Thursday, 23 June 2011

Aylesford Diaconal Ordinations: W. H. Monk, Patrimony, Plainchant and Hymns

As we are just in receipt of this Order of Service, we have a chance to comment on some of its features as they resonate with an Anglican patrimony. (We have already written in some depth of the priestly ordinations for the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham that took place in the territory of the archdiocese of Southwark, and some of the features occured at other subsequent ordinations and we have already commented on them (q.v.) - follow the links.)

The Ordination Liturgy began with the Regina Caeli, sung in the form known throughout the Anglican Catholic world, the metrical verse, Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven. It seems to be unfamiliar to current Catholic usage. Where the Regina Caeli is sung at all, it tends to be in Latin to the Gregorian tune or in English to a modern melody. So Joy to thee is assumed to be of Anglo-Catholic provenance. But there it is at no. 263a of the Westminster Hymnal of 1939 (but not that of 1912) with the Imprimatur of E Morrogh Bernard, Vicar General of the Westminster diocese. Incidentally, Bishop David Mathew writes of vernacular hymns sung outside the Liturgy in the Preface of "the homely Catholic services in the last fifty years, with their loud and draughty singing".

That Joy to thee is an English metrical version of the Regina Caeli Easter Marian antiphon served to popularise it in Anglicanism and win it a readier acceptance in a communion that had for centuries eschewed direct invocation of the saints in its worship (other than in the Benedicite and the Benedictus and even there not for intercessory purposes). It seems not to be in current Catholic usage, but it has remained much loved in Anglican churches with a leaning towards the Catholic tradition, not least those that are strongly attached to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. The benefit of a strophic verse in the vernacular and a familiar hymn-tune mean, however, that some Anglicans were able to keep this flag flying and their heirs were proud to wave it at Aylesford.

The name of the translator, as with a lot of "hymns doing duty" of this age, is not immediately known. Any reader who can shed light on his or her identity would be doing liturgical and hymnographical history a service by sharing their intelligence. The usual melody is the same as that used for the great hymn of Easter morning, Jesus Christ is risen today, verses based on the 14th century hymn Surrexit Christus hodie and included in the Lyra Davidica of 1708. Subsequently Charles Welsey elaborated on these verses, but we do not know for certain who was their originator. The emergence of the exhilarating tune, ranging from middle C to top E (a range exceeded rarely for congregational singing - even Hark! the Herald Angels sing, with its two top Es at the last couplet in the verse and the beginning of the chorus too, eases the range by go down no further than D), seems to be contemporary with the emergence of the English words at the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is possible that it set an eight-line hymn, setting the tune that we sing to the Alleluias to seven syllables as for the lines in the rest of the verses (and some parts of the Church use it for singing thus to At the Lamb's high feast we sing). But we know the tune to a version arranged by William Henry Monk, editor of the essentially Anglo-Catholic Hymns Ancient and Modern - a true bearer of Anglican patrimony.

Its fair to say that, here, Anglican patrimony is best seen (as with the rest of the Church's tradition) not as something static or there to be harvested from the past, but as a living and ever progressing phenomenon. Depending on how you look at it, this patrimony reinvents itself for the age and stage which it finds itself addressing, or it is an instance of the organic development of the great Tradition itself, according to its gifts, its lights, its times. Monk was something of a prodigy. Soon seen as a gifted composer and keyboard performer, by 18 he was organist of St Peter's Eaton Square in Belgravia, close to Buckingham Palace, which partly stands in its parish. Two years later in 1843 he was organist of the more confidently aristocratic St George's Albermarle Street (now only dimly recalled by the St George's Hotel which stands on its site and which until only recently retained its identity as the still just about smart back entrance to Brown's), before moving even more loftily in 1845 to St Paul's Portman Square, a proprietary chapel for the Portman family's fashionable property speculation that grew out of a goat's milk farm holding they presciently secured in the reign of Queen Mary I and which they retain to this day. Another two years, and William was off again, this time to be choirmaster and then organist of King' College in the Strand.

A five year stint there enabled him to institute some changes to the worship, prompted by William Dyce, the eminent Pre-Raphaelite painter, frescoist (notably in the Robing Room of the Palace of Westminster) and art and design theorist, who was Professor of Fine Arts at King's at the time. A man of formidable learning in a range of fields, Dyce (1806-1864) was a gifted organist, passionate about sacred music of the highest artistic merit. In 1841 he had founded the Motett Society to promote the revival of "early music" and in 1843 published a noted version of the Book of Common Prayer, with an essay on Gregorian chant and its adaptation to English texts. Think of this taking place in the same period  as the growing popularisation of Bach's choral and organ works, Samuel Wesley and Vincent Novello promoting the liturgical music of other masters from Palestrina to Mozart, the decay of the measured method of executing plainchant that had held sway since the sixteenth century and was still the "working assumption" for Catholic and Anglican musicians in England alike. For example, Samuel Webbe the elder, 1740-1816, famed organist of the Sardinian Embassy Chapel, includes in his Essay on the Church Plain Chant such tunes as Veni Sancte Spiritus for the Golden Sequence, indicating how "plainchant" was seen rhythmically and melodically (and indeed modally) at the time. Consider too Giovanni Guidetti's Directorium Chori of 1582 - known to Anglicans as the source of the tune Aeterna Christi Munera, with its slightly freer but nevertheless measured rhythm and its setting effectively in F major rather than its native Mode 7 - was regarded by Sir John Stainer as an authoritative source for "the Ancient Plain-Song" in his Cathedral Prayer Book of 1891.


