6 thoughts on “Songs for Theophany”

  1. For the English version of “The choirs of angels sing”, why not have the third measure end on an E, like the Salvonic version. It would make the phrasing of the English text less awkward, and give more variety to the melody.

    1. See the discussion of this melody from a few weeks ago. When the melody ends on that E in Slavonic, the last two notes are consistent half notes – which doesn’t work with the English verses we have. I would rather not invent a third version of the melody.

      Part of the problem is how these English versions were developed. Texts were put out to be sung to a metered melody – but didn’t fit the scansion. So cantors invented their own versions on the fly. Wherever possible, I am trying to settle on a consistent melody for these cases that fits the English (even if it is a bit different from the Slavonic; we will hit this in a big way with O Marija Mati Bozha Precista), but is not TOO different from what people are singing now where there is a settled version. In some cases, different English hymns all “sung to the same tune” are using different versions of the tune. Hence the desire to pull these together.

  2. Regarding your re-realization of “To Jordan’s water”, I like the first measure of the refrain better when the word “Christ” is just a quarter note. It provides a unique 7/8 measure feeling and it’s the way most of our people sing that phrase anyway. Just my feeling.

    1. In Pittsburgh, at least, of the two parishes that use the 7/8 beat measure, at least one took it verbatim from the 2007 MCI setting. We certainly don’t sing Nebo i Zeml’a OR Heaven and Earth that way.

      See my other reply. They way we sing some of these English versions is driven by trying to sing an English text that matches the Slavonic scansion poorly, or not at all. Where some of the early ones are notated, it’s clear that there was hardly any desire to sing correctly accented English; and even when this was not the issue, the results were often unstable, with the singing becoming very muddled wherever the text didn’t match the well-known base melody.

      1. Fr Deacon Tim – what would you think of making “Christ” in the refrain of “To Jordan’s water” a dotted quarter, to match the same phrase in “Heaven and Earth” and keep the accents on both “Lord” and “BAPtized”?

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