Friday, August 03, 2007


EPISCOPAL DEFROCKINGS OF MASSIVE PROPORTIONS This is from This has got to be the largest single day defrocking in the history of The Episcopal Church. I might check out Guiness Book of World Records and see if they'll consider it for publication. Yesterday, in an official act observed by two presbyters of The Diocese of Virginia and with the advice and consent of the diocesan Standing Committee, the Rt. Rev. Peter James Lee took the required canonical action to remove from the priesthood clergy inhibited by him on January 22, 2007. Those clergy were inhibited following a determination by the diocesan Standing Committee January 18 that they had abandoned the Communion of The Episcopal Church. The possibility of such a determination was explained by the Bishop in a December 1, 2006 letter to the clergy and leadership of the now- former Episcopal congregations. By this action, the former Episcopal clergy are "released from the obligations of Priest or Deacon and . deprived of the right to exercise the gifts and spiritual authority conferred in Ordination." In addition to losing their capacity to officiate in Episcopal churches or in any manner as Episcopal priests, the former Episcopal clergy lose their capacity to contribute to pension plans begun during their time as Episcopal priests and any other benefits of service as Episcopal priests or employees of Episcopal churches or institutions. Pension benefits accrued to this point will remain payable. Those removed from the ordained ministry of The Episcopal Church are: The Rev. Robin Adams The Rev. George Beaven The Rev. Mark Brown The Rev. Marshall Brown The Rev. Neal Brown The Rev. Jeffrey Cerar The Rev. Kathleen Christopher The Rev. Richard Crocker The Rev. Ramsey Gilchrist The Rev. Jack Grubbs The Rev. John Guernsey The Rev. David Harper The Rev. David N. Jones The Rev. Marion D. Lucas III The Rev. Herbert McMullan The Rec. Clancy Nixon The Rev. Robin Rauh The Rev. Valerie Whitcomb The Rev. Elijah White The Rev. Frederick M. Wright The Rev. John W. Yates II Of the 21 clergy determined to have abandoned the Communion of The Episcopal Church and subsequently inhibited by Bishop Lee in January, only one has made a good faith retraction and has had his inhibition lifted. The Rev. Nicholas Lubelfeld "has declared his loyalty to the doctrine, discipline and worship of The Episcopal Church" wrote Bishop Lee in the notice lifting Mr. Lubelfeld's inhibition. Mr. Lubelfeld has accepted a call to serve as priest associate of Church of Our Redeemer in Aldie, Va., serving under the supervision of the Rev. John Sheehan, rector of that church. In making his retraction, Mr. Lubelfeld sent a letter to Bishop Lee dated June 30 in which he states his "intention to remain a member of The Episcopal Church and of the clergy of The Diocese of Virginia." In that letter he also states, "I did not and do not intend to renounce or be disloyal to the doctrine, discipline or worship of Christ as The Episcopal Church has received them." He further states "I have not sought or received admission into any religious body not in communion with The Episcopal Church, or in any way severed my ties with The Episcopal Church."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Introducing my Favorite Anglican Composer: R. VAUGHN WILLIAMS

Ralph Vaughn Williams
Born: Otober 12, 1872, Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England. Died: August 26, 1958, London, England. Buried: Westminster Abbey, London, England.
One of the things that drew me to The Episcopal Church is it's music. I love organ and choral music and that's something that Anglicans do well! During the ten years I've been an Episcopalian, I gradually became curious about the composers whose music I love so much.
I fell in love with the national hymn of England, Jerusalem by Parry while at a concert in Huddersfield by the joint Anglican-Methodist Community Choir. So when I got home I was able to find Parry's collection by Hyperion Music, London which began my hobby of collecting Anglican music CD's.
But sometimes sitting in church certain hymns touch me so strongly that it's in my head throuout the week while at work, driving or whatever. One stands out as my absolutely favorite Anglican hymn....For all the Saints. And NOBODY can sing this particular hymn like Anglicans can. I really believe this from listening to recordings by other choirs. You see, this particular hymn is one adored by Anglicans on both sides of the pond. Anglican ladies anticipate the high notes and are prepared to hit them...and they always do.
