Where cross the crowded ways of life, #609

# 609 Where cross the crowded ways of life

Words:  Frank Mason North

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Music:  Gardiner, from Sacred Melodies, 1815, arranged by William Gardiner

Frank Mason North, born New York, Dec. 3, 1850, graduated at Wesleyan University 1872, and entered the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1872.

Caleb T. Winchester, an editor of the 1905 Methodist Hymnal, challenged Frank M. North (to write a hymn text on city missions. North had intimate knowledge of urban life because of his work for the Methodist Church in New York City. Inspired by Jesus' words "Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find" (Matt. 22:9), North wrote "Where Cross the Crowded Ways." After making various revisions and adding a title ("A Prayer for the Multitudes"), he published the text in The Christian City (June 1903), a mission’s journal he edited. The text was also published in the 1905 Methodist Hymnal and in many other twentieth-century hymnbooks. Modern hymnals have changed the original "thous" and "thees" to "yous." One of the earliest and finest modern "city hymns," this text focuses on the ills of our great urban centers (and ignores their benefits) with the insight and compassion of a Christian worker in the city slums. North's descriptive phrases may have been startling at the turn of the century, but they are even more accurate descriptions of the massive cities in our world today. His prescription to follow in the footsteps of Christ and bring the gospel in word and deed is relevant as long as the Lord delays in bringing the New Jerusalem. Primarily a churchman, North devoted himself to loyal service in the Methodist denomination and to various ecumenical ventures. He was educated at Wesleyan University, Middleton, Connecticut, and ordained in the Methodist Church in 1872. A minister in several churches in Florida, New York, and Connecticut, he also held administrative positions-secretary of the New York Church Extension and Missionary Society (1892-1912) and secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Church (1912-1924). He was involved with the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America (forerunner of the National Council of Churches) and was the council's president from 1916-1920. Editor of the periodical Christian City, North was active in many organizations that promoted and carried out Christian ministries in urban life. North contributed hymns to Sursum Corda (1898) and the Methodist Hymnal (1905) and was a charter member of the Hymn Society, which republished his eight hymns in a booklet in 1970. Liturgical Use: For urban ministries and other occasions that emphasize missions and diaconal work. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987 

William Gardner, 1770-1853, showed his musical gifts ear­ly.  At age six, he sang a so­lo at the wed­ding of his friend’s fa­ther. He lat­er learned to play the pi­a­no and vi­o­la, and as a teen­ag­er wrote a march for troops re­turn­ing from war in Amer­i­ca. As his mu­sic­al tastes ma­tured, he be­came an ad­mir­er of Beet­ho­ven and Hay­dn. He be­came a mem­ber of the His­tor­ic­al In­sti­tute in Par­is in 1843. His works in­clude: Sacred Mel­o­dies from Hay­dn, Mo­zart, and Beet­ho­ven, Adapt­ed to the Best Eng­lish Po­ets and Ap­pro­pri­at­ed to the Use of the Bri­tish Church (Lon­don: 1812-15)

 

Enjoy this from St. John’s in Detroit. YOUTUBE

 

Love divine, all loves excelling, #657

Hymn # 657 Love divine, all loves excelling

Words: Charles Wesley

The Sacred Heart of Jesus by Józef Mehoffer, 1911

The Sacred Heart of Jesus by Józef Mehoffer, 1911

Tune: Hyfrodol

Composer: Rowland Prichard

I really love this hymn.  It’s the perfect match of a lilting Welsh tune paired with lovely words to inspire and move us.   I especially love the very last phrases: “changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.”  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Considered by many to be among Charles Wesley's finest texts, "Love Divine" was published in four stanzas in his Hymns for those that seek, and those that have Redemption in the Blood of Christ (1747). Many hymnals, including the Psalter Hymnal, omit the original second stanza, which contained the questionable line "take away our power of sinning." A verse from John Dryden's poem beginning with the words "Fairest isle, all isles excelling" used by Henry Purcell in his opera King Arthur were undoubtedly Wesley's inspiration for writing this text. In fact, "Love Divine" was set to a Purcell tune in John and Charles Wesley's Sacred Melody (1761).

Addressed to Christ, this text begins as a prayer for the indwelling of his love in our lives: "fix in us thy humble dwelling" and "let us all thy life receive" (st. 1-2). A tone of praise and adoration runs throughout the text. But the final stanza is clearly a prayer for sanctification, for consistently holy lives. Though this stanza was an outcome of the Wesleyan doctrine of perfection, it is our fervent Christian prayer that our sanctification will ultimately lead to glorification. As is customary in a Charles Wesley text, biblical allusions abound.

One of the most loved Welsh tunes, HYFRYDOL was composed by Rowland Hugh Prichard in 1830 when he was only nineteen. It was published with about forty of his other tunes in his children's hymnal Cyfaill y Cantorion (The Singers' Friend) in 1844. 

