Thursday, October 17, 2019

Music for October 20, 2019

Vocal Music

  • Let Us Go to the House of the Lord – Ellen McClune and Steve Taranto (The Coventry Choir)
  • Without the Fire - David Ashley White
  • Thou Knowest, Lord, the Secrets of our Heart - Henry Purcell 

Instrumental Music

  • Reflections on a Tune – David Ashley White
  • Book of Book, Our People’s Strength – Timothy Albrecht
  • Fanfare for Saint Anthony – David Ashley White

Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)

  • Hymn 372 - Praise to the living God! (LEONI)
  • Hymn 631 - Book of books, our people’s strength (LIEBSTER JESU)
  • Hymn 711 - Seek ye first the kingdom of God (SEEK YE FIRST)
  • Hymn R168 - If you believe and I believe (Zimbabwe)
  • Hymn R173 - O Lord, hear my prayer (Jacques  Berthier)
  • Hymn 530 - Spread, O spread, thou mighty word (GOTT SEI DANK)

This Sunday we hear the story of the Widow and the Apathetic Judge.  The widow comes to the judge day after day, petitioning him to decide on her behalf, and despite his indifference to the justice of her cause, he relents simply to get her off his back. In contrast to the judge’s apathy, God is empathetic: God cares and God wants us to receive blessings.

The idea of God as an empathetic judge is what sparked the choice of the two anthems the Good Shepherd Choir is singing. The communion anthem, Henry Purcell's "Thou Knowest, Lord" from the Funeral music for Queen Mary II in 1695, could very well have been sung by the persistent widow:
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts;
Shut not thy merciful ears unto our pray'rs;
But spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty.
O holy and most merciful Saviour,
Thou most worthy Judge eternal...
This anthem was sung at Purcell's very own funeral just eight months later in November, 1695.

 In the offertory anthem, we sing the phrase "Without the Judge, there is no Pleading," and we immediately thought of today's parable.

Rae Whitney, an English-born poet and hymn writer now living in Nebraska, has written a text, based on a few lines from Thomas á Kempis, that reflects on what we would be missing if there were no faith or resurrection. It has been set to music by Houston composer David Ashley White, whose music is familiar to us here at Good Shepherd just as it is to musicians and choirs throughout the world. He is the Professor of Composition and Music Theory at the University of Houston.

This anthem is one of several that will be sung at the Diocese of Texas's annual Choral Festival next weekend at Christ Church Cathedral. It is a fine example of choral writing, with a beautiful melody, lush harmonies and changing meters of 4/2 to 3/2 that fit the rhythm of the words to create a powerful message. 

David writes more than just choral music, however. Organists are fortunate that he has written several lovely and interesting organ works. Two of those will be played today as the opening and closing voluntaries. The first, Reflections on a Tune, are his musings on his own hymn tune PALMER CHURCH, which is found at Hymn 327 in The Hymnal 1982. The name is in reference to White's home parish, Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church here in Houston.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Music for October 13, 2019

Vocal Music

  • Rejoice, O Land – Healey Willan (1880 - 1968)
  • Here, O My Lord – Eleanor Daley (b. 1955)

Instrumental Music

  • Chorale Prelude on the Tune “Bevan” – Healey Willan
  • Fanfare and Alleluia – Douglas E. Wagner
  • Postlude in D – Healey Willan

Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)

  • Hymn 411 - O bless the Lord, my soul (ST. THOMAS (WILLIAMS))
  • Hymn - Wade in the water (Negro Spiritual)
  • Hymn R 266 - Give thanks with a grateful heart (GIVE THANKS)
  • Hymn R 191 - O Christ, the healer (ERHALT UNS, HERR)
  • Hymn R 232 - There is a redeemer (GREEN)
  • Hymn 397 - Now thank we all our God (NUN DANKET ALLE GOTT)
  • Psalm 111 - Jerome W. Meachen

This Sunday the Gospel from Luke tells us of ten lepers who are healed by Jesus. The tenth leper was a Samaritan, a foreigner to Jesus. But he experienced the love and healing which tore down the barrier to a relationship with Jesus. He was filled with the desire to praise and to thank God for this gift—not out of obligation, but out of genuine gratitude.
That is why I chose the anthem for Sunday:
Rejoice, O land, in God, thy might;
His will obey, Him serve aright.
For thee the saints lift up their voice;
Fear not, O land, in God rejoice.
Glad shalt thou be, with blessing crowned;
With joy and peace thou shall abound;
Yea, love with thee shall make his home
Until thou see God’s kingdom come.
Sometimes we become overwhelmed and anxious about all the ways we are foreigners to God and we build barriers to his Grace. We should take heart from this Samaritan, whose life is transformed from fear to love, from anxiety to perpetual thanks.
Healey Willan, 1965

The arrangement of this hymn is by the Anglo-Canadian organist and composer Healey Willan. He composed more than 800 works including operas, symphonies, chamber music, a concerto, and pieces for band, orchestra, organ, and piano. He is best known, however, for his church music.

