Programme for the future
I said at the end of the last post that the next one would give a fuller explanation of what you might be able to look forward to in the future, what will happen, what will not happen, and what may happen.
What is now in the collection
There are 150 psalms and 68 canticles in Common Worship Daily Prayer (CWDP), not counting separately the additional versions for the three canticles where CWDP provides more than one version. There are also 18 psalms that appear wholly or in part also as canticles. The collection now contains at least one version of each of the 150 psalms and of all the 57 canticles that come from the Old and New Testament. That includes the Old Testament Apocrypha, the books and sections of books that only appear in the Greek version of the Old Testament and not the Hebrew one. The additional 11 canticles in CWDP are from a variety of other sources. Of those, the following are now included in the collection.
77 Phos Hilarion
78 The Gloria
79 The Te Deum
83 Victim Paschali
85 Veni Sancte Spiritus
87 Jesus Saviour of the World.
There are the following additional eleven items in the collection which are not in the CWDP selection of canticles.
The Lord’s Prayer
Bishop Ken’s Morning and Evening Hymns
Lighten our Darkness
Philip Doddridge’s Communion Hymn
Hymn Before Communion (see also below)
Sanctus and Agnus Dei
Hymn after Communion.
While Shepherds Watched
Humble Suit of a Sinner.
What is not in the collection
This leaves the following five canticles in CWDP which I have not as yet put into metre. It is unlikely at the moment, that I ever will. This list includes the reasons, which are not the same for each one.
80 A Song of Ephrem the Syrian – Ephrem was a notable hymn writer 306? – 373. Over 400 of his hymns survive but I have not been able to trace the source of this particular one, nor its history. There are also apparently a number of hymns attributed to him which he probably did not write. Apart from its being quite difficult to work out what this one means, which a necessary prerequisite for putting it into metre, without a provenance, I am not willing to try. Besides, I already have my doubts as to whether some of the ones I have rendered are actually being used in their prose form, but I suspect nobody is using this one.
81 Salus Aeterna or Saviour Eternal – This was an Advent Sequence, but it did not survive the pruning of the medieval sequences in the Catholic Church at the time of the Council of Trent. Both the other Sequences included in the collection were retained at the Counter-Reformation. They come from excellent historic versions in metrical Latin, and later, English. There is a prose version of Salus Aeterna by the Revd M. J. Blacker (1822-1888). His plainsong setting is hymn No 10 in the old version of the English Hymnal. Unless somebody can point me in the direction of both a good metrical version by someone such as J. M Neale, and the Latin text from which it derives, I do not intend to do anything further with this one. It is not linked to the ‘O ….’ days, and there are plenty of excellent Advent hymns already.
82 A Song of Anselm – If I had the original, I would quite like to have another look at this one, but Anselm was a fertile writer and I have not been able to source this. Without an original to check this against, I am not going to try to take it any further.
84 A Song of Francis of Assisi – This is better known as the Canticle of the Sun and is a special case. The explanation why is below.
86 A Song of Julian of Norwich – Again I have been unable to trace the provenance of this, which I assume must have originally been written in medieval English. If somebody could provide me with her original words, I would quite like to look at whether it is feasible to provide a metrical version in modern English, but otherwise not. Assuming the original is in medieval English, that would make it a paraphrase, not a translation. I would also like to know whether her original is in verse.
So, a plea
If any of you out there can give me any authoritative answers to any of these questions. I would like to hear from you. There is a comments section below. Alternatively, the ‘About me’ page of this blog explains how to contact me.
Future work is therefore likely to consist of:-
1. The task that is still outstanding of finding a way to provide freely downloadable manuscript versions of the tunes in a format people can open with music writing software.
2. Producing new downloadable pdf editions of Books 1-6, the tunebook, the table, the annual blog updates etc. to include the additional material covered by the blogs since the current editions. This will also include some tidying up of weak phraseology in some psalms and canticles.
1 and 2 are the ones that take priority.
3. Blogs with news and suggestions on more ways to use the material.
4. Unless any of the queries aired in the list of unmetricated canticles get answered, any further new material is more likely to be new versions of existing psalms, canticles and tunes for them than versions of the canticles not included.
5. Possibly some tidying up of some of the tunes or even the addition of a few more.
Meanwhile – an example of category four – below is a revision my own Hymn Before Communion from Book 6.
Hymn Before Communion
From right back when I first included it in the collection, I have been aware that as I initially wrote it, it had been difficult to find a tune that fitted the Hymn Before Communion in Book 6. Hitherto, it has consisted of four lines of eleven syllables, but the rhythm and the breaks between the words were irregular. Furthermore, many 11 line tunes, however much each line may be played straight through, have a slight natural caesura somewhere in each line. Most often, that is after the sixth syllable, making them slightly, 65 65 65 65. This was particularly critical for Hymn Before Communion where the subject matter and content demands that it be sung fairly slowly and meditatively. As originally written its pattern was 56 56 56 56. As a reminder, here is the version as it currently appears in Book 6.