Here is an arrangement by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Sometimes I think they are bit over the top, but this is very nice.  Enjoy.  YOUTUBE

There is another Welsh tune for this hymn, Blaenwern.  Enjoy it here as part of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.  YOUTUBE

The Church’s one foundation, #525

#525  The Church’s one foundation

Words: Samuel John Stone

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Music:  Aurelia,  written by  Samuel S. Wesley

 

In the mid-nineteenth century, Bishop John William Colenso of Natal raised a ruckus in the Catholic Church when he challenged the historicity and authority of many of the Old Testament books. Bishop Gray of Capetown wrote a stirring response of defense, which, in 1866, inspired Samuel Stone, to write this beloved hymn, basing his text on Article 9 of the Apostle’s Creed: “The Holy Catholic (Universal) Church; the Communion of Saints; He is the Head of this Body.”

Now an affirmation of Christ as the foundation of our faith, we sing this hymn with those who have gone before us and with Christians around the world, declaring that beyond any theological differences, cultural divides, and variances in practice, we are all part of the same body, the body of Christ.

Composed by Samuel S. Wesley, AURELIA (meaning "golden") was published as a setting for “Jerusalem the Golden” in Selection of Psalms and Hymns, which was compiled by Charles Kemble and Wesley in 1864. Though opinions vary concerning the tune's merits (noted English organist and composer Henry J. Gauntlett once condemned it as "secular twaddle"), it has been firmly associated with Stone's text since tune and text first appeared together in the 1868 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern.

Enjoy this lovely a capella rendition by the Choir of  Kings College, Cambridge.  YOUTUBE

Sing praise to God who reigns above, #408

Hymn Notes # 408

Sing praise to God who reigns above

Words:  Johann Jacob Schutz

Music:  Mit Freuden zart

 

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Johann Jakob Schütz wrote this hymn of praise in German with nine stanzas. In 1675 he published it in his Christliches Gedenkbüchlein. The most common English translation in use is by Frances E. Cox from 1864, which was published in Orby Shipley's Lyra Eucharistica and her own Hymns from the German.

This hymn is typically published with four stanzas. [Note: our 1982 Hymnal has 3 stanzas].  Stanza 1 always opens the hymn, and the original stanzas 2 and 6 are never used. Deuteronomy 32:3 was the basis for this hymn of praise – “For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!” (ESV) Using a variety of metaphors for God and for His works, this text overflows with proclamations of God's loving care for His people. This hymn extols the greatness of God in giving all good things to His people and calls on us to continue to give God the praise He richly deserves.

The most common tune used with this text is MIT FREUDEN ZART, which is an anonymous German tune named after an Easter hymn by Georg Vetter. It first appeared in a Bohemian Brethren hymnal in 1566, hence the alternate title BOHEMIAN BRETHREN.

Enjoy the organ, choir and congregation of First Presbyterian, Houston. YOUTUBE

Holy, holy, holy, #362

# 362   Holy, holy, holy

Words:                 Reginald Heber

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Tune:                    Nicaea

Composer;          John Bacchus Dykes

Holy, Holy, Holy is surely one of the most inspiring and beautiful hymns.  Published in 1826,  it  first appeared in Anglican Hymnal in 1871.   Here is the story of its origin:

In 325 AD, Church leaders convened in the town of Nicaea in Bithynia to formulate a consensus of belief and practice amongst Christians. What resulted was the Nicene Creed, a document passed on through the ages as one of the pillars of church doctrine. The primary function of this creed was to establish a firm belief in the Trinity, countering the heresy of Arius, who believed that Jesus was not fully divine. It was this creed that inspired Reginald Heber to write this great hymn of praise to the Triune God, with the intent that the hymn be sung before or after the creed was recited in a service, and on Trinity Sunday – eight weeks after Easter. The tune, composed by John B. Dykes for Heber’s text, is also titled NICAEA in recognition of Heber’s text. The words evoke a sense of awe at the majesty of God, and call on all of creation – humans, saints and angels, and all living things – to praise the Godhead three-in-one.

http://www.hymnary.org/text/holy_holy_holy_lord_god_almighty_early

I don’t know about you but the imagery of “casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea” never fails to give me chills.  Truly,  a magnificent hymn. 

Here is a glorious playing, organ only, played by the organ maker.  YOUTUBE

And here is congregational singing with organ and strings from the Church of St. Michael, Stillwater, MN. YOUTUBE

Note: I would have included a video from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but they changed the words:  not “God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity” but their version, “God in thy glory, through eternity.”

Come down, O Love Divine, #516

# 516  Come down, O Love Divine

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Text:   Bianco di Siena; translated by Richard F. Littledale

Tune:  Down Ampney

Composer:  Ralph Vaughn Williams

Bianco da Siena entered the Order of Jesuates in 1367 consisting of unordained men who followed the rule of St. Augustine.  Richard Littledale was a 19th century scholar and curate who devoted the latter years of his life to literature, including the translating of hymns.