He also composed the communion voluntary based on the hymn-tune BEVAN, which is used for the little known hymn Jesus, My Great High Priest. You'll hear the melody in the right hand, played again a measure later by the left hand on a different manual (keyboard.)

The Good Shepherd Handbell Guild will play for the first time this Sunday as they play Douglas Wagners Fanfare and Alleluia for the opening voluntary.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Music for October 6, 2019

Vocal Music

  • O Lord, Increase My Faith – Henry Loosemore (c.1600-1670)

Instrumental Music

  • By the Water of Babylon, BWV 653 – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Amazing Grace – George Shearing (1919-2011)
  • Chaconne – Louis Couperin (1626-1661)

Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)

  • Hymn R 49 - Let the whole creation cry (LLANFAIR)
  • Hymn 671 - Amazing grace, how sweet the sound (NEW BRITAIN)
  • Hymn 380 - Praise God from whom all blessings flow (OLD 100TH)
  • Hymn 660 - O Master, let me walk with thee (MARYTON)
  • Hymn 488 - Be thou my vision (SLANE)
  • Hymn 535 - Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim (PADERBORN)
George Michael, who has nothing to do with this Sunday's music, but got your attention.
As George Michael said, "You Gotta Have Faith."

In Sunday's Gospel, the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17:5-6)

The Good Shepherd Choir asks the same thing in this Sunday’s anthem.
O Lord, increase my faith,
strengthen me and confirm me in Thy true faith;
endue me with wisdom, charity, and patience,
in all my adversity, Sweet Jesu, say Amen.
Attributed for many years to the English composer Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625), modern scholarly research reveals the composer as Henry Loosemore, an English composer and organist. His father, John Loosemore, built the organ at Exeter Cathedral.  Henry Loosemore served as the organist at King's College, Cambridge.  In 1640, Loosemore was granted the degree of B.Mus by the University, on the supplication of King's College avowing that 'he had studied the art of musical composition for seven years, together with its practice, and has achieved approval of those skilled in the art.'

Psalm 137 is an alternate Psalm for the day. (We will be singing Psalm 37). The text,
1. By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.
2. On the willows there we hung up our harps.
3. For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4. How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
describes the desperate situation of the Israelites in exile.

In 1525, Wolfgang Dachstein wrote a German Chorale based on the psalm, and many 17th century organists used the chorale in both organ and choral settings. J. S. Bach was one of those. In his collection known as the 18 Choräle or Leipziger Choräle, Bach included two different versions. One of them, BWV 653b, has five voices, and the melody sounds ethereally in the upper voice, against a sombre double pedal part. In the other version, BWV 653a, the ornamented melody in the middle voice is wedged between two upper voices and pedal. This is the version I will play as the opening voluntary.

This latter version was clearly Bach’s favourite, as he revised the material in his later years in Leipzig, by adding even more ornamentation to the melody and further accentuating the drawn-out rhythm as a slow sarabande (a slow, stately Spanish dance in triple time). In this way, he emphasised the point of this chorale, which is expressed in the later verses of the text, where the Israelites are forced to sing a song of praise. But how are they to sing in such hopeless circumstances? That is precisely what Bach conveys in this chorale prelude. Although the oppressors have got the exiles right where they want them, the timid middle voice keeps going courageously, and with all the ornamentation displays faith in a good outcome.(1)

The closing voluntary is also in an ancient dance form, this time the chaconne, a composition in a series of varying sections in slow triple time, typically over a short repeated bass theme. Originally a stately dance performed to a chaconne, popular in the 18th century, here we have an organ arrangement of a harpsichord piece by French composer Louis Couperin. Couperin moved to Paris in 1650–1651, where he worked as organist of the Church of St. Gervais in Paris and as musician at the court.

This arrangement is by the early 20th century French organist, Joseph Bonnet.

