Sunday, November 12, 2023

Tacky Hymns 103

A short while ago, I ordered two hymnal supplements at about the same time. One of them is a supplement to the ELCA's Evangelical Lutheran Worship titled All Creation Sings (hereafter ACS), published by Augsburg Fortress in 2020; I didn't notice it existed until I found myself singing in a torso of Handel's Messiah at a local ELCA church. The other is The Augustana Service Book and Hymnal 2022 Supplement (TASBH) from the Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America (ELDoNA), published by Repristination Press of Malone, Texas. The first time I ordered it, I made the mistake of going for what seemed to be a good deal on Thrift Books and, despite the listing having the title given above and an image of its front cover, what I got was actually the Ev. Lutheran Augustana Synod's The Hymnal and Order of Service, Lectionary Edition (Rock Island, Ill.: Augustana Book Concern, 1930), a copy of which I already had, thank you very much. Oh, well; more material for a future Retro-Tacky Hymns thread.

Long story short, one of these hymnal supplements is tackier than the other.

I'm going to save ACS for a future post, or more likely, series of posts. There's just so much material in there. Meanwhile, I'm going to give the lie to the title of this post right off the bat. I find no cause of death in TASBH, other than (as one might expect from ELDoNA and an outfit named Repristination Press) it is More Conservative Than God. The typesetting betrays a "do it yourself" ethic, but I've seen worse (and been threatened with a lawsuit by the compiler of the book). After a foreword, it goes right into The Order of the Divine Service, which is very similar to the Holy Communion service in The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH), only with the pastor's chant notes made explicit in the text, rather than reserved for a rarely-seen accompanying volume. The roll-backitude of the setting is such that it even transposes the music back up after recent hymnals across American Lutheranism took it down a step.

Given TLH's two musical settings of "Create in me a clean heart" (one each in the Communion and Non-Communion services), TASBH plumps for the non-Communion one, which rather rubs against the grain of adaptation from TLH to subsequent hymnals. Inserted before the service of the Sacrament is a page-long exhortation to the communicants, concluding with a lavabo prayer (prayed silently while the pastor washes his hands at the credence table), so despite everything, this book is not without its innovations. Considerable space is devoted to the musical settings of all the Proper Prefaces. If, like me, you grew up in a TLH church with a pastor (my dad, for instance) who chanted his part of the Communion liturgy, the notes to the Lord's Prayer and Words of Institution (etc.) may be familiar, but other TLH-bred-and-raised folks may incorrectly perceive them as another innovation.

The next thing in the book, pp. 39-40, is the Athanasian Creed, laid out in paragraphs (i.e., not to be spoken responsorially). Then there are Sentences for the Seasons, which look like Hallelujah Verses for before the Gospel lesson, with chant melodies. (They're probably meant to be antiphons for psalms.) Then comes the ELDoNA's liturgical calendar, restoring those good old Pre-Lenten Sundays (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima) and returning what recent hymnals have dubbed the Pentecost Season to its prior designation as the Trinity Season. The list of festivals includes, among more widely celebrated occasions, St. Henry of Finland (Jan. 19), St. Cyril of Alexandria (Feb. 9), Martin Luther (Feb. 18), St. Patrick (March 17), St. Joseph (March 19), Philipp Melanchthon (April 19; a personage I'm told one does not bad-mouth in the presence of Bishop Heiser), St. Athanasius (May 2), St. Boniface (June 5), David Henkel (June 15), St. Olaf (July 29), St. Lawrence (Aug. 10), St. Ignatius of Antioch (Oct. 17), St. Martin of Tours (Nov. 11; Luther's nameday, don't cha know), St. Nicholas (Dec. 6), St. Ambrose (Dec. 7), St. Lucy (Dec. 13) and St. Thorlak (Dec. 23). Spoiler alert: Some of these names will come up again toward the end of this post.

Starting on p. 45, the propers for the church year are laid out, service by service, starting with the First Sunday in Advent, each including a Gregorian chant tone (in modern notation, thank God), the Introit, Collect, Lessons and Gradual with the Hallelujah Verse included in the Gradual, as in TLH. The Lessons are the Epistle and Gospel, with an apparently optional "additional reading," usually from the Old Testament; also like the TLH lectionary. Already, the front parts of this book are more useful and inclusive (despite only having one order of service) than those of Lutheran Service Book (LSB). This section continues until p. 174, where we find a section on "Collects for Various Occasions," making an Altar Book-type supplement unnecessary for a minister using this book to lead worship. Luther's Small Catechism, complete, begins on p. 201, even including the Preface. There's an order of adult baptism on p. 221, an order of private confession and absolution on p. 225, a service of corporate confession on p. 227, examination and confirmation on p. 231. Ceremonially, it's a one-stop shop.

