The First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC today offered special music from the Furman Singers.
The group performed a cappella, “As the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners”, by Williametta Spencer (text by English poet John Donne). It followed with an offertory anthem “It Is Nothing to You” by Robert J. Powell.
There followed the chorus “How Lovely Are the Messengers” from St. Paul, oratorio by Felix Mendelssohn.
There followed “Thou wilt keep him In perfect peace” by Samuel S . Wesley.
Then there was the riskier “Daemon irrepit callidus” (“The Demon. Speaks Expertly”) by Gyorgy Orban.
“The Sweetheart of the Sun” by Eric William Barnum apparently refers to The Story of Ruth (which became a film in 1960, which I have just ordered from Netflix). Ruth, it will be recalled, was willing to make sacrifices, including arranged marriage, out of an unusual sense of family responsibility, and therefore became and ancestor of David and eventually Jesus.
The singers also perform (although not in this service) a song cycle called “Prayers from the Ark” by Ivor R. Davies. The movements include “Noah’s Prayer”, and prayer from the Little Bird, the Cat (very feline words), the Mouse, the Raven, and the Dove.