Ambe – Text & Rhythm: Cory Campbell / Music: Andrew Balfour (b. 1967)

 

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Today’s introit is based on an original welcome song in Ojibway that was given by traditional drummer and singer Cory Campbell to Andrew Balfour and the University of Manitoba Concert Choir. Campbell describes the song as “a call to the people to the ceremonial way of life… everything happens with spirit and in spirit.”

 

Balfour, a prominent Winnipeg composer of Cree descent and the son of an Anglican priest, has created an original composition inspired by Campbell’s song which uses the same text and echoes the steady rhythm of the drum, unifying the piece. The melodies of Balfour’s piece are all original, but hints of Campbell’s song remain. For Balfour, the steady beat throughout represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth and the lyrical first soprano melody that emerges from this rhythmic texture conveys the powerful totem of the eagle which represents the teaching of love, wisdom, and strength, evoking the image portrayed in our reading from Isaiah 40 for this day.

 

Ambe

Ambe Anishinaabeg

biindigeg Anishinaabeg

Mino-bimaadiziwin omaa

Ambe

Come in

Come in, two-legged beings

come in all people

There is good life here

Come in!

 

 

The heavens are telling (The Creation) – Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)

 

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Haydn composed what is regarded as one of his greatest oratorios, The Creation, in 1797–98 with librettist Baron van Swieten. Movement no. 13 of Part 1, Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes is based on the first three verses of Psalm 19, our psalm for this day. Haydn took an interest in astronomy and the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton and held the view that an orderly universe substantiated a belief in divine wisdom. The victory of light over darkness is implied by Haydn’s use of the key of C major, as opposed to C minor, which had begun Part 1.

 

The heavens are telling the glory of God,
the wonder of his work displays the firmament.
To-day that is coming, speaks it the day,
the night that is gone, to following night.
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
the wonder of his work displays the firmament.
In all the lands resounds the word,
never unperceived, ever understood.
The heavens are telling the glory of God,
the wonder of his work displays the firmament.

 

 

Variations sur ‘Lasst uns erfreuen’ – Denis Bédard (b. 1950)

 

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Although the tune LASST UNS ERFREUEN is used as the setting for several hymns, we know it most typically as the music for All creatures of our God and King, a translation by William Henry Draper of St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Sun. Draper’s text is given below. Denis Bédard, Organist and Music Director at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver, has written a set of variations for organ based on the tune. Bédard’s music, essentially tonal and melodic, is characterized by a concern for formal clarity and is flavoured by his affinity for jazz. You may very well have heard the Toccata (final movement, at 5:05 in this recording) played as a postlude at St. James’.

 

All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voices, let us sing:
alleluia, alleluia!
Bright burning sun and golden beams,
pale silver moon that gently gleams,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

Great rushing winds and breezes soft,
you clouds that ride the heavens aloft,
O sing now, alleluia!
Fair rising morn, with praise rejoice,
stars nightly shining, find a voice:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

Swift flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for your Lord to hear,
alleluia, alleluia!
Fire, so intense and fiercely bright,
you give to us both warmth and light,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

Earth ever fertile, day by day
unfold your blessings on our way,
O sing now, alleluia!
All flowers and fruits that in you grow,
God’s glory let them also show:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

All you with mercy in your heart,
forgiving others, take your part,
alleluia, alleluia!
All you that pain and sorrow bear,
praise God, and cast on God your care:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

And even you, most gentle death,
waiting to hush our final breath,
O sing now, alleluia!
You lead back home the child of God,
for Christ our Lord that way has trod:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

Let all things their creator bless,
and worship God in humbleness,
alleluia, Alleluia!
Praise God the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three-in-One:
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia,
alleluia, alleluia!

 

Gerald Harder