(1) A Somber Sarabande, Netherlands Bach Society,

Monday, September 30, 2019

Music for September 29, 2019

Good Shepherd School Sunday

The Children of the Good Shepherd School

Vocal Music

  • Noah’s Ark – Cristi Cary Miller (contemporary)

Instrumental Music

  • Trumpet Prelude in D – Johan Helmich Roman (1694 – 1758)
  • Sheep May Safely Graze – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Dona Nobis Pacem - Handchimes
  • Processional of Joy – Hal H. Hopson (b. 1933)

Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)

  • Hymn 380 - From all that dwells below the skies (OLD 100TH)
  • Hymn R-37 - Glorify Your Name
  • Hymn - Through North and South  (LAAST UNS ERFREUEN)
  • Hymn 711 - Seek ye first the kingdom of God (SEEK YE FIRST)
  • Hymn - The Lord is my shepherd (Good Shepherd School Song)
  • Hymn 594 - God of grace and God of Glory (CWM RHONDDA)

St. Michael and All Angels

Choral High Mass, 5 p.m..

Vocal Music

  • oks Fly Homeward – Arthur Baynon (1889-1954)
  • Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs – Paul Ritchie (b. 1954)
  • Here, O My Lord – Eleanor Daley (b. 1955)

Instrumental Music

  • Suite Gothique: Prière à Notre Dame– Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897)
  • Our Father, Who in Heaven Art – Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Suite Gothique: Toccata– Léon Boëllmann

Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)

  • Hymn 618 - Ye watchers and ye holy ones (LAAST UNS ERFREUEN)
  • Psalm 103 - Bless the Lord, My Soul (Jacques Berthier)
  • Hymn 282 - Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels (CAELITES PLAUDANT)
  • Hymn R 75 - Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore him (HYFRYDOL)
  • Hymn 324 - Let all mortal flesh keep silence (PICARDY)
  • Hymn 307 - Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor (BRYN CALFARIA)

Guido Reni, St. Michael, c. 1636

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Music for Sunday, September 22, 2019

Vocal Music

  • Psalm 113 – Edward Bairstow (1874-1946)
  • I Choose Love – Mark A. Miller (21st Century)

Instrumental Music

  • Solemn Melody – H. Walford Davies (1869-1941)
  • Prelude in B-flat – Clara Schumann (1819-1896)
  • Toccata in D Minor – Max Reger (1873-1916)
Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)
  • Hymn 475 - God himself is with us (TYSK)
  • Hymn 605 - What does the Lord require (SHARPETHORNE)
  • Hymn R 255 - Give to our God immortal praise (DUKE STREET)
  • Hymn 488 - Be thou my vision (SLANE)
  • Hymn 676 - There is a balm in gilead (BALM IN GILEAD)
  • Hymn 390 - Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (LOBE DEN HERREN)
This Sunday the choir is singing a very simple but powerful anthem written by Mark A. Miller, a Associate Professor of Church Music and Composer In Residence at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Written in response to the tragic massacre at the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June 2015, this anthem represents our solidarity to love in the midst of pain, of war, of brokenness. We choose love. We choose community. What better way to share this message than through powerful song?  I have been humming the tune all week, and allowing the words to wash over me and nurture my soul. I hope they will do the same for you:
In the midst of pain, I choose love.
In the midst of pain, sorrow falling down like rain,
I await the sun again, I choose love.
In the midst of war, I choose peace.
In the midst of war, hate and anger keeping score,
I will seek the good once more, I choose peace.
When my world falls down, I will rise.
When my world falls down, explanations can’t be found,
I will climb to holy ground, I will rise.
In addition to his post at Drew, Miller is a Lecturer in the Practice of Sacred Music at Yale University and Minister of Music of Christ Church in Summit, New Jersey and Composer in Residence of Harmonium Choral Society in NJ. From 2002-2007 he was Director of Contemporary Worship at Marble Collegiate Church and from 1999-2001 was Assistant Organist and Music Associate at the Riverside Church, both in New York City. Since 1999 he has travelled to every part of the country delighting congregations with the power and joy of music making. Mark received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Yale University and his Master of Music in Organ Performance from Juilliard.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Music for September 15, 2019

Vocal Music

  • I Sought the Lord – David Ashley White (b. 1944)

Instrumental Music

  • Sonata II: Ruhig Bewegt – Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)
  • Messe pour les Convents: X. Chromhorne sur la Taille – François Couperin (1668-1733)
  • Sonata II: Lebhaft – Paul Hindemith

Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)

  • Hymn 377 - All people that on earth do dwell (OLD 100TH)
  • Hymn 470 - There’s a wideness in God’s mercy (BEECHER)
  • Hymn 708 - Savior, like a shepherd lead us (SICILIAN MARINERS)
  • Hymn R 217 - You satisfy the hungry heart (GIFT OF FINEST WHEAT)
  • Hymn R 277 - What wondrous love is this? (WONDROUS LOVE)
  • Hymn 410 - Praise, my soul, the King of heaven (LAUDA ANIMA)
  • Psalm 51:1-11 (1-4, 7-8, 11a)- Tone VIIIb
Thomas Jackson Oldrin
August 10, 1996 ~ August 6, 2017
22 years ago, when I first came to Good Shepherd, we had a young mother singing in our choir with a toddler. As the dad wasn't a church goer, she would bring the young boy with her to church on Sunday, and he would sit in the loft with us. People in the congregation down below began to look for his round, cherubic face pressed up against the glass which use to be in the choir loft rail. But life happened, and a divorce brought about a move from the suburb of Kingwood to the inner loop of Houston, and thus a move from Good Shepherd to Palmer Memorial. We missed young Thomas' growing up, and his subsequent battle with cancer, but we kept up through our friendship with his mother, Sarah and social media. Thomas won his battle with cancer, but lost his war with depression. He passed away in August of 2017.

