“Draw Nigh and Take the Body of the Lord” is a Communion anthem with words taken from a collection of chants, hymns, and anthems compiled at Bangor (Ireland) Abbey in the late 7th century, translated by the Anglican priest, scholar, and hymnodist John Mason Neale (1818-1866). The tune accompanying the text in this arrangement is “Song 46,” one of many melodies written by the English composer Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) for use with “The Hymnes and Songs of the Church,” published in England in 1623.
In this arrangement, the first verse of Neale’s text is used with the first two phrases of Gibbons’s tune, in three-part harmony, as refrain, interlude, and coda. The remaining verses (2-5 and 6-8) and additional music from “Song 46,” in unison, follow the refrain and interlude. Harmonies are largely traditional and in keeping with Gibbons’s melody and bass outlines, with the exception of alternate harmonizations in the introductory and concluding measures, and in verse 8 (“Alpha-Omega”).
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