Sunday, November 29, 2009

Singing the Apostles Creed: The Early Years

Over at, there are music posts every Friday.  Last Friday featured a blast from the 80's past, "Creed" by Petra.  Of course I asked about the Rich Mullens' "Creed".  JW noted he knew of Petra because of his dad, but had not been exposed to much Rich Mullens.

This led to some thinking on my part, and this post featuring non-traditional settings of this historic creed.  Now it's turned into a two-part series (potentially three).


In the second article, the ICET text states, "He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit."  The correct translation is "Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit." 

Latin word order differs significantly from English, and articles are rarely used, but here is the direct translation. 

     qui  conceptus est   de    Spiritu Sancto
     who  was conceived  by/of   Spirit  Holy

The use of the term "catholic," i.e. "the holy catholic church" refers to the "universal" church, the church of all times and all places, and does not refer to any particular denomination.

     sanctam   Ecclesiam      catholicam
     holy       Church    universal/catholic

The Lutheran Hymnal, Lutheran Worship and Lutheran Service Book chose to translate the phrase as "holy Christian Church."

Here is a guy giving us the Latin text, first spoken and then chanted.  A couple things: yes that is a rosary (I give no endorsement to this practice) and no, this is not the best way to chant.  The video is a tutorial for learning Latin, so each note of the chant is given a succinct beat.

Moving ahead a few hundred years, here is a choral version.  If it sounds to your English ear that the text picks up in the middle of a thought, that is because it does!  During this time, a cantor would intone the first phrase, and the choir would continue with the rest of the creed.

Cantor: Credo in Deum
        I believe in God

Choir: Patrem omnipotentem, 
            Creatorem caeli et terra...
       the Father almighty, 
            Creator of heaven and earth...

I am not sure of the composer of this setting, but I would place it in the later middle ages, possibly very early Renaissance era.

In the next post, English versions, both spoken and sung.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Multitude of Mighty Fortresses: To Be Continued...

As you may remember, this blog started with a series called "A Multitude of Mighty Fortresses," revolving around the great Reformation hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."

I had originally planned to do 4 posts, one for each stanza.  This post makes #13, and I have only gotten to lines 3 and 4 of the first stanza.

The series will pick up again sometime in the new year, possibly towards the end of Epiphany and the beginning of Lent.  The hymn is the appointed Hymn of the Day for Lent 1.

For now, let's settle in for Advent.

Introducing WorshipConcord

Here is the discription of WorshipConcord from the blog.

WorshipConcord is a resource for worship leaders, lay and ordained. It is a “go-to” place for acquiring the necessary tools to make worship choices that are good for the church. It is a safe place for asking questions, sharing resources, and discussing each other’s work in a non-threatening way.

The goal of WorshipConcord is twofold:

● to promote harmony by fostering respect between those who appreciate different worship forms, and . . .

● to equip worship leaders with the tools they need to evaluate contemporary forms for use in the local congregation.

The most recent posts feature "Chemnitz on Traditions" (so far there are 11 posts in this series) and "My Favorite Thanksgiving Hymns" (four posts in this series).

Thanks to All for Hymn's Facebook follower Micah, who also follows WorshipConcord on Facebook.  I found this blog by clicking on his icon.

You, too, can check out All for Hymn on Facebook and become a follower!

While you are there, check out WorshipConcord's Facebook page as well.

If you know of other worship or music blogs of note, please drop the link in any comment box.

Advent I: Sound of Majesty

One of the features got me hooked on Sound of Majesty was its Advent programming.  Each Sunday in Advent features readings from the historic lectionary and quotes from one of Luther's sermons for that day.

Listen live at on Sundays at 11:00 pm Central.  Alternately, you can listen to this week's broadcast here and follow along with the playlist.

Advent I: Savior of the Nations, Come

Dating back to Ambrose (340-397)and translated to German by Martin Luther, "Savior of the Nations, Come" is a wonderful way to ring in Advent and the "new year" of the church.

Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh - 
Woman's offspring, pure and fresh.

For a word-for-word translation of the German text, check out the first half of this video. The translation appears in text while the organ plays the chorale.

Here's a guy just having fun with the tune. I call it "Hymn and Toccata in G-Dorian."

And this guy has fun with the tune and likes the harmonies in both Lutheran Worship and Lutheran Service Book.

For all you orchestral fans out there, this is a lovely instrumental arrangement by JS Bach. If it ain't baroque, fix it!

From Cantata 61, in German. This is not your ordinary church choir; they can do a trill in unison!

For You are the Father's Son
Who in flesh the vict'ry won.
By Your mighty pow'r make whole
All our ills of flesh and soul.

Just for Fun: Muppets take Bohemia

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Introducing Wordwise Hymns

Wordwise Hymns takes a different approach to hymn blogging.  Scrolling through the archive, you will notice that blogger Robert Cottrill often provides historical background on hymns and hymn writers.

If it happened on a given day, he blogs about it on that day!  Its kind of like having a commemoration day for a hymn or hymn writer.

Robert recently weighed in on a Sound of Majesty broadcast here on All for Hymn.  That particular broadcast featured the tune "Miles Lane" with the text "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name."

Today marks the anniversary of the birth of James Ellor, who wrote the tune, "Diadem" for this piece.  Neither of these tunes made it to Lutheran Service Book, so I will feature Diadem plus the tune "Coronation" from LSB below.  For the tune "Miles Lane" check out this broadcast of Sound of Majesty.  You can also follow along with the playlist for that show.

Read Robert's post on James Ellor here.  You can read about Robert's faith journey here.  Robert has served as parish musician, parish pastor and educator.  In our tradition he would probably be called Kantor.

Tune: Coronation

Coronation with a contemporary twist

Tune: Diadem

Diadem with a Mens Chorus

Diadem with Mahalia Jackson

Time Out #41: Now Come, Thou Blessed One

The latest Time Out episode features "Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying" from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941).

The broadcast is here, and the words and melody are here.

Special thanks to Layman Dan and Southern Lutheran Kantor for filling my request.  They had a few hurdles along the way, given the copyright of the LSB setting, and SLK provided the melody and words from TLH.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Time Out Turn-back: Anthems Be to Thee Addressed

Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise,
Manifested by the star
To the sages from afar,
Branch of royal David's stem,
In Thy birth at Bethlehem.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.

Manifest at Jordan's stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme,
And at Cana, Wedding-guest,
In Thy Godhead manifest;
Manifest in power divine,
Changing water into wine.
Anthems be to Thee addressed
God in man made manifest.

Manifest in making whole
Palsied limbs and fainting soul;
Manifest in valiant fight,
Quelling all the devil's might;
Manifest in gracious will,
Ever bringing good from ill.
Anthems be to Thee addressed,
God in man made manifest.

Sun and moon shall darkened be,
Stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
Christ will then like lightning shine,
All will see His glorious sign;
All will then the trumpet hear,
All will see the Judge appear;
Thou by all wilt be confessed,
God in man made manifest.

Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
Mirrored in Thy holy Word;
May we imitate Thee now
And be pure as pure art Thou
That we like to Thee may be
At Thy great Epiphany
And may praise Thee, ever blest,
God in man made manifest.

US Thanksgiving: In Thy Garner to Abide

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come,
Bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come,
Raise the glorious harvest home.

US Thanksgiving: With Countless Gifts of Love...

Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms
Has blest us on our way
With countless gifts of love
And still is ours today.

Oh, may this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us
And keep us in His grace
And guide us when perplexed
And free us from all ills
In this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given,
The Son, and Him who reigns
With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heav'n adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Indulging in a little Distler: Oh, Bless the House, Whate'er Befall

Scoping out youtube for Hugo Distler's choral arrangement of "Wachet Auf" didn't yield the desired results, but it did yield this interesting little piece.

