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Hymns for Lent, Easter, and Ascension

March
See, Christ Was Wounded

The tune for this Lenten hymn was composed by Joyce Recker, a freelance artist now living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Both tune and harmonization were created as a special project for a music-theory course taught by Joachim Segger at The King's College in Edmonton. It is fitting that Segger has now prepared two alternate musical settings to further reflect the text of this hymn.

The tune, KABODE, was named after the house in which Recker lived at the time she composed this music. A number of Christian students who lived together in the late 1970s added the letter K, which was prominent in all of their names (Koopman, Kolkman and Vanderkleut), to the word abode (dwelling). They subsequently realized that the Hebrew word Kabod means "the glory of God."

For Recker the word Kabode means "living in community." The text for which she originally composed the tune ("O Christ, the Healer" by Fred Pratt Green) is a prayer for (personal) wholeness that the community of the faithful may be enriched and so enrich all of humankind.

The familiar words of Isaiah 53:2-9, versified by Brian Foley, a St. Louis Jesuit, are poignantly suited to the tune KABODE. This Bible song could be used as a motif in the (seven) Sundays of Lent. The trio setting and alternate harmonization by Joachim Segger that is included in this article will provide opportunity for a variety of presentations—instrumental, choral, and concertato.

Instrumental Arrangement

As part of the process of teaching a new hymn, it is often helpful to present it instrumentally—perhaps as a prelude or offertory. One might play an organ offertory consisting of the Psalter Hymnal setting, trio setting (three separate voices if possible), and the alternate harmonization. If other instruments are available, an unaccompanied solo instrument, such as a flute or an oboe, could play a stanza. Combinations of instruments or instrument(s) and keyboard may be used to create two- or three-part settings using the trio arrangement. (When making a two-part setting, use the lower two parts.) A solo instrument might also be accompanied by the arrangement in the Psalter Hymnal or alternate harmonization to round out the presentation.

Choral Arrangement

Introduction: melody alone played on a solo instrument, such as a flute or an oboe, or an appropriate solo stop on the organ (or other keyboard instrument).

Stanza 1: men's voices (or soloist) in unison, unaccompanied or quietly accompanied by the arrangement in the Psalter Hymnal

Stanza 2: women's voices in unison

Stanza 3: two-part arrangement, using the lower two voices of the trio setting: cello on the lowest part with solo voice singing the middle voice (melody); any combination of voice and instrument available is suitable, but the melody should be sung

Stanza 4: full-trio setting: middle part sung (solo or group of similar voices) with flute or oboe and cello, etc., according to your own resources

Stanza 5: full choir in unison, accompanied with the alternate harmonization on keyboard instrument

Concertato Arrangement

The choral arrangement is easily adapted by including the congregation in stanzas 1 (men), 2 (women), and 5 (all). The various textures (men's voices, women's voices, two-and three-part settings) may be combined in any order. However, the alternate harmonization is intended for the fifth stanza.

April
Alleluia! Alleluia! Give Thanks

The words and tune of "Alleluia! Alleluia! Give Thanks" were written by Donald Fishel (b. 1950), a member of the Word of God, an ecumenical Christian community of about three thousand people in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Word of God publishes songbooks and produces records through Servant Publications.

This hymn, published in Songs of Praise, was composed while Fishel was involved in the music ministry (1971-1981). The tune name, CHURCH STREET, is the name of the street on which Fishel lived in 1971, the year in which he wrote the hymn.

The refrain structure of this hymn lends itself well to antiphonal singing. When introducing "Alleluia!" to the congregation, invite them to sing only the refrain after the choir or a soloist sings each verse. Once the congregation is familiar with the hymn, consider dividing the group in other ways to alter the singing. For example, have men and women alternate on the verse and the refrain or have children only sing the refrain with everyone joining in on the final stanza.

This hymn is particularly suited to piano accompaniment. The arrangement for piano on this page allows the singing and playing to freely flow in the gently celebrative mood of the music. The descant for the refrain may be sung or played on flute or other treble instrument. The descant for the stanza works well for stanza 5.

May
Here from All Nations

"Here from All Nations" is a beautifully fitting hymn for the Easter cycle (six Sundays following Easter). It is especially appropriate for the celebration of the ascension of Christ, who now "reigns from the throne."

The text, adapted by Christopher Idle from the words of John in Revelation 7, pictures the joy and splendor of the new creation while reinforcing the promise of redemption. The references to the new kingdom also make this hymn appropriate to the Advent season.

Christopher Idle (b. 1938) is an Anglican priest with a degree in English and literature from Oxford University. Since 1969 he has published both hymns and articles about the language of hymnody.

Stanzas 1 and 5 of "Here from All Nations" describe, in an assertive and powerful way, the honor and glory being sung to God. One or both of these stanzas could be used separately as a doxology at any time of the year. Stanzas 2,3, and 4 concentrate on the images of Jesus/God as Shepherd and Lamb.

The strength and assurance of all five stanzas are perfectly wed to their musical setting, O QUANTA QUALIA, a tune that dates to a liturgical book of chants (Paris Antiphoner, 1681) for the Divine Office (as opposed to Mass) of the Roman rite. In 1861, a four-part harmonization of O QUANTA QUALIA by John Bacchus Dykes (1823-76) appeared in Hymns Ancient and Modern (London). That harmonization is the basis for the setting in the Psalter Hymnal.

The tune was named after the text that was first associated with it, "O Quanta Qualia" (O what their joy and their glory must be). That text, included in Rejoice in the Lord (583), originated in the twelfth century, the only surviving hymn from a hymnbook composed by Peter Abelard.

The triumphant and majestic joy of this hymn will prompt the organist to pull all the stops, particularly for the last stanza. If the resources are available, this hymn is well served with choir or trumpet using the descant on the last stanza.

The arrangement on these pages is recorded on the tape In the Presence of Your People, available from CRC Publications. The alternate harmonization may be used with unison singing only or with unison singing and descant. While stanzas 1 and 5 call for strong accompaniment and unison singing, the inner verses might well be sung in four-part harmony from the hymnal setting, possibly with a verse for choir or children's chorus alone.

As indicated in Joan Ringerwole's Bibliography of Organ Music (CRC Publications), organ preludes on this hymn tune are found in Hor Peeters Hymn Preludes for the Liturgical Year, Vol. 21, and Van Hulse, 10 Service Pieces, Op. 22. In addition, The Parish Organist, part 11 (Concordia) contains a prelude by Richard Hil-lert, and two Canadian composers, Derek Healey and F.R.C. Clarke, have composed hymn preludes on O QUANTA QUALIA (available through the Canadian Music Centre).