Archive for the ‘Thomas Attwood’ Tag

Feast of John Goss and William Mercer (May 10)   2 comments

Flag of England

Above:  Flag of England

SIR JOHN GOSS (DECEMBER 27, 1800-MAY 10, 1880)

Anglican Church Composer and Organist

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WILLIAM MERCER (1811-AUGUST 21, 1873)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator

John Goss (1800-1880) grew up at Fareham, England, where his father was the organist.  Young John followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming an organist himself.  Goss studied at the Chapel Royal, where Thomas Attwood taught and mentored him.  In 1838 Goss succeeded Attwood, whom he respected, as organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Goss, trained also an an opera singer, focused on church music as an organist, a composer, and a theorist.  He edited the following:

  • Parochial Psalmody (1826);
  • An Introduction to Harmony and Thorough Bass (1833);
  • Chants, Ancient and Modern (1841); and
  • the music in William Mercer‘s Church Psalter and Hymn Book (1857).

And Goss composed church anthems and hymn tunes, prededing each effort with prayer.  Two of his more famous anthems were “Christ our Passover and “O Saviour of the World.”

The Church Psalter and Hymn Book (1857), the most popular English hymnal of its time, was the brain child of William Mercer (1811-1873), who sought to encourage congregational singing.  Mercer, a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, was an Anglican priest at Sheffield.  He translated hymns from Latin and German.  One such effort was “How Bright Appears the Morning Star“.  Another example was a translation of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”  The Frederick Oakeley version is more famous, but is not the only rendering available.

The William Mercer translation follows:

O come, all ye faithful,

Joyfully triumphant,

To Bethlehem hasten now with glad accord;

Lo! in a manger

Lies the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

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Though true God of true God,

Light of light eternal,

The womb of a virgin He hath not abhorred;

Son of the Father,

Not made, but begotten;

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

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Raise, raise, choirs of angels,

Songs of loudest triumph,

Through heaven’s high arches be your praises poured,

“Now to our God be

Glory in the highest.”

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

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Amen! Lord, we bless Thee,

Born for our salvation!

O Jesus, for ever be Thy Name adored:

Word of the Father,

Now in flesh appearing;

O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Goss and Mercer devoted their talents to the worship of God–truly a noble cause.  May we honor them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 27, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD, COMPOSER, ORGANIST, AND CONDUCTOR

THE FEAST OF CHARLES HENRY BRENT, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF WESTERN NEW YORK

THE FEAST OF JOHN MARRIOTT, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT RUPERT OF SALZBURG, APOSTLE OF BAVARIA AND AUSTRIA

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those, especially Sir John Goss and William Mercer,

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

Feast of Thomas Attwood (March 24)   1 comment

St. Paul's Cathedral, London

Above:  St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, United Kingdom

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-73191

Copyright Holder = Detroit Publishing Company

THOMAS ATTWOOD (NOVEMBER 23, 1765-MARCH 24, 1838)

“Father of Modern Church Music”

James Moffatt, in his 1927 companion volume to the Scottish Presbyterian Church Hymnary, wrote of Thomas Attwood:

He was a man of singularly lovable character, of sincere religious spirit, and of rare musical gifts.

–page 256

Attwood, son of a coal merchant, pursued a life in music.  He played the trumpet and the viola.  Attwood also sang as a chorister at the Chapel Royal.  From there, thanks to the patronage of the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV, he studied abroad in Italy then in Vienna, where he became a favorite pupil of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Attwood was fortunate to have the opportunities he did.  And he made the most of them.  In 1796 he became the organist at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, and composer to the Chapel Royal.  Twenty-five years later, he became organist at the private chapel (at Brighton) of his patron, the newly-crowned George IV.

And, in 1823, Attwood became one of the first professors at the Royal Academy of Music.  Thirteen years later he became organist at the Chapel Royal, under King William IV.  Attwood also championed the music of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, his good friend, in England and dedicated the Prelude and Fugue for the organ to him.

Attwood’s church compositions made him the “Father of Modern Church Music.”  He composed nine chants, eight anthems, four services, and at least two hymn tunes–Veni Creator and Sanctus.

Music can function as a portal to God and as a means of expressing the talents which God has bestowed upon one.  Thomas Attwood used music to praise God and to create beauty.  That is a legacy worth honoring.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF THE APOSTLE PAUL

THE FEAST OF SAINTS GENESIUS I OF CLERMONT AND PRAEJECTUS OF CLERMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; AND SAINT AMARIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

THE FEAST OF SAINT GILDAS THE WISE, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

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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 Thomas Attwood and all those who 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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Revised on December 24, 2016

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