It falls into the "theme and variations" genre.  There is a simple, hymn-like playing of the theme, followed by a number of variations.

This is a live recording, with coughs and a few mistakes thrown in for good measure.  Otherwise, it would sound canned ;)  Ten Table Talk Radio points to the person who can identify the word that is spoken at the very end of the recording.  It's probably in Dutch.

Southern Lutheran Kantor: the first variation is for you!  I think you could rock it out on the Mighty Capra.

Mom and Dad: stanza 3 below is for you!  I think we all turned out OK.

Oh, blest the house, whate'er befall,
Where Jesus Christ is all in all!
A home that is not wholly His -
How sad and poor and dark it is!

Oh, blest that house where faith is found
And all in hope and love abound;
They trust their God and serve Him still
And do in all His holy will!

Oh, blest the parents who give heed
Unto their children's foremost need
And weary not of care or cost.
May none to them and heaven be lost!

Oh, blest the house, it prospers well,
In peace and joy the parents dwell,
And in their children's lot is shown
How richly God can bless His own.

Then here will I and mine today
A solemn promise make and say:
Though all the world forsake Thy Word,
I and my house will serve the Lord!

Text from LSB 862

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gloria sei, drei! Glory be, three!

The text of verse three of "Wachet Auf" below is not the same as the one in Bach's cantata setting.

Here is the one that is sung below. You will notice the "close approximation" in translating the second-last line :) Perhaps this consumation of bride and groom has no particular translation! Feel free to drop your own translation in the comment section.  

Also, I mistranslated Line 2 before, and it is corrected here.

Gloria sei dir gesungen
Glory to thee be sung

Mit Menschen- und englischen Zungen,

With human and angelic tongues,

Mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schon.
With harp and with beautiful cymbals.

Von zwölf Perlen sind die Pforten,
Of twelve pearls are the portals,

An deiner Stadt sind wir Konsorten
In Thy city we are in concert with

Der Engel hoch um deinen Thron.
The angel high upon Thy throne.

Kein Aug hat je gespürt,
No eye has yet seen,

Kein Ohr hat je gehört
No ear has yet heard

Solche Freude!
Such joy!

Des sind wir froh,
Therefore we are extatic,

io, io!

Ewig in dulci jubilo.
Forever in sweet jubilation.

Introducing Prime Time America

I like to think of Prime Time America as a Christian media alternative to All Things Considered.  If segments on crucial differences between Christianity and Islam are more relevant to you than a segment on the invasion Asiatic bittersweet vines in New England forests, this program is worth checking out.

If you've ever tuned in to Sound of Majesty, you'll recognize that the two shows share the same host, Greg Wheatley.

Last Monday the show featured both a discussion on Christianity and Islam as well as the author of the book, "This Is Your Brain on Music."  You can catch the first hour here, and the second hour here.

Prime Time America airs weekdays on Christian radio stations around the country.  For a station list, try this link.  It is also broadcast over the internet on beginning at 4:00 PM Central.

Unable to catch the streaming broadcast?  The show is archived for your convenience.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gloria sei, wieder! Glory be, again!

Gloria sei dir gesungen
Glory to Thee be sung

Mit Menschen- und mit Engelzungen,
With singing folk and singing angels,

Mit Harfen und mit Zimbeln schön.
With harp and beautiful cymbals.

Von zwölf Perlen sind die Tore
Of twelve pearls are the doors

An deiner Stadt, wir stehn im Chore
In Thy city, we stand with the choir

Der Engel hoch um deinen Thron.
of angels high on the throne.

Kein Aug hat je gespürt,
No eye has yet seen,

Kein Ohr hat mehr gehört
No ear has ever heard

Solche Freude!
Such joy!

Des jauchzen wir und singen dir
So we rejoice and sing to Thee

Das Halleluja für und für!
That Alleluja forever and ever!

Gloria sei! Glory Be!

Now let all the heavens adore Thee,
Let saints and angels sing before Thee,
With harp and cymbal’s clearest tone;
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where, joining with the choir immortal,
We gather round Thy radient throne;
No eye has seen the light,
No ear has heard the might
Of Thy glory;
Therefore will we
Sing hymns of praise and joy to Thee!

Zion hört! Zion hears!

Zion hears the watchmen singing,
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom;
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her Star is risen, her Light is come.
Now come, Thou Blessèd One,
Lord Jesus, God's own Son:
Hail! hosanna!
We enter all
The wedding hall
To eat the Supper at Thy call.

Wachet auf! Wake up!

"Wake, awake, for night is flying,"
The watchmen on the heights are crying;
"Awake, Jerusalem, arise!"
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices;
"Oh, where are ye, ye virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes, awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
With bridal care
Yourselves prepare
To meet the Bridegroom who is near."

Exploring Music: Rachmaninoff Vespers

Last week on Exploring Music the topic was Sergei Rachmaninoff.  There's something about Russian choral music of this time that is lush and thick.  It might be that while my favorite hymns are in 4-part harmony, Russian liturgical music of this time often had 8 or more parts.

For his setting of "Joyous Light of Glory" in Vespers, Rachmaninoff starts off simply enough, with the tenor part alone, then adding in layers and layers and layers.  In the embed below, you can see how he splits the different voices in different places, sometimes the Soprano isn't singing at all, and the 2nd soprano is split into 3.  You can follow the music in the video.  For an English translation, see page 244 in Lutheran Service Book (Phos Hilarion - Hymn of Light).

Another surprise in this Vespers is the use of the Gloria in the Great Doxology (also called "Greater Doxology").  While Christians of the Western Rite probably think of the Gloria for our mass and the Doxology as something sung to Old Hundredth, it appears that Christians of the Eastern Rite sing a longer version of the Gloria during daily prayer services as well.  You can catch the entire text here.  There is a curious placement of the phrase, "And the Holy Spirit" in this version.

O Lord, Heavenly King,
God the Father Almighty,
O Lord the Only-begotten Son,
Jesus Christ,
and the Holy Spirit,
O Lord God,
Lamb of God,
Son of the Father,

The Western Gloria places the phrase later in the text, near the end.

For Thou only art holy;
Thou only art the Lord,
Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost [Spirit],
art most high in glory of God the Father. Amen.

Here is the complete text from the Eastern Rite, set to music by Rachmaninoff.

If this is the Greater Doxology, what is the Lesser Doxology? This one is closer in length to the "Common" Doxology sung to Old Hundredth. It is also known as the Minor Doxology.  Here it is in Latin and English, plus the Common Doxology.

Lesser Doxology
Gloria Patri,
et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto
Sicut erat in principio,
et nunc, et semper,
et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit [Old English: Ghost]
as it was in the beginning,
and now and always and in the ages of ages.* Amen.

*world without end
*from age to age
*forever [and ever]

Common Doxology
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Now, I do not come from the Eastern Tradition, so if those of you who do have any corrections OR your Latin is better than mine, feel free to drop any updates into the comment section.

WORD ALERT: The term "doxology" literally means "praise word".  In Christian circles it usually involves a praising the Triune God, The one-God-in-three-persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time Out Twofer: #'s 39 and 40

Meanwhile, back at, two episodes have posted I last reported on the broadcasts.

Episode 39 features the hymn "Abide, O Dearest Jesus" (LSB 919).  Southern Lutheran Kantor uses the organ's strings and chimes to showcase the melody.

I am not sure how this one ended up in the "Close of Service" section of the hymnal.  If I had to pick a section, probably it would be "Prayer" or "Evening."

Abide with heavenly brightness
Among us, precious Light;
Your truth direct and keep us
From errors gloomy night.

Then again, the hymn on the opposite page is also in the "Close of Service" section and it contains the line, "Open now the crystal fountain whence the healing stream doth flow..."  When this hymn comes up as a closing, I wonder why we would ask this of our Lord after receiving Absolution, the Word and the Eucharist.  In the words of Arsenio Hall, it kind of makes you go... hmmmm...

