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rendered it a constituent part of the original psalm tune employed by them. The example of the disciples of John Huss was followed by Zuinglius, the leader of the Protestants in Switzerland, who introduced the Bohemian psalmody into the Swiss churches, where it was continued till the arrival of Calvin at Geneva, and the publication there of Clement Marot's Version of the Psalms, with the single melodies of an obscure composer named Guillaume Franc, which were recommended in a preface by Calvin himself. The music supplanted by this work, is said to have been defective in point of measure and melody, which preceding Reformers had been induced to sacrifice for the sake of general usefulness; but Calvin, in thus stripping his psalmody of harmony also, deprived the music of its only remaining attraction; and the melodies he recommended are designated by Dr. Burney as being " without variety of accent, rhythm, and the most constituent parts of mere melody."—Whilst Dr. Busby speaks of them as "stern and inflexible; dragging and unmeaning; and largely partaking of Calvin's characteristic gloom."
Notwithstanding the extensive influence, however, of this eminent man, it appears that the compositions of Claude Goudimel (said to be the master of Palestrina), with those of Claude Le Jeune, written in four and five parts to the same version of the Psalms, were universally sung in Holland, and in France, before the revocation of the edict of Nantes; and although their style was that of florid counterpoint, in which great ingenuity and contrivance were displayed, they were so popular that they are said to have gone through more editions than any previous musical work since the invention of printing.
The introduction of metrical psalmody into this country is also attributed to the Reformation, and our consequent intercourse with the Protestants of Germany. As early as the reign of Henry VIII. several of the psalms were translated into English metre by Sir Thomas Wyatt and the earl of Surrey, but both these versions are lost. In 1549, Sternhold printed his version of fifty-one of the psalms, of which a second edition appeared in 1553. Both impressions being without musical notes, it is supposed they were originally sung to such ballad melodies as were most appropriate to the metre. No entire version of the psalms, however, was published till 1562, when “ The whole Booke of Psalmes, collected into English Metre, by T. Sternhold, J. Hopkins, and others, conferred with the Ebrue, with apt notes to sing them withal,” was appended to the Book of Common Prayer printed in that year. The tunes here given are without any bass, or other accompaniment, and are chiefly German melodies, many of them being still used on the continent, both by Lutherans and Calvinists. In 1570, these melodies were harmonized for four voices, by William Damon. But the first complete publication of psalms, in parts, was in 1594, when it appeared under the title of “The whole Booke of Psalmes, with their wonted tunes, as they are song in Churches, composed into four partes, by nine sundrie authors." This was followed, in 1621, by a still superior work, under the editorship of Thomas Ravenscroft, containing a melody for each psalm, many of them by the editor himself, the arrangements of the basses and inner parts being contributed by twenty-one English musicians, including John Milton, the father of the poet.
To specify the names of even the more eminent musicians, who have distinguished themselves in this species of composition, from its first adoption by English Protestants to the present time, would far exceed our limits. The list would include the name of nearly every English composer of celebrity, each one dedicating the offspring of his genius to the service of the sanctuary, and studying to adorn our devotional poetry with all the charms of which it is susceptible, and which it is in the power of the sister science to confer. Recognizing the style of the German psalmody as most suitable to the sacred purposes they had in view, our native composers may be said to have improved upon their models, by superadding to the majestic and impressive character of the ancient chorale, the grace and elegance for which modern melody and harmony are more especially remarkable.
It is to be regretted, however, that sterling compositions of this kind have, of late years, failed to obtain that popularity to which they are entitled, in consequence of the productions of a class of men, who would have been much better employed in learning to sing and appreciate what men of genius had already composed, than in obtruding their own crude, dissonant, and tasteless performances upon the public in their stead ; which they have done in a way that has tended to degrade the popular taste, and to deprive this delightful part of public worship of its due solemnity, as well as every other attraction it originally possessed. The apparent simplicity of the genuine psalm tune seems to have seduced these persons into the serious mistake of supposing themselves capable of composing in that style, and the still more grievous error of imagining that they could improve upon it. So prolific have they proved, and such has been the extent of their influence, that they have not only succeeded in banishing from many places of worship the noble compositions of the Fathers of English Psalmody, but by closely occupying the ground with incessant novelties of the same spurious order, have deprived the legitimate musical talent of the present day of almost every chance of successfully developing itself in this description of music. That some of these pseudo-musicians had talent enough to compose a pleasing melody, it would be unjust to deny; and had they confined themselves within the sphere of their capabilities, modestly placing their compositions in the hands of persons skilled in the science of choral harmony, to be arranged in a manner fit for public performance, there would have been much less ground for complaint than at present exists. But it is a lamentable fact that many of the compositions referred to, which have unfortunately gained an extensive popularity, prove their authors to be not only destitute of musical knowledge, but equally incapable of appreciating that spirit of devout and humble reverence which should ever characterize our devotional engagements.
It is somewhat difficult to assign a satisfactory reason for the decay thus indicated in the public taste with regard to Psalmody, at a period when music of the highest order is so generally cultivated.
The names of Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, are familiar as household words, and there is scarcely a town of any note where their works are not known. Had there been at any time a scarcity of good psalm tunes, the adoption of those complained of would be easily accounted for, on the ground of necessity ; but not only have the publications of
former eminent composers been suffered to go out of print, from the want of demand ; but those of several distinguished musicians of the present day, comprehending selections from the old masters, together with originals of the same sterling character, have failed to command the circulation due to their superior merits; whilst the only compilation to which this remark will not apply, is condemned by every judge of music, as utterly unworthy of the popularity it enjoys.
In attempting to investigate the cause of a preference so singular and undeserved, it will be found that some of the best compilations before the public are too expensive to be generally accessible. Others are considered deficient in the number and variety of tunes requisite for congregational purposes. Some appear to contemplate no other harmony than that supplied by the organ, and are therefore useless where vocal harmony only is permitted ; while others present a formidable barrier to popular adoption, by retaining the tenor clefs for the inner parts, a knowledge of which few persons will take the trouble to acquire. Such are presumed to be the principal reasons for the comparative indifference of the public to the best compilations extant; and will account for the general use of a Selection, which, while it is free from these objections, is destitute of every other claim to the preference it has obtained.
With regard to singing as a part of the worship of God, both in churches and chapels, there has for some years prevailed such a disregard of the nature and design of that sacred service, as must excite astonishment and regret in the minds of those who can appreciate it aright. In the congregations of the Established Church there exists a lamentable indifference to its performance as a duty, that by no means characterised the earlier times of the Reformation, when many of their finest tunes were composed, -an apathy, which is not only unjust to the gifted composers of their music, but strikingly inconsonant with the fervid and sublime character of the other parts of their public service, and the devotional feelings it is alike adapted to inspire and to express. On the other hand, the Wesleyans and Dissenters, if not chargeable with indifference to its performance, have too generally degraded its quality, by the admission of the light and trivial music before alluded to, which has gone far to displace the beautiful melodies which originally distinguished the worship of the former, and the sober and dignified, though somewhat monotonous strains, to which the aspirations of Watts were written and adapted.
An attentive reader of sacred history cannot have failed to remark, that under the Mosaic economy, every matter relating to the worship and service of God was prescribed with an exactness indicative of a special regard, not only to the nature of that worship, but also to the mode of its performance. If the Deity condescended to direct these outward and minute observances, in the worship of his ancient people, such a circumstance should not be entirely overlooked in the more spiritual dispensation with which we are favoured. It is surely becoming in us to employ, in his service, and for his glory, the highest talents and the noblest faculties with which he has endowed us ; and while it is readily conceded, that our imperfect services can only be acceptable to God, as they spring from love to him, it may justly be questioned
whether such a principle affords the slightest countenance to that contempt of outward propriety and attainable excellence, which would seem to imply that any thing was good enough for his service.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER.
