A Gaelic Blessing

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Rodney, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. Rodney

    Rodney Member

    A Gaelic Blessing
    By John Rutter

    Would you consider this piece of music in the classification of sacred music or a hymn tune to play at a contest????
  2. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Wikipedia says it was commissioned by a Methodist choir group as a parting gift for their MD.
    The popular lyrics are

    Deep peace of the running wave to you.
    Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
    Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
    Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
    Deep peace of the gentle night to you;
    moon and stars pour their beaming light on you.
    Deep peace of Christ, the light of the world, to you.

    So if it was commissioned by a Christian Group and has Christs blessing in it then I would assume its a Christian piece and qualifies as a hymn. Peter Bale may be the authority on this one.
  3. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I would..... but the contest organisers might not. Probably best to play it safe and just ask them before turning up and playing it!
  4. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    These sort of things are often loosely interprated. I remember a band winning a hymn tune prize playing 'Myfanwy' not long ago.

    If it's a 'Sacred Item' contest, as I understand you guys have down under, that opens up many more possibilities than the 'Hymn Tune' Contests we have over here, some of which are so strict they specifiy three verses of a hymn, so an arrangement comprising three verses is technically against the rules. (And yes, I've played for a band that were disqualified for that.)

    As said above, best to check with the organisers. But if it's got religious connotations it'd be hard to see how they could deny it being a Sacred Item.
  5. Ali

    Ali Member

    Its as hymn like as Hine e hine (traditional song, not hymn from New Zealand) Myfanwy (a love song if I remember rightly) im afraid. Its a quality piece of music but if you were to play it at a hymn contest, then Im afraid that I would kick up a fuss. There are plenty of decent hymns and arrangements knocking about without us trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes. Just my thoughts.
  6. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Agreed. If it's specifically a "Hymn tune" contest, I don't think it meets the criteria.

    Quite a few decent hymn arrangements written by people who post on here too. Follow some of the banner ads and URL links and see what you can find. Most have Scorch these days so you can have a listen before you buy.

    Just because your first choice might not fit the bill is no reason you have to turn back to the red hymn books!
  7. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I know in several contests they have retitled it as a "Sacred item", in which case you would probably get away with it, although I would say the arrangements I've come across are a little on the short side.

    Regarding what is aceptable in this sort of category, this has been discussed before and can be a bit of a thorny issue. The church, in its widest sense, has always thrown the net very widely when it comes to the choice of tunes to accompany their texts, and many of what we think of as "traditional" hymn tunes have secular origins, ie fol song, opera etc.

    The Salvation Army has certainly carried on that process, hence our repertoire includes settings to "Myfanwy", "Now is the hour" and "Shenandoah", to name but three.
  8. TubaPete

    TubaPete Member

    Surely whether or not it's a hymn tune is irrelevant? The purpose of a 'hymn tune' contest is to judge a band's ability to play sustained (usually slow) music with a good sound quality and a range of dynamics.

    To insist that bands must play a piece of religious music potentially leaves the contest organisers open to cases of illegal discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief in the future.

    Just a tangential thought...

  9. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    ...And an interesting one at that!

    I would hold that there could only be religious discrimination if the contest forced the band to sing the words associated with a particular hymn tune (and I don't know of any contest which does that!!) - the music in and of itself cannot be said to be explicitly religious. But no doubt some idiot judge somewhere would rule differently! :eek:
  10. SteveT

    SteveT Member

    I have arranged this and repeated the first verse, but it's not strictly speaking a hymn. Neither could you really call it a sacred piece. Its a bit in between. However, it is a damn sight closer than Mfanwy! Which in itself is a love song!

    But, check the contest rules and definitions, that way you can't go wrong!
  11. Rodney

    Rodney Member

    Good replies there folks and thankyou. :tup

    The particular contest I am talking about is the Blue Lakes Festival held in November each year in Mount Gambier, South Australia (Google it if you want to). Each band has to play three items........1) a Hymn, 2) an entertainment item and 3) a major item (that's something that has been used as a test piece). So, as you can see, the categories are very broad and not really specific.

    I'm not the MD of our band but have some influence, being the treasurer. (I say if he can spend some money).

    I love 'A Gaelic Blessing' and would like to get it for us, but of course come up against when we might use it - hence, the original question about whether this is a 'hymn' or sacred item. Going from Bighorn's reply, I reckon it's a go-er. Just got to convince our MD now.

    Cheers all