Monday, March 26, 2012

Liturgy and Hymnody Review: 1982 in 2012

Musical Settings for Noonday and Compline. New York: Church Publishing, 2002. 31 Pages. Saddle stitched. $30 for 10 copies. (L)

Glover, Raymond F., Editor. Hymnal 1982 Companion (Four Volumes: Volume One: Essays on Church Music; Volume Two Service Music and Biographies;  Volume Three A: Hymns 1 to 384; Volume Three B: Hymns 385 to 720). New York: Church Publishing, 1990, 1994, and 1994. 764, 749, and 1392 Pages. $210 for the set. (LH)

Why is a liturgical Lutheran worship book review blog reveiwing a hymnal companion for a thirty-year-old Episcopal hymnal?

It is still relevant. And useful. And it provides more "companion" information on hymns and canticles and liturgical music found in Lutheran hymnals than the official companions published to date for those hymnals.

A case in point: Volume Two provides information on S 204 Canticle 6: Glory be to God Gloria in excelsis, more commonly known in LCMS and Synodical Conference services as the "page 15" Gloria. Yes, we may have known it was "Anglican Chant," but did you know it was Scottish? See pages 156-161 for more on this ABCA setting originally composed for the Te Deum. Now, it is inseparable from the Christmas song of the Angels in Lutheran Service Book Divine Service Setting Three.

The complete four-volume set includes major essays and relevant discussions of the musical forms in The Hymnal 1982 which cover such topics as popular religious song, cultural diversity, the relationship between The Hymnal 1982 and the liturgies of The Book of Common Prayer, the development of service music in the Episcopal Church, hymn forms, and a brief history of Christian hymnody in the United States and Britain. In addition, complete information is given on all hymns and service music which includes the sources of text and music as well as biographical and technical facts. (2,949 pp)
(Publisher's website)
We have yet to have something this comprehensive, available, and affordable in Lutheranism. 

Volume One focuses on Essays on Church Music. Our own Carl Schalk writes the chapter on German Church Song (288ff). Robin Leaver enlightens us on the nearly-forgotten English Metrical Psalmody (321ff), a good example and resource for today's Church and Christian composers, as well as British Hymnody from the Sixteenth Through the Eighteenth Centuries (365ff). Paul Westermeyer writes about Hymnody in the United States from the Civil War to World War I (447ff), including the popular, yet problematic song of revivalism (455), and the transition of Lutheranism to English (462).

Jaroslav Vajda appears because of his own hymn texts and a helpful "Hymn Writing Self-Evaluating Checklist" he shared in conjunction with a 1987 Hymn Society of America conference (606). Also of interest will be Appendix A, "a philosophy for hymnal revision adopted in early 1981 by the Standing Commission on Church Music" (637).

Volume Two (Service Music and Biographies), as noted above, is useful to better understand the wide variety, many options, and long history in Anglicanism of supporting the Book of Common Prayer with liturgical song, chant, and hymnody. 
 Users should note that this volume gives performance, theological, and musical background on canticles and antiphons not included in the Hymnal 1982 pew edition, but primarily in the accompaniment editions for musicians.

I particularly appreciated information on Eastern chant (e.g., S 288). The music of Compline (S 331, et al) is sourced to the Lieber Usualis, previously reviewed in QBR. (Keep reading for more about Compline below.)

Biographies are extensive in the remainder of the volume, including many Lutheran composers and hymnwriters. Bios tend to be briefer than what should be standard in hymnal companions, though comparable to LCMS hymnal companions for TLH, LW, and Hymnal Supplement 98.

The strength of The Hymnal 1982 Companion is actually the second half of this encyclopedic set, Volume Three A and Volume Three B, covering hymns 1 to 720. (Users will note the helpful errata and corrigenda supplement, especially for the original printed text and music of Hymn 687, A mighty fortress is our God, though this substitute example belongs on page 1274 rather than the indicated page 1282.)

Lutheran users will be edified by more information about 417, This is the feast of victory for our God, set to FESTIVAL CANTICLE by Richard Hillert (784ff).

Just this last Sunday (Lent 4), our Hymn of the Day/Office Hymn was My song is love unknown (458/LSB 430) set to Ireland's stunning and sturdy LOVE UNKNOWN (457).

Hymnal companions are noted for giving original texts, sometimes missing stanzas in translation, and explanations of the historical setting, theological perspective, and changes in a hymn text and tune(s). I love hymnals and learning more about hymnody of other traditions, discovering why such hymns or tunes are or are not part of Lutheran worship. 

Want to see a hymn of 53 stanzas in the original Latin? (127, p. 262ff). 

Consider studying 207 Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia! set to EASTER HYMN (in Latin, German, and English) as part of your preparation to celebrate the resurrection of Christ  (414ff).

We at QBR were also interested to see the 2002/1988 liturgical supplement to The Book of Common Prayer and The Hymnal 1982, Musical Settings for Noonday and Compline.

A handy booklet for singing the Noonday Office and Compline containing appropriate hymns, psalms, lessons, responsories, etc. Especially useful for camps and conference centers. (31 pp, pkg. of 10) 
(Publisher's website)
While Wonder Love and Praise (1997) gave additional hymns and some service music (721-906), this booklet, sold in packs of 10 for group use, focuses on one of the neat innovations of H82, office hymns for noonday. The major offices had famous and still well-known hymns set to a variety of tunes. H82 dared to propose new hymns for the minor offices set to traditional tunes.

Both services may be prayed alone, but I find them to be more personally edifying in groups of two, three or more. As with any song from another tradition, these will sound slightly foreign at first, hence the ideal of praying them together with those who know them well. Hopefully, updated versions of the entire office will be included in an updated The Hymnal 20??.  At the very least, I have picked up some hymn and chant ideas that will further complement Lutheran Service Book's resources.

What does the future hold? A combined United Methodist, PCUSA, Episcopal, and ELCA publishing house? Will there be a common hymnal? Perhaps not. But there will likely always be a common hymn heritage among Christians in the United States.

Lutherans and Anglicans have profitably borrowed from one another since Reformation times. The first Book of Common Prayer shows a marked Lutheran influence (which waned in later editions). When Lutherans began singing in English using historic liturgies, they borrowed Anglican forms and Anglican chant. The durability and continued use of Matins and Divine Service Setting Four in Lutheran Service Book testify to the longevity and benefit of this borrowing.

Although much in theology and practice separate the Episcopal Church and its ecumenical partners including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America from us in The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod,  The Hymnal 1982 Companion is the most comprehensive resource out there...for now.

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, a member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.