But think too of the fervour of Cardinal Wiseman and a new generation of Catholic musicians about to convince the First Synod of Westminster in 1852 that plainchant was the ideal form of church music. 1848 saw the publication of the Mechlin Gradual (Mechlin is Malines, or modern-day Mechelen in Flanders, see city of the Belgian primate. The illustrious Cardinal Mercier hosted the famous Malines Conversations in 1921-25 at which the idea of corporate reunion became part of the ecumenical DNA and the concept of the Anglican Church "united not absorbed" was imagined by Dom Lambert Beauduin, founder of the classical Liturgical Movement, also at the instigation of Cardinal Mercier in 1907). The Mechlin Gradual presented plainchant in a more accessible way for choirs; it also tried to recover the modality of medieval chant from the conventions of major and minor, as well as some of its lightness and speed.  But it still reproduced the truncation of melodies that had been going on since the sixteenth century for "ease" of execution and it followed the tradition of reworking the text and music to align the word and musical accents. It was only a halfway step towards a distinctive type of rhythm for plainchant that could mark it out from the metres and theory of more recent classical sacred music and that enable it to be sung more freely and swiftly. Indeed it was already seen as a debased for of the chant, for all its influence throughout the rest of the nineteenth century and beyond (it was founded on the 1614 codification of the Graduale Romanum by Raimondi of the Medicean Press in Rome, revered because it was believed to be the work of the inspired Palestrina, which was not the case). From 1883 Dom Prosper Guéranger and his monks at the newly refounded Abbey at Solesmes had been working on recovering plainchant - the Gregorian restoration - from its best, most venerable and musicologically reliable sources, although the first fruits were not to be published for external dissemination until 1864.


Here we have two impulses in the drive to restore plainchant in Catholic circles. The first sees plainchant as essentially the same as other kinds of music - ancient and venerable in origin but forming part of the same body of music familiar in the London chapels and (for instance) the northern parishes where choral composing in classical styles was rich and vibrant in its own right, as well as attuned to the movement to emulate the style of Renaissance polyphony. So the harmonising is contemporary with classical and early Victorian tastes, and non-strophic texts (e.g. psalm and canticle verses, or antiphons) are sung slowly to fit more easily a metrical accompaniment. The second impulse is to set plainchant as a genre of music in its own right, with its own rhythmic culture, modality and pre-eminence as the musical vehicle for the offering of the Latin Roman rite's liturgy. This has been described as Ultramontane, but it is borne in the period of monastic renewal following the restoration of the Catholic Church in its integrity in France after a history of Neo-Gallicanism since the seventeenth century (in which about half of dioceses obeserved their own semi-invented rites), the Revolution that proscribed public worship and the uncertain restoration of a mix of the Roman and various diocesan rites. Guéranger wanted the Catholics of France to cleave no longer to a romantic idea of an independent national Catholic Church, not only because the invented rites drew on a misreading of the medieval sources from which they had been drawn, but because he wanted all the Catholic Church to recover its unity and identity in a rediscovery and a re-reception (as we might say today) of its own tradition. This meant an absolute fidelity to the Roman rite for the sake of the unity and cohesion of the Church at a time of both renewal and direct challenge. Wiseman, for his part, did not want the emancipated Catholic Church in England that he led to be stuck in the past that had seen it through harsh times in isolation, but to reconnect with the wider Catholic Church at a time of spiritual, liturgical, pastoral, monastic and evangelistic renewal. For both, in different ways, a distinctive plainchant, newly re-invigorated, would signal the Church's unbreakable solidarity, its loyalty to Rome as the keystone to Catholic unity and identity (Pius IX approved the Mechlin Gradual when it came out and it would not be until 1903 that Pope Pius X was finally free to assign the custody of the Roman rite's chant to the monks of Solesmes).


The perspective of Anglicans was slightly different. It is a mistake, such as many have made, to view the recovery of plainsong in England solely through Anglican eyes and its role in the revival of the religious life (notably at Cowley with the Society of St John the Evangelist for man and Wantage with the Community of St Mary the Virgin for women; the name of the Revd George Herbert Palmer is significant for both - he was organist for the former and his adaptations published by the latter). At this period, Anglican interest in plainchant is not motivated by Ultramontane concerns to demonstrate the unity of the Catholic Church through the use of the Roman rite in music restored to its pre-eminent form and condition. The old Roman sources (the Medicean Graduale Romanum, Guidetti's Directorium, the Mechlin book, etc) are taken as authorities for some of the "Ancient" features of, for instance, Monk's Hymns Ancient and Modern, but Anglican scholarship is looking (as the Neo-Gallicans had done) at the treasures of the Sarum rite in search of a something distinctively English by which the Church of England, newly confronted with the questions as to its authenticity and integrity by Newman and the Tractarians, could account for itseld and assert its claims by retracing steps to some different historical roots rather than in terms of identification with the wider tradition as it was trying to recover itself. Of course, the objective that Dyce was articulating as an Anglican was to re-appropriate from this "ancient tradition", for all the imperfections with which it had been transmitted up to then, chant that could be sung to the English Liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer.