This hymn is the ideal pairing of text and tune, the inspiring verse sung to a simple, lovely melody.  The first verse addresses the Holy Spirit as “O Love divine” and “O Comforter,” asking for His presence in our lives. The middle verses (2nd in our Hymnal) ask the Holy Spirit to purge us of all pride and evil passion, and to purify our love and light our path. The final verse anticipates the greater love for God that will ensue from such purification, and recognizes that, as Paul wrote, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

The original third verse is not included in our 1982 Hymnal – why?  It’s so lovely and moving I had to share:

Let holy charity
mine outward vesture be,
and lowliness become mine inner clothing;
true lowliness of heart,
which takes the humbler part,
and o'er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 – 1958) the son of a vicar, was a celebrated English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.  How ironic that his second wife described him as "an atheist ... [who] later drifted into a cheerful agnosticism."      The tune name comes from his boyhood home, Down Ampney, Gloucestershire.

Here's a lovely rendition by the King's College Choir, Cambridge. YOUTUBE

All hail the power of Jesus’ name, #450

# 450 All hail the power of Jesus’ name

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Text:  Edward Perronet

Music:  Coronation, by Oliver Holden

I think this is a splendid hymn.   I especially like the reference to Earth as “this terrestrial ball.”

“It is interesting that those who express the most eloquent praise are often the people we would deem the least likely to have the ability. Yet David, the adulterating, murdering, lying king of Israel wrote a good deal of the Psalms, which we still use today as our guide for worship. In the same way, all accounts show Rev. Edward Perronet (1721-1792) to be a sharp-tongued, difficult personality, who would rather pick a fight over theology than display brotherly love. Though Perronet was a minister of the established Church of England, his evangelical, or "dissenting" roots grew deep. His father had been associated with Whitefield and the Wesleys, and Perronet himself worked with the Wesleys until they split over the question of administering the Sacraments. Perronet then found work as a chaplain for the famous patroness of the evangelical movement, Countess of Huntingdon, but was soon removed from his post due to his violent attacks on the established church. (Acidic remarks like, "I was born and I am like to die in the tottering communion of the Church of England; but I despise her nonsense." are the kind that force even the hardiest dissenter to keep their distance!) The text first appeared anonymously in 1780 in Gospel Magazine with the title "On the Resurrection." Many argue that the hymn has experienced continued popularity due to the hymntune MILES LANE which appeared with it in Gospel Magazine and the tunes CORONATION and DIADEM which have accompanied the text since that time. The poem was edited and added to by Rev. John Rippon for his book A Selection of Hymns, from the Best Authors intended to be an Appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns (1787), and his edition is the one commonly used in hymn books today. --Greg Scheer, 1997” 

Like the tune MILES LANE [see Hymn 451] , CORONATION was written for this text. Oliver Holden (b. Shirley, MA, 1765; d. Charlestown, MA, 1844) composed the tune in four parts with a duet in the third phrase. The tune, whose title comes from the theme of Perronet's text, was published in Holden's Union Harmony (1793). It is the one eighteenth-century American tune that has enjoyed uninterrupted popularity–from the singing schools of that era to today's congregational worship. CORONATION is a vigorous marching tune with many repeated tones that delighted Holden's contemporaries. The tune requires the jubilant repetition of the last couplet of text for each stanza. Sing in parts and accompany with a firm sense of rhythm. Holden was reared in a small rural community and had only a minimal formal education–a few months in a "common school" in Groton, Massachusetts. He worked as a carpenter and was involved in community service in Charlestown, holding posts in the Anti-Slavery Society and serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. In addition, he worked very profitably as a merchant and real estate dealer, and served as a Puritan lay preacher. Very interested in music, Holden became a composer and singing-school teacher in the tradition of William Billings. He was involved in publishing various tune books, including The American Harmony (1792), The Massachusetts Compiler (1795), Plain Psalmody (1800), and The Charlestown Collection of Sacred Songs (1803). --Psalter Hymnal Handbook.

Source:  Hymnary.org

Enjoy this video from First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska YOUTUBE

Christ is made the sure foundation, #518

# 518 Christ is made the sure foundation

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Words: Latin, ca 7th century, translated for Hymns Ancient and Modern by John Mason Neale

Music:  Westminster Abbey

Composer:  Henry Purcell

A favorite hymn since it was first entered the Hymnal in 1871, this text has gained an even greater measure of favor and us in the Episcopal Church since it was matched with the Purcell tune Westminster Abbey in Hymnal Supplement II, 1986.  This text/tune relationship was first introduced to Americans through the broadcast of the marriage ceremony of Princess Margaret of England and Lord Snowden in 1960.  It is now often used as a processional hymn at weddings in Episcopal churches.

One of the oldest Latin hymn texts, it was found in manuscript collection of hymns from the ninth century, but perhaps dates back as early at the sixth century.  The stanzas are actually part of a much longer hymn traditionally associated with the dedication of a church. 

The tune Westminster Abbey is derived from an anthem by the great English composer Henry Purcell. The tune name obviously reflect Purcell’s various associations with the great London church. From 1674-1678, Purcell tuned the organ in the Abbey and later succeeded John Blow as the organist.  On November 25, 1695, his funeral and burial were held there.

