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About Sunday’s Music – Quasimodogeniti

“My pierced side, O Thomas, see,”

Healey Willan (1880-1968)
Healey Willan (1880-1968)

The HYMN OF THE DAY, “O Sons and Daughters of the King” (# 208) recounts the Gospel lesson, St. John 20.19-31. This anonymous seventh-century text was translated into English by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) around 1851. The tune is by Melchior Vulpius (1560-1615), kantor in Weimer, who published five collections of hymns, and has four of his tunes included in our hymnal.

The PRELUDE is a setting of “O Sons and Daughters” by Healey Willan (1880-1968). James Healey Willan was a music educator, choral director, church musician, and composer of countless choral and organ works. Born in England, he moved to Toronto in 1913 where he served as organist and choirmaster and taught at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. In 1938 he became Professor of Music at the University of Toronto until his retirement in 1950. In his retirement, he wrote over 100 pieces of music for organ, including the composition we hear today.

Willan’s work reflects the compositional craftsmanship and musicianship for which he was known. He once remarked: “Music has been my chief delight, and if at any time I have been able to share this delight with others, I am content.”

The VOLUNTARY is “My Spirit, Be Joyful” from J.S. Bach’s Cantata 146, movement 7, for Jubilate—the Fourth Sunday of Easter. Today’s version is transcribed for trumpet, organ, and timpani; the original version was a tenor/bass duet aria with the text:

How will I be joyful, how will I take comfort,
When all of this transient sadness is past!
I’ll gleam like the heavens, and shine like the sunlight,
When vex shall my heavenly bliss
No grieving, weeping, and lament.

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