Conversation and information about music and liturgy from a confessional Lutheran perspective.

Friday, October 30, 2009


OK, I'm out of my sick bed - and am now in Schuyler, Nebraska playing for a Doxology conference. Thanks, Iggy, for starting off Round II of our discussion of "LSB After Three Years" with your nominations. I'll keep things going down with mine:

1 - Personal Favorite - By far my favorite new text in the hymnal is "All Christians Who Have Been Baptized" (LSB #596). Thank you, Jon Vieker, for translating this Gerhardt gem into English for us. And I think the pairing of this text with NUN FREUT EUCH is perfect. Historically, we sing this tune to tell the story of Christ with "Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice"; here, we sing the story of our baptismal life in Christ.

2 - Most Beneficial for Your Congregation's Piety - I would also say the above, but let me add another one here, which I think has been especially helpful for the Gospel at Bethany: "O Gracious Lord, with Love Draw Near" (LSB #599). Yes this is a new tune, and I was envisioning "best new texts to old tunes" with these nominations, but this hymn has filled a need at Bethany more than perhaps any other next text: for years I've been looking for just the right hymn to sing before the Rite of Confirmation, and now, thanks LSB, we've got it!

3 - Hymn that Most Effectively Catechizes - "The Gift Christ Freely Gives" (LSB #602) does a wonderul job of teaching the congregation about the means of grace, nurturing in them a Lutheran liturgical piety.

4 - Best Fit for an Old Tune - Another hymn that catechizes well is my pick in this category, as it sings like it was written for it's tune: "Jesus Comes Today with Healing". I've not historically been a huge fan of this tune, as I generally like a little more rhythmic variety in a tune, but the rhyme and rhythm of this David Rogner translation (of a Heinrich Puchta hymn) really make this tune come alive. A great marriage of tune and text.

5 - Text that Helped You Use an Older Tune - As I mentioned before, here I would agree with Christina Roberts and nominate "Christ Sits at God's Right Hand".

6 - Congregational Favorite - Have the people in your parish embraced a new text to the point where they associate an old tune now primarily with a new LSB text? It's hard to know what new LSB text has been a hit with the folks. There was a lot more talk about the new music in HS98 when it came out. Parishioners at both congregations where I introduced HS98 (Trinity-Peoria and Bethany-Naperville) loved "The Tree of Life", "What Is This Bread?", and "God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It", for example. They were all big hits. And there were others. So far with LSB I can only name one that is certainly on everyone's lips: "We Praise You and Acknowledge You". With LSB, we've mostly enjoyed having everything in one book in a most excellent layout. So I hope some Bethany members will help me out here and nominate their own favorites. For now, let me say that one possible candidate is "Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen" (LSB #474). Folks always liked the tune, EARTH AND ALL STARS, but many didn't care for the text. Regardless of one's thoughts on "Earth and All Stars", I think all would agree that here we have a more liturgically useful text - and with this text I no longer get complaints about singing this tune!

OK - I put myself out there. Those are my choices (for now). Anyone else want to play? :)


Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes) said...

Note sure if these are all new. Do you have a list somewhere? I might amend these then.

1. Water Blood and Spirit Crying
2. Hear Us Father When We Pray
3. All Christians Who Have Been Baptized
4. Wide Open Stand the Gates
5. The Infant Priest Was Holy Born
6. (Probably one I don't wish to mention)

Cheryl said...

One of my favorite new additions is "When I Behold Jesus Christ?" (LSB 542). I guess I'm also partial to the way you play it. :-)

Was "No Tramp of Soldiers' Marching Feet" in LW?

As Matt indicates, I think part of the difficulty in this discussion is that those of us who aren't as well-versed in hymnody as others may have difficulty remembering which hymns are new to LSB. I just sing what my cantor puts before me. I don't think much about whether it's new or old. :-)

Phillip said...

Thanks for the list, Matt. Great hymns! I particularly like "Wide Open Stands the Gates" and wish we sang it more. (Guess I need to talk to myself about that?!)

And, yes, Cheryl, I did make this somewhat difficult as I was presuming people would remember what was in LW and/or HS98.

Doesn't matter, though. I propose a new rule: if you *think* it is new, then we'll credit LSB for making it *new for you*. So we'll count, for example, "The Infant Priest" (which was in HS98) from Matt and also Cheryl's two nominations (also from HS98).

And, yes, my piano rendition of "When I Behold Jesus Christ" is pretty well-received, isn't it, Cheryl? I'll have to look into copyrights and see if I can make that available to the gang here at Liturgy Soluuuuuuuutions. ;)


IggyAntiochus said...

Oh, yeah! "Alleluia, Jesus is Risen" would rank up there in my congregation.

We aren't so opposed to "Earth and all Stars," but it doesn't always fit the readings. Its a good song to be selective about the verses, so I usually suggest the verses that are most closely associated with the Scripture or psalmody of the day.

Suffice to say "Alleluia, Jesus is Risen" gets plenty of exposure during the Easter Season, so I am glad we have another text to choose from.

Unknown said...

Okay, now that GSI is over I will take the time to play along, and this time I will even follow the rules instead of inventing my own categories :-)

1) Personal Favorite: I pass, the question is too hard. See, already I'm breaking the rules.

