Revisiting 34: sing out, Arnold!

From my comment on yesterday’s posting “Greetings”, about well-wishings for my 79th birthday:

[At yesterday’s Palo Alto shapenote singing] I did indeed lead both 79 and 272 [in the 1991 Denson revision of the Sacred Harp], and others chose suitably gloomy songs in my honor. Plus 285t Arnold, which begins “Come, let us join our friends above / That have obtained the prize; / And on the eagle wings of love / To joy celestial rise.” I somehow hadn’t noticed the “eagle wings” — potentially relevant because Arnold is etymologically ‘eagle-strong’ (English erne ‘sea-eagle’). Maybe just a fortunate accident, maybe on purpose; I’ll need to look at some sources.

I’ve now looked at sources, and, as I suspected, just a fortunate accident.

(Actually , even more on-point that I suggested in yesterday’s posting. As I’ve written here before, the figure of an eagle/man is a powerful one for me, with great sexual resonances as well as the vivid allusions to flying gods and angels. See, for instance, my 9/30/17 posting “The archangel Michael”, on images of the powerful wingèd god/angel and of midair sexual union with a wingèd eagle/man. Also SH497 Natick: “Sweet Redeemer from above, / Borne on wings, on wings of love”. Yes, thoroughly sacrilegious.)

The song:

(#1) The words “Come let us join our friends above” by the prolific hymnodist Charles Wesley (brother of John), from 1759; the tune Arnold set by the Sacred Harp composer Leonard P. Breedlove in 1850, on an original tune by the composer of sacred music Samuel Arnold — from which the tune’s name

(#2 ) SH285t as sung at the Ninth Ireland Sacred Harp Convention, Cork (2019); it has a nice swaying, rocking rhythm to it

So: no eagles were involved in the setting of these words to music. Well, it was a pretty story, though unlikely.

The title of this posting. From my 11/17/17 posting “Singing in parts”:

The voice from the back of the auditorium shouts “Sing out, Louise” to the title character in Gypsy (the young Louise, who will become Gypsy Rose Lee). That voice belongs to Mama Rose, who is in fact the central character, and Mama Rose is a power alto who could stun gigantic animals with her voice. Sing out, Mama Rose!

Wesley’s text. “Come let us join our friends above”  has been set to many tunes over the years. From the Hymnary site on the text, we learn that it was eventually set to the tune Forest Green; in this version it appears as #709 in the United Methodist Hymnal:

FOREST GREEN is an English folk tune associated with the ballad “The Ploughboy’s Dream.” Ralph Vaughan Williams (PHH 316) turned FOREST GREEN into a hymn tune for The English Hymnal (1906), using it as a setting for “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Shaped in rounded bar form (AABA), FOREST GREEN has the cheerful characteristics of folk tunes. Those characteristics help to support the humanness of this text: We are to be the children (folk) of God! Sing in unison or in harmony, but given the tune’s many eighth notes, do not rush. Congregations used to certain rhythmic patterns in hymn tunes will be challenged by the new rhythms at the transition from line 3 to line 4; accompanists should give leadership there. —Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988

(#3) The UMH setting of Forest Green

Arnold’s tune. Ha! Das ist Arnold Zwicky’s ton! (adapted from Tamino, re Papageno, in Zauberflöte, Act I). Well, actually, Samuel Arnold’s tone/tune. From Wikipedia:

Samuel Arnold (10 August 1740 – 22 October 1802) was an English composer and organist.

Arnold was born in London (his mother is said to have been Princess Amelia; his father was Thomas Arnold), and began writing music for the theatre in about 1764. A few years later he became director of music at the Marylebone Gardens, for which much of his popular music was written. In 1777 he went to work for George Colman the Elder at the Little Theatre, Haymarket. In 1783 he became organist at the Chapel Royal, and in 1793 he became organist at Westminster Abbey, where he was eventually buried.

The tune Arnold was then adapted and harmonized by Leonard P. Breedlove (est. 1801-1900), who taught singing schools and spread Sacred Harp style singing in Georgia and neighboring states in the mid-19th century. He served as secretary of the Southern Musical Convention (1845–50), and was on the revision committee for the Sacred Harp book in 1850.

Breedlove’s tunes in the 1991 Denson revision: 75 I Would See Jesus, 123b Cross of Christ, 152 Shepherds Rejoice, 282 I’m Going Home, 285t Arnold, 290 Victoria, 326 Weary Pilgrim, 337 Mercy’s Free, 342 The Old-Fashioned Bible, 354b Happy Land, 407 Charlton.

Another Breedlove favorite, the jaunty Happy Land:


At a singing:

(#5) SH354b as sung at the Ninth Ireland Sacred Harp Convention, Cork (2019)

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