Music for the Third Sunday of Advent — December 12, 2021

Rejoice in the Lord alway – Anonymous (mid-16th century, English)


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The first word of the ancient Introit chant for the Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete (“Rejoice”) – gives this Sunday its name. Its text is from the fourth chapter of St Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which also forms the Epistle reading for this Sunday. The anonymous sixteenth-century work Rejoice in the Lord alway (formerly attributed to John Redford), this morning’s communion motet, is a setting of this same text. The only known source of this motet is in the Mulliner Book which is held in the British Library. The rhythms in the music make it apparent that the words originally set were from the 1594 Prayer Book. The music—a careful setting of the words—varies between imitative passages and homophonic sections as, for example, at the words ‘Let your softness be known unto all men’.


Rejoice in the Lord alway, and again I say, rejoice. Let your softness be known unto all men: the Lord is e’en at hand. Be careful for nothing: but in all prayer and supplication, let your petitions be manifest unto God with giving of thanks. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesu. Amen. (Philippians 4:4-7)


Gerald Harder