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

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

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

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

035.WhenChristmasMornIsDawning

Please turn to number 35 and join with the clarinets in “When Christmas Morn is Dawning.

Name: CHRISTMAS DAWN
Meter: 7 6, 7 6.
Tempo: Simply
Music: German Folksong, 1823
Arr. by Elisabeth Ehrenborg-Posse, 1818-80
Tr. Claude William Foss, 1855-1935

the pdf of the clarinet arrangement: 035.WhenChristmasMornIsDawning

This is a really pleasant song. Very simple melody with uncomplicated harmonies. It reminds me of Quaker Hymns and other songs like that.

When Christmas morn is dawning
In faither I would repair
Unto the lowly manger;
My Savior lieth there,
Unto the lowly manger;
My Savior lieth there.

How kind, O loving Savior,
To come from heaven above;
From sin and evil save us,
And keep us in thy love.

We need thee, blessed Jesus,
Our dearest friend thou art;
Forbid that we by sinning
Should grieve thy loving heart. Amen.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

023.ServiceBookAndHymnal

Please turn you hymnals to number 23 and join with the clarinets in “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”.

Name: Caron.
Meter: C. M. D.
Tempo: With movement, sweetly
Music: Richard Storrs Willis, 1819-1900
Text: Edmund Hamilton Sears, 1810-76

You might be familiar with this one!

Arrangement for 4 clarinets: 023.ServiceBookAndHymnal

I haven’t been super please with the Bass Clarinet on the tenor parts. That range of the Bass Clarinet is just a little too assertive for a tenor part. This time I transposed it down and octave and played it on Soprano Clarinet. I did play the Bass Part on Bass Clarinet.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal