Archive for December 2014

Feast of Georg Gottfried Muller (May 22)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Lititz Moravian Church, Lititz, Pennsylvania, November 1942

Photographer = Marjory Collins

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USW3-011809-D

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GEORG GOTTFRIED MULLER (MAY 22, 1762-MARCH 19, 1821)

German-American Moravian Minister and Composer

Georg Gottfried Muller came from a devout Moravian family.  His father was Bishop Buchard Muller.  Our saint entered the world at Gross Hennersdorf, near Herrnhut, Saxony, the Moravian headquarters.  He attended school at Barby before emigrating to the nascent United States of America in 1784.  There he spent the rest of his life–about thirty-six years.

Muller’s American life started with him teaching at the boys’ school and the collegium musicum at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, from 1785 to 1788.  Next he taught at Lititz, Pennsylvania, where he led the collegium musicum.  Muller, the husband of Johanna Levering of Jamaica, served next at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Then, from 1805 to 1814, he served churches at Beersheba and Gnadenhutten, Ohio.  Subsequent pastorates were in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Newport, Rhode Island.  Bad health forced his retirement in 1819.  Muller spent his last two years at Lititz, where he died of consumption on March 19, 1821.

Muller also composed anthems for use in churches.  Among these musical works were “You Are Precious to Him” and “Lamb of God, Thou Shalt Remain Forever.”

I have taken notes on some prospective additions to the Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, only to reject many of them due to the dearth of available information because I have no interest in writing a host of blurbs.  In fact, I rejected two otherwise fine candidates yesterday for this reason.  Thus I rejoice that I found enough information about Georg Gottfried Mulller to add him to the Calendar.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 29, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (TRANSFERRED)

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS BECKET, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF JOSIAH CONDER, ENGLISH ABOLITIONIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF AUSTIN FARRER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BURNETT MORRIS, SR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Georg Gottfried Muller,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock.

We pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

–Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–After Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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Feast of Christian Friedrich Hasse (May 12)   2 comments

Flag of England

Above:  Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH HASSE (1771-MAY 1, 1831)

German-British Moravian Composer and Educator

Among my favorite aspects of the Moravian Church, a denomination I know only via books and music, is their traditional commitment to quality in church music.  The classicism of the European side of the Unitas Fratrum‘s music impresses me, a fan of classical music.  Some recent songs from official publications belie this tradition of caring about quality, hence the awful “In This Crowd Sing Out Loud,” a terrible text set to the tune of “Jingle Bells.”  One of my fellow Episcopalians dubbed it “Jingle Christ.”  “In This Crowd” is the worst song in Sing to the Lord a New Song:  A New Moravian Songbook (2013), which contains many excellent new texts set to familiar tunes.  Hasse, I propose, would have recoiled in horror at “In This Crowd.”

We know much about the life of Chrstian Friedrich Hasse (1771-1831).  His birthplace was the Moravian settlement at Sarepta, Russia.  He studied at Niesky and Barby in Germany.  At Barby Hasse studied under the great Christian Gregor (1723-1801), the “Father of Moravian Music.”  Hasse then taught at Niesky, Barby, and Gross Hennersdorf before transferring to Fulneck, Yorkshire, England, in 1804.  There he remained for the rest of his life.  He taught music and foreign languages at the boys’ school there, served as the organist and music director of the local congregation, and composed anthems for use in church.  In 1808 he married Ann Cossart, who became the mother of his six children.  That family supplied faithful British Moravians for many years.  Hasse’s life and the church-related labors thereof ended when he died suddenly on May 1, 1831.  He was sixty-one years old.

Among our saint’s most enduring musical legacies was Sacred Music:  Partly Original;  Partly Selected from the Works of the Chief of the Most Modern German Composers, by C. F. Hasse.  The Vocal Parts as in the Original Score, and Adapted Exclusively to English Words.  The Instrumental Parts Arranged for the Piano Forte.  Hasse published the first volume in 1829.  The second volume debuted in 1832, posthumously.  The collection contained works of Moravian and non-Moravian composers.

I thank God for the faithful life and the musical legacy of Christian Friedrich Hasse.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 29, 2014 COMMON ERA

THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (TRANSFERRED)

THE FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS BECKET, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF JOSIAH CONDER, ENGLISH ABOLITIONIST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF AUSTIN FARRER, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BURNETT MORRIS, SR., EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND WITNESS FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Christian Friedrich Hasse 

and all those who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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