Academic journal article The Hymn

There's a Wideness in God's Mercy

Academic journal article The Hymn

There's a Wideness in God's Mercy

Article excerpt

There's a wideness in God's mercy ST. Helena, arr. Rick McNeely [SATB, piano]. GIA Publications (G-7378) topics: God's love, mercy, and grace season: General biblical references: Psalms 36:5; 86:5-7, 15; and 103:8-13; Lamentations 3:21-26; John 3:16; Romans 6:35-39; Ephesians 1:6-8 and 2:4-7; 1 John 1:7-9

This anthem's melody is based upon Calvin Hampton's celebrated tune from 1977 for unison voices. It was written as a commissioned work "in celebration with all who have struggled in darkness but now Uve in the light of Christ." Unlike the unmetered original version, the measures here follow a metrical pattern based on downbeats that fit the stressed syllables. Consequenüy, metered divisions in 4/4 alternate with 3/4 and 5/4 throughout the piece.

Following the traditional three stanzas from Frederick Faber's 1854 hymn, the choral writing starts in unison, becomes polyphonic on the second stanza (even with some divisi parts), and completes the song with a dense harmony of voices. Singing the piece demands secure voices in all parts, since the tones often hold neighboring pitches for extended beats, and some sections use parallel fifths. All parts stay well within their range until the last E major chord, held for six measures, where the basses reach to the low E. …

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