excerpt from 'Musical letters from Abroad' pp. 13-14 (447 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 13-14 (447 words)

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Musical letters from Abroad

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On Sunday morning, at 11 o’clock, we attended divine service in the parish church of St. Nicholas, Rev. Mr. Havergal rector. The exercises commenced by a few measures as a voluntary, or rather prelude, and the “giving out” the tune on the organ, after which all the congregation united in a single stanza sung to the old tune called “Tallis’s Evening Hymn.” The hymn was not read nor named, but it appeared to be a common thing for the worship to commence in the use of a stanza well known, always the same, and to the same tune. It was a hearty commencement, for every one seemed to join with full voice. The service was read by the curate. The chanting was done by the whole congregation, and the responding was between the occupants of the lower floor and those of the gallery — but the song was universal — men, women and children uniting harmonious voices. The Venite and the Te Deum were chanted responsively; the psalms were not chanted but, read in the usual manner. Two metrical hymns were sung during the service. The tunes were both of the old ecclesiastical class, and were in the same rhythmic form as St. Ann’s, York, &c. appear in the Cantica Laudis. The first and last words of each line being long, and all the rest short. They were sung by all the people, and in very quick time; as fast as propriety would allow the enunciation of the words. They were sung somewhat quicker than the writer has taught this class of tunes in musical conventions and singing classes in America. Let the tune Uxbridge, for example, be sung in quick time, somewhat quicker than usual, and the crotchets will give the time of the minims in the above-named class of tunes. There were one or two organ interludes introduced in a psalm of five stanzas; but these were very short, not more than about two measures, or the length of the last line of a common metre tune. “These tunes would be popular in America,” said the lady who was with me, who, though not a singer, has been accustomed for many years to give close attention to the Psalmody, and to hear criticisms and remarks concerning it. And indeed, they are as far from being dull and heavy as need be; I doubt not that many good people, with us, would think it almost irreverent to sing a hymn through with such rapidity. Yet all the people, old and young, joined — all seemed to know the tunes perfectly, and all kept well together.

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excerpt from 'Musical letters from Abroad' pp. 13-14 (447 words)

excerpt from 'Musical letters from abroad' pp. 13-14 (447 words)


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