Here is a glorious YouTube of the hymn, from an Ecumenical Celebration at, yes, Westminster Abbey, 17 September 2010.   Be sure to watch as well as listen to the end.   Wow.  YOUTUBE

Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray, #315

# 315  Thou, who at thy first Eucharist didst pray

Words:  William Harry Turton

Orlando Gibbons

Orlando Gibbons

Music:  Song 1, melody, and bass, Orlando Gibbons, and harmonized by Ralph Vaughn Williams

Turton, W. H., a Lieut. in the Royal Engineers, has published A Few Hymns written by A Layman between the Festivals of All Saints, 1880 and 1881. This contains 12 hymns. The Second Series, , and the Third Series, 1882-1883, another 12. These hymns are worthy of attention. Those which have passed into common use include:

“And now our Eucharist is o'er” (1881-1882) – not in our Hymnal – and this one:

“0 Thou who at Thy Eucharist didst pray.” This hymn was used at S. Mary Magdalene's, Munster Square, N. W., in the Anniversary Service of the English Church Union, June 22,1881. It is intended to be sung after the ‘Agnus Dei,' at a choral celebration." In the 1889 Supplemental Hymns to Hymns Ancient & Modern it reads "Thou, Who at Thy first Eucharist didst pray."

Orlando Gibbons (1583 – 1625) was an English composer, virginalist and organist of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods. He was a leading composer in the England of his day. Gibbons was born in Cambridge and christened at Oxford the same year – thus appearing in Oxford church records. Between 1596 and 1598 he sang in the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, where his brother Edward Gibbons (1568–1650), eldest of the four sons of William Gibbons, was master of the choristers. The second brother Ellis Gibbons (1573–1603) was also a promising composer, but died young. Orlando entered the university in 1598 and achieved the degree of Bachelor of Music in 1606. James I appointed him a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, where he served as an organist from at least 1615 until his death. In 1623 he became senior organist at the Chapel Royal, with Thomas Tomkins as junior organist. He also held positions as keyboard player in the privy chamber of the court of Prince Charles (later King Charles I), and organist at Westminster Abbey. He died at age 41 in Canterbury of apoplexy, and a monument to him was built in Canterbury Cathedral. A suspicion immediately arose that Gibbons had died of the plague, which was rife in England that year. Two physicians who had been present at his death were ordered to make a report, and performed an autopsy, the account of which survives in The National Archive, that indicates an autopsy revealed a brain tumor. 

One of the most versatile English composers of his time, Gibbons wrote a quantity of keyboard works, around thirty fantasias for viols, a number of madrigals (the best-known being "The Silver Swan"), and many popular verse anthems. His choral music is distinguished by his complete mastery of counterpoint, combined with his wonderful gift for melody.  To this day, Gibbons's obit service is commemorated every year in King's College Chapel, Cambridge.

Source:  Hymnary.org

Here is the Los Angeles First Congregrational Church Choir.  Enjoy. YOUTUBE

"The King of love, my shepherd is" #645

# 645   The King of love, my shepherd is

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Words: Henry Williams Baker

Music:  St. Columba

I chose this hymn for the week in honor of the new royal baby, as this is a Very British Hymn.

Henry Baker, editor-in-chief of Hymns Ancient and Modern, wrote this text based on Psalm 23, and it appeared in the appendix of that hymnal in 1868. The text of this hymn has remained very stable. The fifth stanza is omitted from some hymnals, perhaps because this stanza contains more archaic expressions than any of the others. Most hymnals do not modernize the language. The six stanzas of this hymn correlate closely to the six verses of the twenty-third Psalm, while drawing connections between this well-known Old Testament passage and several New Testament images, all on the theme of the Good Shepherd. In the first two stanzas, the connections are subtle. In stanza 1, Baker adds a comment on the two-way, eternal nature of the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, referring to Jesus' words in John 10:28. By changing the words “still waters” to “streams of living water,” Baker recalls Jesus' declaration that He is the source of these streams (John 4:14, 7:37-39). Stanza 3 clearly refers to the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:3-7). In the second half of the hymn, the connection between Old and New Testaments is more pronounced by the use of the words “cross” (st. 4), “chalice” (st. 5, referring to the cup in the Lord's Supper), and “Good Shepherd” (st. 6).

There are two tunes with which this text is frequently associated: DOMINUS REGIT ME [hymn 646], and ST COLUMBA. DOMINUS REGIT ME is the opening phrase of Psalm 23 in Latin. John B. Dykes wrote this tune for this hymn in 1868. The editors of the English Hymnal were unable to use this tune due to copyright issues, so they adapted ST. COLUMBA, an Irish hymn tune. Both choices are quite popular. DOMINUS REGIT ME appears in more hymnals, but ST. COLUMBA is more popular with arrangers.  It seems to me DOMINUS REGIT ME sounds more British, and you may recognize it from Princess Diana’s funeral.

