049.ThyLittleOnes

Please turn to number 49 and join with the clarinets in singing, “Thy Little Ones”.

First Line: Thy Little Ones
Name: Paedia.
Meter: L.M.
Tempo: Simply
Music: J. A. P. Shulz, 1747-1800
Text: Hans Adolph Brorson, 1694-1764
Tr. Harriet Reynolds Krauth Spaeth, 1845-1925

A short and “Simple” hymn for Christmas.

Refreshingly, instead of telling children to behave and mind their parents at Christmas, the lyrics of this one say that we best approach enlightenment as little children would, with innocence and wonder.

“Thy little ones, dear Lord, are we,
And come thy lowly bed to see;
Enlighten every soul and mind,
That we the way to thee may find.”

A sentiment I do not find wholly alien.

Clarinet arrangement: 049-thylittleones

All clarinets this time. Three times through, second time quietly, building towards a triumphant third. Technically, this is the last Christmas hymn in the book. After a single hymn for, of all things, “Circumcision and Name of Jesus”, we are on to Ephiphany and then Lent.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

048.WhatChildIsThis

Please turn to number 48 and join with the winds on “What Child Is This”.

First Line: What Child is This
Name: GREENSLEEVES
Meter: 8 7, 8 7. With Refrain.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: English, before 1642
Text: William Chatterton Dix, 1837-98

First, the tune is an English folk tune called “Greensleeves” of unknown origin.

Wikipedia, as usual, Greensleeves.

Several versions of the song were registered, the earliest in the late 16th Century:

A broadside ballad by this name was registered at the London Stationer’s Company in September 1580,[2] by Richard Jones, as “A Newe Northen Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves”.[3]

The tune was apparently quite popular at the time, as Shakespeare mentions it in a couple places in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (written, c.1597; first published in 1602).

The text of the hymn “What Child is This?” comes from a Poem by William Chatterton Dix:

At the time he was writing the lyrics to “What Child Is This?” in 1865, William Chatterton Dix was working as the manager of an insurance company.[5] He was afflicted by an unexpected and severe illness that resulted in him being bedridden and suffering from severe depression. Hisnear-death experience brought about a spiritual renewal in him while he was recovering. During this time, he read the Bible comprehensively and was inspired to author hymns like “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!” and “As with Gladness Men of Old“.[1][4] The precise time in 1865 when he wrote the poem “The Manger Throne” is disputed. While the St. Petersburg Times details how Dix penned the work after reading the Gospel for Epiphanythat year (Matthew 2:1–12) recounting the journey of the Biblical Magi;[6] Singer’s Library of Song: Medium Voice contends that it was actually authored during the Christmas of 1865.[4]

They Hymn version was first published in an English Hymnal in 1871.

Here’s the clarinet and Soprano Sax Arrangement: 048-whatchildisthis

I’ve been enjoying playing Sax as the melody on these, so I continued the trend with What Child is this. Doubled all the clarinet parts and used the usual Audacity “Large Room” Reverb effect.

I was thinking I might try some improvisation the second time through, but listening to Coltrane’s version just made me feel self conscious of my own inadequacies.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

047.AwayInAManger

Please turn to number 47 and join with the winds in, “Away in a Manger”.

First Line: Away in a Manger.
Name: AWAY IN A MANGER.
Meter: 11 11, 11 11.
Tempo: Tenderly
Music: 19th Century, American
Text: St. 1,2, Anonymous
St. 3, John Thomas McFarland, 1851-1913

Another of your Christmas Hymn war horses, I felt I needed to do something a little different. It was also kind of odd in that it only had a unison voice part, so adapting the keyboard part for the harmony instruments was a little odd. Went too low, even for Bass Clarinet.

Clarinet & Soprano Sax Arrangement: 047-awayinamanger

I added the Soprano Sax into the mix as the lead part. Played through once, improvised (Hymnprovisation!) a bit on the second time through, and then returned to the melody on the third time through.

The rest of the parts were doubled by the usual clarinets.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

046.ChristmasBringsJoy

Please turn to number 46 and join with the clarinets in “Christmas Brings Joy”.