But when Monk became music editor of Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1857 the assumptions about plainchant - even in an English form - were a mix of the old, slow and measured style (no wonder the creativity of the nineteenth century supplanted it with new hymntunes - e.g. Webbe's Melcombe - known to Anglicans as the tune for New every morning, but it was possibly written for a Vespers office hymn at the Sardinian or  Portuguese Embassy chapel, and St Thomas, written as a "Motett", probably for Tantum Ergo at Benediction or an Offertory. It is no wonder Anglo-Catholics picked up on this use of the tunes), with the freer style of the Mechlin Gradual and with the resurrection of Sarum tunes and versions of Gregorian melodies, yet rendered in the same styles (for heavily measured choral settings of plainchant hymn melodies, see Hymns Ancient & Modern Standard, Nos. 1 and 2, with their "Proper Sarum Melody". The 1924 version has freer accompaniments for the chant tunes. Compare the measured (and choral) setting of the Mechlin O Salutaris tune with its freer alternative at No. 311).

Thus Dyce and Monk deserve some credit for giving to Anglican worship two things. First a way of singing some of the chant of the historic Ecclesia Anglicana in a more systematic and dynamic way that had been conceivable before. Secondly they inaugurated a developed tradition and expertise for singing Gregorian chant in English that grew in popularity among aspirational clergy and their congregations desirious of demonstrating, for evangelistic, apologetical and eventually ecumenical purposes, the Catholic origins and identity of their Church and its liturgical life. This took root in the revival of religious life; it was alive to developments in Catholic liturgical performance and research; it was founded in the highest scholarly research in liturgy and hymography (the names of Frank Edward Brightman and John Mason Neale came to be outstanding in these fields respectively); and was scrupulous in its adherence to the principles of Solesmes. Illustrious figures include Francis Burgess of the Gregorian Association, George Herbert Palmer, Bishop Walter Frere CR and Sir John Stainer at the Plainsong & Medieval Music Society, and J H Arnold (whose peerless settings of the Sarum hymns populate that 1930 edition of the English Hymnal) through the later nineteenth and into the twentieth centuries. One of the things that the Catholic Anglophone world has found it difficult to do is to develop a musical language for the reformed Roman rite in the vernacular that is faithful to and drinks deep from its own tradition, so relatively recently recovered. But Anglicanism offers a tradition of singing Gregorian chant in England that even predates the abolition of the Sarum rite and waxed and waned since Merbecke set the First Prayer Book and adaptations of chants survived even beyond the Commonwealth's disruption; it also painstakingly recreated this patrimony and for well over a hundred years has built the resources and knowledge for rendering the Liturgy in English to Gregorian chant. Some parts of the Church of England favoured the Sarum variation of chants as part of an Anglican distinctiveness to their sense of Catholicity; others favoured Roman and Solesmes forms in view of their orientation towards wider Catholicism and their aspiration to identify their Church more closely with the Catholic Church, even while singing in English. It seems that, all told, this a valuable piece of Anglican patrimony to offer the Catholic Church in this age - the memory and knowledge of singing plainchant in English. Just because, as in the mid-nineteenth century, this is something that will need researching and restoring because it has tended to fall out of use in the last few decades does nothing to question the value of such an exercise - and it is a matter of rejoicing that, especially in the States, these old Anglican resources are finding a new lease of life in various circles and indeed encouraging contemporary Catholic musical scholars to develop sound adaptations of Gregorian chant for the singing of the Proper of the Roman Mass in the vernacular.

Monk carried forward his work to implement plainchant psalmody and Offices, as well as choral music suited to the cycle of the Prayer Book's liturgical year, when he took up the position of Organist at St Matthias's Church, Stoke Newington in 1852. But it was his arrangement of hymn tunes that brought him to the attention of those planning a new hymn book to enhance the observances of the Anglican liturgy with the resource of a treasury of hymns from throughout the Church's tradition, East and West, Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant. He was appointed music editor of Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1857 and we have the book first published in 1861 to thank for such indelibly imprinted tunes in English hymn-singing as: Eventide, for Abide with me; Merton for  Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding; Evelyns for At the Name of Jesus; St Ethelwald for Soldier of Christ, arise and - importantly - Unde et memores for And now, O Father, mindful of the love, a hymn written to be sung during the subdued recitation of the Roman Canon in English or Latin by the more advanced Anglo-Catholic clergy.

