077.ThereIsAGreenHillFarAway

Please turn to number 77 and join with the clarinets in “There is a Green Hill Far Away”.

Number: 77 (First Tune)
First Line: There is a Green Hill
Name: MEDITATION (GOWER).
Meter: C.M.
Tempo: Simply
Music: John Henry Gower, 1855-1922
Text: Cecil Frances Alexander, 1823-95

Number: 77 (Second Tune)
First Line: There is a Green Hill
Name: HORSLEY.
Meter: C.M.
Tempo: Slowly, with movement
Music: William Horseley, 1774-1858
Text: Cecil Frances Alexander, 1823-95

Clarinet Arrangement, First Tune:077.ThereIsAGreenHill

Clarinet Arrangement, Second Tune:077b.ThereIsAGreenHill

These are some seriously Anglican hymns. They just sound “Anglican”, especially the second tune.

There have been a few translations by women, but I think this is the first Hymn written by a woman I’ve come across.

There is a Green Hill Far Away
Words: Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der, 1847. Al­ex­an­der wrote this hymn as she sat up one night with her ser­i­ous­ly sick daugh­ter. Ma­ny times, tra­vel­ing to town to shop, she had passed a small grassy mound, just out­side the old ci­ty wall of Der­ry, Ire­land. It al­ways made her think of Cal­va­ry, and it came to mind as she wrote this hymn. She pub­lished it in her Hymns for Lit­tle Child­ren in 1848.

Apparently, she was rather well known in her time, specifically for her hymns intended for children.

Alexander, Cecil Frances, née Humphreys, second daughter of the late Major John Humphreys, Miltown House, co. Tyrone, Ireland, b. 1823, and married in 1850 to the Rt. Rev. W. Alexander, D.D., Bishop of Derry and Raphoe. Mrs. Alexander’s hymns and poems number nearly 400. They are mostly for children, and were published in her Verses for Holy Seasons, with Preface by Dr. Hook, 1846; Poems on Subjects in the Old Testament, pt. i. 1854, pt. ii. 1857; Narrative Hymns for Village Schools, 1853; Hymns for Little Children, 1848; Hymns Descriptive and Devotional, 1858; The Legend of the Golden Prayers 1859; Moral Songs, N.B.; The Lord of the Forest and his Vassals, an Allegory, &c.; or contributed to the Lyra Anglicana, the S.P.C.K. Psalms and Hymns, Hymns Ancient & Modern, and other collections. Some of the narrative hymns are rather heavy, and not a few of the descriptive are dull, but a large number remain which have won their way to the hearts of the young, and found a home there. Such hymns as “In Nazareth in olden time,” “All things bright and beautiful,” “Once in Royal David’s city,” “There is a green hill far away,” “Jesus calls us o’er the tumult,” “The roseate hues of early dawn,” and others that might be named, are deservedly popular and are in most extensive use. Mrs. Alexander has also written hymns of a more elaborate character; but it is as a writer for children that she has excelled.

This Hymn was so short, only 8 bars, that I elected to play both versions as part of the same piece. Though, the first setting ends up in the key of F#, aka 6 sharps, or “All Your Sharps Are Belong To Us!”. The second setting is the more well known melody for this hymn. Twice through the first tune, each part doubled, then moving to the next setting.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

076.GloryBeToJesus

Please turn to number 76 and join with the clarinets in “Glory be to Jesus”.

Number: 76
First Line: Glory Be to Jesus
Name: CASWALL.
Meter: 6 5, 6 5.
Tempo: Slowly and reverently
Music: Friedrich Filitz, 1804-76
Text: Italian, XVIII cent.
Tr. Edward Caswall, 1814-78

Clarinet Arrangement:076.GloryBeToJesus

Huh, that’s one of the prettier hymns I’ve done in a while.

The name is from the translator of the text, Edward Caswell, who was an Anglican who converted to Catholicism. So, yeah, a little weird that it’s in a Lutheran Hymnal. But there you go.

Edward Caswall, CO, (15 July 1814 – 2 January 1878) was an Anglican clergyman and hymn writer who converted to Roman Catholicism.

