Sunday, October 27, 2013

Anglo-German favorites

Today our opening hymn was a familiar one for the congregation — not only for us, but a German visitor who joined us. We have special readings this month, and it turns out that the first two hymns — matched to the readings — were both based on 17th century German masters.

The entrance hymn was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (H40: 279; H82: 390), a Catherine Winkworth translation of the 1680 text by Joachim Neander. The hymn is found in every English and American Anglican hymnal since the 1860s. The original text is based on Psalm 103 and 150.

My Hymnal 1940 Companion describes Neander as “the principal poet of the Reformed Church in Germany.” Our German visitor recognized the tune but not the English words, until (quoting Ian Bradley’s text) I noted German text is called “Lobe den Herren”. He also noted that the hymn was a favorite of King Frederick Wilhem III of Prussia (1770-1840).

The five verses were published in 1680. In 1863, the English translation was published (in her Chorale Book for England) by Miss Winkworth, “the foremost translator of German hymns into English in the nineteenth century.” The Hymnal Companion said that Neander picked the tune “Hast du denn, Jesu” from the Strassund Erneuerten Gesangbuch. It lists the date as 1665 while Bradley lists it as 1655.

Pulling out my LCMS hymnals, both The Lutheran Hymnal (39) and Lutheran Service Book (790) also use the Winkworth translation — but with all five verses. The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal lists the tune as 1665, and “Neander adapted this tune to his text in 1679.”

The gradual hymn was “Ah, Holy Jesus” (H40: 71; H82: 158). Our German visitor considered it somewhat familiar, but not a well known favorite from back home.

According to the Companion, it was published in 1630 as “Herzliebster Jesu” by Johan Heermann and adapted from a 15th century text (once attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo). The tune was written a decade later for this text by Johann Crüger (1598-1662), who served as cantor of the St. Nicholas Church of Berlin from 1622-1662. The companion describes him as “a principal fountain-head in the development of Lutheran hymnody throughout the 17th century.”

ECUSA sings the 1897 text by Robert Bridges, but the LCMS hymnals (TLH: 143; LSB: 439) they use the earlier Catherine Winkworth translation, “O, dearest Jesus,” complete with 15 verses.

1 comment:

episcopal bookstore said...

episcopal liturgy
Our liturgical calendars display the liturgical year, many of them showing the liturgical colors of the seasons for the Episcopal Church and Roman Catholic Church. Calendars are handy ways to help us plan our lives and remind us of upcoming events. They are a good value because of the continuing service that they provide.There are three kinds of calendars in our offerings: Wall calendars can be quickly referenced by many different people when handily displayed. Desk calendars are utilitarian in their location to our busy lives and help give us order. They can also include inspiring thoughts and images to help our days. Pocket calendars are more intimate. Generally others do not see what is written in them. They remain close to us throughout our days.