MusicNotes Jan 21-22


January 21-22

Opening Hymn-     I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say  


We begin Mass with Horatius Bonar's 1846 hymn, I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say. The melody comes from a traditional English folk tune, once sung by wandering minstrels traveling through the countryside. It was one of several folk melodies that composer Ralph Vaughan Williams notated and put into use in The English Hymnal in 1906. The tune is now used frequently with different texts. This text reflects Jesus' call to each of us to come to Him and to serve Him, as heard in this weekend's Gospel lesson.             

Anthem-     The Call                

This well-known piece was written by Mercy Sister Suzanne Toolan in 1986. It can be found in the Worship hymnal on page 633. The rhythmic verses tell the story of the Gospel lesson, while emphasizing the line "leave all things you have and come and follow me." The swaying rhythm is typical of sea shanties and boat songs, and imitates the swaying of ships, which sets the stage perfectly for the story of two fishermen. Sister Toolan is an internationally-renowned composer of sacred music, and much of her music can be found in our hymnals. Her most popular hymn is I Am the Bread of Life, now a part of hymnals all over the world. She is also an important spokesperson in this country for the music of the Taizé community.    


Song of Praise-     The Call,  Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Once again we hear from Ralph Vaughan Williams in his 1911 composition, The Call. It came from Five Mystical Songs, originally for solo baritone and orchestra. The text is based on George Herbert's 1633 poem, and became a popular poem for weddings. The melody became widely used as a hymn in English hymnals, and is still popular today. Our soloist is longtime cantor and choir member, Jessalynn McCoin.

Postlude-        In dir ist Freude, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

This chorale prelude comes from Bach's Orgelbüchlein, also known as The Liturgical Year, as it contains chorale preludes of varied difficulty to be used throughout the church year. Although it is a staple of organ repertoire, few know that much of it was written during Bach's brief time in prison. The Orgelbüchlein redefined the chorale prelude as an art, and it has become an endless source of inspiration for liturgical music. This piece is based on the German chorale known in English as In Thee is Gladness, which tells of the intangible joy that Jesus has brought to Earth, a renewed spirit that gives us strength as we answer His call.     

Will Buthod
Director of Music
Church of St. Mary
(918) 749 2561, ext 120
1347 E. 49th Pl.
Tulsa, OK 74105


  1. Will, thanks for adding so much beauty, enthusiasm, variety, and insight to our Masses.

  2. Thanks, John. We're all working hard to better understand how beautiful and special Mass is. Thanks a lot for the feedback!


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