Opening Voluntary: “Interlude” from Sonatina for Worship No. 5. – Robert W. Jones
At the Communion: Prelude – Earnest H. Smith (1862-?)
Closing Voluntary: Fantasia aus D – Johann Krieger (1651-1735)
Composer Spotlight – George Calvin Hampton (1938-1984)
This Sunday sees the return of the musical setting of the Nicene Creed (S-105) by contemporary Episcopal composer, Calvin Hampton. Hampton was born 31 December 1938 in the small borough of Kittaning in western Pennsylvania and grew up in Ravenna, Ohio. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and Syracuse University, Hampton was, from 1963 to 1983, organist in New York City at Calvary Episcopal Church, Gramercy Park. Musically, Hampton was a noted 20th century composer of both church and secular music. In addition to his regular work at Calvary, Hampton instituted a recital series known as “Fridays at Midnight,” which, from 1974 to shortly before his death in 1983, became one of the most popular organ recital series in American history. Hampton died tragically in 1984 at the height of his musical abilities and the early age of only 45 of complications of AIDs.
Although a noted composer of non-church music, Hampton is especially remembered in The Episcopal Church for his compositions and arrangements in The Hymnal 1982, which consist of six hymns as well as three pieces of liturgical music, including our only non-chant version of the contemporary-language creed. Published originally in 1974, his creed was originally written for organ, four-part choir and congregation. As The Hymnal 1982 was intended for congregations, the choral parts were omitted in this publication. Musically, the setting is characterized by the composer’s use of a single melodic theme which he expands and contracts to fit the irregularities of the text. The organ accompaniment (except for the contrasting section of “he suffered death and was buried”) consists of a constantly flowing pattern of parallel sixths in the left hand over a fairly-steady pedal and a right hand that doubles the melody at unison or in parallel thirds.
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Opening Voluntary: Prelude on DOWN AMPNEY – Chester Alwes (1947-)
At Communion: Prelude on DOWN AMPNEY – Wilbur Held (1914-)
Closing Voluntary: Festival Voluntary – Anonymous (1856)
Today’s incidental organ music is based on the tune, DOWN AMPNEY, to the much-loved hymn, “Come Down, O Love Divine” which we sing today as our hymn during communion (#516, The Hymnal 1982). The text of the hymn is a translation of writing by Bianco da Siena (d. 1434). Other than that he was a member of the short-lived Order of Jesuates (an order of unordained men following the Augustininan rule) and the place and year of his death, nothing else is known of this Italian writer. A collection of his poems, some 92 in all, were published for the first time in 1851 in Italy. Four of these were later translated by Richard Frederick Littledale (1833-1890). Littledale was an Irish-born cleric of the Church of England. Like many others of the 19th century, he participated in the revival of catholic ideas and content in the English church and was, in a sense, one of the fathers of Anglo-Catholicism. Musically, he was the creator of The People’s Hymnal (London, 1867), prepared for Anglicans who felt, as he did, that they might benefit from many Roman Catholic teachings and practices without leaving their own church. Unaccountably, The Hymnal, 1982 omits the third stanza of the hymn, but we include it here for your consideration.
Let holy charity
Mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart,
Which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
The tune DOWN AMPNEY was composed as a tune to be used with this text by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) and was published for the first time in The English Hymnal (1906) for which he shared authorship with Percy Dearmer (1867-1936). Although The English Hymnal had this tune anonymously, it is now known as Vaughan Williams’ work and is appropriately named DOWN AMPNEY after the town of its composers birth. It is rightly considered a masterpiece of English hymnody.
Canon Richard Wayne Dirksen
Opening Voluntary: Musette – Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)
At the Communion: Prelude – César Franck (1822-1890)
Closing Voluntary: Intrada in E – Charles W. Ore (b. 1936)
“We the Lord’s People”
Critics of The Episcopal Church (TEC) sometimes suggest that a “solution” to demographic decline might be found in “modernizing” worship and using “contemporary” music in the church. Many of them are quite surprised to find that our church continues to create new hymns and forms of music and, indeed, is one of the most “open” churches in the west to new musical creativity. Today’s entrance hymn is one example of “new” music prepared especially for our hymnal. The words of this hymn are based on a saying that became popular as a teaching device in the Church of England in the 60’s and 70s, “The Lord’s People in the Lord’s House on the Lord’s Day for the Lord’s Service,” expressing succinctly the essence of Christian Liturgy. The text was written by John E. Bowers and appeared in More Hymns for Today (London, 1980) and was later incorporated into the 1983 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern. The words were slightly altered for consistency before its inclusion in The Hymnal, 1982.
The tune, DECATUR PLACE, was composed by TEC’s own Canon Richard Wayne Dirksen (1921-2003), former organist, choirmaster and precentor of our primatal Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, usually known as “Washington Cathedral.” The tune was initially written in a more varied rhythm and was originally known as INNISFREE FARM. It appears in that version as hymn #34 with a Morazarabic liturgy text, “Christ, Mighty Savior.” Although the melody line version in our hymnal appears quite simple, it is undergirded by a complex harmonization that, in the words of the writers of the Hymnal 1982 Companion, makes “skillful use of passing tones in the inner voices and the bass line” which “give the setting a quality of harmonic richness and a sense of momentum.” The tune name, DECATUR PLACE, honors the Washington home of Canon Dirksen’s longtime friend and predecessor as organist at Washington Cathedral, Paul Callaway (1909-1995).