Sunday, January 02, 2005

Can't get it out of my mind . . .

Do you have anthems, songs, or hymn texts that just won't get out of your head?

Here is the one that I've had today--it's from this mornings choir anthem for the service at SHPC. I first found the Gilbert Martin (of When I Survey the Wondrous Cross fame) arrangement of Christ of the Upward Way when I arrived at South Highland. I've done the anthem so many times since then that I promised today to put it away for at least one year before I do it again.

Gilbert is an outstanding church choir arranger. He is smart enough to know that the choir needs to go into unison for the climax of the anthem instead of dividing into parts. That way, the choir can balance the organ/accompaniment, which is already increasinging in volume to support the emotion of the moment.

Anyway, it is a tremendous anthem. And the text, well . . . I find it profound and moving.

I provided the test below in case you are curious . . . and I found it here (in case you don't know about this resource, you future church musicians:

Whole choir, unison, warm key of Db major:
Christ of the upward way, my Guide divine,
Where Thou hast set Thy feet, may I place mine;
And move and march wherever Thou hast trod,
Keeping face forward up the hill of God.

Women only, two parts, Eb major:
Give me the heart to hear Thy voice and will,
That without fault or fear I may fulfill
Thy purpose with a glad and holy zest,
Like one who would not bring less than his best.

This verse is deleted in the Martin anthem.
Give me the eye to see each chance to serve,
Then send me strength to rise with steady nerve,
And leap at once with kind and helpful deed,
To the sure succor of a soul in need.

Whole choir, four parts, sung in F minor:
Give me the good stout arm to shield the right,
And wield Thy sword of truth with all my might,
That, in the warfare I must wage for Thee,
More than a victor I may ever be.

Entire choir, unison, G major:
Christ of the upward way, my Guide divine,
Where Thou hast set Thy feet, may I place mine;
And when Thy last call comes, serene and clear,
Calm may my answer be, “Lord, I am here.”

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