Archive for Majo, 2009

Semicolon Hymn Survey submission

Majo 31, 2009

This is the deadline for submitting one’s list of the top ten hymns, and I just sent mine in. Here is the complete text of my email to sherryDOTearlyATgmail:

You know perfectly well that’s impossible… I’ve been working on this list for almost two weeks now, ever since mentioned the project, and each time I draw up my list it’s different, perhaps with as few as two or three hymns in common with the previous effort. I think I’d have an easier time deciding on the top 200. Anyhow, with no further ado, here’s the latest version of my top ten, which shall have to do for the purposes of your survey:

1) How firm a foundation
2) His voice as the sound of the dulcimer sweet
3) Be thou my vision
4) O Mighty God, when I behold the wonder
5) When Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God
6) Crown him with many crowns
7) A mighty fortress is our God
8 ) Mine eyes have seen the glory
9) Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
10) For all the saints who from their labors rest

1) How firm a foundation — tune FOUNDATION (aka BELLEVUE, PROTECTION and various other names) – Preferably all seven verses (once I latch onto a good hymn I like it to go on for time and eternity 😉 and the four verses our hymnal provides do not cut it with me). If one must make do with four verses, I’d rather have the deep waters stanza than the fiery trials, personally, but the best solution is all seven.

2) His voice as the sound of the dulcimer sweet — I love the circular (typologically = eternal) pietistic love of God that this Southern Harmony hymn evokes for me. The tune (shared with #5) is SAMANTHRA (aka ZION’S PILGRIM), though it can be sung to DAVIS (aka MEDITATION) to no ill effect. But I definitely prefer (if forced to choose) the circular His voice/Samanthra setting to the more frequently encountered, more linear O Thou in/Davis.

3) Be thou my vision O Lord my heart — tune SLANE – five verses (most hymnals leave out the third, “buckler” verse)

4) O Mighty God, when I behold the wonder — I am deeply offended by the way Manna Music and Stuart Hine expropriated Carl Boberg’s fine hymn “O Store Gud” and claimed copyright in it for all these years without so much as an acknowledgment that Hine was only a translator, not the author. So I refuse to include “How Great Thou Art” in my list; which is okay, actually, since I think Boberg’s hymn has been better translated several times, including the Esperanto translation by W. J. Downes and at least two other English translations, including the one I have chosen to include, which is hymn #9 in the current Covenant Hymnal.

5) When Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God — tune SAMANTHRA above @ #2, this is #545 in Yale’s A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools (1992); a Fred Pratt Green text. It’s also #647 in the Collegeville Hymnal, set there to KINGDOM OF GOD, a tune that I’m not familiar with.

6) Crown him with many crowns — to DIADEMATA (or NEVIN’S PROCESSIONAL or OLIVA SPECIOSA if you’re tired of DIADEMATA, I suppose); imho, of course four crowns does not constitute “Many” crowns. I would just as soon sing all nine of the stanzas in the Cyber Hymnal, or at least the seven found in the Christian Life Hymnal, but if you must stick to four I’d suggest using at least three that are NOT in whatever hymnal your congregation is accustomed to singing from…

7) A mighty fortress is our God — nuff said

8 ) Mine eyes have seen the glory — again, all the verses if possible. I feel the same way about “the hero born of woman” here that I do about “deep waters” in “How firm a foundation”: I’d rather excise on of the others than leave it out. But if at all possible, do all six!

9) Amazing grace, how sweet the sound — again, all verses, and I like to top the full seven off with a round of “Praise God, praise God…” followed by a last reiteration of “Amazing grace” but ending “Was bound, but now I’m free!”

10) For all the saints who from their labors rest — this one is basically in the list for the tune. I love SINE NOMINE, unison or harmonized, and this is one with lots of great verses, too (11 in the Cyber Hymnal, though I’ve never seen more than 8 in a print hymnal), a winning combination in my book.


Psalm 23 / Good Shepherd hymns

Majo 31, 2009

Very tentatively, now, here are the 20 Shepherd hymns that I am hoping to include in the October hymnsing (given here in alphabetical-by-incipit order, which will surely not be the final arrangement):

  • *Bwana Mungu ni Mchunga wangu (The Lord is my shepherd, the living God) — Mchunga Wangu
  • Gentle shepherd come and lead us — Gaither ©
  • Hark! ‘Tis the Shepherd’s voice I hear — Bring Them In
  • His voice, as the sound of the dulcimer sweet — Samanthra
  • In shady green pastures — God Leads Us Along
  • Jesus, shepherd of our souls — Good Shepherd ©
  • *Ku’u Kahu no Iesu (The Lord my shepherd is) — Greenwood
  • Malotte’s 23rd — Malotte ©
  • My shepherd will supply my need — Resignation
  • Shepherd of our hearts — Chepponis ©
  • Shepherd, show me how to go — Guidance
  • Since God is my shepherd I shall not want — God’s Yoke Is Easy (Hudson)
  • The King of love my shepherd is — St Columba
  • The Lord is my shepherd in nocht am I wantin’ — Dundee Road
  • The Lord is my shepherd my guard — Cornish Canon
  • The Lord is my shepherd no want shall I know — Goshen
  • The Lord my God my shepherd is — Crimond ©
  • The Lord my shepherd guards me well — Brother James’ Air
  • There were ninety and nine that safely lay — The Ninety and Nine
  • With God as our friend, with his Spirit and Word — Ahnfelt ©

A prefixed asterisk indicates that the foreign (Swahili and Hawaiian, respectively) texts will be treated as primary, although English alternatives will be available (for the Scots text no anglicized verison will be provided). A © indicates that I believe the text and/or tune to be under copyright. Two tunes strongly associated with the 23rd Psalm are to be sung to less commonly met, newer texts (underlined). And an italicized tune name indicates that I have given serious consideration to alternative tunes.

I am still in the market for more.

Evergreen HymnSing

Majo 28, 2009

I’m planning a programmed hymnsing series for Fremont Baptist, three times a year with the first one being in October of this year. The main topic will be “Psalm 23/Good Shepherd”, and there will be side foci on Katharine Lee Bates and Carl Boberg. I am actively soliciting suggestions of unusual hymns to include under any of those rubrics.

Hymn sing in four languages at Fremont

Majo 20, 2009

In our Sounds of Spring concert last Thursday at Fremont Baptist there was a “hymn sing” set, led by Marc Walter. First he sang “O hearken ye” as a solo, then we all sang three hymns: , “Wonderful Words of Life”, and finally “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. I sang “Wonderful Words of Life” in three languages: Russian (v.1), Swahili (v.2), and Japanese (the version in <i>Seika</i>, v.3). It was great fun and great praise.

Songs from NzIY at Fremont May 3

Majo 2, 2009

Tomorrow we (myself, Reiff Olsen, and my wife if she is there) are going to sing four songs as “Special Music”, three of them taken from the Swahili repertoire in Nyimbo za Imani Yetu. (The non-Swahili item is Isaac Watts’ 23rd Psalm, “My Shepherd will supply my need”, to the Southern Harmony tune RESIGNATION.)

Here are links to the three Swahili-based songs in PDF:
God is Love (Mungu ni Pendo) (MIDI)
Bless us, Father (Bariki Baba) (MIDI)
Simoni Unanipenda? (Simon, do you love me?) (MIDI)

The modifications, ranging from translation through paraphrase and adaptation to substitution, are all my own doing. We will encourage congregational participation in all but the last of the pieces (“Simoni Unanipenda?” will be sung during the distribution of the elements at Communion.