First Line: Christmas Brings Joy
Name: CHRISTMAS BRINGS JOY.
Meter: 8 7, 9 7, 8 7, 8 7.
Music: C. E. F. Weyse, 1774-1842
Text: Bernhardt Severin Ingemann, 1789-1862
Tr. Cecil Cowdrey

Another fine hymn which suggests to small children that they should behave, especially at Christmas.

Christmas brings joy to every heart,
Sets old and young rejoicing,
What angels sang once to all on earth,
Oh, hear the children voicing.
Bright is the tree with lights aglow,
Like birds that perch together.
The child that holdeth Christmas dear
Shall keep these joys forever.

Joy comes to all the world today,
To halls and cottage hasting.
Come, sparrow and dove, from roof tree tall,
And share our Christmas feasting.
Dance, little child, on mother’s knee,
The lovely day is dawning;
The road to paradise is found
This blessed Christmas morning.

Once to this earth our Savior came,
An infant poor and lowly,
To open for us those gardens fair
Where dwell his angels holy.
Christmas joy he bringeth us,
To Christ-child King of heaven,
‘To every little child,’ he saith,
‘Shall angel wings be given.’

I’m joking a bit, there are some really nice, vivid, turns of phrase here. I especially like, “Dance, little child, on mother’s knee, the lovely day is dawning.”

Clarinet arrangement: 046-christmasbringsjoy

The usual, twice through on each instrument and Audacity “Large Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

045.IAmSoGladEachChristmasEve

Please turn to number 45 and join with the clarinets in “I am So Glad Each Christmas Eve”.

First Line: I am So Glad Each Christmas Eve
Name: CHRISTMAS EVE.
Meter: C.M.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Peder Knudsen, 1819-63
Text: Marie Wexelsen, 1832-1911
Tr. Peter Andrew Sveeggen, 1881-

I just want to be clear, this song should be sung with a heavy Scandanavian accent. Sort of, “Eye Em So Glad each Chrismas Eve”.

I am so glad each Christmas Eve,
The night of Jesus’ birth!
Then like the sun the Star shone forth,
And angels sang on earth.

Definitely a folkier tune, and again with the 5 sharps. No rest for the wicked.

Clarinet arrangement: 045-iamsogladeachchristmaseve

Doubled each part, played three times through. Applied Audacity “Medium Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

044.LongAgoAndFarAway

Please turn to number 44 and join with the clarinets in “Long Ago and Far Away”.

First Line: Long Ago and Far Away
Name: RESONET IN LAUDIBUS.
Meter: Irregular. With Refrain.
Tempo: Brightly in unison
Music: German Carol Melody, 14th Century
Harm. by R. Vaughn Williams, 1872-1958
Text: Edward Traill Horn, III, 1909-
Written for this Book
Refrain XV cent., German, Tr. Oxford Book of Carols

Another well known composer providing Harmonization to this hymn. From the Wikipedia:

Ralph Vaughan Williams OM (Listeni/ˈrf ˌvɔːn ˈwɪljəmz/[n 1] 12 October 1872 – 26 August 1958) was an English composer. His works include operas, ballets, chamber music, secular and religious vocal pieces and orchestral compositions including nine symphonies, written over nearly fifty years. Strongly influenced by Tudor music and English folk-song, his output marked a decisive break in British music from its German-dominated style of the 19th century.

I wasn’t sure about this hymn when I first listened to the sounds from the arranging software, or, indeed the first couple times I played through. The harmonies are kind of delicate and it is quite a bit more complicated than the usual hymns. Almost a small choral piece, more than a hymn.

Clarinet Arrangement: 044-longagoandfaraway

But eventually, when I got the phrasing worked out, I really liked it. Another hymn I don’t remember hearing as a child.

The usual, at this point, method. Doubled all parts, applied Audacity “Large Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

043.UnderFeebleStableLight

Please turn to number 43 and join with the clarinets in “Under Feeble Stable Light”.