He was born at Yateley, Hampshire on 15 July 1814, the son of Rev. R. C. Caswall, sometime Vicar of Yateley, Hampshire.[1]

Caswall was educated at Marlborough Grammar School and Brasenose College, Oxford, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1836 with honours and later proceeded to Master of Arts. He was curate of Stratford-sub-Castle, near Salisbury, 1840–1847. In 1850, his wife having died the previous year, he joined the Oratory of St. Philip Neri under future Cardinal Newman, to whose influence his conversion to Roman Catholicism was due.

He wrote original poems that have survived mainly in Catholic hymnals due to a clear adherence to Catholic doctrine. Caswall is best known for his translations from the Roman Breviary and other Latin sources, which are marked by faithfulness to the original and purity of rhythm. They were published in Lyra Catholica, containing all the breviary and missal hymns (London, 1849); The Masque of Mary (1858); and A May Pageant and other poems (1865). Hymns and Poems (1873) are the three books combined, with many of the hymns rewritten or revised. Some of his translations are used in the Hymns Ancient and Modern.[2] His widely used hymn texts and translations include “Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the Holy Anthem Rise”; “Come, Holy Ghost”; “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee”; “When Morning Gilds the Skies”; and “Ye Sons and Daughters of the Lord”.[3]

Of course, if you know anything about me, if something is extremely pretty, I can’t resist messing with it. So I doubled the tempo, swung the quarter notes, and played it on Soprano and Tenor Saxophones.

Sax Quartet Version:

075b.TheRoyalBannersForwardGo

Please turn to number 75 (Second Tune) and join with the clarinets in “The Royal Banners Forward Go”.

Number: 75 (Second Tune)
First Line: The Royal Banners Forward Go
Name: PARKER.
Meter: L.M.
Music: Horatio Parker, 1863-1919
Text: Sts. 1-4, Venatius Fortunatus, 530-609
Sts. 5,6, Anonymous
Tr. Episcopal Hymnal, 1940

Clarinet Arrangement: 075b.TheRoyalBannersForwardGo

The same text set to very different music.

While this arrangement was easy to transcribe and record, I had a much harder time finding room for my second verse solo “Hymnprovisation”. There’s a lot of freedom in the simple harmonies of chant. When you start getting more chord changes in there, it becomes more complicated for improvisation.

I always think of improvisation sort of like navigating an obstacle course. With Chant, you basically have a straight track with maybe one obstacle in the middle. With modern arrangements (and jazz), it becomes a steeple chase.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

075a.TheRoyalBannersForwardGo

Please turn to number 75 (First Tune) and join with the woodwinds in “The Royal Banners Forward Go”.

Number: 75 (First Tune)
First Line: The Royal Banners Forward Go
Name: VEXILLA REGIS PRODEUNT.
Meter: Irregular.
Tempo: Unision
Music: Plainsong Melody, Mode I
Arr. Ernest White, 1899-
Text: Sts. 1-4, Venatius Fortunatus, 530-609
Sts. 5,6, Anonymous
Tr. Episcopal Hymnal, 1940

Clarinet Arrangement: 075.TheRoyalBannersForwardGo

I have come to almost dread these Edmund White arrangements of Medieval chant.

First, they’re a pain to transcribe. There is inevitably some mis-match between the beats in the different parts, which forces me to use my own judgement.

Second, the hymns, as written, have no measures. So, the “meter” such that it exists I can only divine based upon the length of the musical phrases, rather than actual written measures. In this case, it means I have to divy it up several different meters. It starts in 6/8. Moves to 5/8 for a measure. Then goes to 7/8 for a few. Has a measure of 8/8. Then two of 6/8. One measure of 5/8. And it finishes in 7/8. It’s almost as bad as a Rush song.

Anyway, all that counting is tough, especially at the relatively slow pace of a medieval chant. It’s one thing to mis half a beat when you’re cruising along with a ton of little notes, but when your travelling at 72bpm, it just sounds sloppy. It’s kind of a zen mode where you have to count very slowly and carefully.

Anyway, usually what happens is there is usually a short motif which all the parts perform in unison, which sort of provides the framework upon which these pieces hang. In this case, it is two quarter notes at the end of each phrase.

So, they take a lot of work, compared to more modern (Ha!) hymns in the book, and several days to get myself into the proper frame of mind to be able to perform all 4 parts accurately 3 times through.

But, I do really enjoy them, once I get in the mind set.

I did a bit of “Hymnprovisation” on the second time through, and am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

This is the first hymn of the section in celebration of Holy Week, the days between Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal