Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sing With All the Saints in Glory

Here is another hymn for the wonderful time after Easter! This hymn is dedicated to a very good friend of mine, Matt!

Title: Sing with All the Saints in Glory

Tune: Hymn to Joy

Meter: D

Composer:  Arranged from Ludwig Van Beethoven (16th December, 1770- March 26th, 1827), arranged by Edward Hodges, (20th July, 1796- 1st September, 1867)

Author: William J. Irons (12th September, 1812- 18th June, 1883)

                The first time this hymn appeared was in 1873, where it was published in the first edition of William J. Irons’ Psalms and Hymns for the Church (London, 1873; second edition, 1875). This collection of hymns was supposed to provide hymns for offering, epistles, and gospels, and also was labeled for use as an Advent and Lenten hymn. Though these are the official uses that are named for the hymn, often times this hymn is sung for Easter. The hymn “Sing with All the Saints in Glory” is found in several different denominations of the Christian faith and each one has the hymn listed in a different section of the hymnal. The Catholic hymnal Gather, from GIA Publications (Chicago, Illinois, 1994) has the hymn listed under “Easter (#442),” the United Methodist Hymnal (Nashville, Tennessee, 1989) has the hymn listed under “New Heaven and New Earth (#702),” and the Evangelical Lutheran Worship (Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2006) has the hymn listed under “Festivals and Commemorations (#426).” Though each denomination, Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist, have this hymn in their collections, the Methodist church has been publishing this hymn for the longest time in their hymnals. “Sing with All the Saints in Glory” has been published in a Methodist hymnal since 1878, only three years after the second edition of the hymns original publication. Though “Sing with All the Saints in Glory” seems to fit best in the category of “Easter,” the meaning can be flexible, and therefore can be placed in several different categories depending on the season. Though the original version of the hymn has four stanzas, the Evangelical Lutheran Worship, takes the first two lines of the last two stanzas, and combines them to create on final stanza, leaving the hymn with only three total stanzas.
                Born in England in 1812, William J. Irons was the son of Joseph Irons, who happened to be a good friend of John Newton (See Amazing Grace). Irons was educated at Queens college, Oxford, where he graduated with a BA in 1833, and eventually, a DD in 1854 (Westermeyer, 2010, p.246). In 1835, Irons took Holy Orders which led him to become Incumbent of St. Peter’s in Walworth in 1837. Throughout his life, Irons held many different positions at several churches, including Vicar of Barkway, Incumbent of Brompton, Rector of Wadingham, and in 1872, he became Rector of St. Mary-Woolnoth, which the position formerly was held by John Newton himself (, para. 1). W.J. Irons played a small, but prominent role in the ecclesiastical debates that were raging on during his time. He published numerous documents on the topic in the form of sermons, pamphlets, and letters, which all accumulated into his work, The Bampton Lectures, which was written in 1870. The work covered Christianity as it was taught by St. Paul. W.J. Irons’ hymn writing began during his curacy at St. Mary Newington, from 1835-1837, and continued until his death in 1883 (, para. 1). Many of Irons’ hymns were first printed on broadsheets (large sheets of paper with only one side printed on, often times referring to a newspaper that is more serious than some), and were published in R.T. Rowe’s (Rector of Lea, Lincolnshire) Hymns for the Christian Seasons, (Gainsburgh,  1st ed. 1854)(Gainsborough, written in Westermeyer’s Hymnal Companion), and also in his own collection. Iron’s published a metrical psalter in 1857 and also 100 hymns in Hymns for the Church (1866).
                Perhaps one of the reasons for the great popularity of this hymn can be traced to the very recognizable tune written by none other than Ludwig Van Beethoven. Though he did not do so intentionally, Beethoven is one of only a few composers who wrote hymn tunes (Ralph Von Williams, and Orlando Gibbons being an exception). The tune “Hymn to Joy” was originally composed by Beethoven for J.C.F. von Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” Which Beethoven wrote for a full chorus in the fourth movement of his Ninth Symphony (Westermeyer, 719).  The first performance of the chorus was in 1824, when Beethoven had gone completely deaf. Though the full piece was not performed until 1824, the tune can be traced to sketches that extend as far back as 1797. The tune to “Ode to Joy” was eventually adapted as a hymn tune by Elam Ives (1802-1862) in his Mozart Collection (New York, 1846), and by Edward Hodges (1796-1867) in his The Trinity Collection of Church Music (New York, 1864)(Westermeyer, p. 719). One of the more famous hymns that this tune was published with was Henry Van Dyke’s “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee (Evangelical Book of Worship, #836). The hymn paired with the tune in The Hymnal (1911) of the Presbyterian Church. 
                The tune “Hymn to Joy” follows the form of AA’BA’, which is very simple, and common for the time in which it was written. The melody is simple, and is built off of the first five notes of a diatonic scale, with the exception of one note that dips below the tonic, but the melody quickly returns to the first five notes. The difficulty of this hymn, for many congregations, lies within the slight syncopation of the beginning of the last line, or the second statement of A’. Because most congregations cannot manage this syncopation, most hymnals have published the tune with the last line square, instead of syncopated. According to Paul Westermeyer, the removal of the syncopation “drains the tune of its life (Westermeyer, p. 720).” Westermeyer believes that with a slight coaching of the congregation, or with the organist playing the melody through as an introduction, the congregation should be able to pick up on the syncopation and sing it through with no trouble. Because many hymnals have been publishing the current version of the hymn, it is difficult for those hymnals who publish the original to catch wind and become popular.  
                Beethoven was a very interesting man, with lots of history to his name. Though I could go on about his story, I will keep it brief for the sake of your time (and mine too! This is a busy semester!). Ludwig Van Beethoven grew up in a very poor and unstable home in Bonn, Germany. Both Beethoven’s Father and Grandfather were musicians as well (Westermeyer, p. 720).  The first time Beethoven suited music was with his father (who was abusive to him as a child), who was a court singer looking to exploit his son’s musical abilities. Later, Beethoven would continue his musical studies with Christian Gottlob Neefe (1748-1798). The next few years of Beethoven’s life seemed to follow with one position after the other. At the age of eleven, he was substitute court organist; at age twelve, Beethoven was accompanist for the court orchestra; at age fourteen, he was assistant court organist, and from 1788-1792, a violist in the theater orchestra. After these positions, Beethoven studied with famous composer Franz Joseph Haydn, and several other composers throughout Vienna, although he was not always happy with his teachers. Eventually, Beethoven became known as Europe’s favorite and most eccentric composer, pianist, and improviser. Beethoven is best known for being the important link between the Classical period and the Romantic period, having lived in the transition between the two. Though Beethoven was a brilliant composer, starting in the year 1798, he began losing his hearing (the cause is not known, but it is known that he suffered from severe Tinnitus, or a high pitched ringing in the ears), and eventually he became deaf all together. Despite his limitations due to hearing, Beethoven arguably did some of his best work after his hearing was gone completely (his Ninth Symphony being one of his works composed completely deaf).
The Text:
1.            Sing with all the saints in glory,
                sing the resurrection song!
                Death and sorrow, earth's dark story,
                to the former days belong.
                All around the clouds are breaking,
                soon the storms of time shall cease;
                in God's likeness we, awaking,
                know the everlasting peace.