1. Your love and mercy ~ compel us to come in.
Scouring the hedgerows, ~ inviting us within,
To sit at table, ~ with saints and cherubim
As Lazarus once ~ reclined with Abraham.
2. To us who wonder ~ you draw aside the veil.
In fear and trembling ~ we tiptoe to the rail.
Our hands were dirty, ~our hearts were unprepared
Unfit to gather ~ the crumbs the dogs had spared.
3. Christ our salvation, ~ with us you share your bread,
Your body broken, ~ the wine the blood you shed.
Master most holy, ~ our sinful lives renew.
Dwell in our hearts now ~ that we may dwell in you.
4. Let me not betray ~ you to your enemy,
Nor be like Judas ~ consigned to infamy.
From depths of weakness, ~ this cry our prayer shall be.
When in your kingdom ~ you come, remember me.
5. We are unworthy ~ that you, our Lord request
Our house to enter, ~ beneath our roof to rest.
Yet to your question ~ we can nought else but yield.
Only say the word ~ and then we shall be healed.
I have therefore decided to recast it. It is still in 11 11 11 11, but it is no longer 56 56 56 56. Here is the new version. This will replace the present version in the next edition of Book 6. Because it is now metrically more regular, the tildes are no longer necessary.
1. Your love and your mercy press us to come in,
Scouring the hedges to welcome us within,
To sit at table with saints and cherubim,
As Lazarus reclined once with Abraham.
2. You, for us who wonder, draw aside the veil.
In trembling and fear, we tiptoe to the rail.
With hands that were dirty, with hearts unprepared,
Unfit to eat even crumbs the dogs have spared.
3.Christ our salvation, you share the life you led,
Bread your body broken, wine the blood you shed.
O Master most holy our weak lives renew.
Dwell now in our hearts and let us dwell in you.
4. Let me not betray you to your enemy,
Nor sell you like Judas in his infamy.
From our depths of weakness this our cry shall be.
In your kingdom when you come remember me.
5. We are unworthy that you Lord should request
to come under our roof, in our house to rest.
Yet what else to your knock can we do but yield?
Simply say the word, Lord; then shall we be healed.
These words are in a tidier version of the same metre. They fit Quanta Qualia, the existing tune for the previous version, better than that tune fitted its predecessor. This is the link to Quantia Qualia on Soundcloud, which will remain the tune allocated to it in the collection. It still should be sung slowly and meditatively.
Unlike the previous version, it also would now work well with Sweet Afton Burn (see previous blog, ‘This completes the Canticles from Scripture’ and here on Soundcloud) and Gordon the tune for God reckons as righteous (See blog ‘Two Canticles from Romans’ of 6th January 2017 and here on Soundcloud). It would also work with Maldwyn, (here on Soundcloud) the alternative tune for Solomon’s Seal, see ‘Solomon’s Seal – the wedding singer’. of April 17th 2016.
Canticle of the Sun or Song of St Francis
St Francis seems to have composed his original in Italian somewhere around 1225. It is said to be inspired mainly by Ps 145 but also Ps 148 and the Benedicite. There is already a very well known and excellent metrical version of this canticle which is almost every hymn book, All creatures of our God and King, by the Revd W. H. Draper (1855-1933). He seems to have written it about 1910. It was published by 1919. I would really like to include it in this collection, particularly since many hymn books dilute it by leaving out some of the verses. However, it is indelibly linked to the tune Lasst Unst Erfreuen. That tune goes back to the Geistliche Kirchengesang Cologne of 1623. As explained in the blog ‘A gift in honour of Mary Magdalene’ on July 19, 2017, the familiar setting seems to come from Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). If that is correct, and it makes at least one respectable appearance in the interwar period where it is only attributed to the Cologne book of 1623, that means it will not be out of copyright in the UK and Europe until the end of 2028.
So far, I have also not been able to trace what form the tune Lasst Unst Erfreuen took before Vaughan Williams reset it. If anyone can point me to a version that is definitely out of copyright, then if it is in the same metre, I will be able to include it.
If you have a hymn book with Vaughan Williams’s version of the tune in it, here are the words, including the verses that your hymnal may have left out. I am still considering whether to include them in the collection without any tune.
1. All creatures of our God and king
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
2. Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!
3. Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.
4. Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.
5. And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!
6. And thou most kind and gentle death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.
7. Let all things their creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!
There are some recent re-settings of this well known tune. Some of them also fiddle with Draper’s words – as ever, usually to their detriment. Indeed, some of the re-wordings are not just mediocre but actually poor. If you sing a more modern setting of the tune, Draper’s original words will still fit it as well as any other.
I’d prefer that you stick to Draper’s original words,. I’d also prefer that you sing all the verses. However, for those who feel really strongly on the subject – if you really must – it would be permissible to change ‘man’ in the last line of v 3 to ‘us’ and to change the first line of v5 to ‘And all ye souls of tender heart’.