ARRANGED FOR BRASS QUINTENT, TIMP, AND ORGAN
Descant to the hymn tune SINE NOMINE. Free score with harmonized descant and optional bridge. (audio: prologue, hymnal verse, original a cappella satb verse, free harmonization, bridge, and harmonized descant. The hymnal harmonizations are RVW's.) Free score.
William Walsham How's text For all the saints was published in 1864, and predates the tune with which it is today iconically paired, Ralph Vaughan William's SINE NOMINE, which appeared with this text in the 1906 English Hymnal, of which the prolific Vaughan Williams was editor and contributor. The tune wraps six unison verses around two SATB-harmonized verses, bridged with refrain-like Alleluias. There were originally eleven stanzas, but three of them - for the apostles, the evangelists, and martyrs - do not appear in most hymnals. The use is for a processional hymn in observance of the Solemnity of All Saints. The word saint is of French derivation, a cognate of the Latin sanctus, holy. (The Old English for holy is hallow, as in 'hallowed be thy name,' and All Hallows Eve.)
'Sine nomine' is Latin for 'without a name,' reminiscent of the lectionary for the Feast of All Saints, "And there are some who have no memorial, who have perished as though they had not lived; they have become as though they had not been born, and so have their children after them." (Ecclesiasticus 44) The Charles Villiers Stanford tune ENGELBERG (When in our music God is glorified) was also written for this text.
The definitions of saint, and of the Feast of All Saints, is rather mottled. The observance emerged in the late 4th C. as a collective feast for the martyrs (on May 13); in the 8th century, Gregory III declared the date of Nov. 1 to commemorate the lives and relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world." This has a universal ring to it - all the faithful at all times and in all places, a reading largely preserved in the Reformation tradition. But in some liturgical traditions, the Nov. 1 date is reserved for Mary, the martyrs, apostles, and 'named' saints - with Nov. 2 emerging as the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, or All Souls Day. Bishop How seems to have had the universal interpretation in mind, as evidenced by the central verse:
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one, and all in thee are thine, Alleluia!
Free Extended set with prologue, meditative free-harmonization, and an original a cappella verse.
Free Harmonized descant only with separate choir part
From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:
– William Walsham How, 1864
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