The next big section of the book – really, the last half – is titled "Office Hymns," but this is a misnomer. I take "Office Hymn" as a designation of the main hymn for a prayer service, such as Matins or Vespers; the long-standing terminology for the main hymn of the Divine Service is, rather, "Hymn of the Day." Just sayin'. And that's what this section is: the main hymn, or Kernlied if you will, selected by the ELDoNA divines for every Sunday of the church year, plus some bonus observances at the end. And because I find this terribly interesting, I'm going to bore you with the whole list. But first, a word about the afterparts of the book. Starting on p. 397, there's a section titled "Sources for Hymns" that starts with a key to their shorthand for various sources. Then it simply lays out, in numbered order, the titles of the hymns and what books they came from; mainly the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, TLH or the Lutheran Hymnary (1913; incorrectly credited as Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary), with a handful of other sources (including a 1925 edition of the book I mistakenly ordered when I first tried to get my hands on TASBH). The fact that there are only 77 hymns in this supplement makes it possible for this entire index to fit on a 2-page spread. And it also raises the, for me, disappointing issue that there is nowhere an alphabetical index of hymns or hymn tunes, nor a metrical index of tunes, which I consider to be essential apparatus for a hymn-book. There, 3 tacks; one for each missing index. I trust (looking at you, Heiser) this issue will be rectified when the full TASBH, of which this is merely a taster, eventually comes out.

