Saturday, August 27, 2016

Two More Pending Projects

Well, I've started this project on Lulu:
It's going to be 172 pages, 8.5"x11", and spiral bound. It's only going to contain the musical settings of the hymns in Useful Hymns, with no lyrics; but as the back cover states, it's meant to be an eye-saver and to lie open on the music stand without trying to flop shut.

Meantime, I have also embarked on a completely new collection of original and translated hymns, with the occasional existing hymn set to an original tune. Its working title is Edifying Hymns, and I don't know when it will be finished, but my tentative goal is to include at least another 200 hymns. So far it has three hymns. Hymn 1, for now, is the "Opening Hymn" I wrote in June, after the layout of Useful Hymns was set; I wrote an original tune for it just the other day.

Further along, in what I intend to be the last section of the book, are two Passion hymns from the Icelandic by Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-74), as translated by Charles Venn Pilcher, 1923. I have loved Pétursson's poetry for years. I wrote the tune HALLGRIMUR for one of these hymns in about 2008, I forget which; but it fits both of them. Here they go:

Jesus forsaken by His disciples

1. Thou wast midst foes of friends bereft
In lonely desolation,
That I might ne’er alone be left
When thronged by sore temptation:
Yea, all forsook Thee at that hour
That all things now might cheer me:
When strife is near me,
Draw close, my Champion and my Tower,
And when I call, O hear me.

2. Lord, from that night of mortal strife,
And Thy lone road of sorrow,
The will to tread the way of life,
The power, the grace I’d borrow.
Let not the evil one entice
My feet to fleshly straying,
His wiles essaying,
But may this prayer of love suffice
To my dark Foe’s dismaying.

Jesus tried before Herod

1. When Herod saw Him, he was filled
With wanton exultation,
For he had heard of Him, and willed
Some novel demonstration;
With fleshly zeal he plied the Lord,
Full many things enquiring,
Reply desiring,
But Jesus answered not a word
To questionings untiring.

2. Many of like vain mind possessed
King Herod much resemble;
God’s Word they deem exciting jest,
No reverence makes them tremble;
Towàrd the secret things of God,
With anxious questions turning
And evil yearning,
They boast, poor creatures of the sod,
But never win true learning.

3. And I too hear of Thee, O Christ,
Within the Sacred Pages;
I find my heart’s deep need sufficed,
Rich joy my soul engages:
And in the Sacramental Feast
By faith I see thee near me,
In need to hear me;
The vision of my great High Priest
Alone, alone can cheer me.

4. King Herod and his court stood up,
Vile jests at Jesus aiming,
In a white robe they dressed Him up
For scorn and bitter shaming;
Then swift to Pilate sent Him back,
Between themselves arranging,
With temper changing,
A friendship; there had been no lack
Before of hate estranging.

5. Dear Lord, white clothes were given to Thee
In that most dreadful story,
That I in robes arrayed might be
Of righteousness and glory;
In God the Father’s holy sight
These robes alone enfold me,
His Word has told me;
Nothing avails the Accuser’s spite,
Guiltless His eyes behold me.

6. Jesu, Thy goodness I confess:
O let Thy grace preserve me,
Clothed in Thy robe of righteousness,
In faith and love to serve Thee.
And when I lay this frame away,
Its fleshly lusts resigning,
In strength declining,
Receive my soul in robes of day
Through endless ages shining.

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