Please turn to number 32 and join with the clarinets in, “Rejoice, Rejoice This Happy Morn.”
Name: WIE SCHöN LEUCHTET.
Tempo: With movement
Music: Phillipp Nicolai, 1556-1608
Text: Birgitte Cathrine Boye, 1742-1824
Tr. Carl Doving, 1867-1937
Like our previous Phillipp Nicolai Hymn, “Wake, Awake“, I find the harmonies in “Rejoice, Rejoice This Happy Morn” very powerful. This is one of several hymns which use this melody, the most famous of which is the original, number 404, “How Brightly Beams the Morning Star”.
“Angels from the Realms of Glory” is a Christmas carol written by Scottish poet James Montgomery. It was first printed in the Sheffield Iris on Christmas Eve 1816, though it only began to be sung in churches after its 1825 reprinting in the Montgomery collection The Christian Psalmist and in the Religious Tract Society’s The Christmas Box or New Year’s Gift.
Before 1928, the hymn was sung to a variety of tunes, including “Regent Square”, “Lewes” by John Randall, and “Wildersmouth” or “Feniton Court” by Edward Hopkins. In the United States, the hymn is today most commonly sung to the tune of “Regent Square” by Henry Smart. In the United Kingdom, however, the hymn came to be sung to the French carol tune “Iris” (Les anges dans nos campagnes, the tune used for “Angels We Have Heard on High”) after this setting was published in the Oxford Book of Carols. Sometimes the “Gloria in excelsis Deo” refrain is sung in place of Montgomery’s original lyric: “Come and worship Christ the new-born King”. On A Christmas Cornucopia, Annie Lennox sings this song but substitutes “Gloria in excelsis Deo” for the “Come and worship Christ the new-born King” refrain. Paul Poulton recorded a rock version of this song on his Grooves 4 Scrooge album.
The words of the song are based on a traditional French carol known as Les Anges dans nos campagnes (literally, “Angels in our countryside”) composed by an unknown author in Languedoc, France. That song has received many adjustments or alignments including its most common English version that was translated in 1862 by James Chadwick, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, northeast England. The carol quickly became popular in the West Country, where it was described as ‘Cornish’ by R.R. Chope, and featured in Pickard-Cambridge‘s Collection of Dorset Carols.
Took me a while to work up the courage to even try this one. And then another little while to get over the way that I had sung it as a child.
Please turn to number 29 and join with the clarinets in “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light”.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 8 8, 7 7.
Music: Johann Schop, cir 1600-65
Harm. J. S. Bach, 1685-1750
Text: Johann Rist, 1607-67
Tr. St. 1, composite
Tr. St. 2, Arthur Tozer Russell, 1806-74
Whew, another barn burner from that joker, J. S. Bach.
Like the last Bach arrangement, I stuck with the Soprano clarinets for this one, though I did multitrack the “Soprano” part several times.
But then I went back and added in the bass clarinet:
Which do you prefer?
These Baroque pieces are pretty challenging, at least compared to most of the hymns. Lots of counterpoint going on in the Tenor and Bass parts, often making those parts harder to play than the melody part.
Please turn to number 28 and join with the clarinets in, “The Happy Christmas”.
Music: Carl C.N. Balle, 1806-55
Text: Nikolai F.S. Grudtvig, 1783-1872
Tr. Charles Porterfield Krauth, 1823-83
Not much to say about this one, it’s not one I remember. It’s kind of pretty and a bit folky, but no Sea Chanty. Transposed for clarinet, it did end up having 6 sharps, which is kind of annoying. Tough to remember e sharp is actually just f natural.
Please turn your hymnals to number 27 (Second Tune) and join with the clarinets in “O Little Town of Bethlehem”.
Name: Christmas Carol.
Meter: 8 6, 8 6, 7 6, 8 6.
Tempo: In moderate time
Music: Henry Walford Davies, 1869-1941
Text: Phillips Brooks, 1835-93
A second version of this hymn. I’d say it’s Baroque-like, except that Baroque, with the tune being written some time between 1869 and 1941, was long past its expiration date when this version was written.
This is what I can find about this version:
Two versions also exist by H. Walford Davies, called “Wengen”, and “Christmas carol”. “Wengen” was published in Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1922, meanwhile “Christmas Carol” is usually performed only by choirs rather than as a congregational hymn. This is because the first two verses are for treble voices with organ accompaniment, with only the final verse as a chorale/refrain harmony. This setting includes a recitative from the Gospel of Luke at the beginning, and cuts verses 2 and 4 of the original 5-verse carol. This version is often performed at the service of Nine Lessons and Carols in Kings College, Cambridge.
Please turn your hymnals to number 27 and join with the clarinets in “O Little Town of Bethlehem (First Tune)”.
Name: ST. LOUIS (REDNER).
Meter: 8 6, 8 6, 7 6, 8 6.
Music: Lewis Henry Redner, 1831-1908
Text: Phillips Brooks, 1835-93
It is a beautiful hymn.
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
The first time I got to playing this, it was really late in the evening. Somehow I ended up playing it through very quickly and was experimenting with a certain attack on the notes. Turned out kind of cool, even though it wasn’t what I was thinking for the actual hymn.
After experimenting with that track for a couple days, I went back and redid it more traditionally.
From the wikipedia article regarding “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”:
“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is a Christmas carol that first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems, having been written by Charles Wesley. Wesley had requested and received slow and solemn music for his lyrics, not the joyful tune expected today.
There were some alternate melodies, so I actually ended up with 1 Clarinet playing the “soprano” part, 2 Clarinets doing the “alto” parts, 1 Clarinet playing the “tenor” part, and 2 Bass clarinets doing the “bass” parts in the final recording. Total of 6 clarinet parts. I’ve been tweaking the Audacity “Church” Reverb effect presets so that it has less effect on the levels of the tune.