Here are the two versions for your enjoyment, first St. Columba, YOUTUBE

and then Dominus Regit Me YOUTUBE

You decide which one you prefer.

“Welcome, happy morning!” age to age shall say #179

# 179  “Welcome, happy morning!” age to age shall say

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Words:  Venantius Honorius Fortunatus

Music: Fortunatus, Arthur Seymour Sullivan

 

This is one of my favorite Easter hymns. The author of the text, Venantius Fortunatus, also wrote the text for # 175, Hail thee, festival day, another popular hymn during the Easter season. Fortunatus was born between 530 and 540 AD at Duplavis near Treviso in Venetia, Italy.  He grew up during the Roman reconquest of Italy, but there is controversy concerning where Fortunatus spent his childhood. Sometime in the 550s or 60s, he travelled to Ravenna to study. While there, he was given a classical education, in the Roman style. His later work shows familiarity with not only classical Latin poets such as Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Statius, and Martial, but also Christian poets, including Arator, Claudian, and Coelius Sedulius, and bears their influence. In addition, Fortunatus likely had some knowledge of the Greek language and the classical Greek writers and philosophers, as he makes reference to them and Greek words at times throughout his poetry and prose.

Fortunatus traveled extensively in his life.  Sometime around 576, he was ordained into the church while living in Poitiers.  He stayed there until around the year 599-600, when he was appointed Bishop of Poitiers, to replace Plato, Bishop of Poitiers. Fortunatus died in the early 7th century. He was called a saint after his death, but was never formally canonized.

Fortunatus is best known for two poems that have become part of the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the Pange lingua gloriosi proelium certaminis ("Sing, O tongue, of the glorious struggle"), a hymn that later inspired St Thomas Aquinas's Pange Lingua Gloriosi Corporis Mysterium.

Several of his hymn texts are used extensively in the Hymnal 1982, including this one with a tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (13 May 1842 – 22 November 1900) was an English composer. He is best known for 14 operatic collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. His works include 24 operas, 11 major orchestral works, ten choral works and oratorios, two ballets, incidental music to several plays, and numerous church pieces, songs, and piano and chamber pieces. His hymns and songs include "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and "The Lost Chord". In our hymnal you will find a number of his tunes, including the Easter Hymn “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain.” 

Enjoy the St. Bartholomew’s Church congregation and organ. YOUTUBE

At the Lamb’s high feast we sing # 174

# 174  - At the Lamb’s high feast we sing

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Words:  Latin, 1632, translated by Robert Campbell

Tune:  Salzburg, melody Jakob Hintze; harmonized by J.S. Bach

 

Many great Easter hymns this Sunday but I had to choose the one that features a wonderful Bach harmonization.  Listen for the great moving bass line in the third line.

Not much is known about Robert Campbell who translated the original text. The tune SALZBURG, named after the Austrian city made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702). Partly as a result of the Thirty Years' War and partly to further his musical education, Hintze traveled widely as a youth, including trips to Sweden and Lithuania. In 1659 he settled in Berlin, where he served as court musician to the Elector of Brandenburg from 1666 to 1695. Hintze is known mainly for his editing of the later editions of Johann Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica, to which he contributed some sixty-five of his original tunes. The harmonization by Johann S. Bach is simplified from his setting in his Choralgesänge  and The Hymna1 1982 contain Bach's full harmonization.

Enjoy St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York from Easter Sunday, 2011.  What an organ!  YOUTUBE

Ride on, ride on in majesty

Hymn Notes

Ride on, Ride on in majesty

Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, by Minerva Teichert

Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, by Minerva Teichert

Tune: Winchester New from Musicalishes Hand-buch, 1690, harmonized by William Henry Monk

 Ride On, Ride On in Majesty!" is a Christian hymn written by Henry Hart Milman in 1820. It is a Palm Sunday hymn and refers to Matthew 21:1–17 and Jesus' Triumphal entry into Jerusalem.

While Milman wrote "Ride On, Ride On in Majesty!" in 1820, it was not published in a hymn book until 1827 when it was published in Bishop Reginald Heber's Hymns Written and Adapted to the Weekly Church Service of the Year. This is reported to only have happened after Milman met Heber in 1823 before Heber became Bishop of Calcutta. It was described by composer Stanley L. Osbourne as "Objective, robust, confident, and stirring, it possesses that peculiar combination of tragedy and victory which draws the singer into the very centre of the drama. It is this which gives the hymn its power and its challenge". The hymn proved popular: in 1907, John Julian, in his Dictionary of Hymnology, stated it was the most popular Palm Sunday hymn in the English language at that time.

The hymn is viewed to be full of dramatic irony. The third line of the first verse "Thine humble beast pursues his road" has been disliked by some hymn book editors. In 1852 it was attempted to be changed to "O Saviour meek, pursue Thy road" and in 1855 to "With joyous throngs pursue Thy road" however both attempts received little popular attention. This led to some hymn books omitting the first verse.