2.            O what glory, far exceeding
                all that eye has yet perceived!
                Holiest hearts, for ages pleading,
                never that full joy conceived.
                God has promised, Christ prepares it,
                there on high our welcome waits.
                Every humble spirit shares it;
                Christ has passed th'eternal gates.

3.            Life eternal! heaven rejoices;
                Jesus lives, who once was dead.
                Join we now the deathless voices;
                child of God, lift up your head!
                Patriarchs from the distant ages,
                saints all longing for their heaven,
                prophets, psalmists, seers, and sages,
                all await the glory given.

4.            Life eternal! O what wonders
                crowd on faith; what joy unknown,
                when, amidst earth's closing thunders,
                saints shall stand before the throne!
                O to enter that bright portal,
                see that glowing firmament;
                know, with thee, O God Immortal,
                "Jesus Christ whom thou has sent!"
My Take on the Text:
                This hymn is one of great praise. The whole setting of the text is for praising God and all of the glories he has promised us in heaven above! The love that God displays for us is never ceasing and never failing, and we will live to see it in our lives each and every day! This hymn not only covers the things that we are given here on earth, but it also tells of the promises that Christ has given us through his death on the cross. I can see where each different denomination has reasoning to place this hymn in different categories. The song fits Easter time because it discusses Christ defeating the grave, and rising up to be with God; the song fits New Heaven and New Earth, because it talks about the old Earth being defeated by the glory of God; the song fits festivals/commemorations, because it is glorious, and sings the praises of things still to come in heaven above! Though the meaning and category of this hymn is fairly scattered, there is no doubt that this hymn is glorious and full of life! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me through the rest of my days on Earth, and I look forward even more to seeing the glories he has promised me in Heaven above when my time here has come to a close!

The Hymn:

if you cannot read music, just start the Youtube video and follow along!