On a more serious note, Episode 40 features the hymn "In God My Faithful God" (LSB 745).  I would like to highlight Rev. Todd Peperkorn's book I Trust When Dark the Road. The title is drawn from the second line of this hymn.  For those who are struggling with depression (sometimes you don't even know that you are, but your life is just a mess and you can't figure out why), this book offers help.  Pastor Peperkorn has pulled through his own bout with depression, and offers scriptural insights.

Another beautiful thing about this book is that it is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD here.

In God, my faithful God,
I trust when dark the road;
Great woes may overtake me,
Yet He will not forsake me.
My troubles He can alter;
His hand lets nothing falter.

Peters on Preaching: How NOT to use a Prooftext

Anyone who has had to do a research paper knows you have to prove your point. Cite your sources. Don't forget your footnotes, endnotes, add in that little number at the end of your thought, and document everything.

When I look back on my own papers, it was really easy to string together citations from various resources in an attempt to make my point. They call this "prooftexting" and it is often used in preaching as well.

This will get you an OK grade, but it doesn't make a great paper, and it doesn't make for good preaching, either. Pastor Peters tackled this topic in a recent post.  Here is an excerpt:

When I was in Seminary, one of my homiletical professors told us that every point in your sermon must be supported by a proof text. Suffice it to say that this resulted in either sermons with few points to supported or long sermons that ended up stringing Bible passage after Bible passage. Once, in another homiletics class, I was crunched for time and fudged by turning in a sermon written for this above mentioned professor. The second professor called me aside and said that while there was nothing "wrong" with the sermon, I was to promise him that I would never preach that way in the parish.

I encourage laity and clergy alike to read this post and the excellent comments by Rev. Eric Brown. For clergy, it may help shape your message in a different way. For laity, it may help open you understand to your pastor's style.  For students of any age, it may give you ideas for improving your next term paper.

By the way, if you watch EWTN's Journey Home, you may have heard from a guest or two that Luther practiced prooftexting.  This is NOT the case and Pastor Peters spends a few sentences on Luther's style in his post.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Kantor, a Pastor, and a High School Teacher Walk into a Bar...

Composer Dale Witte over at Composing My Thoughts cites a CNN article rating church musicians as one of the most stressful jobs.  Also on the list were pastors and high school teachers.  Check out his post here.

I don't know Dale personally, but I do know that he is both a high school teacher at Winnebago Lutheran Academy as well as a composer in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.

I will share here what I posted in his comment section.  Do the math, it all adds up!

According to the article...

* 71% of ministers say their job is stressful.

* 67% of church musicians say their job is stressful.

* 65% of high school teachers say their job is stressful.

By correlation, would 132% of church musicians who are also high school teachers say their job is stressful? ;)

138% of church musicians who also serve a pastorate might say their job is stressful (this pastor is usually in a congregation with 2 or more pastors, but the he is a pastor none-the-less).

Then we have the old-school pastor who serves as sole pastor of a parish and teaches in a school at the same time. 136%.

Rare, but possible, a pastor could serve all three positions. Most definitely 203% of these people would say their job is stressful.

As you can see, math was one of my fortes back in the day! hehe

While we are at it, can anyone complete the joke that is started in the subject line?  I will give away ten of my personal Table Talk Radio points to the person who comes up with the best ending to the joke.  The contest ends at 11:59pm CT on Friday evening.  The winner will be announced by Monday morning.

BTW, I would like to know how CNN came up with the median pay of $40,800 per year for church musicians.  Apparently they did not consider those who are paid only a part-time salary or those who make no money at all but still serve this role.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

+Herb Brokering+ 1926-2009: No More Dying, Only Light

Hymn writer Herb Brokering entered eternal glory this past Thursday.

In Lutheran Service Book, he authored the following hymns:
  • 474: Alleluia! Jesus is Risen!
  • 680: Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise
  • 817: Earth and All Stars
  • 879: Stay With Us
His texts are paired with tunes written by his contemporaries, such as Walter Pelz, Carl Schalk and David N. Johnson.  This provides a unique combination, in that the tunes are usually written to reflect the texts.

One text and tune that has grown on me over the years is "Stay With Us."  My ear had to get used to descending down the scale by three notes and turning around and heading up before the dropping to the D.

Normally when the descent is G-F#-E, the next note is automatically a D.  With this tune, our ear is put on hold, since the D doesn't show up until the next measure.  I like it now, but for years it was outside of my aural comfort zone.

Speaking of comfort zones, "Earth and All Stars" is often outside the comfort zone of pastors and musicians.  This will not be the place to lash out on this hymn.  I will say one thing, though.  If "loud, boiling test tubes" are not your thing, review the Psalms 146 through 150 and a few others, then choose the verses that best reflect Scripture.  Also, remember that which we confess in the Te Deum, "All creation worships You, the Father everlasting."

Thinking outside the box, here, but you could change out the lyrics and keep the repetition.

Mother and son,
Father and daughter,
Sing to the Lord a new song!
Uncle and aunt,
Cousin and neighbor,
Sing to the Lord a new song!

Another option is to pair the refrain of this hymn with a psalm tone.  Have a cantor chant the prose text from the psalmody and the congregation respond with "He has done marvelous things.  I, too, will praise Him with a new song."

It's good to struggle with hymnody.  Like all of God's creation here on earth, it isn't perfect.  It takes good knowledge of Scripture, theology, and liturgy to prepare a worship service and to draw on the vast resources of your hymnal.

Check out hymn writer Stephen Starke's retrospective on his blog starke Kirchenlieder.

Recordings of Brokering's texts are fairly scarce on youtube.  This one commemorates the anniversary of Messiah Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Contemporary LSB: Before the Throne of God Above

Once in awhile an old text picks up a new tune, thrusting it into pop Evangelicalism. If you listen to Christian radio , sometimes you might know the contemporary song before you have the chance to explore it in a new hymnal. Such is the case with Hymn 574 in Lutheran Service Book.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,

One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God!

The words are by Charitie Lees De Chenez (aka Charitie Lees Bancroft, né Smith) (1841-1923). Not much is known about Charitie. Her father was an Anglican priest in Ireland. She was probably widowed twice (hence all her surnames) and died here in the US, in Oakland, California.

One of the more common tunes associated with this text is BRESLAU. The tune is soloed out the second time.

The Lutheran Hymnal Project chose a newer tune, DUNEDIN, for Lutheran Service Book. I couldn't find the tune recorded anywhere, but you might try substituting O WALY WALY. If you grew up in a Lutheran grade school in the late 70's or 80's, you probably know this tune from Hal Hopson's "The Gift of Love." The tunes have a similar arc (they rise and fall in a similar fashion) and overall rhythm, although they are different styles. The tune O WALY WALY can be found in Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 595.

Your local megachurch might be singing this very text. They use a tune written by Steve and Vikki Cook. While LSB breaks the text up into 6 short verses, the Cooks combined the verses to make three long ones. A preview copy of the sheet music has the notation "Celtic feel" just above the time signature.  This setting is by the group Selah.  The sign you see in the video is from the historic Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.

A word about Pacific Garden Mission: they still produce the radio drama Unshackled.  For an interactive map to see if it broadcasts in your area, click here.  If you'd just like to hear an episode via mp3, click here.

Historic Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago's South Loop

Current location, still in Chicago, but a little further south

Saturday, November 14, 2009

US Veteran's Day: Wrapping Up the Week

Here is an oral history of our National Anthem.

Thanks go out to a post at Composing My Thoughts which brought this one to my attention.

There are four verses to the Star-Spangled Banner, by the way.  You will find them all below the video.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Table Talk Radio: Promo Available on YouTube!

