Christmas Worship 2020 HD 720p
Grace Lutheran Thiensville
Published at : 25 Dec 2020
Music Notes for Recorded Service December 24-25, 2020
(Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Year B)
Prelude (Organ and Piano – Mary Karthauser): Don Wyrtzen (arr.), “Adeste Fidelis” from Come and Behold Him: Christmas Duets for Organ and Piano (1998) – Tune: Adeste Fidelis (ELW #283)
Don Wrtzen, the arranger, is a graduate of The Moody Bible Institute, The King’s College, and Dallas Theological Seminary. He has composed more than 400 anthems and sacred songs and has arranged and orchestrated many more works for Christian and pop musicians. Both the familiar text and tune of “O come, All Ye Faithful” are by expatriate Englishman John Francis Wade. He lived at Douay in northern France, where he fled during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Though we associate this tune solely with this text today, it was used with a wide variety of texts during the 19th Century.
Opening Hymn: Joy to the Word (ELW #267)
Isaac Watts, 18th century London’s leading Dissenting minister, wrote over six hundred hymns in his 74-year lifetime. This one is from his 1719 publication, The Psalms of David, and is based on Psalm 98. In 1848, second generation American settler Lowell Mason adapted the tune from two themes taken from Handel’s Messiah: “Glory to God” and “Comfort Ye My People”.
Duet (Mary Karthauser and Pam Johnson): Michael Clawson (arr.), “The First Noel / Pachelbel’s Canon” (1996) – Tune: The First Nowell (ELW #300)
The arranger, Michael Clawson, is Director of Choral Music and Ministerial Arts at Central United Methodist Church in Charolotte, NC. In this arrangement, Mr. Clawson has woven together the famous “Kanon in D” by Johann Pachelbel (1953-1706) and the familiar carol, “The First Noel.” “Noel” (or “Nowell”) derives from the Latin word “Natalis,” meaning “birthday” or “birth.” Its use as a Christmas shout for joy at the birth of the Savior is mentioned as early as Chaucer’s 14th century Canterbury Tales. This particular text was first published by Davies Gilbert in 1823, though it may in fact be much older. The tune was first married to this text in 1833, but it is believed that the melody is actually a descant (high counter-melody) or perhaps a portion of another tune, now lost.
Hymn of the Day: Away in a Manger (ELW #277)
The anonymous text of the familiar Hymn of the Day first appeared in 1885 in the Little Children’s Book for Schools and Families, published by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. There are three widely known melodies for this text. We use the American tune (sometimes known as “Mueller”), which is well known by children in this country.
Communion Hymn: Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (ELW #270)
This famous hymn marries a text by the brother of the founder of the Methodists to a tune by a German Jew. Charles Wesley (brother of John) published the text in 1739. It originally began, “Hark, how all the welkin rings”; George Whitfield modified it into its present form 14 years later. Felix Mendelssohn-Barthody, the composer of the tune, was the grandson of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn and grew up in a cultured and wealthy family. In his short 36 years of life, he composed a great deal of music, in addition to founding the first modern symphony orchestra.
Closing Hymn: Silent Night (ELW #281)
This beloved German carol was written for the Christmas Eve service at St. Nikolaus Church, Oberndorf in the Austrian Alps by the assistant parish priest and the organist of the church. Father Joseph Mohr penned the words, and Franz Gruber composed the tune. The two of them performed it at the service with Gruber playing his guitar because the organ was “on the fritz.” Though it was not actually published for some twenty years, it became widely known throughout Austria.
Postlude (Organ and Piano – Mary Karthauser): Gilbert M. Martin (arr.), “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice” from In Dulci Jubilo: Settings for the Season for Organ and Piano (2007) – Tune: In Dulci Jubilo (ELW #288)
The arranger, Gilbert Martin (b. 1941), studied organ (B. Mus.) at Westminster Choir College, where he has been honored as a distinguished composer and alumnus. The earliest mention of this carol is by Heinrich Suso, a German mystic who died in 1366, who related a vision that angels drew him into a dance and sang this carol to him. There is version of the tune with exclamations in the middle of the second line (“News! News!”, “Joy! Joy!” and “Peace! Peace!”). For some reason, the bilingual (Latin/German) nature of the original text has been lost, despite the early English translations (1540) remaining faithful to the concept.