There are several tunes that are used for "Ride On, Ride On in Majesty!": Hebron by Lowell Mason, Winchester New by William Henry Monk, and St Drostane. The hymn is used as a processional hymn during Palm Sunday.  In the 1982 Hymnal,  the words are paired with the The King’s Majesty tune by Graham George.   For our Palm Sunday service, we will use the Winchester New tune, familiar to us from “On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s Cry.”

Enjoy the King’s College Choir, Cambridge: YOUTUBE CAMBRIDGE  and a fine congregational sing, with brass, from St. Mary Le Tower Church, Ipswich.  YOUTUBE IPSWICH 

Jesus, all my gladness #701

# 701  Jesus, all my gladness

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Text:      Johann Franck, translated by Catherine Winkworth

Tune:     Jesu, meine freude

Composer: Johann Cruger

 It does my Lutheran heart good to share these comments about one of my favorite hymns.  Surely there are few hymns as moving, as personal as this.

From The Hymnal 1982 Companion:

This famous text and tune, first matched in 1656, unite a profound and deeply personal expression of the yearning for spiritual union between the worshiper and Jesus Christ.  The text, originally 6 stanzas, was modeled on a German love song,” Flora meine Freude.”  The first translation of this text into English was by Catherine Winkworth for the Chorale Book for England, 1863.  The text as it appears in the 1982 Hymnal is a translation of stanzas 1,4, and 6 of the original and is a slightly altered version of the translation by Arthur Wellesley Wotherspoon  for the Scottish Mission Hymnbook, and then made its way into the 1940 Hymnal.     

Just for comparison, here is the translation of stanza 1 from The Lutheran Hymnal and the translation from our 1982 Hymnal.  You tell me which one you like best …

Lutheran:

Jesus, priceless Treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest Friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Naught I ask beside Thee.

Episcopalian:

Jesus, all my gladness,
my repose in sadness,
Jesus, heaven to me;
ah, my heart long plaineth,
ah, my spirit straineth,
longeth after thee!
Thine I am, O holy Lamb;
only where thou art is pleasure,
thee alone I treasure.

Cruger wrote the tune in 1653.  Bach later based his great five-part motet on this text and tune and also utilized the tune in several cantatas and organ works.  It is considered one of the finest of post-Reformation tunes and texts.

Here is the hymn with the Bach harmonization [not in our Hymnal.]   I think the simple piano setting is very moving.  YOUTUBE BACH HARMONY  And here is the Bach motet using the tune. It’s 20 minutes long but well worth it.  YOUTUBE BACH MOTET

Come, thou fount of every blessing, #686

# 686     Come, thou fount of every blessing

Words:    Robert Robinson

Tune:  Nettleton, melody from A Repository of Sacred Music

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This is one of my favorite hymns, and maybe one of your favorites, too. The imagery formed from the text, paired with a simple beautiful tune, is so moving. 

In 1752, a young Robert Robinson attended an evangelical meeting to heckle the believers and make fun of the proceedings. Instead, he listened in awe to the words of the great preacher George Whitefield, and in 1755, at the age of twenty, Robinson responded to the call he felt three years earlier and became a Christian. Another three years later, when preparing a sermon for his church in Norfolk, England, he penned the words that have become one of the church’s most-loved hymns.

Using imagery of Christ as the giver of living water and the shepherd gathering his sheep back into the fold, this hymn reminds the worshiper of the ever bountiful grace of God. Like Robinson, we too are “prone to wander,” and are quick to seek redemption through our own power. But God continues to bring us back from our wandering, until, songs of praise on our lips, we dance forever before the mount of His redeeming love.

Here’s a stirring offering from the Choral Society of Middle Georgia, Mercer University Choir and Mercer Center for Strings, from their performance at Carnegie Hall.  YOUTUBE

Songs of thankfulness and praise #135

Hymn # 135  Songs of thankfulness and praise

Words:  Christopher Wordsworth and F. Bland Tucker

Music:  Salzburg, melody by Jakob Hintze and harmonized by J.S. Bach

 

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Christopher Wordsworth (b. Lambeth, London, England, 1807; d. Harewood, Yorkshire, England, 1885), nephew of the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth, wrote this hymn in five stanzas. It was published in his Holy Year (1862) John 3:13-17 with the heading "Sixth Sunday after Epiphany." Wordsworth described the text as follows:

“[It is a] recapitulation of the successive manifestations of Christ, which have already been presented in the services of the former weeks throughout the season of Epiphany; and anticipation of that future great and glorious Epiphany, at which Christ will be manifest to all, when he will appear again to judge the world.”

