Every three years, on Proper 24 of Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary, church musicians have the chance to sing the marvelous setting of the Gospel by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935): his SATB anthem Tribute to Caesar.
This anthem has a lot to recommend it. And the effect can be really haunting and beautiful if it comes together just right.
There's something so tender about the "and they brought unto him a penny". Should that part be tender? I don't know. It is though. I get a little emotional about it. But I digress.
The anthem sets the words of the Gospel of Matthew from which comes the oft-paraphrased "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's".
But that's not the part I noticed in the office today. Doing a final check of the service leaflet with the King James Version of Matthew 22:15-22 I noticed a discrepancy in verse 19.
Pärt apparently added an extra "of" in verse 19. His version reads "Shew me the tribute of money". The King James Version reads "Shew me the tribute money" (no of).
The Universal Edition of the score unhelpfully duplicates this inaccurate text on the inside cover.
I can make no sense of the errant word, and assume that it is a mistake.
This is easy enough to fix, and I'll be making the alteration in rehearsal tomorrow night.
I know I'm not the only one conducting this on Sunday, so I just thought others might want to be aware!
You can hear the typo quite clearly here. Start at 3 minutes 12 seconds in for the phrase in question
15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
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