After the Post-Communion Prayer. In the 1552 Prayer Book Cranmer relocated the Gloria in excelsis from its position at the beginning of the communion service to a position after the Post-Communion Prayers. He made this change for a number of reasons. First, he wanted to conclude the communion rite on an appropriate note of praise. Second, he sought to imitate how the Last Supper had concluded. Before our Lord and the twelve disciples went into the night, they sung a hallel psalm, a psalm of praise.
The recitation of the Gloria in excelsis is a poor substitute for the singing of this hymn of praise. For a small church congregation, it is completely unnecessary.
From the 1789 Prayer Book on the American Prayer Book has permitted the substitution of a “proper Hymn.” As Massey J. Shepherd notes in his discussion of the Gloria in excelsis in The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary “proper” means a doxology or even a hymn “proper” to the season of the Church Year. The meaning of “proper” is broad enough to include other New Testament canticles such as Benedictus Dominus Deus, Magnificat, Magna et Mirabilia, and Dignus es; metrical versions of these canticles; the other great prose hymns of praise, Te Deum laudamus; metrical versions of this hymn; more recent settings of the Gloria in excelsis; metrical versions of the Gloria in excelsis; hymns especially written for this particular juncture in the service, seasonal hymns, and general hymns of praise. A number of hymns from the Holy Communion sections of various hymnals are also suitable for use after the Post-Communion Prayer.
With a ton of hymns and songs that a small church congregation can sing at this point, the practice of reciting the Gloria in excelsis on a Sunday morning is indefensible.
Canon Michael Perham in his introduction to Edwin Le Grice’s Sing Together – Bible Songs and Canticles notes, “the canticles … lack vitality if only said.” “To say what are essentially songs,” he further writes, “seems lame and disappointing.”
Le Grice was the former dean of Rippon Cathedral and he compiled the metrical versions of the canticles in this collection for small church congregations who wanted to worship “in a loyal Anglican way” and to sing the canticles but did not have a choir and found chanting the canticles difficult without a choir’s leadership.
As well as the metrical version of the Gloria in excelsis in Sing Together – Bible Songs and Canticles, Le Grice wrote three other metrical versions of the Gloria in excelsis. The settings of these metrical versions were published in Five Instant Glorias and a Creed: Set to Well-Known Hymn Tunes, which is no longer in print. I corresponded with his widow and with her help obtained copies of the settings from Kevin Mayhew, the publisher. I have listed them below:
Glory to God! Our hearts to you, we raise! MACCABEUS
Glory be to God in heaven, (songs of joy and peace we bring) CWM RHONDDA, PRAISE MY SOUL/LAUDA ANIMA (Goss), WESTMINSTER ABBEY, REGENT SQUARE (Smart)
Glory to God, all joy in highest heaven HIGHWOOD, INTERCESSOR, DONNE SECOURS
Glory to God, we give you thanks and praise WOODLANDS, BIRMINGHAM (Cunningham)
Le Grice is not the only Anglican hymn writer to paraphrase this ancient text. Here are seven more Glorias in meter.
All glory be to God on high (Dudley-Smith) LOBT GOTT IHR CHRISTEN/NICOLAUS, REPTON, KINGSFOLD
This hymn represents Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith’s second attempt to cast the Gloria in excelsis in metrical form. His first attempt was “Glory to God in the highest” for which Richard Proulx composed the tune RUSSWIN. “All glory be to God on high” is set to LOBT GOTT IHR CHRISTEN, also known as NICOLAUS, in Hymns for Today’s Church (2nd ed.). It may be sung to Hubert Parry’s REPTON by repeating the final line of each stanza.. LOBT GOTT IHR CHRISTEN/NICOLAUS and REPTON are listed in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.
Bishop Dudley-Smith’s paraphrase of the Gloria in excelsis has been adapted to C.M.D. (188.8.131.52.D.).
All glory be to God on high,
his peace on earth proclaim;
to all his people tell abroad
the glory of his name.
In songs of thankfulness and praise
our hearts their homage bring
to worship him who reigns above
our God and heavenly King.