We remarked earlier that Hymns Ancient & Modern was an Anglo-Catholic book. We say this because it was the most successful at providing a collection of hymns for use in Anglican worship which served the set litrugy of the Book of Common Prayer, enhanced and brought out its doctrine in pursuit of Tractarian, indeed Catholic, principles and devotion (Hymns 309 to 312 discreetly provide a little Benediction Manual), and set the hymns in the context of the Liturgical Year and the daily round of the Divine Office. Thus did it commend itself across the Church of England other than in Evangelical circles until it became seen as the established hymnal of the Established Church to some degree. The hymnwriter and priest, Sir Henry Williams Baker, was the first words editor and his influence was enduring long after he was succeeeded by William Monk. But from then on the overall editor was a musician as far ahead as the familiar Hymn Ancient & Modern Revised of 1950. The editorial principles had thus long become musicological and hymnographical. Meanwhile many Anglo-Catholics had moved on to the 1906 English Hymnal, with words content edited by an eminent group of Tractarian and Anglo-Catholic scholars under the chairmanship of the liturgist and art historian Percy Dearmer (more truly a theologically liberal Catholic) and music put together by a young Ralph Vaughan Williams as music editor. Although an agnostic, he was steeped in the English choral and folk music traditions, and thus had a ready ear for making full use of the Gregorian hymn melodies in the sytematic way prescribed by the words editors. It says something of Vaughan Williams that for the 1930 second edition of the English Hymnal he abandoned his own settings of the Sarum melodies (along with a less successful version of his tune for For all the Saints, Sine Nomine) in favour of those by J H Arnold (see above). Whether a church used the English Hymnal or Hymns Ancient and Modern has been something of a badge of belonging to the Church of England, right into recent times. In the 1960s and 70s parishes using Hymns Ancient and Modern Standard might tend to be Low or middle-of-the road; English Hymnal was used in identifiably Anglo-Catholic churches, while its cut-down and supplemented version the English Hymnal Service Book tended to be used in middle-of-the-road churches "on the high side" - it was especially designed to meet the needs of the weekly "Parish Communion" movement; Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised could be found in parishes with a strong choral tradition, or regular middle-of-the-road or Broad Church parishes, or the more obviously High Church parishes. The Evangelicals had their own range of books too. The hymn-writing explosion of the 1970s and since, with a succession of supplements and new hymnals to keep pace, has largely broken down the chance of identifying where a parish's churchmanship stood from the hymnbook it uses. But the history of these books and how they were used, and the vision with which they were devised, is worth remembering when talking about "the Anglo-Catholic tradition" and "Anglican patrimony". There is no one normative tradition. In fact Anglican patrimony, bu its very nature, being something that has been forged in a conversation and dialogue between many tendencies and positions, has many strands. Just as they helped to form each other in an Anglican setting, so they can profitably converse with and contribute to the Western Catholic tradition on a larger scale.

A simple illustration of this is the Entrance Hymn, John Mason Neale's of St John Damascene's Aisomen pantes laoi, from the Canon for Matins of St Thomas Sunday (Low Sunday) in the Byzantine rite, Come ye faithful, raise the strain. We have already commented on how the text represents a positive contribution of the Anglican patrimony mediated to the wider Catholic Church through full communion, but not the music. At the Cambridge and Aylesford diaconal ordinations, the tune used was Ave virgo virginum, said to be a tune from Cologne in 1584, but according to the eminent carolist, priest and musicologist George Woodward it is by Johann Horn (also known as Roh), who rose to become the Bishop of the Unity of (Bohemian) Brethren and who provided his Church with a hymnal in 1544, which included this tune, said to be a version of a medieval melody. So it is not clear whether it is a Marian tune in origin, or a tune Bishop Johann wrote for his Gesangbuch. It is known in Anglican circles as the English Hymnal tune to this hymn, possibly thought to be more "Catholic" than other tunes because of its association with the words of Ave Virgo Virginum. One can imagine Protestants and Catholics taking each others' tunes in the period and fitting them to words expressing their own theology, just as the Arians and Catholics had done in the fourth century. The followers of Hus and Wycliffe regarded themselves as Catholics.

Different historic hymnbooks give tunes by Samuel Sebastian Wesley and Sir Arthur Sullivan, but the main tune to prevail was St John Damascene by Arthur Henry Brown (1830-1926), the self-taught organist of St Edward's, Romford, and Brentwood Parish Church. He was a keen supporter of the Oxford Movement and its theological and consequent liturgical objectives, and was - lo and behold - a leading light in the Gregorian Association and the promotion of planichant in the services of the Church of England. St John Damascene is the fine Hymns Ancient & Modern tune, but as a Victorian composition it is preferred, true to the ethos of the English Hymnal, to a tune from the Renaissance period, believed to be of Catholic provenance but in fact Hussite. Ave Virgo is an excellent hymntune and belongs to the Anglican patrimony that descends from the musicological expertise of Vaughan Williams working on the English Hymnal and George Woodward working on his Songs of Sion (1923). But for a tune that was written from within the Oxford Movement an expressly  to serve its ecclesiological, liturgical and hymnodical objectives (he set several other texts translated by Neale), it is to St John Damascene that we should look - and its writer who did so much to promote the identification of his Church with the wider Catholic Church, and thus the corporate reunion that is being realised in the Ordinariate.

Brown also composed Saffron Walden, tune to the very moving devotional and occasional Holy Communion hymn, Just as I am, without one plea.

The prayer of thanksgiving for previous Anglican ministry was included in the text of the Order of Service (in some places it was inserted verbally) at the intended place, prior to the Litany of the Saints. "Holy Mary, Mother of God" was replaced by "Our Lady of Walsingham". In other ordination liturgies, the first was treated as a given and the latter added, like "Blessed John Henry Newman" and the Carmelite saints.

