In honor of our favorite tunes for the next 5 weeks I will be sharing some hymn history with you each week. There are some interesting tidbits about two of the hymns we are singing this week for our Trinity Sunday celebration.
The opening hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” (ELW #413) was written by Reginald Heber specifically for use on Trinity Sunday and the composer John Bacchus Dykes composed the tune “Nicaea” exclusively for the text in 1861. The tune name is a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea which formalized the doctrine of the trinity in 325 and the text paraphrases Isaiah 6:1-5. It is fun to think of how many generations of people sang this very hymn each year for this important festival just as we are today!
I found two bits of interesting history regarding our Hymn of the Day, “Lord, You Give the Great Commission” (ELW #579). The text was written by Jeffery W. Rowthorn in 1978 while he was Chapel Minister at Yale Divinity School. This powerful text about the various ministries of the church has two interesting features: each stanza includes a quotation of Christ's words (usually from Matthew) and the concluding refrain line turns each stanza into a prayer. This last bit was particularly interesting to me given the robust nature of the tune to which it was set.
The tune was composed at a separate time by Cyril V. Taylor while he was working for the Religious Broadcasting Department of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 1941. The BBC had received complaints about the use of the tune AUSTRIA (ELW #823) during wartime, a tune then set to the text of "Glorious Things of You are Spoken" (text found in #647). Taylor thus composed this new tune for that text. The tune name, ABBOT'S LEIGH, is named for a village near Bristol, England where Taylor composed the tune and Bristol was wartime headquarters for the BBC. It's a dramatic tune in bar form shape (AAB).
A very special thank you to our guest soloist. I am thrilled that my good friend Lisa Daehlin will be sharing her talents with us this Sunday. Lisa is not only a wonderful singer but also a talented knitter and crocheter and an excellent teacher of both fiber arts and singing. Today she is going to share a piece by a composer that is dear to us both. He is alive and well and living in New York City. He is a personal favorite of mine because we are both originally from Montana. Richard Pearson Thomas writes beautiful music and I'm happy that we get to share it with you today.