Another great Anglican hymn is an Easter Hymn, Come ye Festival Day, which is rather complicated to sing, but rousing and indeed festive.
So, who wrote the beautiful music to these two beloved Anglican hymns, I wondered? They were written by a great English composer, Ralph Vaughn Williams, the son of a vicar.
Vaughan Williams is one of the best known English composers of the 20th Century. All the major music biographical dictionaries carry articles about him. He served as musical editor for The English Hymnal in 1906.
Hymns Mr. Vaughn Williams composed: The Airmen's Hymn At the Name of Jesus (tune : King's Weston) Blake's Cradle Song A Call to the Free Nations Come down, oh Love Divine (tune : Down Ampney) The English Hymnal (1906, revised 1933) Fierce raged the Tempest (tune : White Gates) Five wartime hymns For all the Saints (tune : Sine Nomine) God be with you till we meet again The Golden Carol Hail thee, Festival Day (tune : Salve feste Dies) He who would valiant be (tune : Monk's Gate) A Hymn of Freedom Into the woods my master went I vow to Thee my Country Let us now praise famous men The night has come Saviour, again to Thy dear name Servants of God Servants of the great adventure Snow in the Street Songs of Praise (1925, enlarged edition 1931) The Oxford book of Carols (1927) Wither's Rocking Hymn
Biographical information from the Internet:
Ralph Vaughan Williams was born in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, where his father, the Rev. Arthur Vaughan Williams, was vicar. Following his father's death in 1875 he was taken by his mother, Margaret Susan Wedgwood (1843–1937), the great grand daughter of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, to live with her family at Leith Hill Place, the Wedgwood family home in the North Downs. He was also related to the Darwins, Charles Darwin being a great-uncle. Ralph (pronounced "Rafe"[1]) was therefore born into the privileged intellectual upper middle class, but never took it for granted and worked tirelessly all his life for the democratic and egalitarian ideals he believed in.
As a student he had studied piano, "which I never could play, and the violin, which was my musical salvation." After Charterhouse School he attended the Royal College of Music (RCM) under Charles Villiers Stanford. He read history and music at Trinity College, Cambridge where his friends and contemporaries included the philosophers G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell. He then returned to the RCM and studied composition with Hubert Parry, who became a close friend. His composing developed slowly and it was not until he was 30 that the song "Linden Lea" became his first publication. He mixed composition with conducting, lecturing and editing other music, notably that of Henry Purcell and the English Hymnal. He had further lessons with Max Bruch in Berlin in 1897 and later a big step forward in his orchestral style occurred when he studied in Paris with Maurice Ravel. In 1904 he discovered English folk songs, which were fast becoming extinct owing to the increase of literacy and printed music in rural areas. He travelled the countryside, transcribing and preserving many himself. Later he incorporated some songs and melodies into his own music, being fascinated by the beauty of the music and its anonymous history in the working lives of ordinary people. His efforts did much to raise appreciation of traditional English folk song and melody. Later in his life he served as president of the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) which in recognition of his early and important work in this field, named its Vaughan Williams Memorial Library after him. In 1905 RVW conducted the first concert of the newly founded Leith Hill Music Festival at Dorking and thereafter held that conductorship until 1953 when he passed the baton to his successor. In 1909, he composed incidental music for the Cambridge Greek Play, a stage production at Cambridge University of Aristophanes' The Wasps, and the next year, he had his first big public successes conducting the premieres of the Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis (at The Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral) and A Sea Symphony (Symphony No. 1), and a greater success with A London Symphony (Symphony No. 2) in 1914, conducted by Geoffrey Toye. Being 40, he could have avoided war service. Having had a public school education he could have tried for a commission. He chose to enlist as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps and had a gruelling time as a stretcher bearer before being commissioned in the Royal Garrison Artillery. On one occasion he was too ill to stand but continued to direct his battery lying on the ground. Prolonged exposure to gunfire began a process of loss of hearing which was eventually to cause deafness in old age. In 1918 he was appointed Director of Music, First Army and this helped