The didactic text teaches the meaning of Epiphany–the manifestation of Christ in his birth (st. 1), baptism, miracle at Cana (st. 2), healing of the sick, power over evil, and coming as judge (st. 3). Originally the refrain line was "Anthems be to thee addressed, God in man made manifest." The revised refrain borrows Peter's confession, "You are the Christ!" (Mark 8:29), and makes that our corporate confession as we acknowledge the 'Word become flesh" who lived among us. Wordsworth was a prolific author and the most renowned Greek scholar of his day. Included in his works are Memoirs of William Wordsworth (1851), Commentary on the Mole Bible (1856-1870), Church History (1881-1883), innumerable sermons and pamphlets, and The Holy Year (1862), which contained 117 of his original hymns as well as 82 others written for all the Sundays and Christian holy days according to the Book of Common Prayer. Wordsworth was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, where he distinguished himself as a brilliant student. He later taught at Trinity College and was headmaster of Harrow School (1836-1844). Ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1835, he was canon of Westminster in 1844, a country priest in Stanford-in-the-Vale, Berkshire (1850-1869), and then Bishop of Lincoln (1869-1885) His writings are numerous, and some of them very valuable. Most of his works are in prose. His "Holy Year; or, Hymns for Sundays, Holidays, and other occasions throughout the Year," was published in [1862], and contains 127 hymns.

I do not know exactly how the 4th verse by Bishop F. Bland Tucker came to be part of the hymn, but this Wikipedia entry about him sheds light on his wide and deep influence on the Episcopal church, including 22 years at Rector at Christ Church, Savannah.  WIKIPEDIA

The tune SALZBURG, named after the Austrian city made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was first published anonymously in the nineteenth edition of Praxis Pietatis Melica (1678); in that hymnbook's twenty-fourth edition (1690) the tune was attributed to Jakob Hintze (b. Bernau, Germany, 1622; d. Berlin, Germany, 1702). Hintze is known mainly for his editing of the later editions of Johann Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica, to which he contributed some sixty-five of his original tunes. The harmonization by Johann S. Bach is simplified from his setting in his Choralgesänge (Rejoice in the Lord [231] and The Hymna1 1982 [135] both contain Bach's full harmonization.

Enjoy this from the University of the South's School of Theology, Chapel of the Apostles. YOUTUBE

Love divine, all loves excelling

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Hymn # 657     Love divine, all loves excelling

Words: Charles Wesley

Tune:  Hyfrodol

Composer:  Rowland Prichard

I really love this hymn.  It’s the perfect match of a lilting Welsh tune paired with lovely words to inspire and move us.   I especially love the very last phrases: “changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.”  It doesn’t get any better than that.

Considered by many to be among Charles Wesley's finest texts, "Love Divine" was published in four stanzas in his Hymns for those that seek, and those that have Redemption in the Blood of Christ (1747). Many hymnals, including the Psalter Hymnal, omit the original second stanza, which contained the questionable line "take away our power of sinning." A verse from John Dryden's poem beginning with the words "Fairest isle, all isles excelling" used by Henry Purcell in his opera King Arthur were undoubtedly Wesley's inspiration for writing this text. In fact, "Love Divine" was set to a Purcell tune in John and Charles Wesley's Sacred Melody (1761).

Addressed to Christ, this text begins as a prayer for the indwelling of his love in our lives: "fix in us thy humble dwelling" and "let us all thy life receive" (st. 1-2). A tone of praise and adoration runs throughout the text. But the final stanza is clearly a prayer for sanctification, for consistently holy lives. Though this stanza was an outcome of the Wesleyan doctrine of perfection, it is our fervent Christian prayer that our sanctification will ultimately lead to glorification. As is customary in a Charles Wesley text, biblical allusions abound.

One of the most loved Welsh tunes, HYFRYDOL was composed by Rowland Hugh Prichard in 1830 when he was only nineteen. It was published with about forty of his other tunes in his children's hymnal Cyfaill y Cantorion (The Singers' Friend) in 1844. 

Here is an arrangement by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Sometimes I think they are bit over the top, but this is very nice.  Enjoy.  YOUTUBE

There is another Wesh tune for this hymn, Blaenwern.  Enjoy it here as part of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.  YOUTUBE

We know that Christ is raised and dies no more

# 296

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We know that Christ is raised and dies no more

Words:  John Brownlow Geyer

Music:   Engelberg by Charles Villiers Stanford

 

Scripture References: st. 2 = Rom. 6:3-5, Col. 2:12

The author, John B. Geyer, writes:

“We Know That Christ Is Raised" was written in 1967, when I was tutor at Cheshunt College, Cambridge, U.K At that time a good deal of work was going on 'round the corner (involving a number of American research students) producing living cells ("the baby in the test tube"). The hymn attempted to illustrate the Christian doctrine of baptism in relation to those experiments.

John B. Geyer (b. Wakefield, Yorkshire, England, 1932) is an Old Testament scholar who has written widely in his field. He wrote a commentary on The Wisdom of Solomon (1973) as well as a number of hymns that were first published in various British supplementary hymnals. Educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, and Mansfield College, Oxford, he also studied Old Testament under Gerhard von Rad in Heidelberg. In 1959 Geyer was ordained in the Congregational Union of Scotland. Since 1980 he has served as pastor at Weoley Hill, Birmingham, and as chaplain at the University of Birmingham, England. The text was first published in the British Methodist supplementary hymnal Hymns and Songs (1969) but has since been altered in various other hymnals, including the Psalter Hymnal. The controlling thought comes from Romans 6:3-5, in which Paul teaches that in baptism we are united with Christ in his resurrection–that is the basis for our new life.

Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (30 September 1852 – 29 March 1924) was an Irish composer, teacher and conductor. Born to a well-off and highly musical family in Dublin, Stanford was educated at the University of Cambridge before studying music in Leipzig and Berlin. He was instrumental in raising the status of the Cambridge University Musical Society, attracting international stars to perform with it. While still an undergraduate, Stanford was appointed organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1882, aged 29, he was one of the founding professors of the Royal College of Music, where he taught composition for the rest of his life. From 1887 he was also the professor of music at Cambridge. 

Stanford composed ENGELBERG as a setting for William W. How's "For All the Saints" (505). The tune was published in the 1904 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern with no less than six different musical settings. Our current Hymnal 1982 included three uses of this tune – the aforementioned hymn as well as # 420 “When in our music God is glorified” and # 477, “All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine.”

Enjoy this from First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska:  YOUTUBE

God the Omnipotent

# 569

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God the Omnipotent

Words:  Henry Fothergill Chorley and John Ellerton

Music:  Russia, by Alexis Lvov

 

"God, the Omnipotent!" is a hymn with words written in 1842 by Henry F. Chorley (1808–1872) and 3rd and 4th stanzas by John Ellerton (1826–1893) in 1870.[1] It is based on a text from Revelation 19:6, "The Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (KJV)Through a process lost to history, two similar but different sets of lyrics have melded into the version of this hymn that we know today.

Alexey Feodorovitch Lvov (1799-1872) composed RUSSIA in 1833 one night "on the spur of the moment," according to his memoirs, after Czar Nicholas I asked him to compose a truly Russian national anthem (rather than continuing to sing a Russian text to the English melody for "God Save Our Gracious King"!). Lvov's tune was accepted and has been featured as the Russian anthem in various compositions (including Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture). Also used as a hymn tune ever since its 1842 publication in John Pyke Hullah's Part Music, RUSSIA is today often associated with the hymn text "God the Omnipotent!" Given its origin as a national anthem, the tune does have a majestic character and suggests brass instruments for accompaniment Lvov served in the Russian army from 1818 to 1837, advancing to personal adjutant to Czar Nicholas I as a major-general. In 1837 he succeeded his father as director of the imperial court chapel choir in St. Petersburg, a post he retained until 1861. A fine violinist, Lvov played Mendelssohn's violin concerto in Leipzig with the composer conducting in 1840. He toured with his own string quartet until deafness forced his retirement in 1867. Lvov composed much church music for the imperial choir as well as a violin concerto and several operas. He also compiled a collection of church music for the Orthodox church year but is best known as the composer of the tune for the Russian national anthem.

Enjoy this spirited congregation from St. John’s, Detroit. What an organ! YOUTUBE

O Zion, haste

# 539

O Zion, haste

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Author:  Mary Ann Thomson

Tune:  Tidings, by James Walch

 Mary Ann Thomson, wife of Mr. John Thomson, Librarian of the Free Library, Philadelphia, was born in London, England, December 5, 1834. She has written about forty hymns, which have appeared mostly in the Churchman, New York, and in the Living Church, Chicago. Four of her hymns are found in the Protestant Episcopal Hymnal, 1892. Of the origin of the missionary hymn by Mrs. Thomson which is found in our Hymnal she writes as follows:

I wrote the greater part of the hymn, "O Zion, haste," in the year 1868. I had written many hymns before, and one night, while I was sitting up with one of my children who was ill of typhoid fever, I thought I should like to write a missionary hymn to the tune of the hymn beginning "Hark, hark, my soul, angelic songs are swelling," as I was fond of that tune; but as I could not then get a refrain I liked, I left the hymn unfinished, and about three years later I finished it by writing the refrain which now forms part of it. By some mistake 1891 is given instead of 1871 as the date of the hymn in the (Episcopal) Hymnal. I do not think it is ever sung to the tune for which I wrote it. Rev. John Anketell told me, and I am sure he is right, that it is better for a hymn to have a tune of its own, and I feel much indebted to the composer of the tune "Tidings" for writing so inspiring a tune to my words.
Source: Hymn Writers of the Church by Wilber F. Tillett and Charles S. Nutter, 1915

James Walch was a musician and composer, born near Bolton in 1837. He spent his early life in the town and was organist in several churches there, including the parish church of St George’s. From 1870-1877, he was conductor for the Bolton Philharmonic Society. He also composed at least four published hymn tunes, the best known of which is called “Tidings”. Written in 1875, it’s usually used as the tune to a hymn called “O Zion Haste”.

James Walch was a musical instrument dealer by trade, and moved to Barrow-in-Furness in 1877. He later moved to Llandudno Junction in North Wales, where he died in August 1901 and was buried locally. His wife later donated money to pay for the organs in two local churches, St Paul's Llandudno and All Saints Deganwy, in his memory.

Here’s a lovely version by the Adult Choir of Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church: YOUTUBE