A few weekends ago, I was at a Historical Society sale in my town. I happened to spot a rather old book on a large table covered in books large and small, all on sale for 25 or 50 cents. I looked closely at the worn cover and read the faded title "Songs for the Sanctuary."
Interesting, I thought.
I got distracted and put the book down, but came back to it later and thumbed through the many pages. The book contains no actual sheet music, just texts for sacred hymns and psalms. The book was published in 1869 and the pages are still in pretty good shape considering the age of this book.
I bought the book and over the next few days, skimmed through the 1300+ texts in the book.
I'm astonished at the beauty of many of these texts - most are settings and variations of hymn texts, psalm texts, and biblical verses. It is not clear who actually wrote/adapted each specific text, as the book is a collection of these "songs," which have surely evolved over decades and centuries. However, many of these beautiful texts have likely been lost from sacred service music, due to their "dated" language.
In my love for old things, I find the antique nature of some of the language to be wonderful and certainly worth preserving.
I quickly realized that this book will be a fantastic source of texts to use in future compositions. I have already completed two works with texts drawn from this book: Once More, My Soul and An Hour of Hallowed Peace. I hope that I will be able to draw inspiration from the book for years to come.