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Singing God's Praises 1

Singing makes you instantly feel better!

Singing God's Praises 1

Music 'in the service of God's praise' has been a major element in Christian worship down the ages. How familiar are you with some of its highways and byways?

1.
A very plangent setting of Turgenev's poem on the legend of the child Jesus and the Crown of Roses was written by ...
Rachmaninov
Tchaikovsky
Stravinsky
Arensky
It is in the Oxford Book of Carols, for instance, and calls for a deep Russian bass bottom B in its penultimate bar (that's over half an octave below the bottom of the bass clef).
2.
The resonant bass singers Paul Robeson and Willard White are probably most closely identified with which style of Christian music?
Oratorio
Worship Songs
Spirituals
Gospel
Their iconic and soulful renditions of such classic Negro Spirituals (an honourable and musicologically correct term, should you happen to wonder!) as Let my people go! ~ a classic of Liberation Theology from an earlier generation ~ well repay hearing. The 'spiritual' tradition was one of the less utterly baleful, and more enduring, by-products of the whole sorry saga of transAtlantic slavery; the suffering of the slaves expressed itself through music that fused ancestral African rhythms and impulses with the Old Testament stories read to them at obligatory Sunday gatherings. This resonant repertoire quite rightly took its place, on precedent and on merit, in the 'soundtrack' of subsequent liberation and protest movements. Robeson, who with his own ethnic heritage was a superb and natural interpreter of Spirituals (among much else) was associated with such music and hence, by extension, with communist (or at least anti-capitalist) politics, so his name went onto the Hollywood banned list in the era of political and cultural paranoia known as the 'McCarthy witch-hunts'.
3.
The composers of the coronation anthem I was glad (a setting of Ps.121) and of the hymntune Aberystwyth (most usually sung to Wesley's Jesu, lover of my soul) share which surname?
Parry
Walton
Williams
Purcell
These were, respectively, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (also of Jerusalem fame, among much else) and Joseph Parry, who were not related.
4.
I vow to thee, my country has often been regarded as a 'second national anthem' (or just possibly, third; after Blake's Jerusalem). The words were written by a British diplomat, Sir Cecil Spring Rice, shortly before the First World War ~ a historical telltale in itself, as this Quiz is drafted in the anniversary-rich early summer of 2014. The tune is adapted from which more-or-less contemporary orchestral work, and fits it as evocatively as a proverbial glove?
Bliss: Things to Come
Holst: The Planets
Vaughan Williams: Scott of the Antarctic
Elgar: Pomp and Circumstance
The slow-march-like tune (though in fact in a lilting 3-in-a-bar time-signature) is the 'trio' theme of the Jupiter movement.
5.
The Psalms (i.e. the established Old Testament 'Jewish hymnbook' as Jesus knew, and frequently quoted it) have become and remained a core corpus of devotional text in Christian worship. Which of the following is NOT a recognised form of psalmody within the English-language tradition?
Metrical psalms, e.g. in Scots usage
'Pointed' psalms sung flexibly to an Anglican Chant
The 'Negro Spiritual'
Responsorial congregational psalms
The Spirituals quite often spring from Psalm texts (or other broadly contemporary Old Testament narratives) ~ but they are nothing like an intentional set of psalms, as such, in the sense that any of these other styles or groupings are.
6.
Psalm 46 ('God is our strength and refuge') is enthusiastically sung in a modern paraphrase, set to a powerful yet perhaps slightly surprising tune from which World War 2 film?
The Great Escape
Reach for the Sky
The Dam Busters
Brief Encounter
The Psalm is about an unshakeable faith in God 'even though the earth be moved', yet the staunch slow-march tune to which it is sung commemorates an air operation which entailed precise but large-scale destruction. The stirring theme is by Eric Coates, a most successful and interesting composer (e.g. of the longest-running signature tune on radio).
7.
Mary's song, the canticle traditionally known by its Latin title Magnificat, has become widely sung in a metrical paraphrase which begins 'Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!'. This originated in a 20th-century prose translation of the Bible, but the whole hymn in its metrical form is the work of which major writer?
Fred Kaan
Martin Leckebusch
Percy Cutts
Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith
Any mainstream modern hymnal will probably include this and several others of his works.
8.
The traditional tune for the solemn hymn All people that on earth do dwell is called 'The Old Hundredth': why?
It was written to celebrate the centenary of the start of the Church of England
The words with which it goes are a paraphrase of the Jubilate, a canticle which also happens to be the 100th Psalm in the psalter (out of 150)
There were 100 musicians involved in its first public performance
This version has been superseded by a 'New 100th' but which has proved less popular, so the 'Old' label is used to distinguish this
This hymn, in a magnificent but sensitive ceremonial arrangement by Vaughan Williams, was used at the 1953 Coronation and may well be used on future occasions as and when these arise.
9.
Which of these popular recent devotional songs is NOT by Graham Kendrick?
Shine, Jesus, shine ('Lord, the light of Your love is shining')
Led like a Lamb
Majesty, worship His majesty
Such love
This one is by Jack Hayford.
10.
The composer John Rutter is most widely associated with which genre of Christian music?
Soul and Gospel
Worship Songs
Organ voluntaries
Christmas carols
Carols are not by any means the whole of his output, but anyone preparing a Carol Service might need to try quite hard not to find themself using his arrangements (in the ubiquitous Carols for Choirs series) or original settings. He is also responsible for widely-sung and accessible versions of such somewhat carol-like texts as For the Beauty of the Earth, the Gaelic Blessing and many others.

 

Author:  Ian Miles

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