Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lessons and Carols, 6

The carols featured today are what started this whole series off. Monday morning I read the first text in its poetic form in a morning Advent reading. The musical setting featured today is an item I have long admired, and I had hoped to direct it this season. One of the (many) delights I walked away from this fall. I believe I heard these two carols paired in someone else's program; I doubt this reflects my own creativity. But today I do offer two carols, and I hope the reason will be apparent. And yes, there is also still a hymn.

In my ideal Lessons and Carols, time is not an issue.

Sixth Lesson: Luke 2:1-7

Sixth Carol(s): Two Kings and The Best of Rooms
Two Kings, text anonymous; musical setting by Joseph Clokey
(random unnecessary trivia - the composer's father was Art Clokey, creator of Gumby!)
The Best of Rooms, text by Robert Herrick (16th century); musical setting by Randall Thompson (1963)
Two Kings (no video, but I'm glad this performance sung by St. Olaf Choral Ensembles is available!)
     Yet if His Majesty, our Sov'reign Lord,
     Should of his own accord,
     friendly himself invite,
     and say, "I'll be your guest tomorrow night."
     how we should stir ourselves, call and command
     all hands to work, "Let no man idle stand!"
        "Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall,
        See they are fitted all.
        Let there be room to eat
        and orders taken that there want no meat.
        See ev'ry sconce and candlestick made bright,
        that without tapers they may give a light.
     But at the coming of the King of Heaven,
     all's set at six and seven;
     we wallow in our sin.
     Christ cannot find a chamber at the inn.
     We entertain Him always like a stranger,
     and, as at first still lodge Him in the manger.

The Best of Rooms
 Christ, He requires still, wheresoe'er He comes
To feed or lodge, to have the best of rooms:
Give Him the choice; grant Him the nobler part
Of all the house: the best of all's the heart.

Sixth Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem 
text: Phillips Brooks (19th century)
tune: Forest Green (trad English) 
If you feel you must hear this hymn sung the way you thought it was going to sound (!) click here for a lovely setting with orchestra and the Vienna Boys Choir.

1 comment:

Hugh McDevitt said...

I have put together a Lessons and Carols service for my choir two of the past three years, and I had never even considered programming "Best of Rooms." What a great idea! I'll have to add it to the list for next year.