Now, the full list of "Office Hymns," some of which are surprising choices but none that I would consider tacky, with a few brief notes:
  • 1. Advent 1: Savior of the heathen, come, to NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND. Yes, we're rolling "nations" back to "heathen."
  • 2. Advent 2: The day is surely drawing near, to ES IST GEWISSLICH.
  • 3. Advent 3: The only Son from heaven, to HERR CHRIST, DER EINIG GOTTS SOHN. 1 more tack for not including the tune name in the layout (though often the first line of the original German text is provided). I won't keep reapplying tacks for this, but it becomes an ongoing issue from here forward; I'm drawing on my own knowledge of hymn tunes to supply their titles.
  • 4. Advent 4: To Jordan came our Lord, the Christ, to CHRIST UNSER HERR ZUM JORDAN KAM. It's good to see this hymn prominently used. It was a sad omission from TLH.
  • 5. Christmas: O Jesus Christ, all praise to Thee, to GELOBET SEIST DU, JESU. The TLH translation was "All praise to Thee, eternal God."
  • 6. Christmas 1: To God the anthem raising, to VON GOTT WILL ICH NICHT LASSEN (Erfurt).
  • 7. Circumcision & Name of Jesus: To the Name of our salvation, to DULCE CARMEN.
  • 8. Christmas 2: The newborn Child this early morn, to ICH KOMM AUS FREMDEN LANDEN HER.
  • 9. Epiphany: Now sing we, now rejoice, to IN DULCI JUBILO.
  • 10. Epiphany 1: Praise God the Lord, ye sons of men, to LOBT GOTT, IHR CHRISTEN.
  • 11. Epiphany 2: Happy the man who feareth God, to WO GOTT ZUM HAUS.
  • 12. Epiphany 3: Why art thou cast down, my soul?, to JESUS, MEINE ZUVERSICHT.
  • 13. Epiphany 4: Lord, hear the voice of my complaint, to ICH RUF ZU DIR. Another important hymn that TLH omitted!
  • 14. Epiphany 5: In heav'n is joy and gladness, to AU FORT DE MA DETRESSE.
  • 15. Transfiguration: O wondrous type, O vision fair, to ERHALT UNS HERR. This tune choice is a surprise after I've learned to know this hymn to DEO GRACIAS.
  • 16. Septuagesima: Salvation unto us has come, to ES IST DAS HEIL.
  • 17. Sexagesima: May God bestow on us His grace, to ES WOLLT UNS GOTT.
  • 18. Quinquagesima: If Thy beloved Son, O God, to NUN FREUT EUCH.
  • 19. Ash Wednesday: When o'er my sins I sorrow, to HERR CHRIST, DER EINIG GOTTS SOHN. Another slight surprise, given that this hymn has at least two chorales written expressly for it (both titled WENN MEINE SÜND).
  • 20. Lent 1: O Christ, who art the light and day, to LEONBURG.
  • 21. Lent 2: O faithful God, we worship Thee, to WENN WIR IN HÖCHSTEN NÖTEN.
  • 22. Lent 3: A mighty fortress is our God, to EIN FESTE BURG (rhythmic).
  • 23. Lent 4: Christ, the Life of all the living, to JESU, MEINES LEBENS LEBEN (Darmstadt).
  • 24. Lent 5: Lord Jesus Christ, true man and God, to VATER UNSER.
  • 25. Lent 6: Lamb of God, pure and holy, to O LAMM GOTTES.
  • 26. Maundy Thursday: The death of Jesus Christ, our Lord, to HERRNHUT.
  • 27. Good Friday: O sacred Head, now wounded, to HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN.
  • 28. Holy Saturday: Ere yet the dawn hath filled the skies, to GELOBET SEIST DU.
  • 29. Easter: Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands, to CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN.
  • 30. Easter 1: Ye sons and daughers of the King, to GELOBT SEI GOTT.
  • 31. Easter 2: The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want, to BELMONT.
  • 32. Easter 3: Zion mourns in fear and anguish, to ZION KLAGT. How interesting to see the Easter season take on such a Reformation-tide note of lament.
  • 33. Easter 4: Look down, O Lord, from heav'n, behold, to ACH GOTT VOM HIMMEL.
  • 34. Easter 5: Our Father, Thou in heav'n above, to VATER UNSER.
  • 35. Ascension: Dear Christians, one and all rejoice, to NUN FREUT EUCH.
  • 36. Sunday after Ascension: Had God not come, may Israel say, to a tune somewhat similar to WO GOTT DER HERR NICHT BEI UNS HÄLT, which Hymnary-dot-org somewhat dubiously identifies as GUD, DU AF INGA SKIFTEN VET.
  • 37. Pentecost: Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord, to KOMM, HEILIGER GEIST.
  • 38. Trinity: We all believe in one true God (the Apostles' Creed one), to WIR GLAUBEN ALL AN EINEN GOTT, VATER. Given this hymnal's adherence to Luther's hymns, I'm surprised his Nicene Creed paraphrase isn't here. In fact I'm tempted to give this supplement 1 tack for the oversight, though I'm sure the full hymnal will rectify it.
  • 39. Trinity 1: From God shall naught divide me, to VON GOTT WILL ICH NICHT LASSEN (Erfurt).
  • 40. Trinity 2: The mouth of fools doth God confess, to ES SPRICHT DER UNWEISEN MUND. Another solid Luther hymn that other major American Lutheran hymnals have overlooked.
  • 41. Trinity 3: In Thee alone, O Christ, my Lord, to ALLEIN ZU DIR, albeit an isometric version that I almost didn't recognize.
  • 42. Trinity 4: Lord Jesus Christ, Thou highest good, to ADORATION.
