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This Is the Hour of Banquet and of Song

Composer Alfred V. Fedak
Text Horatio Bonar (1808-1889), alt.
Voicing
SATB and organ
Topics Communion
Length
1' 45" Price $1.75 (U.S.) Released 2/00
Catalog no. 410-444 Difficulty Easy

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Review
"Among the several criteria one employs to assess new (and old) hymns is how well a hymn text and tune are wedded together. Horatio Bonar's communion text has had many tuneful suitors, but in Fedak's anthem thte text has found its melodic 'soul mate.' Though a hymn anthem, each stanza has subtle variations in both the choral and organ parts that make it more anthem than hymn. Highly recommended." --Cross Accent, Fall 2001

"Here is an easy communion anthem that is strophic, tonal, and appropriate for the small church choir. Horatio Bonar's nineteenth-century text is classic and hopeful, describing the bread and wine in personal terms, the presence of God in ecumenical words, and the future with excitement.

Like the poetry, the music is straightforward, a key-of-C selection that can be learned in fifteen minutes before the service, but it is not trivial. The pleasant tune covers slightly more than an octave and gains its interest through word painting ('prolong' sustained; 'rise' topping an arpeggio; 'brief' shortened by a rest) and a touch of hemiola in its joyful waltzing.

This music is perfect for the Lord's supper, or for a service when key singers are missing, but the choir still needs good mastered." --Choral Journal, April 2001

Description
A straightforward but joyous setting of the well-known communion text by Horatio Bonar. Unlike most communion anthems, this spirited piece conveys the sense of the poem that Holy Communion is meant to be a time of festivity, as well as a glimpse of eternity. Easy and yes, fun to sing.

Text
This is the hour of banquet and of song;
this is the heav'nly table spread for me;
here let me feast, and feasting, still prolong
the brief, bright hour of fellowship with thee.

Too soon we rise, we go our sev'ral ways;
the feast, though not the love, is past and gone,
the Bread and Wine consumed, yet all our days,
thou still art here with us, our shield and sun.

Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,
and passing, points to the glad feast above,
giving us foretaste of the festal joy,
the Lamb's great marriage feast of bliss and love.

--Horatio Bonar, 1855
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