Veni Creator was sung according to the translation by Bishop John Cosin (Anglican Bishop of Durham 1660-1672), who was responsible in large measure for the Restoration Prayer Book of 1662, conceived along "Catholic but Reformed lines", but stopping short of the more explicitly Catholic eucharistic doctrine that had caused such great trouble for Charles I in Scotland in 1637. Some, like the Anglican Association, hold him to be a proto-Anglo-Catholic, but in fact he was opposed to the Roman Catholicism both as a belief-system and a manifestation of the organised Church of Christ. In exile with Charles II in France he befriended Huguenots rather than Catholics and on his return was concerned that the reasserted Anglican settlement should not exclude Protestants, especially the Presbyterians. Hence the inability of the Anglican liturgy to articulate unequivocally Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran doctrine; hence its deliberate openness to interpretation. His approach was undoubtedly conciliatory for the times, but his lasting legacy is of qualifying everyone's belief through endorsement, or at least legitimate admission, of all. His own eucharistic doctrine and belief about the Church he believed wholeheartedly, but he did not understand that it is difficult for the Church to be unified, if it lacks doctrinal integrity too. Cosin's hymn comes from the Anglican Ordinal, from the Ordering of Priests and the Consecration of Bishops. There is does not pertain to the Making of Deacons. This is perhaps a hangover from the pre-Reformed understanding of presbyters and bishops in the same anointed priesthood. The "Mechlin" tune customary among Anglicans for this translation, not the restored version of the tune that has emerged thanks to Solesmes. But this combination of a version of a tune and some hallowed words is a precious part of Anglican history and experience, and it justly forms a part of the living patrimony Ordinariate members bring to the Catholic Church.

The Offertory Hymn was Newman's Praise to the Holiest in the height. The words need no further comment, but it is worth considering the choice of tune. At the reception of the Southwark Groups (for whom these pastors are now ordained deacons in the Catholic Church) the tune selected was Sir Arthur Somervell's soaring Chorus Angelorumgiven in Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised (interestingly it was also taken up in the Catholic collections, The Parish Hymn Book of 1965 and The New Catholic Hymnal of 1971). The classic Ancient & Modern tune is Gerontius by the Revd John Bacchus Dykes (1823-76), vicar of St Oswald's, Durham, and one of the most gifted and prolific of Victorian tune writers for the A&M venture. He also wrote still much loved tunes for Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty (Nicaea), The King of love my shepherd is (Dominus regit me) and Eternal Father, strong to save (Melita)). He belonged resolutely to the Ritualist persuasion of the increasingly identifiable High Church party and was a keen member of the fraternity of priests founded in 1855 to promote Catholic life, faith, devotion and liturgical observance in the Church of England as well as the union of Christendom with the Bishop of Rome: the Society of the Holy Cross (it still exists although its stress and emphasis is on an Anglican version of Catholicism, rather than on the need for Catholicism's transformative on Anglicanism). But the tune for Praise to the holiest from this early paragon of the Anglo-Catholic element of Anglican patrimony has yet to find an outing in its natural habitat, the Ordinariate. Doubtless the day will come.

At Aylesford the tune chosen was that which is much beloved by English Roman Catholics, the noble Billing, by Sir Richard Runciman Terry. This has only fairly recently come to the attention of Anglicans, thanks to English Praise, the 1976 supplement to the English Hymnal and thus rival to 100 Hymns for Today, the first supplement to Hymns Ancient & Modern Revised, which came out in 1969. These supplementary collections stress the significance within internal Anglican identities of the stable of hymnbooks you use. Some parishes mixed traditions at this point, but really both supplements were not "for Today" after all; they were either backward-looking efforts at correction and amplification, or they were stuck in an outdated view, even then, of what could be permissible as contemporary. They even mark the unravelling of the coherence of the Anglican liturgical and hymnographical traditions in the late 1960s and 1970s, the emergence (driven by compelling new material from Free Church sources) of the philosophy that with "what works" while congregations begin to decline as society changes and faith is put in novelty, "anything goes". Hence the case for the worship-song later and the diminution of doctrinal content in music selected for worship in all Western traditions; hence the disappearance of the the sung psalms so extensively in Anglican parishes; and, in Anglo-Catholic circles, hence the turning to the Roman Catholic Church's newly reformed and simple liturgy, partly for a sense of bearing, and partly as a unifying factor in a Church of England that was letting go of its own classic tradition, less out of reform from within its tradition than of modern response to shifting times and conditions.  Billing has gradually captured people's imagination in a number of denominations. In some corners of Anglo-Catholicism it started out as a badge of being "advanced" in churchmanship through using the "Roman" tune. But its compelling success is because it is a perfect fit. It makes no attempt to reflect the words and their sentiments like Gerontius does. Like all tunes for this hymn, it is in a major key, E flat, with a tone of solid confidence, contrasted with some minor tone B flat minor and F minor in the third line that suit the gravity of this point in the last two verses, Compare this with Gerontius in A with its rich sharpness, using the F sharp major and B minor in the third line to offer an air of lamentation more suited to the hymn's use in Passiontide. Chorus Angelorum (also known as Somervell, after its composer) is in E flat major, like Billing, and in 3:4 time makes no attempt to paint the words but instead reflects the praises of the angel hosts as expressed in Newman's Dream of Gerontius itself. As we have noted before, the tune is a setting from an oratorio and so this tune is very much a choir-piece. That said, there is a handful of hymns that can bear several tunes, suited to different occasions and moods, especially if the words are sung frquently. Praise to the Holiest is one such hymn deserving of its own repertoire of tunes - others could be O Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end (Thornbury or Day of Rest), O thou who at thy eucharist didst pray (Song 1 or Unde et memores), At the Name of Jesus (Evelyns or King's Lynn), We pray the, heavenely Father (Merionydd or Dies Dominica, see below), O for a thousand tongues to sing (Richmond, Lydia or Lyngham), Jesus shall reign where'er the sun (Truro or Rimington)  or (as we have discussed) Come ye faithful raise the strain (Ave Virgo Virginum or St John Damascene). Some of these choise reflect the historic usage of one or the other of the main hymnbooks familiar to Anglo-Catholics historically. They indicate how "Anglican patrimony" is no  more a monolith than that of the Catholic Church - it is varied and many layered. Indeed this very array of rich gems to choose from is integral to the patrimony that Anglican have to offer to the rest of the Universal Church as members of the one Body of Christ.

