Please turn your hymnals to number 122 (First Tune) and join with the clarinets in, “Come, Holy Spirit”.
Number: 122 (First Tune)
First Line: Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord
Name: KOMM HEILIGE GEIST, HERRE GOTT.
Meter: L.M.D. With Alleluias.
Tempo: With dignity, in unison
Music: Pre-Reformation Melody, Erfurt Gesangbuch, 1524
Text: Martin Luther, 1483-1546
Tr. Edward Traill Horn III, 1909-
Whew. Again, you would think a relatively simple melody with relatively simple harmonization and rhythm would be easy. But it took me a number of tries to get all 4 parts executed well all eight times for this recording.
Contrary to the Quaker hymn, while it might be a gift, it isn’t easy being “simple”.
Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody.
Please turn your hymnals to number 116 and join with the clarinets in “To The Realms of Glory”.
First Line: To the Realms of Glory
Name: MACH’S MIT MIR, GOTT. (EISENBACH)
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 8 8.
Music: Johann Hermann Schein
Text: Johan Olaf Wallin, 1779-1839
Tr. Claude William Foss, 1855-1935
It’s kind of odd that this tune, “Mach’s Mir, Gott (nach deiner Güt)”, Schein’s Hymn for the “sick and dying” is used here as a setting for a text that is celebrating Ascension, or the return of Jesus Christ to Heaven after his resurrection.
The tune itself is an odd affair that I struggled to find phrasing for. Maybe it is that disconnect between intention of the tune and the text that I was sensing, before I even looked up its history.
The text does have some nice turns of phrase that will echo through many other hymns, gospel and otherwise. I especially like the first verse.
1. To realms of glory in the skies
I see my Lord returning,
While I, a stranger in the earth,
For heaven am ever yearning.
’Mid toil and sorrow here I roam,
Far from my heavenly Father’s home.
2. Yet visions of the promised land
By faith my soul obtaineth;
There shall I dwell forevermore
Where Christ in glory reigneth;
In mansions of that bright abode,
The city of the living God.
3. In that blest city is no night,
Nor any pain or weeping;
There is my treasure, there my heart,
Safe in the Savior’s keeping;
In Heaven, my risen Lord, with Thee
May all my thought and living be.
4. How blessèd shall those servants be,
O Lord, at Thy returning,
Whose hearts are waiting still for Thee,
Whose lamps are trimmed and burning;
Them wilt Thou take to dwell with Thee
In joy and peace eternally.
Anyway, regarding Ascension itself, there’s some deep and very old tradition related to this holiday, that probably goes back to pre-Christian traditions in celebration of Spring.
The observance of this feast is of great antiquity. Eusebius seems to hint at the celebration of it in the 4th century. At the beginning of the 5th century, St. Augustine says that it is of Apostolic origin, and he speaks of it in a way that shows it was the universal observance of the Church long before his time. Frequent mention of it is made in the writings of St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and in the Constitution of the Apostles. The Pilgrimage of Aetheria speaks of the vigil of this feast and of the feast itself, as they were kept in the church built over the grotto in Bethlehem in which Christ is traditionally regarded as having been born. It may be that prior to the 5th century the fact narrated in the Gospels was commemorated in conjunction with the feast of Easter or Pentecost. Some believe that the much-disputed forty-third decree of the Synod of Elvira (c. 300) condemning the practice of observing a feast on the fortieth day after Easter and neglecting to keep Pentecost on the fiftieth day, implies that the proper usage of the time was to commemorate the Ascension along with Pentecost. Representations of the mystery[clarification needed] are found in diptychs and frescoes dating as early as the 5th century.
Certain customs or rituals were connected with the liturgy of this feast, such as the blessing of beans and grapes after the Commemoration of the Dead in the Canon of the Mass, the blessing of first fruits, afterwards done on Rogation Days, the blessing of a candle, the wearing of mitres by deacon and subdeacon, the extinguishing of the paschal candle, and triumphal processions with torches and banners outside the churches to commemorate the entry of Christ into heaven.
The antiquarian Daniel Rock records the English custom of carrying at the head of the procession the banner bearing the device of the lion and at the foot the banner of the dragon, to symbolize the triumph of Christ in his ascension over the evil one (and can also be interpreted by analogy as the triumph of England over Wales). In some churches the scene of the Ascension was vividly reproduced by elevating the figure of Christ above the altar through an opening in the roof of the church. In others, whilst the figure of Christ was made to ascend, that of the devil was made to descend.
In England it was once common for churches to “beat the bounds” on this day, and some continue the custom (e.g. the church of St Michael at the North Gate in Oxford). Members of the parish walk round the parish boundaries, marking boundary stones (e.g. by writing on them in chalk) and hitting them with sticks. According to some, it was once the young boys of the parish that were hit with sticks instead of the stones. Knowledge of the parish boundaries was once important, since churches had certain duties such as the care of children born out of wedlock in the parish.
