Sunday, September 23, 2012

For the Beauty of the Earth

This is one of my favorite hymns, especially as we come in to the wonderful season of Autumn!

Title: For the Beauty of the Earth

Tune: Dix

Meter: 7.7.7.7.7.7.

Composer: Conrad Kocher (1786-1872)

Author: Folliott S. Pierpoint (1835-1917)

     As we walk out into the world during the season of fall, we are filled with sensations that can only be described as overwhelmingly beautiful. We come out into a world full of color, full of fresh, cool, crisp, air with the smell of the harvest season lingering on our noses. The world seems a more beautiful place, even though the season of relaxation (i.e. Summer) has come to an end. As Autumn approaches, we see the different birds flying south for the winter, the fields turn from the green growth, into waves of amber color that seem to stretch on for miles in the country. It was these things that inspired the author, Folliot S. Pierpoint, to compose the text for this wonderful hymn. Born in 1835 in Bath, England, Pierpoint was an educated man, studying at Queens College in Cambridge, and graduating with a degree in Classical Honours. after he graduated, Pierpoint went out for a walk around his hometown. While out on his walk, he was so inspired by the beauty of the nature that he sat down and penned the words.
     The words to "For the Beauty of the Earth" were published when Pierpoint was at the young age of 29. He published the text in Rev. Orvy Shipley's Lyra Eucharistica in 1864, because the hymn was originally meant to be a Eucharistic Hymn for the Anglican Church (of which Pierpoint was a member of). The Chorus that was originally penned was originally read "Christ our God, to the we raise this our sacrifice of praise," but was later changed to "Lord of all, to thee we raise, this our grateful hymn of praise," in order that the hymn could be used for more than just the Eucharist. The original text had eight verses that were published, but in the most recent publications of Hymns Ancient and Modern, as well as the Presbyterian Church Hymnary, the final three verses have been removed for being "too Catholic in wording." While these churches have omitted the last three verses, they have, however, published the hymn with the original line of the chorus ("....this our sacrifice of praise.").
     The tune "Dix," was written by a man named Conrad Kocher, who was originally born in Ditzingen, Wurttemberg, Germany, where he was trained as a teacher. At the age of 17, Kocher left Germany to work as a tutor in St. Petersburg, Russia (this would have been c. 1803). Eventually, Kocher's love for composers such as Mozart and Haydn influenced him to pursue a career in music. in 1811, he moved back to Germany and settled into the town of Suttgart, Germany, where he would remain for most of his life. During the early years of his music career, the prestigious Cotta Music Firm published some of his works, and eventually sent him to study music in Italy for a period. After kocher completed his studies in Italy, he returned to Suttgart where he founded the School for Sacred Song, which encouraged the use of four part singing in the church. In his career, Kocher published two Operas, an Oratorio, and a few Sonatas. The most well known version of "Dix" came from a shortening of Kochers Treuer Heiland, wir sind hir,” found in Kocher's Stimmen aus den Reiche Gottes, (published in 1838). The final arrangement was done by William H. Monk and was published in the 1861 version of Hymns Ancient and Modern, of which Monk was the music editor for. Though Monk regretted using this tune as a pair for the text, it has proven to be a good match over the last several years. 

     This hymn is one of great praise and thanksgiving. The text talks about all the wonderful things that we have been given on this Earth, and that we should raise them up to God and be thankful for them. As we come into the season of Autumn, the wonderful beauty that envelopes us as we go out into the world is a gift from God that we should be ever thankful for. Pierpoint does however go beyond the simple aesthetics of the world, but of the beauty of friendship found in one another. There is beauty in the world all around us, and even if we cannot see it, beauty still remains in the intangible. 

The Text: 


(1) For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies;
For the love which from our birth,
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(2) For the wonder of each hour,
Of the day and of the night;
Hill and vale and tree and flow'r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(3) For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind's delight;
For the mystic harmony,
Linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(4) For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child;
Friends on Earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

(5) For Thy church that evermore,
Lifteth holy hands above;
Off'ring up on ev'ry shore,
Her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This, our hymn of grateful praise.

My Take on the Hymn:

      This hymn is one of great praise and thanksgiving. The text talks about all the wonderful things that we have been given on this Earth, and that we should raise them up to God and be thankful for them. As we come into the season of Autumn, the wonderful beauty that envelopes us as we go out into the world is a gift from God that we should be ever thankful for. Pierpoint does however go beyond the simple aesthetics of the world, but of the beauty of friendship found in one another. There is beauty in the world all around us, and even if we cannot see it, beauty still remains in the intangible. 

The Hymn:





If you cannot read music, just play the youtube video and follow along. 

Bibliography:

Guidebook, Psalter Hymnal. "DIX (Kocher)." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <http://www.hymnary.org/tune/dix_kocher>.

Guidebook, Psalter Hymnal. "DIX (Kocher)." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <http://www.hymnary.org/tune/dix_kocher>.

"For the Beauty of the Earth." Hymnary.org. Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2012. <http://www.hymnary.org/text/for_the_beauty_of_the_earth>.


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