"Sing, with All the Sons of Glory." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 11 Apr.                 2013.
Julian, John. "William J. Irons." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 11 Apr.    2013.
"HYMN TO JOY." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
Westermeyer, Paul. "Festivals, Commemorations." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran   Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 246-47. Print.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Ah, Holy Jesus

Here is another hymn during the wonderful time after Easter! He is Risen!

Title: Ah, Holy Jesus

Tune: Herzliebster Jesu


Composer: Johann Cruger (1598-1662)

 Johann Heermann (1585-1657), Trans. Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

Based off the text from Isaiah 53, this hymn sets the tone for the Christian doctrine of Christ's atonement: Christ died for the sin of the world in a substitutionary death on the cross ( par. 1). By using text such as "It was for my sin that Christ died!" this text becomes extremely personal, and turns a plain and simple doctrine into a deep and personal meditation on the effects that Christ has had on our lives. Stemming from the seventh meditation in the Latin Liber Meditationum, which is most often credited to Augustine (354-430), and sometimes ascribed to Jean de Fecamp (d. 1078), this hymn was written in fifteen stanzas in sapphic prose meter ( by Johann Heermann. Written in German, the text was first published in Heermann's collection, Devoti Musica Cordis, Haus und Hertz-musica, published in 1630. Eventually, the text was translated from German into English by Robert Bridges (1844-1930), as a five stanza paraphrase of the text, keeping the meter the same. Attributing the original Latin text to Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033-1109), the English translation was published in Bridges' Yattendon Hymnal (1899).
Evangelical Lutheran Worship follows the same text published in Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), using Bridges' five stanzas and keeping the old Elizabethan English (Westermeyer, 2010, p 151). By making slight modifications to both of the texts, the hymn we sing today is a combination of Bridges' meter, and Heermann’s rhymes scheme. Bridges' text follows the same rules for Sapphic meter, keeping the same syllable count 5+6, where 5 is a dactyl and trochee (metric feet, dactyl being a stressed syllable followed by two unstressed, and a trochee being a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable), and the 6 is all trochees. Heermann's rhyming scheme follows the AABB rhyming form, and stresses the rhyme on the Penultimate syllable, for example: of-fen-ded, and pre-tend-ded; Pay thee and pray thee; un-swer-ving and de-serv-ing (Westermeyer, p. 151). A few points made by Mary Louise Bringle (Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy and Religion Chair, Humanities Division, Brevard College, Brecard North Carolina), show Bridges' effortless quality in the feminine rhymes which are difficult to construct in English, the emphasis on the beginning dactyl, almost turning it into a spondee (a metric foot that uses two stressed syllables in a row), and finally the repetition of words in the beginning of successive phrases. Anaphora is the triple use of "I" in the second stanza, and the quadruple use of "Thy" in the fourth (Westermeyer, p. 151-52).
Life for Johann Heermann was anything but easy. Coming from the same time as the well-known poet, Paul Gerhardt (see "Oh Sacred Head, Now Wounded"), Heermann also suffered through the tragedies of the Thirty Year's War. Born the son of a poor furrier in the small Polish town, Raudten (near Wolau in Lower Silesia), Heermann was the only one of five children to survive. Because of early childhood illnesses, Heermann's mother vowed that if he would survive, she would educate him in the ministry, even though she had to beg for the money to do so. As it happens, Heermann did survive his childhood ailments, and began studying in Fraustadt, Breslau Brieg, and at the University of Straussberg. After only a year of studies at Straussberg, Heermann suffered an affection of the eye, forcing him to retire from his studies and return to Raudten in 1610. Shortly after his return, at the recommendation of Baron Wenzel, Heermann was appointed Diaconus of Koben, a small town nearby to Raudten and to Fraustadt. On Ascension Day in 1611, Heermann began his duties at the church, and later, on St. Martin's Day, Heermann was appointed Pastorate of the church (, Johann Heermann, par. 1). From here on out, things started going down a slippery slope for Heermann. In 1613, the town of Fraustadt was struck by the plague, and three years later a fire struck Koben and nearly destroyed the town. With things already looking difficult, more strife struck Heermann. In 1617, Heermann’s wife died; 1618 the Thirty Year’s War began; in 1623, throat troubles began affecting Heermann and his ability to preach; and finally between 1629 and 1634, Koben was raided four times. Though Heermann lost almost everything he owned, and was almost killed several times, it was during these difficult times that this hymns (Ah, Holy Jesus), and 48 others, were published in Heermann’s collection Devoti Musica Cordis (Westermeyer, p. 152).
                Devoti Musica Cordis was, as the title indicates, intended for “house and heart,” and not for public use. Finally, in 1631, the plague struck Koben, and in 1634, Heermann’s throat troubles caused him so much pain that he could no longer preach, causing him to retire in 1638. Though he was no longer preaching, Heerman continued to produce hymns, publishing another collection in 1636 containing hymns on the gospel readings for Sundays and Festivals. Among his hymns, Heermann also had many poems which he had written in Latin starting in 1605. It wasn’t, however, until 1608 that he became a Poet at Brieg. Finally, skipping ahead half a century, in 1656, nine years after Heermann’s death, his poetical works were published. Considered one of the greatest German Hymn writers, Heermann is often times cited as being second only to the great Paul Gerhardt (, Johann Heermann, par. 2).
                Robert Bridges (the translator), was born in England, and studied at Corpus Christi College, in Cambridge, as well as at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. Planning on having an early retirement, Bridges became a doctor in London, hoping to be able to retire by the age of 40, and spending the rest of his life writing poetry. In 1881, Bridges was forced to retire due to lung disease, which was only three years earlier than he had originally intended. Eventually, Bridges was married to Mary Monica Waterhouse and upon marriage, they moved to Yattendon, England. During his time Yattendon, with his wife and his friend Harry Ellis Woodridge (1845-1917), who was professor of fine arts at Oxford and had revised William Chappell’s 1893 collection Popular Music of the Olden Time, Bridges edited the Yattendon Hymnal. Finally, in 1913, Bridges earned the prestigious title of Poet Laureate.
                The tune “Herzliebster Jesu” first appeared in Johann Cruger’s predecessor volume to Praxis Pietatis Melica, which was his collection Newes Vollkomliches Gesangbuch Augsburgischer Confession (Berlin, 1640). In this case, the influences for this hymn are numerous and can be traced back to a melody from the Genevan Psalter for Psalm 23, as well as another melody written by Johann Hermann Schein (1586-1630), who was one of the cantors in Leipzig at the St. Thomas Church before J.S. Bach (Westermeyer, p. 153). The tune is fitting for this text, outlining the last few phrases such as: “I crucified thee,” “God interceded,” and “for my salvation.” Smoothing out what would have been a traditional 16th century, rugged choral, this tune is a typical 17th century piece of music. The music, written in a minor key, seems to parallel the introspective texts of authors such as Heermann and Gerhardt (Westermeyer, p. 153). Stimulating many different composers, this tune, as well as the text, has made appearances in many famous works, such as J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, and Bach’s St. John Passion.
                Johann Cruger was born in 1598 at Grosse-Breese, near Guben, Brandenburg. As a child, Cruger studied at the schools in Gubem, Sorau and Breslau, the Jesuit College at Olmutz, as well as at the poet’s school in Regensburg, and in 1615, finally settled in Berlin after a short time in Austria. For a short while, after a stint at the University of Wittenburg, Cruger worked as a private tutor from 1620 until 1622. It was in 1622 that Cruger was appointed Cantor of St. Nicholas’s Church in Berlin Germany, as well as one of the Masters of the Greyfriars Gymnasium. Cruger would hold these positions until his death in 1662, where he passed away in Berlin. Though Cruger never wrote any hymns, his name does appear as “Johann Kruger, 1610” as the original author of Charles Wesley’s “Hearts of Stone, Relent, Relent.” Cruger is known for writing many different hymn tunes, only twenty of which are still in common use today.