O Christ, the Father's only Son,
O Lamb enthroned on high,
O Jesus, who for sinners died
in mercy hear our cry.
Most high and holy is the Lord,
most high his heavenly throne;
the Father, Son and Spirit reign
in glory ever one.
This adaptation may be sung to KINGSFOLD.
The adaption may be based on an earlier version of “All glory be to God on high,” which its author began with stanzas of four lines, to which he later made an extensive revision, adding a fifth line and strengthening the rhyming scheme. KINGSFOLD is also listed in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index
All Glory Be to God on High (Decius; Doan) MIT FREUDEN ZART/BOHEMIAN BRETHREN, ALLEIN GOTT IN DER HOH
This hymn is Gilbert E. Doan’s translation of Nikolaus Decius’ metrical version of the Gloria in excelsis. It is published in The Lutheran Book of Worship (1979) and The Worshiping Church: A Hymnal (1990) , two of the hymnals in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Manual.
All glory be to God on high (Decius;Tucker) ALLEIN GOTT IN DER HOH
This hymn is F. Bland Tucker’s translation of Nikolaus Decius’ metrical version of the Gloria in excelsis. It is published in Presbyterian Hymnal: Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs (1990), The Hymnal 1982 (1985), and Worship: A Hymnal and Service Book for Roman Catholics (1986). All three hymnals are in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Manual.
All glory be to God on high (Decius; Winkworth) ALLEIN GOTT IN DER HOH
This hymn is Catherine Winkworth’s translation of Nikolaus Decius’ metrical version of the Gloria in excelsis. It is one of the older translations of Decius’ paraphrase.
Glory be to God in heaven LADUE CHAPEL, HYMN TO JOY
Glory in the highest to the God of heaven CUDDESDON, EVELYNS, LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY/POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCES, KING’S WESTON, NOEL NOUVELET
Christopher Idle wrote this metrical version of the Gloria in excelsis. It is one of the most successful. The text is set to CUDDESDON in Hymns for Today’s Church (2nd ed). It is set to CUDDESDON in the Church of Ireland’s Church Hymnal – Fifth Edition with EVELYNS and CAMBERWELL as alternative tunes. The text is set to LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY/POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCES in Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century. When it is sung to LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY, the final line of each stanza is repeated. It may also be sung to KING’S WESTON.
SmallChurch.com has a downloadable MP3 file of CUDDESDON played on the organ for small churches. Worshipworkshop.org.uk has a downloadable MP3 accompaniment track of EVELYNS played on the organ for the use of schools. LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY/POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCES and KING’S WESTON are listed in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.
EVELYNS was composed by William Frederick Monk, the first music editor of Hymns Ancient & Modern. It is the tune to which “At the Name of Jesus” is set in Hymn Ancient & Modern New Standard (1983). It was the second tune to which “At the Name of Jesus” was set in the Episcopal Church’s 1898 hymnal, the only tune in its 1916 hymnal, and the second tune in its 1940 hymnal. EVELYNS is an accessible, fairly easy to sing, and in a comfortable range for the average singer in a congregation. It also has the right tempo for a metrical version of the Gloria in exceslsis. This may explain why the Worship Workshop selected EVELYNS as the setting for “Glory in the highest to the God of heaven” for use in schools. It is also a good choice for small church congregations. LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY/POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCES and KING’S WESTON have similar characteristics and would also be good choices.
In addition, “Glory in the highest to the God of heaven” may be sung to NOEL NOUVELET. The meter of NOEL NOUVELET is 184.108.40.206. NOEL NOUVELET is the only tune of this particular meter which I have so far identified as matching the rhythm of the hymn. It is also a good hymn tune match for this hymn.
Glory to our boundless God LUCERNA LAUDONIAE, ENGLAND’S LANE, DIX
DIX may be sung as a round or a canon, normally at a distance of one or two measures and a space of one octave.