Name: HOLY MANGER
Meter: 8 8, 9 9, 8 8.
Tempo: Tenderly, in unison
Music: Arnold F. Keller, 1890-
Music composed for this book
Text:Arnold Frederick Keller, 1890-

Under feeble stable light,
Come and behold the wondrous sight!
Lies here a babe so heavenly sweet,
Mother and angels the Infant Keep.
Angels on wing, What do they sing?
‘Glory to God, the Saviour, King!’

I can’t say I think much of Mr Keller’s skills as a lyricist, but the tune and harmonies of this hymn are pretty cool. One of the more modern settings I’ve run across in the book so far, short of the Holst piece.

Clarinet Arrangement: 043-underthefeeblestablelight

The tenor part was too low, so I had to play it on bass clarinet. Doubled each part, twice through. Audacity “Large Room” Reverb Effect.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

042.OComeAllYeFaithful

Please turn to number 42 and join with the clarinets in “O Come, All Ye Faithful”.

Name: ADESTE FIDELIS
Meter: Irregular
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: John F. Wade’s Cantus diversi, 1751
Text: Latin Hymn, XVIII cent.
Tr. Frederick Oakeley, 1802-80, and others

Adeste Fidelis“, or “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, is another hymn whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Apparently, the earliest instances are from the notes of John Francis Wade, but others have been given credit for the origin, including a King of Portugal.

I hope you don’t mind me stealing more info from wikipedia articles. Who knew it would be such a great resource for information about old hymns? I guess the Christians are active on the Internet.

“The original text has been from time to time attributed to various groups and individuals, including St. Bonaventure in the 13th century or King John IV of Portugal in the 17th, though it was more commonly believed that the text was written by an order of monks, the Cistercian, German, Portuguese and Spanish orders having, at various times, been given credit.”

The most commonly named Portuguese author is King John IV of Portugal (Portuguese: D. João IV de Portugal, pronounced: [ʒuˈɐ̃w̃]). “The Musician King” (1604–1656, came to the throne in 1640) was a patron of music and the arts and a considerably sophisticated writer on music; in addition, he was a composer, and during his reign he collected one of the largest musical libraries in the world (destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755). The first part of his musical work was published in 1649. He founded a Music School in Vila Viçosa that ‘exported’ musicians to Spain and Italy and it was at his Vila Viçosa palace that the two 1640 manuscripts of the “Portuguese Hymn” were found. Those manuscripts predate Wade’s eighteenth-century manuscript.[3] Among the King’s writings is a Defense of Modern Music (Lisbon, 1649). In the same year (1649) he had a huge struggle to get instrumental music approved by the Vatican for use in the Catholic Church. His other famous composition is a setting of the Crux fidelis, a work that remains highly popular during Lent amongst church choirs.

Interestingly, the song is also interpreted as a “Jacobite birth ode to Bonnie Prince  Charlie”.

The hymn has been interpreted as a Jacobite birth ode to Bonnie Prince Charlie.[9] Professor Bennett Zon, head of music at Durham University, claims that the carol is actually a birth ode to Bonnie Prince Charlie, the secret political code being decipherable by the “faithful” (the Jacobites), with “Bethlehem” a common Jacobite cipher for England and Regem Angelorum a pun on Angelorum (Angels) and Anglorum (English).[9] Wade had fled to France after the Jacobite rising of 1745 was crushed. From the 1740s to 1770s the earliest forms of the carol commonly appeared in English Roman Catholic liturgical books close to prayers for the exiled Old Pretender. In the books by Wade it was often decorated with Jacobite floral imagery, as were other liturgical texts with coded Jacobite meanings.[10]

Transposing it to b flat for the clarinet, does have the unfortunate side effect of changing already 4 sharps to 6 sharps. It’s hard to remember the a and e sharps, since they end up being b and fs: 042-ocomeallyefaithful

Whatever its origin or secret meaning, it is a wonderful hymn, and another of my favorites.

