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Sacred Music Studies
Year 1 - July

Month at-a-glance:
Hymn: Firmly I Believe and Truly

Gregorian chant: Continue work in the Coloring book

Extra Listening for EnjoymentA musical meditation on the hymn, and/or The Dream of Gerontius

Learn More about Sacred Music: Three Approaches to a Catholic Hymn
Read on, and do as little, or as much as you'd like! I've been recently discovering Bl. John Henry Newman's hymns (well, others besides Lead, Kindly Light), and I just had to include one in Year 1. 
Hymn: Firmly I Believe and Truly

Text: Bl. John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Tune: HALTON HOLGATE by William Boyce (1711-1779)

A Few Facts:
  • This hymn is actually part of Newman's poem, The Dream of Gerontius, which was written soon after his conversion to Catholicism. It is the prayer of a dying man, and was inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy
  • Edward Elgar composed a piece for chorus and orchestra, The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38, that used most of Newman's poem. (Elgar was also a Catholic, and isn't it inspiring to see A.M.D.G. above the score! A.M.D.G. stands for the Latin motto: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam, which means "For the greater glory of God."
View & Print the Music
Listen on Spotify (Organ)
Listen on YouTube (Voice)


Firmly I believe and truly
     God is three, and God is One;
And I next acknowledge duly
     Manhood taken by the Son.
And I trust and hope most fully
     In that Manhood crucified;
And each thought and deed unruly
     Do to death, as He has died.
Simply to His grace and wholly
     Light and life and strength belong,
And I love, supremely, solely,
     Him the holy, Him the strong.
And I hold in veneration,
     For the love of Him alone,
Holy Church, as His creation,
     And her teachings, as His own.
And I take with joy whatever
     Now besets me, pain or fear,
And with a strong will I sever
     All the ties which bind me here.

More Sacred Music to Listen to and Enjoy:

Trinity Sunday: a musical meditation is an interesting mini history lesson on Firmly I Believe and Truly. Even though the hymn tune he uses for the hymn is different than what I provide in this newsletter, most of the information is still relevant. (7 minutes long)

The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38 by Edward Elgar: More great history, followed by a beautiful performance. This is not sacred music technically, but I invite you to play it one evening, and even meditate of this man's story. It isn't often that the work of two Catholic masters combine like this. If you want to follow along with the text, you can find it here. (Note: Gerontius sings "Firmly I Believe" at 29:15)

Chant Propers for the Extraordinary Form (CCWatershed) - if you have 15 minutes to spare one weekend, try listening to the ancient chants for the Sunday propers.

Chant Kyriale (CCWatershed) - did you know there are 18 different Gregorian Mass settings?

For further learning about sacred music:
- Read the thirteenth and fourteenth Q&A: "What is the sung Ordinary?" and "Is a complete polyphonic setting of the Mass Ordinary really viable in our times?"

- Read and listen to Three Approaches to a Catholic Hymn
Optional Enrichment and Learning for Homeschoolers
Language Arts and History Ideas
Religious Ideas:
Search the Catechism for related topics; read and discuss.

- Pray for the canonization of Bl. John Henry Newman.

- Add drawn symbols, images, and embellishments to the sheet music for the family hymnal
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Connect on the Google+ Community

I started a Google+ community for these studies. This has great potential for being a place to: 1) discuss the music we are learning each month, and 2) share our learning experiences with others. I think it would be helpful if Q&A, interesting facts found, or other helpful information could be easily seen and discussed by all.  Think of it as an online study and support group. 

Let's enjoy this learning experience together!

If you are new to Google+,  here's a great tutorial on getting started
Sacred Music Studies Community
Sacred Music Studies Community
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