Our mutual friend and church musician/composer, David Ashley White, wrote a beautiful anthem which he dedicated to Sarah Emes and her son, Thomas Oldrin. With a text by an anonymous poet, the anthem was premiered by the Palmer choir and published by Selah Publishing Co. in June 2018. Sarah gave copies of the anthem to Good Shepherd so that we, too, could sing in memory of Thomas.

The Opening and closing voluntaries are from the second organ sonata of Paul Hindemith, one of the principal German composers of the first half of the 20th century and a leading musical theorist. He sought to revitalize tonality—the traditional harmonic system that was being challenged by many other composers—and also pioneered in the writing of Gebrauchsmusik, or “utility music,” compositions for everyday occasions. He regarded the composer as a craftsman (turning out music to meet social needs) rather than as an artist (composing to satisfy his own soul). As a teacher of composition he probably exerted an influence on most of the composers of the generation that followed him. He was one of the first composers to offer classes in Film Music

In 1935 at the invitation of the Turkish government, Hindemith moved to Turkey to oversee the organization of musical life there. It was during this time that he helped Jewish musicians escape to Turkey. At the outbreak of World War II, he emigrated to the USA. After a series of lectures at Yale University, he became a part of the permanent faculty, where he founded the Yale Collegium Musicum for historically based performances. He became a US citizen in 1946.

Hindemith was not an organist, and found the instrument uninspiring because it could not "breathe." Nevertheless, his three Sonatas, with their mastery of counterpoint, clarity of form, bold harmonic language and deeply expressive treatment of melody, are recognised as among the great works of modern organ literature.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Music for September 8, 2019

Vocal Music
  • Teach Me, O Lord – Thomas Attwood (1765-1838)
Instrumental Music
  • Prélude, Opus 15, no. 5 – Louis Vierne (1870-1937)
  • From God Shall Naught Divide Me, BuxWV 220 – Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
  • Tuba Tune in D Major, Op. 15 – C. S. Lang (1891-1971)
Congregational Music (all hymns from the Hymnal 1982 with the exception of those marked “R” which are from Renew.)
  • Hymn 400 - All creatures of our God and king (LAAST UNS ERFREUEN)
  • Hymn 675 - Take up your cross, the Savior said (BOURBON)
  • Hymn 635 - If thou but suffer God to guide thee (WER NUR DEN LIEBEN GOTT)
  • Hymn - I have decided to follow Jesus (ISSAM)
  • Hymn R 206 - Holy, holy (HOLY HOLY)
  • Hymn 423 - Immortal, invisible (ST. DENIO)
  • Psalm 1 – Tone VIb
Thomas Attwood (unknown painter)
Two weeks ago the Good Shepherd Choir sang an anthem by Mozart, and the week before we featured music by Mendelssohn. Today we sing an anthem by an English composer who bridged the two, Thomas Attwood. Attwood was organist at St. Paul's Cathedral in London from 1796 until his death. He began his musical career as a chorister in the Chapel Royal. The Prince of Wales, later George IV, sent him to Italy to study music when Attwood was 18, and then on to Vienna, where he became a student and friend to Mozart. Mozart told a friend, "I have the sincerest affection for Attwood, and i feel much pleasure in telling you that he has imbibed more of my style than any other scholar I have ever had." (1) Today's anthem, Teach Me, O Lord, dates from 1797, and exhibits much of Mozart's style. It has many of the same melodic and harmonic characteristics of Ave Verum, Mozart's miniature masterpiece.

Later in his life, Attwood became a close friend to the young composer Mendelssohn. During Mendelssohn's first trip to London, he suffered a knee injury in an accident, and spent the latter part of his recuperation in Attwood's home at Beulah Hill in Norwood. Following a second stay at  Norwood in 1832, Mendelssohn dedicated his Three Preludes and Fugues for the Organ (Op. 37) to Attwood.

(1) Wienand, Elwyn A. and Young, Robert H., The Anthem in England and America, The Free Press, 1970, p. 248