MR. EDITOR,—The great success which attended the Musical Festival held in Westminster Abbey last year, and, I believe, I may say, which nas generally attended similar performances in other parts of the kingdom, induces me to suppose that sacred music, on a still more extended and permanent scale, might be rendered highly subservient to the interests of the Established Church. At least, I think the experiment ought to be tried. There are many persons who cannot afford the price of admission to those concerts and oratorios which are periodically given; and there are also many others who object to gratify their musical tastes by an attendance at the opera, or at the theatres generally. If, therefore, a continued series of oratorios, and selections from sacred music, were to be performed in our cathedrals during the winter months, two or three times a-week, the admission to which should not exceed in price the usual sums for admission to the theatres and other places of amusement, these persons, and many others who are now excluded, would have an opportunity of gratifying their tastes, and many highly advantageous results would, I am satisfied, follow. Throughout the kingdom large sums would probably be collected, which I would propose should be handed over to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, or to that for the Building and Enlarging of Churches and Chapels; societies, whose funds require ample extension, and which, I fear, are not so well supported as they deserve. A large portion of the sums collected in these performances has been hitherto necessarily absorbed in the expenses occasioned by the temporary fitting up and adapting of the buildings, in which they have been held, to the accommodation of the public; and especially in the remuneration of the performers, who have generally, from being the most celebrated in their profession, been extravagantly paid. In our choirs, and in almost every large town, performers fully adequate to give effect to the sublime compositions of our great masters of sacred music might easily be found, who would be willing to employ their talents at a much more reasonable price; whilst the expenses of fitting up, and adapting the buildings to this purpose, being spread over a larger number of performances, would be greatly diminished : if the fitting up of the buildings was permanent, the first expense would be the only one. I can imagine no scene more calculated to inspire the hallowed feelings of awe and religion, than that which such a building as Westminster Abbey, and our other magnificent cathedrals, would present, when splendidly illuminated, and pealing forth, through their vaulted aisles, the sublime conceptions of Handel, and the other great geniuses of music, adapted to the most glorious subjects and sublimest views of
revelation. Neither can I imagine any use to which our cathedrals can be put more likely, in the present age, to serve the cause of the Established Church. Many sectarian prejudices, and much of the bitterness of our enemies, might reasonably be expected to be softened, and they themselves, like Alexander of old, would stand " subdued by sound.” That the spread of a taste for sacred music would be greatly promoted is plainly evident; and if religious sentiments can be often inspired by the sublime efforts of musical composition, surely the rich treasures which our sacred muse of England possesses, ought not, as at present, to be almost useless, but means should be taken to promote the extension of them as widely as possible, and to embody them in numerous and permanent performances throughout the kingdom. We, alas ! sometimes have heard of late, from certain persons, attempts made to get rid of our choral service altogether, and even the denunciation of all sacred music as a profanation of revealed religion ; and no better way can be found to counteract such extreme and puritanical preciseness, than to say to them, “Come and hear;" and though they may still “ refuse to hear the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely,” yet we should at least by this means neutralize their efforts, and raise up throughout the kingdom a powerful band in defence of sacred song, and of those venerable piles, and that whole ecclesiastical system which has long loved the pealing organ and the swelling anthem. If these points in the above proposal do not move those whom it concerns to make the experiment, perhaps the pecuniary advantages likely to result may do so. “ The argumentum ad pecuniam" may, perhaps, have a chance of success, when an appeal to the feelings and the imagination might be overlooked.
As I am sure that you, Sir, have the interests of those two great societies at heart, I have not hesitated to submit the above hints, hoping that, through your excellent periodical, they may meet the eye of those who alone have the power of carrying them into effect.
JUBILEE OF THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND,
And in all Countries where there are British Residents, or in which the English
Language is spoken. Mr. Editor,—I have very recently perused, in some of the London newspapers, with the deepest interest, the eloquent Address of the Company of Pastors to the Reformed Church at Geneva, on the subject of their third “ Jubilee of the Reformation, August 23, 1835;" and as I have heard frequent inquiries made," Why has there hitherto been no national acknowledgment of the Reformation in this country?" I now solicit a page or two in your widely-circulated journal: First, to account for the non-commemoration of that great religious blessing in Great Britain and Ireland; and, secondly, to apprise your readers, and, I trust, through your journal, every Protestant in the United