Archive for the ‘Henry Thomas Smart’ Tag

Feast of Henry Thomas Smart (July 6)   Leave a comment

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Above:  Flag of England

HENRY THOMAS SMART (OCTOBER 24, 1813-JULY 6, 1879)

English Organist and Composer

Henry Thomas Smart came from a great and illustrious family.  His uncle, Sir George Thomas Smart, was a famous organist and orchestral conductor.  And his father, Henry Smart, was a respected and well-known violinist, music publisher, and orchestral conductor.  So it was natural for our saint to pursue a career in music, although he did so after a brief turn as a practicing attorney.

Smart composed many works.  His cantatas were The Bride of Dunkerron (1864) and King Rene’s Daughter (1871).  He also wrote an oratorio, Jacob (1873).  Bertha (1865) was his opera.  He also composed trios, songs, services, organ music, and hymn tunes.  Among his most famous hymn tunes was Regent Square, to which many people have sung and continue to sing “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation.”  Smart continued to compose after he went blind in 1865.  Ellen, his daughter, took dictation.

Among Smart’s post-blindness compositions were his settings of the Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis, both of which the choir (to which I belong) at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, performed at an Evensong service on November 4, 2012.  I have been listening (courtesy of Spotify) to those and other compositions by our saint while typing this post.  Now I am listening to the Magnificat again.  It is a piece of some complexity of voice parts.  So I wonder how many details Smart must have kept in his head while giving dictation.  And the work is beautiful and majestic.

Smart’s regular work was a church organist from 1831 to his death in 1879.  He played the organ for Blackburn Parish Church, Lancashire from 1831 to 1836 before moving to London.  There he served as the organist for a sequence of churches:  St. Giles, St. Philip’s, St. Luke’s, and St. Pancras.

Henry Thomas Smart devoted his life to God and to music in that context–a worthwhile endeavor.  I honor him for his good works and great accomplishments in those fields.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 15, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE FIRST U.S. PRESBYTERIAN BOOK OF COMMON WORSHIP, 1906

THE FEAST OF CAROLINE CHISHOLM, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF PIRIPI TAUMATA-A-KURA, ANGLICAN MISSIONARY

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

We bless your name for inspiring Henry Thomas Smart

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 90:14-17

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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