The current usual method, doubling all parts. Mixing across the field of hearing, then applying an Audacity reverb effect, in this case “Large Room”.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

041.OnceInRoyalDavidsCity

My general process for these hymns is as follows:

  1. First I transcribe the SATB (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) hymn from the hymnal to a program called MuseScore.
  2. Using MuseScore, I transpose the parts from SATB to the 4 clarinet parts.
  3. I count the measures and generate a click track for the hymn in Audacity, so I can keep in sync with myself.
  4. At this point I play through the parts with only Soprano Clarinet, top to bottom, to get a rough idea of the melody and feel of the hymn. Also, if there are any serious technical challenges.
  5. After the initial recording, I usually let myself think about it for a day, or at least a period of hours, letting ideas about phrasing and tempo percolate.
  6. I start with the bass clarinet part and build the hymn from the bottom up, finishing with the Melody/Soprano part. Lately, I’ve been playing through the hymns at least twice.
  7. I mix these parts, panning them to different points in the left sound field.
  8. Then I repeat, starting again from the Bass Part and mix them to percentage pans of the right sound field.
  9. Finally, I tweak the mix, remove the click track, apply an Audacity reverb effect, and export the parts to mp3 and wav.
  10. On to the next hymn!

The whole process probably takes 4 hours per hymn, more or less, depending on the complexity and length.

After finishing the first rough recording of Number 43, “Once in Royal David’s City”, I had an impulse to mess around a bit with Audacity Effects on that track.

I’d been reading about creating distortion effects, using the Leveller and Compression effects, so I started there.

Leveller x3
Compression

At this point, I was kind of thinking it sounded pretty synth-esque, so I applied some more effects to increase the plasticity.
WahWah
Phaser
Inversion

It was now pretty cool, sounding a bit like the Stranger Things sound track, but there was something that I was thinking. It sort of had the character of the music I associate with Nintendo games, but it needed to be faster.
Change Speed 2x

Ah, yes, now that brings a smile to my face.

Ahem, and now, with “Once in Royal David’s City”, we return you to your regularly scheduled Lutheran Hymns played on clarinets.

Name: IRBY.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 77.
Tempo: Slowly. May be sung in unison.
Music: Henry J. Gauntlett, 1805-76
Text: Cecil Frances Alexander, 1823-95

The music is a bit folky, but the text of this hymn is not a super-awesome, I especially like how in verse three Alexander slips in some suggestions for how Christian children should behave.

“And through all his wondrous childhood
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms he lay;
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as he.

Perhaps he was going through some tough times at home.

Here’s the clarinet arrangement: 041-onceinroyaldavidscity

For the hymn proper, I took the usual tack, doubling all parts. Since the hymn is a bit busy, I used the “Medium Room” Reverb effect, instead of the usual “Church Hall”.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

040.TheFirstNoel

Please turn to number 40 and join with the clarinets in “The First Noel”.

Name: THE FIRST NOWELL.
Meter: Irregular. With Refrain.
Tempo: With Spirit
Music: Traditional English Carol
Text: Traditional English Carol

Another true Christmas Warhorse and another enjoyable song to play.

From the wikipedia:

The First Noel” (also written “The First Noël” and “The First Nowell“) is a traditional classical English Christmas carol, most likely from the early modern period, although possibly earlier.[2][3] Noel is an Early Modern Englishsynonym of “Christmas“.[4]
In its current form, it is of Cornish origin, and it was first published in Carols Ancient and Modern (1823) and Gilbert and Sandys Carols (1833), both of which were edited by William Sandys and arranged, edited and with extra lyrics written by Davies Gilbert for Hymns and Carols of God. Today, it is usually performed in a four-part hymn arrangement by the English composer John Stainer, first published in his Carols, New and Old in 1871.[2] Variations of its theme are included in Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s Carol Symphony.

The melody is unusual among English folk melodies in that it consists of one musical phrase repeated twice, followed by a refrain which is a variation on that phrase. All three phrases end on the third of the scale. It is thought to be a version of an earlier melody sung in a church gallery setting; a conjectural reconstruction of this earlier version can be found in the New Oxford Book of Carols.[5]

Clarinet Arrangement: 040.TheFirstNoel

Doubled all parts and went with the “Medium Room” Audacity Reverb Effect, as I’ve been feeling slightly self conscious, thanks to some facebook comments from alleged friends, about over using the more extreme reverb settings. Which do you prefer? Are the “Church Hall” type reverb effects distracting?

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal