Church of England Diocese of Manchester Astley Bridge

Hymns & Music for 21st March 2021 recorded by Mel, St. Paul's Church Organist

Mel writes:-

I couldn't let another year go by without including what to me seems the hymn that is the essence of Lent; 'Forty day and forty nights'. 'Christian dost thou see them' has a very ancient pedigree, being written by St Andrew of Crete in the 8th century.

The words of 'Sweet is the work' were written by Isaac Watts, the son of a 17th century non-conformist schoolmaster in Southampton. The hymn has a more local connection too, with the music called 'Deep Harmony' composed by Handel Parker, born in Oxenhope near Haworth. His siblings all had composer Christian names. When he was 13 he was working in a textile mill and also playing the church organ. Aged 20, he left textiles and made music his profession, teaching and conducting bands. This gives another local link with this tune being a popular brass band item which regularly features as incidental music in Fred Dibnah's programmes. Anything but parochial, Handel Parker spent time as organist of the cathedral in Nassau in the Bahamas but is buried in Shipley.

AMNS 55 Christian dost thou see them - https://youtu.be/3GHTAyJI8VA

AMNS 56 Forty days and forty nights - https://youtu.be/qukR08GadIY

CP 580 Sweet is the work / Deep harmony - https://youtu.be/U0l1zx4cBFs

AMNS 171 Thy hand, O God, has guided - https://youtu.be/CPZQVHzrH2g

This week's bonus item is some organ music written by Bach for Luther's translation of the Magnificat, the Song of Mary. It is relevant now as the Feast of the Annunciation is on the 25th March and it is Bach's 336th birthday on Sunday.

'Meine Seele erhebt den Herren' (My soul doth magnify the Lord) J S Bach - https://youtu.be/CCoqaCwOZ9w

Mel.