him adjust back into musical life. After the war he adopted for a while a profoundly mystical style in the Pastoral Symphony (Symphony No. 3) and Flos Campi, a work for viola solo, small orchestra, and wordless chorus. From 1924 a new phase in his music began, characterised by lively cross-rhythms and clashing harmonies. Key works from this period are Toccata marziale, the ballet Old King Cole, the Piano Concerto, the oratorio Sancta Civitas (his favourite of his choral works) and the ballet Job (described as "A Masque for Dancing") which is drawn not from the Bible but from William Blake's Illustrations to the Book of Job. He also composed a Te deum in G for the enthronement of Cosmo Gordon Lang as Archbishop of Canterbury. This period in his music culminated in the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, first played by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1935. This symphony contrasts dramatically with the frequent "pastoral" orchestral works he composed; indeed, its almost unrelieved tension, drama, and dissonance has startled listeners since it was premiered. Acknowledging that the fourth symphony was different, the composer said, "I don't know if I like it, but it's what I mean." Two years later Vaughan Williams made a historic recording of the work with the same orchestra for HMV (His Master's Voice), one of his very rare commercial recordings. During this period he lectured in America and England, and conducted the Bach Choir. He was appointed to the Order of Merit in 1935, having previously declined a knighthood. His music now entered a mature lyrical phase, as in the Five Tudor Portraits; the "morality" The Pilgrim's Progress; the Serenade to Music (a setting of a scene from act five of The Merchant of Venice, for orchestra and sixteen vocal soloists and composed as a tribute to the conductor Sir Henry Wood); and the Symphony No. 5 in D, which he conducted at the Proms in 1943. As he was now 70, many people considered it a swan song, but he renewed himself again and entered yet another period of exploratory harmony and instrumentation. Before his death in 1958 he completed four more symphonies, including No. 7 Sinfonia Antartica, based on his 1948 film score for Scott of the Antarctic. He also completed a range of instrumental and choral works, including a tuba concerto, An Oxford Elegy on texts of Matthew Arnold, and the Christmas cantata Hodie. At his death he left an unfinished Cello Concerto, an opera Thomas the Rhymer and music for a Christmas play, The First Nowell, which was completed by his amanuensis Roy Douglas (b. 1907). He also wrote an arrangement of The Old One Hundredth Psalm Tune for the Coronation Service of Queen Elizabeth II. Despite his substantial involvement in church music, and the religious subject-matter of many of his works, he was described by his second wife as "an atheist … [who] later drifted into a cheerful agnosticism." It's noteworthy that in his opera The Pilgrim's Progress he changed the name of the hero from Bunyan's Christian to Pilgrim. He also set Bunyan's hymn Who would true valour see to music using the traditional Sussex melody "Monk's Gate. For many church-goers, his most familiar composition may be the tune Sine Nomine for the hymn "For All the Saints". During his life he also worked as a tutor for Birkbeck College. [2]
In the 1950s, the composer supervised recordings of all but his ninth symphony by Sir Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Decca.[3] At the end of the sessions for the mysterious sixth symphony, Vaughan Williams gave a short speech, thanking Boult and the orchestra for their performance, "most heartily," and Decca later included this on the LP.[4] He was to supervise the first recording of the ninth symphony (for Everest Records) with Boult; his death the night before the recording sessions were to begin resulted in Boult announcing to the musicians that their performance would be a memorial to the composer.[5] He died in 1958 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. Vaughan Williams is a central figure in British music because of his long career as teacher, lecturer and friend to so many younger composers and conductors. His writings on music remain thought-provoking, particularly his oft-repeated call for everyone to make their own music, however simple, as long as it is truly their own. He was married twice. His first wife, Adeline Fisher (daughter of the historian Herbert William Fisher), died in 1951 after many years of suffering from crippling arthritis. In 1953 he married the poet Ursula Wood (b. 1911), whom he had known since the late 1930s and with whom he collaborated on a number of vocal works. Ursula later wrote Vaughan Williams's biography RVW: A Biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams, which remains the standard work on his life. Vaughan Williams appears as a character in Robert Holdstock's novel Lavondyss.