Duration: 5'00" |
Ensemble: SATB organ
"I say unto you which hear" has one clear message: love your enemies. These words, taken from Luke 6, encourage us to help others, not for the reason of expecting anything back in return but purely for selfless kindness. For if ye "love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; [and] your reward shall be great... for [God] is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."
This piece starts with a very simple, quiet, thoughtful utterance of the message accompanied by the organ pedals alone. This opening melodic theme keeps coming back throughout the piece in the organ part, sometimes very clearly, sometimes less so because those which hear will be reminded of the message of selfless kindness.
The piece then takes a very emotive journey trying to convince people that this message is a good one: "Bless them that curse you", "unto [them] that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other", "Give to every [hu]man that asketh of thee", "And as ye would that [people] should do to you, do ye also to them likewise". The pinnacle of this piece is the contrast between good and evil, which shows the difference between the slightly slower, quieter, less dissonant sections talking about what thank have ye if we expect things in return for our kindness, and the much more dissonant, faster, unison sections explaining that "sinners also do even the same", before an eruption of emotion, almost anger from the organ, about the fact that not enough people are listening to this message.
The opening message returns after this and we enter the final section of the piece, which begins with a very peaceful C major chord, upon hearing about our reward. The piece builds and builds, ending with a very grand, full organ exclamation of the message.
I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.