Forest Hill & 43rd Street
Richmond, VA 23225

To Know Christ and to Make Him Known

Weekly Music Notes

Sept. 17, 2017: “Nun danket alle Gott” and connections

Today’s Music: There are underground connections between several of our musical selections this morning. The opening hymn, (“Now thank we all our God,” 397), is set to a tune written by Johann Cruger c. 1647, the German text for which is “Nun danket alle Gott.”  The standard harmonization used for this tune, including in our hymnal, is by Felix Mendelssohn. Ann is playing a movement from his organ sonata as the prelude (Sonata #3: Andante). The postlude is another arrangement of “Nun danket,”(by Walther).  D. Boelzner

Sept. 10, 2017: Something old, new, borrowed, and blue

Today’s Music: This morning something old: the lovely Locus Iste anthem from A. Bruckner, which we’ve sung before. Something new: our seasonal service music, with a brand new Gloria. Something borrowed: the opening hymn (” O day of radiant gladness”) tune from a German folk song. Something blue: the prelude (Bach) in a minor key. David Boelzner

Aug. 27, 2017: Rich heritage of our worship music

Today’s Music: This morning’s service demonstrates the rich heritage of music used in our worship.  From 16th century France we have the tune of the communion hymn (“Bread of the world, in mercy broken” ), 301; from late 19th century France comes the lovely Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure, sung by our quartet. The recessional tune (“Glorious things of thee are spoken”) is attributed to the great 18th century Austrian composer, Franz Joseph Haydn, and the opening hymn (“God has spoken to his people”) is an old Hasidic melody! D Boelzner

Aug. 20, 2017: Blue Grass Sunday

Today’s Music: You won’t find Bluegrass Sunday on the liturgical calendar, but it has become a summer tradition at Good Shepherd. Bluegrass music blends elements of country, folk, Gaelic and jazz into a genre all its own. It’s a lot of work getting ready for Bluegrass Sunday! Many thanks to our musicians: Mandolin: Rick Curtis, Guitar: Dick Hickman, Cello/bass: Ann Boelzner, Vocals: Sandi Bray, Maggie Southwick, Stuart Fulcher, David Boelzner. Ann

Aug. 13, 2017: Antique Suite by John Rutter

Today’s Music: For communion Francile and Ann will play the opening movement from John Rutter’s Suite Antique. The Suite was commissioned for a music festival that also featured one of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg concertos on the program, which Rutter has said inspired him to pay homage to the Baroque style, albeit somewhat playfully. Rutter (b. 1945) is perhaps the most highly successful composer of church music today, somewhat ironically because he has said he does not consider himself to be a particularly religious man, characterizing himself as more spiritual. D. Boelzner

Aug. 6, 2017: “Here I am, Lord” by Dan Schutte

Today’s Music: The offertory this morning is Dan Schutte’s most famous song, “Here I am, Lord (I, the Lord of sea and sky).” Schutte (b. 1947), a Jesuit, is probably the most prominent composer associated with the movement to create liturgical music for the Roman Catholic Church in a soft folk style, following the dictates of the Vatican II Council, which decreed that music should be accessible to the common people and thus largely discarded from the liturgy the centuries of music composed for the Church. Whatever one thinks of that development, this song is justifiably admired. David Boelzner

July 30, 2017: “O Gladsome Light” and “The Sarum Prayer”

Today’s Music: The Prelude is Hymn 36, “O Gladsome Light,” arranged by Dick Hickman, with a mandolin accompaniment by Rick Curtis. The words were originally written in Greek in the third century; the melody is from Louis Bourgeois, French, 16th century. The anthem is “The Sarum Prayer,” for which Dick took the words from Hymn 694, changed the melody, and added a second verse. The first verse (which repeats as a third verse) is from the Sarum Primer, a collection of prayers and worship resources developed in the 13th century at Salisbury Cathedral in England. Sarum is an abbreviation of the Latin word for Salisbury. Dick Hickman

July 23, 2017: “Amazing Grace”

Today’s Music: The Women’s Chorale sings one of the most famous and universally loved hymns in Christendom, “Amazing Grace.” The tune is anonymous, but the source of the text is interesting. John Newton was a sailor and, for six years, captain of a slave trader. When he was 29, in 1754, he left the sea and settled down with a devoted wife, became involved with the Wesleys and others, was eventually ordained, and served the church for 43 years. He described himself in his epitaph as “once an infidel and a libertine” – indeed a wretch who needed amazing grace. David Boelzner

July 16, 2017: Accidentals

Today’s Music: The closing hymn, 392, (“Come we that love the Lord”), is in the key of C minor and it never really leaves it, but the melody borrows notes from outside the scale of C minor. You can spot those by the “accidentals” the flat and natural symbols that precede some of the notes; the flat looks like a small letter b and lowers the pitch a half step, and the natural looks almost like a hashtag and negates a flat. As you’re singing, see if you can sense the harmonic shift to accommodate the unusual melody notes where these accidentals appear. David Boelzner