To God be glory (peace on earth, to all mankind goodwill WINCHESTER OLD, CHRISTMAS (Handel), YORKSHIRE MELODY, HAMPTON
This list is not exhaustive. There is no shortage of metrical versions of the Gloria in excelsis, which may be sung to familiar tunes.
A number of metrical versions of the New Testament canticles and the Te Deum laudamus work well at this particular juncture in the service. Here is a short list of those that have tunes in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.
Come, let us join our cheerful songs NUN DANKET ALL
This hymn and the next two hymns are metrical versions of the Dignus es, A Song to the Lamb from Revelation.
Glory and honor, wisdom and splendor SCHONSTER HERR JESU, ST. ELIZABETH
Glory, honour, endless praises MERTON (Monk), SICILIAN MARINER
God we praise you! God we bless you NETTLETON, BEECHER, RUSTINGTON
Great and wonderful your deeds WUERTTEMBERG
This hymn is a metrical version of the Magna et Miribilia, The Song of the Redeemed from Revelation.
Great is the Lord we now acclaim OLD HUNDRETH
David Mowbray wrote this paraphrase of the Te Deum laudamus.
Heavenly hosts in ceaseless worship HYFRYDOL, BEACH SPRING
Holy God, we praise thy name GROSSER GOTT/TE DEUM
How wondrous and great OLD HUNDRED FOURTH, LYONS, HANOVER (Croft)
Splendor and honor ISTE CONFESSOR
This hymn is a metrical version of the Dignus es, A Song to the Lamb from Revelation.
We marvel at your mighty deeds MORNING SONG (Dare)
This hymn and the following hymn are metrical versions of the Magna et Miribilia, The Song of the Redeemed from Revelation.
MORNING SONG (Dare) may be sung as a round or a canon, normally at a distance of one or two measures and a space of one octave.
Wonderful your deed, Lord NICAEA
A number of hymns were especially written for use after Communion. The following list comes from Hymns Ancient & Modern New Standard (1983). I have listed only those hymns that have tunes in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.
For the bread which you have broken OMNI DEI, CROSS OF JESUS, BENG LI, KINGDOM
Forth in the peace of Christ we go DUKE STREET
Glory, love, and praise, and honor BENIFOLD
Lord, as we rise CHRISTE SANCTORUM
Now let us from this table rise DEUS TUORUM MILITUM
Sent forth by God’s blessing THE ASH GROVE
We have a gospel MENDON
In The Ceremonies of the Eucharist: A Guide to Celebration Howard Galley notes that a hymn related to the season, the occasion, or the proper of the day, or a general hymn, may be sung after the Post-Communion Prayer. He goes on to note that a number of hymns are specifically intended for use at this point in the service and then lists a selection of these hymns.
Glory, love, and praise, and honor BENIFOLD
Praise the Lord, Rise Up Rejoicing ALLES IST AN GOTTES SEGEN
Come with Us, O Blessed Jesus JESU, JOY OF MAN'S DESIRING
For the bread which you have broken OMNI DEI, CROSS OF JESUS, BENG LI, KINGDOM
Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing SICILIAN MARINERS
Savior, Again to Your Dear Name ELLERS
Completed, Lord, the Holy Mysteries SONG 4
Go Forth for God GENEVA 124/OLD 124TH [WOODLANDS]
Galley further notes that “Let all that dwells below the skies,” sung to OLD HUNDRETH and concluding with the familiar doxology, is also appropriate for this point.
A note following the last setting of the Gloria in the first service music section of The Hymnal, 1940 states, “Hymns in place of Gloria in excelsis are listed in the Liturgical Index.” The note is followed by a short list of suitable hymns:
Alleluia! Bread of Heaven (Stanzas 3, 4) HYFRYDOL
Glory be to Jesus CASWALL
Glory let us give and blessing (Stanza 6) ST. THOMAS
Humbly I adore thee (Stanzas 1, 3) ADORE TE DEVOTE
Lamb of God, the heav’ns adore thee (Stanza 3) WACHET UF/SLEEPERS, WAKE
What is noteworthy about this list is that it is composed largely of doxological hymns or hymn stanzas and includes one selection customarily not sung in Lent; three selections taken from the Holy Communion section of The Hymnal, 1940; and two selections consisting of the doxology at the end of a hymn. It offers some insight into what the Joint Commission for the Revision of the Hymnal considered as suitable hymns or hymn stanzas to substitute for the Gloria in excelsis.
