Sunday's hymns will be familiar, but the choir anthem is of special interest. Now let us all with one accord is a text attributed to Pope Saint Gregory the Great (540-604), and the chant accompanying it dates from the 12th century. Gregorian chant is a vast and important body of music not only for the church, but for Western music in general. Composers have been inspired by these chants since the very beginnings of polyphony (simultaneous combination of multiple parts/melodies), and they were instrumental in creating Western music as we know it. Sunday's chant sets St. Gregory's ancient Lenten text perfectly. Let yourself be drawn into its simplicity and know that countless Christians before us have heard these very tones. Verse one of St. Gregory's text is printed below.
Now let us all with one accord,
in company with ages past,
keep vigil with our heavenly Lord
in his temptation and his fast.
These words, when coupled with the chant, are ideal for calling us to a holy Lent, but so are the words of John Donne (1573-1631), found in a setting of my own composition presented by our Women's Trio during Communion. In my setting, I tried to communicate the whimsical overtones of this serious text in a way that is memorable, but unexpected. The first verse of Donne's text is included here.
Wilt thou forgive that sin, where I begun,
which is my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive those sins through which I run,
and do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.
As we move through this Lenten season, there are many such texts to aid us on our journey together, and we will certainly hear quite a variety of beautiful texts and music, culminating with the joy of Easter Sunday. However, until then, I would encourage you to allow our music ministry to minister to you through our services and concerts this season. Remember that in addition to the Sunday morning Eucharist, we also offer a 4:00 PM Eucharist in the Cathedral Chapel on Sundays during Lent. This Wednesday, February 24, we will host The Archduke Trio, Mobile's own chamber ensemble consisting of Enen Yu, violinist, Guo-Sheng Huang, 'cellist, and Robert "Bob" Holm, pianist. We are blessed to host many fine musicians here at the Cathedral, but certainly these three from the Mobile Symphony Orchestra are always a highlight of our season. See you in church!