Musical Musings 11-27: A medieval melody and a modern classic

Music Notes for November 27th, 2022

This Sunday’s musician is UUCC Music Director Mike Carney.

Opening Hymn: #128 For All That Is Our Life – Rickey/Findlow

#128 in Singing the Living Tradition, “For All That Is Our Life” has been a favorite UU hymn for many years. The song resulted from a collaboration between composer Patrick Rickey (b. 1964), a California-based songwriter and church musician and Rev. Bruce Findlow (1922-1994), a British author, educator and UU Minister who wrote the lyrics.


Centering Music: Improvisation on “Be Ye Lamps unto Yourself” – Plainchant melody, arr. Carney

“Be Ye Lamps unto Yourselves” is #184 in our Singing the Living Tradition hymnal, with words attributed to The Buddha and a plainsong melody that was first published in a 15th-century English Sarum Antiphonal. This Sunday’s Centering Music will be a free improvisation on that melody by UUCC’s Music Director Mike Carney.

Offertory Music: Metamorphosis One – Glass

A native of Baltimore, American composer Philip Glass (b. 1937) is one of the most influential musicians of the last 50 years. Due to his frequent use of sparse instrumentation and repetitive elements, he is often classified as a minimalist composer, but Glass himself has rejected that label, feeling it does not take his full range of compositional language into account. Although he often uses modern rhythmic and harmonic elements, Glass’s music typically follows organized patterns of formal structure that would not be out of place in the music of Bach or Haydn. Glass composed his five piano compositions titled Metamorphosis 1-5 in 1988, and has stated that these works refer to and were inspired by the 1915 short story The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.

Closing Hymn: #1017 Building a New Way – Sandefer

Martha Sandefer (b. 1952) is an American vocalist and composer who is currently involved with the Work o’ the Weavers project. She wrote “Building a New Way” in 1986 and her song was later arranged by Jim Scott (b. 1946) and included as #1017 in our Singing the Journey hymnbook.

Postlude: Higher Ground – Wonder

Stevland Hardaway Morris (b. 1950), more commonly known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American songwriter and musician. Since beginning his professional career at age 11, Wonder has achieved great commercial success (over 100 million records sold, including 30 U.S. top ten hits) and critical acclaim (25 Grammy Awards, among many other accolades). Wonder is also a noted advocate for social justice, both within his music and in his active support of worthy causes. “Higher Ground” was the first single released from his 1973 album Innervisions. It became a top 5 hit in the U.S., and in 2004, was included on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.                                                                

-Mike Carney, UUCC Music Director