The Trinity: St Andrei Rublev

Mount Calvary Church

A Roman Catholic Parish

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter

Baltimore, Maryland

Rev. Albert Scharbach, Pastor

Dr. Allen Buskirk, Choir Director and Cantor

June 7, 2020

10 A.M. Livecast on YouTube


Trinity Sunday


Organ Prelude

Voluntary VIII Op. 6 by John Stanley

Organ Postlude

Moscow, arranged by Gerald Near



O lux beata Trinitas, William Byrd (1540-1623)

O lux beata Trinitas, Et principalis unitas, Iam sol recedat igneus, Infunde lumen cordibus. Te mane laudum carmine, Te deprecemur vespere: Te nostra supplex Gloria Per cuncta laudet Sæcula. Deo Patri sit gloria, Ejusque soli Filio, Cum Spiritu Paraclito, Et nunc et in perpetuum.

O Trinity of blessed light, And princely unity, The fiery sun already sets, Shed thy light within our hearts. To thee in the morning with songs of praise, And in the evening we pray, Thy glory suppliant we adore, Throughout all ages for ever. Glory be to God the Father, To his only Son, With the Holy Spirit Now and for ever. Amen.

The text of Byrd’s motet (proper to Vespers) is one of twelve hymns ascribed to St Ambrose, the fourth-century  bishop who is credited with establishing and codifying a tradition of chant in the Western church, preceding the more renowned Pope Gregory in this endeavour by some 200 years. Byrd’s setting, which he designated ‘hymnus’, is in fact in a fairly contrapuntal motet style, though unusually clear and lucid in texture despite its six voices, and divided into three sections corresponding to the stanzas of the text. The third section is a triple canon, perhaps symbolic of the Holy Trinity. O Lux beata Trinitas dates from early in Byrd’s career, appearing in his first collection of church music, the Cantiones Sacrae of 1575 in which seventeen of his compositions were published together with seventeen by Tallis.


Hear my prayer, O Lord, Henry Purcell (1659-1695)

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my crying come unto thee.

Hear my prayer, O Lord is an eight-part choral anthem. It is a setting of the first verse of Psalm 102 in the version of the Book of Common Prayer. Purcell composed it c. 1682 at the beginning of his tenure as Organist and Master of the Choristers for Westminster Abbey.

The anthem is 34 measures long, and is written in the key of C minor. Purcell begins the composition with a simple setting of the first line on one tone, with only one exception, a minor third up on the word “O”. After the first phrases, Purcell employs six to eight parts, in complex “pungent” harmonies which build to what the conductor Robert King calls “an inexorable vocal crescendo lasting over three minutes, culminating on a monumental discord on the last repetition of ‘come'”. Musicologist Timothy Dickey notes that Purcell “gradually amplified the vocal texture, and intensifies the harmonic complexity, until all eight voices combine in a towering dissonant tone cluster which desperately demands the final cadential resolution.”



Come, thou almighty King (MOSCOW) by the prolific composer Anonymous dates from before 1757, when it was published in a leaflet and bound into the 1757 edition of George Whitefield’s Collection of Hymns for Social Worship. The text appears to be patterned after the British national anthem, God Save the King.

At first, this hymn was sung to the same tune as “God Save the King.” On the American side of the Atlantic, we use the same tune for “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”

Supposedly during the American Revolution, while British troops were occupying New York City and appeared to be winning the war, a group of English soldiers went to church one Sunday morning in Long Island. The setting was tense. The occupiers demanded the congregation sing, “God Save The King” in honor of King George III. The organist was forced to begin playing the tune – but instead of singing “God Save the King,” the congregation broke out in “Come, Thou Almighty King. ”

MOSCOW is by Felice Giardini. It is named after the city in which he finished his career. Giardini’s output was dominated by violin sonatas, trios, quartets, quintets and concertos. But he contributed four hymn tunes (at the urging of the Countess of Huntingdon) to A Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, Never Published Before (1769) edited by Martin Madan*. The best known is MOSCOW, which remains popular and widely sung today, composed for the text ‘Come, Thou Almighty King’ and headed ‘Hymn to the Trinity, set by F. G.’. The tune later appeared in the Second Edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern (1875) and in English Hymnal to John Marriotts ‘Thou, whose almighty word’.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty (NICAEA) is by Reginald Heber (1783-1826). This is the best known of Heber’s hymns, written for Trinity Sunday. It was first published in A Selection of Psalms and Hymns for the Parish Church of Banbury (Third Edition, 1826) and subsequently in Hymns written and adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year (1827), published after his death.

It is a reverent and faithful paraphrase of Revelation 4:8-11 and John’s vision of the unceasing worship in heaven: as such, it is a fine example of Heber’s care to avoid the charge of excessive subjectivity or cheap emotionalism in his hymns, and so to win support for the use of hymns in worship within the Anglican Church. Beginning with the thrice repeated ‘Holy’, it proceeds to find images for the Holy Trinity that attempt to capture its elusive magnificence. Particularly notable is ‘though the darkness hide Thee’, which expresses the awareness of God in mystical terms through the via negativa.

The hymn was a particular favourite of Tennyson’s, who told Bishop Welldon that he thought it the finest hymn ever written, considering the difficulty of the subject and the devotion and purity of its diction. It was sung at Tennyson’s funeral in Westminster Abbey

NICAEA is by  John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876). The hymn tunes of Dykes may fairly be described as perhaps the richest and most representative corpus of a genre which, though it naturally aspired to be a potent aid to congregational worship, now embraced the fuller panoply of artistic expression. By the mid-19th century, Victorian composers, Dykes among them, had departed from the older manner of harmonic motion governed by individual syllables of the text and instead had developed a sophisticated and more liberal approach (Temperley, 1979, p. 305). Harmony was treated independently of the succession of individual syllables and began to assume a much more important and musically integral role. As part of this rather shrewd artistic design, the congregation retained their syllabic melodies in the manner to which they had always been accustomed, but now they were participants in a more elaborate artistic composition where the four voices of the choir (invariably appreciable in size) and a generous organ became vital factors in a more homogeneous equation. The elaborate harmonic dimension of Dykes’s many tunes reflected this change of emphasis. Frequently, interest was not restricted to the uppermost part (which might sing a monotone for several syllables) but to the underlying voices whose melodic contribution was often significant. This is powerfully evident in the first line of NICAEA (‘Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty’) and the second of GERONTIUS (‘Praise to the Holiest in the height’*) where the inner parts provide greater musical interest.

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