So Billing is, you might think, unquestionably the favourite tune now. But where does it fit with the Patrimony that the Ordinariate is supposed to embody? Even allowing for a legitimate development to the liturgical culture, and indeed the exchange of treasures proper to ecumenical rapprochement and closer communion, is now the time to prefer it over tunes with a long Anglican pedigree and indeed a more historic association with Newman's words? Billing was supplied by Terry to appear in the 1912 Westminster Hymnal, of which he was the musical editor. This was issued as "the only collection authorised by the Hierarchy". Terry was a pioneer (at first at Downside Abbey with its school) in the revival of Renaissance music, notably the Catholic English composers Shephard, Philips, Byrd and Tallis. He continued this restoration work while first director of music at Westminster Cathedral, where from the outset he implemented the execution of plainchant according to the principles of Solesmes, following Pope St Pius X's motu proprio on Church music, Tra le Sollecitudini. His influence on succeeding generations of church musicians has been considerable, not least in the maintenance and development of the choir he established at Westminster with its world-renowned expertise in Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony, but also on other manifestations of English choral worship, the Anglican cathedrals, where likewise Gregorian chant has become more prominent (e.g. at Men's or Boy's only Evensongs) and the corpus of Renaissance and Tudor music has lodged itself (see this post on the influence of E H Fellowes restoring this patrimony to Anglicans). Terry is credited with the first liturgical performances of the Three and Five Part Masses of Byrd and Tallis' Lamentations. He was now narrowly Catholic musicologist either, having worked on part of a definitive collection of Händel's work, modern editions of Calvin's Psalter of 1539 and the Scottish Psalter of 1635, and the revival of a great series of Tudor anthems and motets in Latin and English from both Catholic and Protestant composers (for instance, Thomas Morley was a Protestant Cathedral organist, and the leading Elizabethan secular composer, but he was a devoted disciple of his master, the Catholic William Byrd, whose style he at first imitated in his own sacred music. So here is an "apostolic succession" - the roots of classic Anglican church Tudor music, once revived and restored in the nineteenth and twnetieth centuries to Catholics and Anglicans alike, reveal they lie in the music of the Catholic liturgy). But long before the official endorsement of Terry's great tune in 1912, Catholics and Anglicans had been singing Newman's verses to long established tunes, from not long after it first appeared in print in 1865. Within three years it was in the new supplement to Hymns Ancient & Modern, paired  by Monk with Dykes' newly commissioned tune, Gerontius.

For copyright reasons, other Anglican collections were forced to use other tunes in the same measure of 8.6.8.6 (e.g. James Turle's Westminster). But what did Catholics use before Terry's tune came along? One tune in this metre, adapted for use in Catholic non-litrugical vernacular services, is the English Hymnal's tune for Praise to the Holiest - Richmond. This is also used as the tune for Charles Wesley's O for a thousand tongues to sing and the semi-Unitarian Samuel Johnson's City of God, how broad and far - unintentionally open to the most papalist of interpretations as paean to the One Church:  Unharmed upon th eternal Rock the eternal City stands. It was written by Thomas Haweis, an Anglican clergyman of strong Evangelical convictions who also moved in the circle of the Countess of Huntingdon and served as her chaplain (the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion had begun in Methodism but found itself, like Wesley's own Connexion rejected from the fellowship of "Anglican comprehensiveness", like others since. Unlike Wesley, the Countess was drawn to Calvinism doctrine and this put them into public disagreement. In the end her Connexion's chapels mostly came into the Congregationalist Church (she had once been great friends with the father of English hymnody and leading Independent preacher or Dissenter, Isaac Watts), nowadays represented by the United Reformed Church.) Haweis had been a leading light in the London Missionary Society, an agency of the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, and is credited with ensuring the Tahiti came first to be evangelised. Richmond may have been written for his hymn, O thou from whom all goodness flows (he also wrote the Christmas classic with a tune by Händel, Joy to the world). But the tune is only known to us nowadays in the form and harmony to which it was adapted by our friend, Samuel Webbe the Younger, organist of the Spanish Embassy Chapel sometime after 1817 and then St Patrick's Catholic Chapel in Liverpool. In 1800 he had published, with his eminent composer-father, a Collection of Original Psalm Tunes (melodies used by other English-speaking Christians for singing the metrical psalms to) and so there was evidently a custom of borrowing tunes and even texts from elsewhere in the field of English worship material that could be used at Catholic (extra-liturgical) services. Hence Richmond's use in the worship of Catholics; hence its transmission through adoption in the Free Churches for a range of hymns; hence its availability to be taken up by the music editor of the English Hymnal, Ralph Vaughan Williams, as the preferred tune for Praise to the Holiest. It has elements therefore of Cathoic patrimony, Dissenting patrimony, and Anglican patrimony and one would hope that it is deservedly conserved within the patrimony of the Ordinariate. Usually in D major, its tone is of bright confidence. Never modulating to a minor key, it makes no attempt to paint the words., other than to set forward the mystery of salvation doxologically. The English Hymnal was opposed to Victorian sentiment in music or self-regarding devotionalism in the words: its principle was of objective praise according to the liturgy and even hymns where "I" occurs are focussed on the Father or Christ, rather than personal feeling. The choice of Richmond skilfully reflects this aversion to sentiment. Perhaps though, Vaughan Williams might have done well to replace it with Billing at his 1933 revision of the English Hymnal. But he couldn't - by then it was already badged as the tune of the Catholics.

