HYMN TUNE HISTORY: HYMN TO JOY (Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee)

Just in time for Thanksgiving: Here’s the fourth entry 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, HYMN TO JOY with the text, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.”  As Pam explains, the hymn text was inspired by a visit to the Berkshires.

Click to hear a clip of HYMN TO JOY from Deanna’s new album, Makes the Heart to Sing.

 


PAM ON THE HYMN TEXT

Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) was well-established as a professor of English literature at Princeton University when he visited the president of William College in Western Massachusetts one day in 1907. There, he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Berkshires. He picked up his pen and wrote the words of the hymn we know as“JOYFUL, JOYFUL, WE ADORE THEE.”

According to the story, when he handed the poem to his friend, van Dyke said, “Here is a hymn for you. Your mountains were my inspiration. It must be sung to the music of Beethoven’s ‘Hymn to Joy.’”

Artaban helps a dying man, illustration by Jackie Morris from The Greatest Gift (picture book)

Before teaching at Princeton, Dr. van Dyke spent seventeen years as the pastor at Brick Presbyterian Church (1883-1900). Parishioners and tourists crowded into the Manhattan sanctuary to hear his sermons.

One Christmas Eve, he told the hushed gathering about a man named Artaban, the fourth wise man, who missed his caravan connection with the Magi because he stopped to help a dying man. Delayed, he arrived in Bethlehem too late and spent the next 33 years searching for Jesus, using the gifts he’d brought for the baby to rescue those in distress. And then, at last, he reached Jerusalem on a significant day and …. I don’t want to spoil it for you, dear blog reader. You can read it here. Continue reading

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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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