Friday, May 26, 2006

HYMN BY AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT

Following Nick's link to the Trivia section of the Cyberhymnal, I stumbled onto this Psalm 43 (42) based hymn text by none other than the Sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams:

Send forth, O God, Thy light and truth,
And let them lead me still,
Undaunted, in the paths of right,
Up to Thy holy hill.
Then to Thy altar will I spring,
And in my God rejoice;
And praise shall tune the trembling string,
And gratitude my voice.

O why, my soul, art thou cast down?
Within me why distressed?
Thy hopes the God of grace shall crown;
He yet shall make thee blessed.
To Him, my never failing Friend,
I bow, and kiss the rod;
To Him shall thanks and praise ascend,
My Savior and my God.


This COULD be good material STILL for a Catholic hymnal - far better for an Entrance hymn than Here I Am, Lord or Gather Us In or even All Are Welcome. Best choice of course would be the Introit of the day, but if you MUST use a hymn (many of us musicians I'm sure still feel like we're in that situation at this point after forty years of damage), this is ideal.

Suggested tunes: FOREST GREEN, ELLACOMBE, KINGSFOLD, HALIFAX
(or, split the two verses into four short verses and use NEW BRITAIN, ST. ANNE, DUNDEE, ST. STEPHEN)

President Adams wrote a few hymn texts, but this one really caught my eye.

Peace,
BMP

5 comments:

Ephrem said...

Or a Catholic hymnal could feature good hymns from Catholic text writers, such as humble moi.

jb said...

Bad music, bad lyrics, bad theology. I'm counting on you guys to get us all back on track.

In the meantime, here's my favorite "non-Catholic" hymn, written (1860) by William Whiting of Winchester, England, with music composed by an Episcopalian clergyman named John Bacchus Dykes.

I love this hymn, despite some rather tragic memories I associate with it (funerals). It's trinitarian structure always struck me as a very Catholic doxology. These are the original four verses with a link to the Navy choir singing the first (at the bottom):

Eternal Father — The "Navy Hymn"

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.


The Navy Choir sings Eternal Father

JB said...

The link above has a bit of a hiccup at the beginning. Try this Eternal Father.

jb said...

Can't seem to get it to start cleanly. Oh, well, you get the idea.

Anonymous said...

I might be remembering wrong, Brian, but I think Vincent Persichetti, or someone of that ilk, (you know, someone you read about in History of Music, a REAL composer, not a religious one)* set the JQ Adams text.

* This is only half facetious -- it was a shock to realize that there actually were real, respected composers, working in the modern day, (Rorem, Persichetti, Hovhaness, etc.) who wrote music that was both suitable for and intended for realistic use in church -- that publishers still push composers of the Haagen-Hasz ilk when they actually have a CHOICE!

The Leper