A good deal of the music for the Ordinary of the Mass quite rightly reflects Aysleford's role as a pilgrimage Church - the famous responsorial setting from Lourdes featured prominently. This is a version of the mass which has transcended the ecumenical divide between Catholics and Anglicans and has become much loved by all.


During Holy Communion, the choir sang Tallis's

O Lord, give thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, and lighten our understanding, that we may dwell in the fear of thy Name all the days of our life, that we may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
Thomas Tallis was a Catholic, teacher of William Byrd, and a Court composer through from the reign of Henry VIII to Elizabeth I. As such he composed music for the Catholic and Reformed liturgies. This piece is possibly from 1566, eight years into the firmly re-established Anglican Reformation. Some of Tallis' early pieces for the Reformed Chapel Royal (both Edward VI's and Elizabeth's) were adaptations of his Latin compositions, but others likes this were fresh compositions to reflect the expressiveness of the English syllables, both melodically and harmonically, as they are repeated and come to a resolution. It is very short but a great example of what has come to be known as the new style of English anthem, right at the source, therefore, of a great tradition of music and liturgy. It is wonderful to think of this thus quintessentially Anglican anthem by a Catholic composer set as a Communion motet in a Catholic liturgy which represents the cementing of the Anglican and Catholic traditions in "corportate reunion".

Next the choir sang Ave verum Corpus, to the music of Sir Edward Elgar. This is another Catholic composer who occasionally composed for the Anglican liturgy and, as Master of the King's Musick, the Court. But this piece is one of three motets, Opus 2, published in 1887 for the Catholic Church of  St George in Worcester, where he was organist in succession to his father. Elgar spoke of the great influence of the music at Worcester Cathedral on him, so here once more we can detect the interweaving of Catholic and Anglican patrimonies in a shared musical culture, respectively influencing their liturgical manifestation. We have seen how this was the case earlier in the century with the revival of Renaissance and Classical sacred music, as well as in plainsong. With Ave verum, we have a piece of music composed by a Catholic for the Catholic mass, having been influenced by the Anglican choral tradition at the point when it was being considerably renewed and raised in its standards, and also a piece that has long been borrowed and loved by Anglican choirs. A great deal of Anglican patrimony, and English Catholic patrimony, has more to do with what is received and held in common than at first appears.

Two congregational hymns are then given. First Newman's Firmly I believe and truly (also from the Dream of Gerontius). This did not make it into Hymns Ancient and Modern with Praise to the Holiest, but it at last arrived in the 1950 Revised edition, set to William Boyce's stately eighteenth century tune Halton Holgate. Here again we see what kind of Anglican you are by the tune your parish sings. For in more self-consciously Anglo-Catholic churches using the English Hymnal you sang the Cardinal's confession of faith in the Trinity and the binding teaching authority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to Shipston. One of the most appealing features of the English Hymnal is its remarkable work of conservation of folk tunes that would otherwise have died out. Partly out of Romanticism, partly out of an Anglo-Catholic incarnationalist Christian socialist respect for the arts and crafts perfected by working people on the land, Anglo-Catholics were among those who sought to conserve, revive, reanimate folk traditions. Some hoped to resurrect the life and religion of the medieval village from before the Reformation changes. At any rate, the collaboration of Vaughan Williams, Martin Shaw and Percy Dearmer (respectively organist and vicar of St Mary's, Primrose Hill in Hampstead) on the new Anglo-Catholic hymnbook coincided with a wide interest in English carols, folk music and dancing. The tune was collected at Halford, near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire, a piece of pure English heritage that serves a great text written by the most illustrious English preacher and theologian of his generation, the Catholic Cardinal Newman, and how those words were taken to heart by Anglo-Catholics with a vision of the whole and undivided Church in the twentieth century. Terry's Westminster Hymnal sets the words to a German Catholic melody from Johann Corner's Gross Catholisch Gesangbuch of 1631 published at Cologne. Here it was sung to St Bernard of Cluny's hymn to Our Lady, Omni die dic Mariae, better known as Daily, daily sing to Mary. Although this hymn in English is often sung to the lilting Daily, Daily (said to be derived "from a French Paroissien", that is service book for the parish liturgy in French dioceses), some Catholic hymnbooks set it to the German tune still. The tune in more faithful arrangement of the melody and its rhythm in Corner's collection is to be found in the English Hymnal at number 120, where it sets a now discarded Good Friday hymn by Archbishop Maclagan of York (1826-1910).