While the first Liturgical Index in The Hymnal, 1940 suggests the substitution of only two hymns for the Gloria in excelsis, it also suggests that these hymns may be used as a guide for selecting other hymns for use in place of the Gloria in excelsis. Only the tune of the second of the two hymns, “Come with us O blessed Jesus,” JESU JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING, is in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.
The second Liturgical Index in The Hymnal, 1940, found in the Supplement to The Hymnal 1940, prepared by the Joint Commission on Church Music in 1960 and appended to The Hymnal, 1940 suggests the substitution of a number of hymns for the Gloria in excelsis. I have listed only those hymns whose tune is in the Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow OLD HUNDRETH
Praise to God, immortal praise (Stanzas 1, 2, and 3) DIX, ENGLAND’S LANE
O Splendor of God’s glory bright SPLENDOR PATERNE, PUER NOBIS
PUER NOBIS may be sung as a round or a canon, normally at a distance of one or two measures and a space of one octave.
Now thank we all our God NUN DANKET
From all that dwells below the skies OLD HUNDRED, LASST UNS ERFREUEN/VIGILES ET SANCTI (with alleluias)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation LOBE DEN HERREN
Praise my soul, the King of heaven (Stanza 1) LAUDA ANIMA
Give praise and glory unto God DU LEBENSBROT, HERR JESU
Ye watchers and ye holy ones (Stanza 4) LASST UNS ERFREUEN/VIGILES ET SANCTI
The second Liturgical Index notes that some hymns in the Holy Communion section of The Hymnal, 1940 may also be used.
What is noteworthy about this list is that it includes hymns or hymn stanzas that are customarily not used in Advent and Lent. What may be concluded from the list is the Joint Commission on Church Music interpreted the rubric permitting the substitution of a “proper hymn” for the Gloria in excelsis in accordance with its plain meaning. The commission interpreted the rubric as applying year round and not just in Advent and Lent. This is especially good news for small church congregations that do not have a choir or a favorable acoustical environment for the singing of a setting of the Gloria in excelsis from The Hymnal, 1940 . They have another option beside reciting the Gloria in excelsis on major feast days and other occasions and during festal seasons and ordinary time.
Edward Lambe Parsons and Bayard Hale Jones note in The American Prayer Book: Its Origins and Principles note that the compilers of the first American Prayer Book “introduced… the provision of a hymn as a substitute for the Gloria in Excelsis because of the frequent difficulty of getting the Gloria sung under pioneering conditions.” Most small church congregations using the 1928 Prayer Book in the twenty-first century worship under similar conditions and this provision has proven a boon to those that take advantage of it. They can be especially grateful for the wisdom, good judgment, and foresight of the compilers of the 1789 Prayer Book in including it in first American Prayer Book. The value of the provision is certainly appreciated by the compilers of more recent Anglican service books who have incorporated similar provisions into these books.
The rites of the Eastern Church may have also influenced the compilers of the 1789 Prayer Book. These rites sometimes include a hymn after the Post-Communion Prayer. The Eastern rites certainly influenced the Non-Jurors. This influence is discernible in the Scottish Non-Juror Prayer of Consecration of 1764, which the 1789 compilers adapted for use in the first American Prayer Book. The Eastern influence is evident elsewhere in the 1789 book, in the permission to sing or recite the Gloria in excelsis after the psalms in the services of Morning and Evening Prayer.
The Gulbransen Digital Hymnal DH-100 CP’s Master Index contains Healey Willan’s setting of the Gloria in excelsis. The Willan Gloria, however, is an unsuitable setting for a small church congregation with no choir and worshiping in a sanctuary that was not built with the performance of that kind of music in mind. It requires the strong leadership of a choir and a favorable acoustical environment.