Musical Bits~ Reflections on Sunday’s Music~ Amazing Grace

October 20, 2013
  1. The hymn Amazing Grace
It is the tomb stone of the Rev. John Newton, the writer of “Amazing Grace,” that displays the story of the treasured hymn of the church: “John Newton, clerk, once an infidel and Libertine, a servant of slavers in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had so long labored to destroy.”Yes, this is correct. After many years of practicing slave trading, that “wretch” met Jesus Christ and suddenly changed. Now, Newton would defend the gospel he had so long despised.  Newton realized the truth of two important attributes: he was a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!
 The first arrangement of this tune will be part of the Gathering Music and played on the piano. John Carter sets his arrangement in a 9/8 meter and utilizes a simple sequence of five eighth notes to drive the piece forward. A development section in B-flat major completes the rounded binary work.  
The introit will feature the second arrangement of “Amazing Grace” now for organ.  Listen for the lovely registration of the string family amongst a G pedalpoint.
The offertory will feature the third arrangement of “Amazing Grace” now  composed by Arlen Clarke.  Two note slurs define the movement of a theme that naturally rises a seventh moving to a half cadence. The 2/2 meter, selected by the composer, allows the work to rise to a climax which is found in the last measure of the piece. I often find that (for me) this meter juxtaposed with the lyrical choral parts represents a bowing down and surrendering to the throne of Jesus.
                                                                                    ‘til Sunday-Robert Morehead
Other music selections:
Gathering Music:                 Meditation on “How Great Thou Art”-Arr. Carter
                                                My Shepherd Will Supply My Need-Arr. Carter
                                                Brethren, We Have Met To Worship-Arr. Carter
Hymn of Praise:                  Amazing Grace, How Sweet The Sound (#280)
Act of Praise:                        O Morning Star, How Fair And Bright (#69)
Hymn of Response:           Brother Jude’s Advice
Hymn of Dedication:           Love Divine All Loves Excelling  (#376)
Postlude:                              Praeludium in c, Op. 37- Mendelssohn-Bartholdy

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