In 1895 Maclagan had declared, "Reunion is in the air, on every side we hear the cry for unity," as the famous commission met in Rome to open up again and this time finally resolve the question of Anglican Orders, only to see his hopes dashed the next year with the issue of Apostolicae Curae declaring them absolutely null and utterly void. (The reply in 1897 to Leo XIII from Maclagan and Archbishop Frederick Temple of Canterbury effectively reopened the question, leading directly to a reaffirmation of the continued need for prayer for unity and indirectly to the fresh examination of issues at the informal Malines Conversations 1921-25. The Union of Bonn between Anglicans and Old Catholics (who supplied the so-called Dutch Touch of valid episcopal ordination according to the essential Catholic form and matter) further affected the question as did a change in Catholic teaching on the essential form and matter. But in 2008 Cardinal Kasper revealed that the intention of the Vatican formally to reopen the question in the service of unity had been abandoned following the Church of England's decision in principle to take steps towards the ordination of women to the episcopate, which the Catholic Church sees as finally taking the Anglican Communion beyond the bounds permitted by the ancient common tradition.)

Celebration Hymnal and Hymns Old & New set Firmly I believe and truly to the English Hymnal arrangement of Omni Die by William Smyth Rockstro (1823-95 fellow-student at the Leipzig Conservatoire, friend and biographer of Mendelssohn and composer of salon music), as an improvement on the Westminster Hymnal version. Other Catholic hymnbooks follow the Anglican suggestions of Stuttgart (Bethlehem, of noblest cities) Halton Holgate or Shipston. Shipston is a bit of an Anglo-Catholic badge, but it has a history that is deeper and perhaps, in any case, more confidently and purposefully carries these weighty words than any of the other tunes.

The second Holy Communion hymn was Vincent Stuckey Stratton Coles' We pray thee, heavenly Father. He was librarian and chaplain of the enduring memorial to the work and influence on the formation of  discipleship in the Church among young undergraduates at Oxford and the promotion of scholarly and theological study of the faith, The Pusey House in St Giles, rising to be its principal from 1897-1909. He embodies Victorian Anglican patrimony in the Tractarian and Anglo-Catholic tradition of that generation. His eucharistic hymn is an enduring example of the Anglican tradition of teaching doctrine through doxology, specifically teaching Catholic faith and devotion through giving the faithful hymns by which to sing them in worship. Here it is a prayer for a fruitful Communion through the The Victorian Ancient and Modern tune is Dies Dominica by Dykes and the English Hymnal tune is the now unused Caerlleon, offering another Welsh tune, Merionydd, as an alternative. It is this tune, by W. Lloyd, that was used Aylesford. It is not surprising that the English Hymnal wins hands down for its words, and why even the users of the appealing tune by Dykes prefer them to those in Hymns Ancient and Modern. Although both are verses by Coles, the import of the hymn is eucharistic but quite different in each hymnal.

Here are the four verses as they appear in the English Hymnal:
We pray thee, heavenly Father,
to hear us in thy love,
and pour upon thy children
the unction from above;
that so in love abiding,
from all defilement free,
we may in pureness offer
our Eucharist to thee.


All that we have we offer,
for it is all thine own,
all gifts, by thine appointment,
in bread and cup are shown;
one thing alone we bring not,
the wilfulness of sin,
and all we bring is nothing
save that which is within.


Within the pure oblation,
beneath the outward sign,
by that his operation, -
the Holy Ghost divine, -
lies hid the sacred Body,
lies hid the previous Blood,
once slain, now ever glorious,
of Christ, our Lord and God.


Wherefore, though all unworthy
to offer sacrifice,
we pray that this our duty
be pleasing in thine eyes;
for praise, and thanks and worship,
for mercy and for aid,
the Catholic oblation
of Jesus Christ is made.

And here are the second, third and fourth verses, written in 1871 for a Confirmation class while curate at Wantage, as they appear in Hymns Ancient & Modern:

Be thou our Guide and Helper,
O Jesus Christ, we pray;
so may we well approach thee,
if thou wilt be the Way:
thou, very Truth, hast promised
to help us in our strife,
food of the weary pilgrim,
eternal Source of life.


And thou, Creator Spirit,
look on us, we are thine;
renew us in thy graces,
upon our darkness shine;
that, with thy benediction,
upon our souls outpoured,
we may receive in gladness
the Body of the Lord.


O Trinity of Persons!
O Unity most high!
On thee alone relying
thy servants would draw nigh;
unworthy in our weakness,
on thee our hope is stayed,
and blest by thy forgiveness
we will not be afraid.

Perhaps the hymn (especially the first four verses) did duty as a hymn for the confirmandi to sing as the priest recited quietly the Roman Canon that he had inserted after the Prayer of Consecration in the Prayer Book Office of Holy Communion. The last three verses seem aptly to modulate into a prayer for fruitful Communion, which is immediately distributed at this point in the old Anglican rite, prior thus to the Lord's Prayer. Clearly it is important to be discriminating in mediating elements of the Anglican Church's patrimony to the wider Catholic Church in the Ordinariate.

Finally, the service ended with the great hymn to Our Lady of Walsingham popular at the Anglican shrine, sung to Pilgrims by the eminent Victorian organist Henry Smart, Joy to thee, Queen. Thus the liturgy began and ended on the ascription of joy in the risen Lord to the Mother of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment