Sunday, December 15, 2013

Third Sunday in Advent

Introit for the Third Sunday in Advent

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice: let your moderation be known unto all men: the Lord is at hand.  Be careful for nothing: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let you requests be made known unto God
A Manual of Catholic Devotion
For Members of the Church of England (Revised 1969)
So why the rose coloured, rather than sarum blue, candle and why does the celebrant wear rose vestments of the Third Sunday of Advent?  I found this slighty flowery explanatory posting on a blog called the Phat Catholic Apologetics:
The reason for the color change is to emphasize in a poignant way that the Lord is near. Advent is now more than half-way over! The bursting forth of such an unusual color has the effect of a sudden exclamation in a quiet room. In the midst of our penances, and our quiet contemplation, a voice cries out: Gaudete in Domino semper! “Rejoice in the Lord always!” Those are the words of the Entrance Antiphon for today, and that’s why we call this day “Gaudete Sunday.”
As I say a bit flowery but strangely touching and as good as any other I've seen.

These pages come from the expanded 1871 edition of Christmas Carols Old and New.  The illustration
for Come Ye Lofty Come ye Lowly was done by Francis  Arthur Fraser - one of a family of artists
known for their engravings and watercolours.
Stainer and Ramsden Bramley's Christmas Carols Old and New contained more that was old rather than new.  Many of the carols included were indeed old - or at least the melodies were: folk and ballad tunes that had originated in the fields, farmhouses, city streets and even the taverns of England, France and Germany.

Archer T. Gurney's Come Ye Lofty Come Ye Lowly was first published in the Penny Post, vol ii p321 in 1852.  Gurney was born in 1820, studied law and was subsequently called to the bar at Middle Temple in 1846.  However in 1849 he left the legal world and took holy orders; he held several prestigious positions within the Church of England including the chaplaincy of the Court Church in Paris from 1858 until 1871.   He was a prolific writer of sacred poems, hymns and theological texts but also was a playwright of historical dramas and translations of theatrical pieces including Schiller's Turandot.

There are two tunes associated with this hymn: one an old Breton folk tune and the other written by Sir George Job Elvey (1816-1893).  Elvey served as Master of the Boys Choir and organist at St George's Chapel, Windsor for more than 50 years and wrote, amongst other hymns, Crown Him with Many Crowns and (one of my favourites) Come Ye Thankful People Come.  Rather than go with the Breton (the older melody) Stainer and Ramsden Bramley included Elvey's setting in their carol collection.

As often happens, while researching  this carol I came across a third version - written in 1897 by George William Warren, the organist at St Thomas, New York City.  The sheet music was issued as a supplement to various Hearst newspapers throughout the United States in December of that year.

I have only been able to find examples of Gurney's text set to the Breton tune - one version is sung by the Williamsville High School Madrigal Choir conducted by Eric Henderson at a concert in the Old State Capital Building in 2012.

The second is the old Breton folk melody played on the organ by Richard R. Cronham and recorded in 1946.

As I was researching this carol I came across a supplement issued in December 1897 by various Hearst newspapers across the United States: sheet music for Come Ye Lofty Come Ye Lowly  in third setting.  In those days every middle-class family had a piano and sheet music would have been a popular give away - particularly if it were "free" with the day's San Francisco Examiner or New York Journal.  The music was by George William Warren who was organist at St Thomas Fifth Avenue in New York City from 1870 until 1900.  When Warren died in 1902 he was buried from the church he had served for so long and thousands attended the funeral - however no music was played as it was felt there was no organist finer than the diseased.  William C McFarlane, who had succeeded him and was a much respected concert organist must have been a bit miffed to be told this.  And of course this led to me doing a bit more digging and a question arose: was this William C. McFarlane the same Will C. McFralane who is recorded in the Milken Archive of Jewish Music as composing music for the Reform church in the late-1800s early-1900s?

It is very strange how a Christmas Carol published in the 1870s in Englands leads through a labyrinth of websites to a church organist who played at Temple Emanu-El in New York City for the delegates at the twenty-second Council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1911.  The council was held with much fanfare—and at which the former United States president, Theodore Roosevelt, was among the non-Jewish as well as Jewish dignitaries who addressed the convention. Sadly I could find nothing more about the ecumenical MacFarlane nor any samples of his music.

December 15 - 1890: Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre.

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David said...

Well I never, if 'Rejoice in the Lord alway' is an introit for this time, then one of my favourite anthems, Purcell's, AKA the 'Bell Anthem', could come under the heading of a Christmas piece. Which means I can put it on my ideal compilation dominated by Bach's Xmas Oratorio and, of course, five set pieces from Berlioz's L'Enfance du Christ. This is all helping to keep 'bah, humbug' at bay...

Ur-spo said...

Alas, usually the lighting of the pink candle elicits panic not joy - Christmas is coming so soon and there is so much to do!