  • 43. Trinity 5: My inmost heart now raises, to AUS MEINES HERZENS GRUNDE.
  • 44. Trinity 6: That man a godly life might live, to IN GOTTES NAMEN FAHREN WIR.
  • 45. Trinity 7: Wondrous King, all-glorious, to WUNDERBARER KÖNIG.
  • 46. Trinity 8: The will of God is always best, to WAS MEIN GOTT WILL.
  • 47. Trinity 9: Oh, blest the house, whate'er befall, to WO GOTT ZUM HAUS.
  • 48. Trinity 10: My Jesus, as Thou wilt, to DENBY. I cocked my tack gun when I saw the title at the top of my page, but when I realized the tune wasn't JEWETT, I eased my finger off the trigger.
  • 49. Trinity 11: All mankind fell in Adam's fall, to WENN WIR IN HÖCHSTEN NÖTEN.
  • 50. Trinity 12: O Christ, our true and only Light, to O JESU CHRIST, MEINS LEBENS LICHT.
  • 51. Trinity 13: Jesus, priceless Treasure, to JESU, MEINE FREUDE.
  • 52. Trinity 14: Show pity, Lord! O Lord, forgive, to ERBARM DICH MEIN.
  • 53. Trinity 15: Why art thou thus cast down, my heart, to WARUM BETRÜBST DU DICH, MEIN HERZ.
  • 54. Trinity 16: Now lay we calmly in the grave, to NUN LASST UNS DEN LEIB (Wittenberg).
  • 55. Trinity 17: In Thee, Lord, have I put my trust, to IN DICH HAB ICH GEHOFFET.
  • 56. Trinity 18: Thee Lord, our God, we praise, to HERR GOTT, DICH LOBEN WIR. Luther's Te Deum paraphrase, which most American Lutheran hymnals (saving the Ev. Lutheran Hymnary) egregiously omit. It's good to see it here.
  • 57. Trinity 19: We all believe in one true God, exactly the same as No. 38 and still, not Luther's Nicene Creed paraphrase. ELDoNA, you're asking for it: 1 tack.
  • 58. Trinity 20: How lovely shines the morning star, to WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET, the "Queen of Chorales." Strangely, this book omits the "King of Chorales," Wake, awake, the night is flying / WACHET AUF. A strange oversight that I trust (ahem) will be repaired in the full hymnal.
  • 59. Trinity 21: By grace I'm saved, grace free and boundless, to O DASS ICH TAUSEND (Dretzel).
  • 60. Trinity 22: From depths of woe I cry to Thee, to AUS TIEFER NOT (Walther; rhythmic).
  • 61. Trinity 23: For help, O(h) whither shall I flee, to AUS TIEFER NOT (Walther; isometric).
  • 62. Trinity 24: In God, my faithful God, to AUF MEINEN LIEBEN GOTT.
  • 63. Trinity 25: When in the hour of utmost need, to WENN WIR IN HÖCHSTEN NÖTEN.
  • 64. Trinity 26: Now thank we all our God, to NUN DANKET ALLE GOTT.
  • 65. Trinity 27: The Bridegroom soon will call us, to ACH GOTT VOM HIMMELREICHE. Note there is a break in the numbering after this hymn, the first of several; I'm guessing the lights of ELDoNA plan to keep these numbers locked in, even as they add more hymns to their hymnal-in-progress.
  • 67. St. Lucy: Rejoice, all ye believers, to HAF TRONES LAMPA FÄRDIG. I don't remember seeing this commemoration assigned a hymn in a Lutheran book before.
  • 72. Holy Innocents: Sweet flowerets of the martyr band, to DAS WALT GOTT VATER.
  • 73. St. Henry of Finland: Zion stands by hills surrounded, to ZION.
  • 75. Conversion of St. Paul: O Thou, who dost accord us, to INNSBRUCK, a.k.a. O WELT, ICH MUSS DICH LASSEN.
  • 76. St. Titus: Lord of the Church, we humbly pray, to PURLEIGH. Here's another celebration I didn't expect to have its own assigned hymn.
  • 77. Presentation of our Lord: In peace and joy I now depart, to MIT FRIED UND FREUD.
  • 81. St. Patrick: Look from Thy sphere of endless day, to ST. CRISPIN.
  • 83. Annunciation: All glory be to God on high, to ALLEIN GOTT IN DER HÖH.
  • 90. Presentation of the Augsburg Confession: My Church! My Church! My dear old Church, to ATHENS. My trigger-finger itched.
  • 101. St. Michael & All Angels: Lord God, we all to Thee give praise, to ANGELS' HYMN.
  • 106. All Saints: Christ is our Corner-stone, to DARWALL'S 148TH.
  • 109. Jesus calls us; o'er the tumult, to STUTTGART.
For Lutherans who lament the latitudinarian trajectory of recent synodical hymnals, this supplement may hold great promise. With a few exceptions, it adheres doggedly to the chorale tradition of classic Lutheranism, with some representation from earlier centuries of church history. It provides a one-year, hymn-of-the-day cycle that no lover of the Lutheran church's hymn-singing heritage should be ashamed of. If it omits anything, that's likely due to it being just the spine of a larger book still to be published, and that'll be an interesting book to look out for.

Bottom line, I'm very irritated with this book for not providing tune titles or useful indices, and also for omitting Luther's Nicene Creed paraphrase despite two(!) golden opportunities. But for these reasons alone (despite a couple of unfortunate omissions and typos in the credit lines, etc.), this hymnal comes away with a total of 5 tacks. Brace yourself for ACS, though. This thread is about to get turbulent.

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