Coinciding with the liturgical feast is the annual commemoration by the Christian labour movement (especially syndical, in Belgium) of the encyclicalRerum novarum issued by the Roman Catholic Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891.
In Venice the ceremony of the Wedding with the Sea was traditionally celebrated on the Feast of the Ascension, while in Florence the Feast was observed by having a dove slide down a string from the high altar of the cathedral to ignite a large decorative container filled with fireworks in front of the main entrance of the cathedral.
In Portugal on “Wheatstalk Thursday”, small bundles of poppies and wheatstalks are picked in the fields and placed at home until next year, for good fortune.
*Schein, Johann Hermann, son of Hieronymus Schein, pastor at Griinhain, near Annaberg, in Saxony, was born at Grünhain, Jan. 20,1586. He matriculated at the University of Leipzig in 1607, and studied there for four years. Thereafter he acted for some time as a private tutor, including two years with a family at Weissenfels. On May 21, 1615, he was appointed Capellmeister, at the court of Duke Johann Ernst, of Sachse-Weimar; and in 1616 he became cantor of I3t. Thomas’s Church, and music director at Leipzig, in succession to Seth Calvisius (d. Nov. 24, 1615). This post he held till his death, at Leipzig, Nov. 19, 1630.
Schein was one of the most distinguished musicians of his time, both as an original composer, and as a harmoniser of the works of others. As a hymnwriter he was not so prolific, or so noteworthy. Most of his hymns were written on the deaths of his children or friends, e.g. on seven of his children, and on his first wife. They appeared mostly in broadsheet form, and were included, along with his original melodies, in his Cantional oder Gesang-Buch Augspurgischer Confession, Leipzig, 1627; 2nd ed., 1645. [Both in Wernigerode Library.]
Those of Schein’s hymns which have passed into English are:—
i. Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Güt. For the Dying. First published, as a broadsheet, at Leipzig, 1628, as a Trost-Liedlein á 5 (i.e. for 5 voices), &c. [Berlin Library.] The words, the melody, and the five-part setting, are all by Schein. It was written for, and first used at, the funeral, on Dec. 15, 1628, of Margarita, wife of Caspar Werner, a builder and town councillor at Leipzig, and a churchwarden of St. Thomas’s. It is in 6 stanzas of 6 lines; the initial letters of 11. 1, 3, in st. i.-iv., forming the name Margarita; and the W of st. v. 1. 1 standing for Werner. In Schein’s Cantional, 1645, No. 303 (marked as Trost-Liedlein, Joh. Herm. Scheins, á 5), and later hymn-books, as e.g. the Unverfäschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 830, st. vi. was omitted. It is Schein’s finest production, and one of the best German hymns for the sick and dying. Translated as:—
Deal with me, God, in mercy now. This is a good and full translation by Miss Winkworth, in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 191, set to Schein’s melody of 1628.
Frances Ridley Havergal (14 December 1836 – 3 June 1879) was an English religious poet and hymn writer. Take My Life and Let it Be and Thy Life for Me (also known as I Gave My Life for Thee) are two of her best known hymns. She also wrote hymn melodies, religious tracts, and works for children.
Frances Ridley Havergal died of peritonitis near Caswell Bay on the Gower Peninsula in Wales at age 42. She is buried in the far western corner of the churchyard at St Peter’s parish church, Astley, together with her father and near her sister, Maria Vernon Graham Havergal.
Please turn your hymnals to number 114 (First Tune) and join with the clarinets in, “Look, Ye Saints, The Sight is Glorious”.
Number: 114 (First Tune)
First Line: Look, Ye Saints, The Sight is Glorious
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 4 4 7.
Music: Henry James Gauntlett, 1805-76
Text: Thomas Kelly, 1769-1854
The use of unison parts for the first line and harmony for the response is fairly dramatic, at least for hymn writing.
Some interesting tidbits regarding the author of the text.
Kelly, Thomas, B.A., son of Thomas Kelly, a Judge of the Irish Court of Common Pleas, was born in Dublin, July 13, 1769, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. He was designed for the Bar, and entered the Temple, London, with that intention; but having undergone a very marked spiritual change he took Holy Orders in 1792. His earnest evangelical preaching in Dublin led Archbishop Fowler to inhibit him and his companion preacher, Rowland Hill, from preaching in the city. For some time he preached in two unconsecrated buildings in Dublin, Plunket Street, and the Bethesda, and then, having seceded from the Established Church, he erected places of worship at Athy, Portarlington, Wexford, &c, in which he conducted divine worship and preached. He died May 14, 1854. Miller, in his Singers & Songs of the Church, 1869, p. 338 (from which some of the foregoing details are taken), says:—
“Mr. Kelly was a man of great and varied learning, skilled in the Oriental tongues, and an excellent Bible critic. He was possessed also of musical talent, and composed and published a work that was received witli favour, consisting of music adapted to every form of metre in his hymn-book. Naturally of an amiable disposition and thorough in his Christian piety, Mr. Kelly became the friend of good men, and the advocate of every worthy, benevolent, and religious cause. He was admired alike for his zeal and his humility; and his liberality found ample scope in Ireland, especially during the year of famine.”
