would like to use this image as Wallpaper/Screensaver on your PCs, Tablets and Phones during Advent, it will remind us daily of what Advent is all about…….. We wait and watch!
Music Notes 29-11-2020
First Sunday of Advent
Introductory voluntary: Meditation on Veni Emmanuel (Andrew Moore)
321 Holy, holy, holy
608 Be still and know (played by Kay Treacy)
127 Hark! What a sound
Closing voluntary: Wake, O wake! (Hymn 142)
Our opening hymn today has been requested by Lesley Roberts who writes about the lyricist, Reginald Heber, in today’s ‘Random Notes’. The composer of the melody is John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876). Dykes was one of the most prolific composers of hymn tunes during the nineteenth century. He contributed 56 tunes to a hymnal published in 1875. His melodies remain popular today – the current Church of Ireland hymnal contains 17 by Dykes.
The season of Advent is particularly loved by organists as some of our most beautiful hymn tunes and compositions were written for this period. To introduce today’s service, we hear a meditation on the 15th century tune ‘Veni Emmanuel’ by Andrew Moore. Moore is one of our most prolific contemporary liturgical composers.
Our last hymn is sung to a wonderful tune ‘Highwood’ written by Richard Terry. Terry converted to Catholicism in 1896 and became the first organist at the newly opened Westminster Cathedral in 1903. He promoted a return to the early music of composers like Palestrina and was much admired for this by musicians such as Stanford and Vaughan Williams.
The service closes with Bach’s chorale ‘Wachet auf’ which appears in the hymnal as ‘Wake, O wake with tidings thrilling!’. This hymn is particularly apt this year as it was written by Philipp Nicolai, a pastor at Unna in Germany, in 1597 – a year of plague. Nicolai wanted to comfort his parishioners with a text evoking joy in the coming of Jesus.
You will hear several different settings of this German hymn over the next few weeks finishing with Bach’s famous and well-loved version on December 20th.
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Random Notes CCCLXVII
Readers of Random Notes may perhaps be interested to see displayed above the recently acquired print, ‘Published by S.W. Reynolds, Bayswater, London, Aug 1824’ of ‘The Right Revd. Reginald Heber, D.D., Lord Bishop of Calcutta’, engraved in mezzotint by Samuel William Reynolds, the younger (1794-1872), from the portrait by Thomas Phillips, R.A. (1770-1845) which was commissioned by, and hangs in All Souls College, University of Oxford.
A most interesting man indeed, and author of many hymns, including the well known ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty’, ( it being declared by Tennyson to ‘be one of the finest hymns ever written’ ), ‘From Greenland’s Icy Mountains’, ‘Brightest and best are the sons of the Morning’, etc., Reginald Heber was born on Monday, 21st April, 1783, at Malpas, an ancient market town in Cheshire. At the age of eight he commenced his education, attending for some five years Whitchurch Grammar School in Shropshire, founded in 1548. From 1796 he attended Bristow’s, a small private school at Neasden, some miles northwest of central London, which provided intensive learning for around a dozen boys, to prepare them for eventual entry to either Oxford or Cambridge. In October 1800 Heber entered Brasenose College, Oxford and at the end of February, 1807 was ordained deacon, to be followed by ordination to the full priesthood on May 24th of the same year by the Bishop of Oxford.
In 1807 Reginald Heber was appointed to the parish of Hodnet (St. Luke), in the Diocese of Lichfield, and county of Shropshire, a parish which had previously been in the care of his father. There he ministered for sixteen years until 1823, when, after some initial hesitation, he accepted the offer to become the second Bishop of Calcutta, a vast diocese, established in 1814, and covering much of the sub-continent of India, together with Ceylon, Australia, and parts of southern Africa.. He was consecrated Bishop on 1st June 1823, at Lambeth Palace, by Charles Manners Sutton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and two weeks later sailed for India. where, together with his wife and young daughter he arrived on October 10th.
After a short lived episcopate, during which, both much travelling was involved, and much was achieved, Bishop Heber, then aged but forty-three years, died on Monday, 3rd April, 1826, in the ancient city of Trichinopoly, Madras, southern India, and on the following day buried on the north side of the altar of the Church of St. John in that place.