The Text:

1.       Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
          that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
          By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
          O most afflicted!

2.       Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
          Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
          'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
          I crucified thee.

3.       Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
          the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
          For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
          God interceded.

4.       For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
          thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
          thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
          for my salvation.

5.       Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
          I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
          think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
          not my deserving.

My Take on the Hymn:
                This hymn is very reflective, forcing us to take a look at what the real reason Christ was crucified truly is. It was because of our sins that Christ was put up on the cross, but this hymn asks Christ to forgive us for the pain that we have caused him. Without Christ dying on the cross, and without Him rising from the dead, there would be no Christian faith. It is this very reason that we are saved today, and that we as Christians can say that we no longer fear death, for it has no hold over us! This hymn does, however, seem to take an incident that was brought on by thousands of people, and turns it back onto ourselves. Though we were not around back when Christ was crucified, it was each one of our sins that hammered the nails farther into the cross. Even though we did this, it is because Christ died that we can take heed an know that Christ is there to forgive us our sins, no matter how far we have turned away from him. As is said in Psalm 139, no matter how far we run from Christ, we can’t hide from Him!
The Hymn:

If you cannot read music, just start the Youtube video and follow along!

Julian, John. "Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended." Calvin Institute of        Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.

Westermeyer, Paul. "Holy Week/Three Days." Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran          Worship. Vol. 1. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2010. 151-54. Print.