HYMN TUNE HISTORY: LASST UNS ERFREUEN (All Creatures of Our God and King)

Here’s the third installment in my hymn history co-blog with author and activist, Pam McAllister.  We’re exploring the history of each of the hymns on Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns.

This week, we look at the tune, LASST UNS ERFREUEN with the text, “All Creatures of Our God and King.” The text was based on a poem by St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology, while the tune was composed by a Jesuit priest who dared to speak out against church witch trials and torture in the 1600s! Here’s the fascinating history.

PAM ON THE HYMN TEXT

“Saint Francis” painting by Jen Norton. Click to view more of Norton’s artwork.

Francis of Assisi (1181?-1226) looked at the world and saw something different than the rest of us generally see.

In 1225, he composed his famous “Canticle of the Sun” which was paraphrased seven hundred years later by Anglican clergyman William H. Draper into verses for the hymn “ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING.” In his poem, Francis gave thanks for Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Wind, Sister Water, Brother Fire, and Mother Earth. He even wrote a verse for Sister Death.

According to the well-worn stories, Francis, sometimes called the Patron Saint of Ecology, renounced wealth and warfare, danced with Lady Poverty, rescued earth-worms, preached to the birds, negotiated with wolves, founded the Franciscan order. Continue reading

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Love Came Down: Three Bonus Singles

When my trio recorded our new album, Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns, we also recorded 11- yes, 11- additional tracks. I’ve just released three of them- two with guest vocalist Sarah Kervin- on a new “EP”: Love Came Down: Three Bonus Singles. Each tune also has corresponding video at Bandcamp.

The EP costs $3; individual tunes are $1.

The three tunes are:

1- Love Came Down: Original gospel/funk setting of the 19th-century Christina Rossetti poem, “Love Came Down at Christmas.” Originally written for a gospel choir (a choir video of the piece is HERE). Sheet music is also available.

2- Here with You– An original pop ballad that I wrote as a Christmas present for my boyfriend!

3- For the Rest of My Life– Instrumental with funk, Brazilian, and R&B influences.

 

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Hymn tune history: CWM RHONDDA (with co-blogger Pam McAllister)

Here’s the second installment in my hymn history co-blog with author and activist, Pam McAllister.  Pam and I are exploring the background of each of the hymns on my new recording, Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns.

Capel (Chapel) Rhondda, the church where CWM RHONDDA was first sung.

This week we’re looking at the album’s opening track- and the second of two Welsh tunes on the recording- CWM RHONDDA, the tune used for the text, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” This tune is also familiar to many as the setting for the inspiring Social Gospel hymn with “God of Grace and God of Glory,” text by Harry Emerson Fosdick. Pam blogged about that Social Gospel hymn HERE in 2016.

PAM ON THE HYMN TEXT

The redundantly named William Williams (1717-1781) understood his life to be a journey, not unlike the one taken by the ancient Israelites wandering through a barren wilderness. Walking over ninety-five thousand miles, all of Wales became his parish.

Williams had intended to study medicine until he heard a fiery sermon by the twenty-something sensation Howell Harris. Inspired, Williams became a preacher too, although he wanted nothing of lifeless indoor religion; instead, he chose the open road, preaching in the rain, snow, and sun. Continue reading

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