2) Most Beneficial for OSLC Piety: 773 Hear Us, Father, When We Pray. This could also fit into the "helping us use and love an old tune" category, but I am placing it here because Bird has given us such a valuable text that focuses our understanding and use of prayer in a world that wants to treat prayer as a work and/or means of grace.

3) Best Catechizer: Possibly 598 Once in the Blest Baptismal Waters. While technically not new to anything (the only hymn that even gets to share a number with its earlier version - TLH 598) the scaled down stanzas and removal from the death and burial section have made this an incredibly useful hymn for us.

4)Best Fit for Old Tune: Here's where I will place 596 All Christians Who Have Been Baptized. Although I would it could go in nearly everyone of these categories.

5) Text that Helped Use and Old Tune: Well I already listed 564 Christ Sits At God's Right Hand, but I would also put 361 O Sing of Christ in this category. The FOREST GREEN tune is lovely, but we never used it. Now, coupled to this great Starke Christmas text its a regular part of Christmas here.

6)Congergational Favorite: 941 We Praise You and Acknowledge You. No doubt. Absolutley. Hands down the favorite. I would also say that 624 The Infant Preist has been used here so much since HS98 that the people primarily associate ROCKINGHAM OLD with that text.

Phillip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phillip said...

Hi Christina,

I forgot about "O Sing of Christ". Good choice! I love FOREST GREEN, but even my own wife couldn't be convinced it was the best tune for "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Now, thanks to Starke's hymn, I've got a better option - and a perfect hymn for after the first reading each year at Lessons & Carols.

Interstingly enough, I used to split "O Little Town" by alternating tunes between stanzas. It was easy to do, since LW had the two tunes on facing pages. I thought it was cool and rather clever. But some in the congregation didn't care for the compromise.

Hope you had a good time at GSI. Sorry I couldn't make it this year.

Micah Schmidt said...

I hope this isn't too late to join the discussion.

1) Personal Favorite: Entrust Your Days and Burdens
I have to admit that when I first heard the tune I wasn't impressed, but the more I sing it, the more I love it.

2) Most Beneficial for Your Congregation's Piety: Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia
I'm not the pastor, but I personally would say this one because it moved us out of our "social comfort zone."

3) Hymn that Most Effectively Catechizes: God's Own Child
The tune is a little choppy, but it is easy to learn and the text is very strong. Another congregation had its children sing stanza one and it was very effective.

4) Best Fit for an Old Tune: Christ the Eternal Lord
I'm glad to see at least a few Dudley-Smith hymns and this one is a gem.

5) Text that Helped You Use an Older Tune: Alleluia, Jesus Is Risen
The pastor acknowledged that this would forever replace Earth and All Stars. 'Nuff said.

6) Congregational Favorite: All the Earth with Joy is Sounding
I was previously familiar with the tune, but assumed my congregation would not warm up to it. I was very wrong.

7) I would like to add my own category because of all its instances: Best New Tune for an Old Text: O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is
The tune is beautiful and I'm overjoyed to add another Gerhardt to the repertoire.

I absolutely love the additions to the LSB. A great surprise to me has been discovering "new" hymns, only to realise they were in the LW (one was in TLH)!

Phillip said...

Not too late at all, Micah. Great nominations.

Some would have made my list, but were not new to Bethany because we had been using HS98 (which had some of the gems you listed).

Still, they were new where you are serving, and so are good examples to bring up. Indeed, as much as I like "O Jesus Christ, Thy Manger Is", I still haven't used it. Now I think I will!

And I learned the same lesson with "All the Earth with Joy Is Sounding". I thought it too hard, but had the children's choir sing it one Easter. It was well-received, and well-sung from the beginning. It's one we sing every year.

Where are you serving, may I ask?

Anonymous said...

How does your organist know what time signature to use as LSB has none?

Phillip Magness said...

Not sure why you posted that question here, Mrs. L, as the thread is an old thread discussing "new favorites" from the LSB.

But it is common practice for hymns not to use key signatures. Many hymns - especially Lutheran chorales and Geneva psalter tunes, as well as plainsong hymns and even many folk hymns - don't have regular meters. So rather than clutter the page with time signature changes, we just follow the texts, view the phrase structure, and organize the beat accordingly. Even when there is a regular number of "beats", many hymns often have hemeolas in them, so it really is best to let the text inform your beat pattern.

Many 19th & 20th century hymns do have regular meters. In those cases, one just sees how many beats there are in a measure and then counts accordingly.

IggyAntiochus said...

One technique is to figure out what the base beat is. In "Joy to the World" it is the quarter note.

I would count it out like this, where the capital letters indicate the note in the music.

ONE and ONE e-and-A ONE and one AND ONE and ONE and ONE and one...

That would equal:

JOY and TO e-and THE WORLD and one THE LORD and IS and COME and one...

A good example of something that doesn't fit well into a time signature is "Of the Fathers Love Begotten."

It is mostly eighth notes that run in duples and triples. The triples do not count as "three notes per one beat" they run closer to standard eighth notes. If I had to count, I would go with...



Eventually, with practice the organist will be able to function without the time signature.

This is hard to demonstrate on a blog, so feel free to drop more questions here and we can give you some feedback.