Our theme of ‘Love’ continues today and for the next few weeks.
The Bible describes love, and then we will see a few ways in which God is the essence of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). This is God’s description of love, and because God is love (1 John 4:8); this is what He is like.
Music as you gather
The Music as you gather continues the Romantic classical music songs and themes.
Hebrew Slaves Chorus by Giuseppe Verdi. This piece is from Nabucco, an opera in four acts to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera. It is also known by its Italian title “Va, Pensiro,” (Fly, My Thoughts). Nabucco was based on the Biblical story of the plight of the Jews as they are exiled from their homeland by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. The historical events are used as background for a romantic and political plot. It’s been said that the web of characters form a powerful theme of love and thirst for power and longing for freedom. There is a link to Psalm 137.
Offenbach – Barcarolle, from ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’. The Tales of Hoffmann (French: Les contes d’Hoffmann) is an opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach. The French libretto was written by Jules Barbier, based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann. Hoffmann is the protagonist in the opera. The Barcarolle, “Belle nuit, ô nuit d’amour” is the opera’s most famous number. A duet for soprano and mezzo-soprano, it is considered the most famous barcarolle ever written and described in the Grove Book of Operas as “one of the world’s most popular melodies.” The text, concerning the beauty of the night and of love, is by Jules Barbier.
I love you Lord, and I lift my voice – reminds us that our love for God is an integral part of our worship, that we do rejoice in that love and that it is indeed a sweet, sweet thing indeed. The song is by Laurie Klein and was written in 1978. The Choir sing this together but with the sopranos singing the words and the inner parts being the accompaniment themselves.
Psalm 18:1 ‘I love you, Lord, my strength.’ Look it up at hymn 770, please follow the words and use it as your own personal Call to Worship. If you want to sing it quietly with us then please do join in.
Father we love you, we worship and adore you. With a Trinitarian structure in its three stanzas, this popular hymn is one of the finest praise choruses as well as prayer hymns from the mid-1970s.
“Father, We Love You” first expresses our humble love and devotion to God and then offers Jesus’ own prayer, “glorify your name” (see John 12:28; 17:1-5). God’s name is glorified in the completion of Christ’s ministry on earth, in the faithful testimony of God’s family, the church, and in the praises of angels and saints in heaven. As we sing, we also pray for God’s glory to arise from “all the earth” (see Ps. 108:5 and Isa. 6:3). Thus the text has a biblically cosmic ring: “all the earth” refers to our whole lives, all the nations, and, in fact, the entire creation!
It has classic four part harmony. The Summer Choir introduced this song during the summer and it Church Choir enjoy it also. We sing it accompanied and unaccompanied. In a similar way to todays’ introit the sopranos take the lead in the middle verse.
Mozart – Serenade in G major, K. 525 ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’ – Romance (Andante). The composition for a chamber ensemble was written in 1787. The German title means “a little serenade,” though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as “a little night music. “The work was originally written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras and there have been many transcriptions.
The second movement, in C major, is a “Romanze”, with the tempo marked Andante. A feeling of intimacy and tenderness remains throughout this movement. It is in rondo form, taking the shape A–B–A–C–A plus a final coda. The movement can be described as evoking a gavotte rhythm: each of its sections begins in the middle of the measure, with a double upbeat.
The Prince of Denmark’s March (Trumpet Voluntary) by Jeremiah Clarke is another instantly recognisable Romantic Moment within Classical Music. The march is popular as wedding music, and was played during the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981.
Three words that aptly describe the piece could certainly be Royal, regal, and stately.
The solo reed used today on our Allen Organ, is in fact 4 reed stops used in combination – Contra Fagotto (16’), Trompette (8’), English Tuba (8’) and Trumpet (8’). Our organ’s “standard” reed stops (C.Fag and Tromp) are a little weak on their own to be used as solo stops, but by utilising our Allen Card readers we can add the extra two stops which are robust and actually quite striking!
Use the times of music to listen, relax, and meditate; let the music, with its melodies and harmonies, transport you to a place of calm and gentleness whilst we remember that we are in God’s House. Enjoy this week’s music.
Alan Mathew, Organist & Director of Music