As a hymn-writer Kelly was most successful. As a rule his strength appears in hymns of Praise and in metres not generally adopted by the older hymn writers. His “Come, see the place where Jesus lay” (from “He’s gone, see where His body lay”),”From Egypt lately come”; “Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious”; “On the mountain’s top appearing”; “The Head that once was crowned with thorns”; “Through the day Thy love has spared us”; and “We sing the praise of Him Who died,” rank with the first hymns in the English language. Several of his hymns of great merit still remain unknown through so many modern editors being apparently adverse to original investigation.
Please turn to number 113 and join with the clarinets in “Let All the Multitudes of Light”.
First Line: Let All the Multitudes of Light
Name: NUN FREUT EUCH.
Meter: 8 7, 8 7, 8 8 7.
Tempo: With dignity
Music: Geistliche Lieder, Wittenberg, 1535
Text: Frederick Brodie Macnutt, 1873-1949
By permission of Mrs. F. B. Macnutt
Unfortunately, the rest of the hymn, and the rest of the verses, are just not that interesting, at least if you are a humanist, like myself.
Let all the multitudes of light,
Their songs in concert raising,
With earth’s triumphal hymns unite,
The risen Saviour praising..
Ye heavens, his festival proclaim!
Our King returneth whence he came,
With victory amazing.
For us he bore the bitter Tree,
To death’s dark realm descending;
Our foe he slew, and set us free,
Man’s ancient bondage ending.
No more the tyrant’s chains oppress;
O conquering Love, thy name we bless,
With thee to heaven ascending.
Jesus, to thee be endless praise,
For this thy great salvation;
O holy Father, thine always
Be thanks and adoration;
Spirit of life and light, to thee
Eternal praise and glory be:
One God of all creation!
Some information regarding Mr MacNutt from wikipedia.
Macnutt married twice, firstly to Hettie Sina Bullock (1973-1945) and shortly after her death to Evelyn May Oliver (1898-1981). He had two children by Hettie: Derrick Somerset (1902-1971) and Margaret Hester (1906-1939).
Though highly rated as a composer by his English contemporaries, Smart is now largely forgotten, save for his hymn tuneRegent Square, which retains considerable popularity, and which is commonly performed with the words “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation”, “Light’s Abode, Celestial Salem”, or “Angels from the Realms of Glory“. His many compositions for the organ (some of which have been occasionally revived in recent years) were described as “effective and melodious, if not strikingly original” by the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which also praised his part songs. A cantata by him, The Bride of Dunkerron was written for the Birmingham Festival of 1864; another cantata was a version of the play King René’s Daughter (1871). The oratorioJacob was created for Glasgow in 1873; and his opera Bertha was produced with some success at the Haymarket in 1855.
Many of the Hymns we’ve covered, especially the older ones, come from a volume called “Hymns Ancient and Modern”, which was edited by the composer of this hymn’s music, William Henry Monk.
In 1852, he [William Henry Monk] became organist and choirmaster at St Matthias’ Church, Stoke Newington, where he made many changes: plainchant was used in singing psalms, and the music performed was more appropriate to the church calendar. By now, Monk was also arranging hymns, as well as writing his own hymn melodies. In 1857, his talents as composer, arranger, and editor were recognized when he was appointed the musical editor of Hymns Ancient and Modern, a volume first published in 1861, containing 273 hymns. After supplements were added (second edition—1875; later additions or supplements—1889, 1904, and 1916) it became one of the best-selling hymn books ever produced. It was for this publication that Monk supplied his famous “Eventide” tune which is mostly used for the hymn “Abide with Me“, as well as several others, including “Gethsemane”, “Ascension”, and “St. Denys”.
Please turn your hymnals to number 110 and join with the clarinets in “A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing”.
First Line: A Hymn of Glory Let us Sing
Name: PARK STREET.
Tempo: Slowly, with movement
Music: Frederick M. A. Venua, 1788-1872
Text: The Venerable Bede, 673-735
Tr. St. 1-3, Elizabeth Rundle Charles, 1820-96
Tr. St. 4, Benjamin Webb, 1820-85