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To Mock Your Reign

Composer Austin C. Lovelace
Text Fred Pratt Green
SATB, keyboard
Lectionary Usage Lent, Palm/Passion Sunday, Good Friday
2' 25" Price $1.35 (U.S.) Released 8/04
Catalog no. 405-408 Difficulty Moderately easy

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Austin Lovelace has merged two well-known elements, Fred Pratt Green’s Passiontide text and the Welsh hymntune LLANGLOFFAN. It is a striking and successful marriage, which results in a darkly powerful Good Friday anthem. However, an unexpected shift to the major mode in the work’s final bars produces a surprising and hopeful conclusion.

"Based on the Wlesh hymn tune, 'Llangloffan,' this is a darkly powerful Good Friday anthem with a sudden shift to major for the last five measures. Only the middle verse, sung a capella, is in four parts; the third is for two-part mixed voices. A nice addition to the Good Friday repertoire that won't take time away from rehearsing for Palm Sunday and Easter." --The American Organist, February 2006

The composer creates a mocking, taunting setting of the Welsh tune to fit this harsh text. The G-minor harmonization perfectly transitions to G-major for the last five measures, not gratuitously, but because the text gloriously concludes in triumph." --The Hymn, Autumn 2005

Anthem text
To mock your reign, O dearest Lord,
they made a crown of thorns;
set you with taunts along that road
from which no one returns.
They could not know as we do now,
that glorious is your crown;
that thorns would flower upon your brow,
your sorrows heal our own.

In mock acclaim, O gracious Lord,
they snatched a purple cloak,
your passion turned, for all they cared,
into a soldier's joke.
They could not know, as we do now,
that though we merit blame
you will your robe of mercy throw
around our naked shame.

A sceptered reed, O patient Lord,
They thrust into your hand,
and acted out their grim charade
to its appointed end.
They could not know, as we do now,
though empires rise and fall,
your Kingdom shall not cease to grow
till love embraces all.

--Fred Pratt Green, 1973.

© 1973 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, Ill. 60188 (for permission to reprint this text contact Hope at All rights reserved.

Download a review copy of this anthem
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