Thursday, July 22, 2010

English Anthems: Samuel Sebastian Wesley

Samuel Sebastian Wesley (1810-1876) was the grandson of Charles Wesley (of the Methodist Movement) and son of composer Samuel Wesley (known for the tune "Aurelia" commonly sung to the text "The Church's One Foundation").

Wesley uses a text straight from Scripture here. You can pick out the verses from 1 Peter 1. He sets apart some of the text with unison and solo sections. He gives one section to alto-tenor-bass in unison, then solo soprano and unison soprano echo each other from both sides of the sanctuary (think traditional Anglican set-up with the choir facing each other in the front).

You might hear elements that are similar to Mendelssohn's "Hear My Prayer." The two were contemporaries of each other, although Mendelssohn was a bit older. After the anthem, there is an example of Wesley's organ compositions.

Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Which, according to His abundant mercy,
hath begotten us again
unto a lively hope
by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ
from the dead.

To an inheritance
incorruptible and undefiled
that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for you,
who are kept by the power of God
through faith unto salvation,
ready to be revealed
in the last time.

But as He
which hath called
you is holy,
so be ye holy
in all manner of conversation.
Pass the time
of your sojourning here
in fear, in fear.

Love one another
with a pure heart fervently.
See that ye love one another.

Being born again,
not of a corruptible seed,
but of an incorruptible,
by the Word of God.

For all flesh is as grass,
and all the glory of man
as the flower of grass.
The grass withereth
and the flower thereof
falleth away.

But the Word of the Lord
endureth forever.
But the Word of the Lord
endureth forevermore.


Choral Song
by Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Matt Edwards, Organist
1894 Hill Pipe Organ
Thomas Coats Memorial Church
Paisley, Scotland

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