Well, video editing can be an interesting journey.

I was able to edit the audio clip to the show opening, add some photos and titles, and then upload to youtube.

Watch it below, or watch it here and get the embed code.

Introducing the Open Hymnal Project

While looking for images for the potential Table Talk Radio youtube post, I came across the Open Hymnal Project.  Texts, tunes and settings of hymns are available on this site.  Some choral works are also available.  The files are in .gif format, so you can copy them into Word or PowerPoint documents or even, perhaps, into your Sunday bulletin.

Table Talk Radio: Trying to Get to YouTube

Alright!  Iggy's first venture into youtube was Show 71 of Table Talk Radio.

This is a self-taught production, here.  Vicar Goeglein said I probably had Windows Movie Maker and I did!  From there, I thumbed around to figure out how to gel pictures and audio together.

I hit the "publish" button and 30 minutes later the complete video was in my computer.

Posting to youtube took 30-45 minutes (I lost count).

After another 15 minutes of "Uploaded, Please Wait..." Youtube rejected the video because it was too long.

Youtube videos must be 2GB or less and up to 10 minutes in length.  Facebook can be up to 1024MB and up to 20 minutes in length.

So, does anyone know, can the video be uploaded here on blogspot?  I've got 75.8MB and just under 60 minutes in length.  I tried uploading it as a "picture" and all that did was crash my computer.

Also, is there a site that will allow larger video files?

How about the Wittenberg Trail?  Will that take larger video files?

Any ideas, post them here contact the guys at

Right now you'll have to come over to my place to watch the first TTR video, and that's just not practical ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Matzke's reMarks: Theology Must Sing

Rev. Mark Matzke features a quote from hymn writer Martin Franzmann.  The quote begins "Theology is doxology.  Theology must sing."

A quick look at some hymns by Martin Franzmann will reveal that he lived up to this edict.


Let all our deeds, unanimous, 
Confess Him as our Lord
Who by the Spirit lives in us,
The Father's living Word.


In Adam we have all been one,
One huge rebellious man;
We all have fled that evening voice
That sought us as we ran.


From the cross Thy wisdom shining
Breaketh forth in conqu'ring might.
From the cross forever beameth
All Thy bright redeeming light.


Though some be snatched and some be scorched
And some be choked and matted flat,
The sower sows; his heart cries out,
"Oh, what of that, and what of that?"


Thou camest to our hall of death,
O Christ, to breathe our poisoned air,
To drink for us the dark despair
That strangled our reluctant breath.
How beautiful the feet that trod
The road that leads us back to God!
How beautiful the feet that ran
To bring the great good news to man!


What we sing matters.  What we sing teaches us about our faith.  Whether we sing, "I Am Jesus' Little Lamb" or "At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing," we are proclaiming in song that which we believe; we are proclaiming that which the church has taught from the beginning.  When choosing music for worship, one must ask, "Is this hymn proclaiming that which has been taught throughout the ages? Is our liturgy in line with those who have gone before?"

The Lutheran Reformation was not about uncovering something new, rather it was about restoring the historic teachings of the church.  The Confessions and other writings of the Lutheran reformers are filled with references not only to Scripture, but also to the Church Fathers, showing continuity between the first Christians and those of the present day.  As Lutheran Christians, we do not have a faith that dates back to 1517, but rather a faith that dates back to the ancient church, to the apostles, and to the forerunners of Christianity: the great prophets who foretold of the coming Messiah and all those who trusted in this promise.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Exploring Music: Tone Poems

This week on Exploring Music, the world of Tone Poems is contemplated.

In a literal case of art imitating life, symphonic music is freed from its traditional structures and takes a programmatic turn.

Tone poems usually tell a story without words.  Instrumentation is used to let the ear know what is going on.  The week's opening piece told a story with AND without words.  The King's Singers perform Janequin's  Escoutez tous gentilz "La bataille de Marignan; La guerre"

I don't know French, but this song has something to do with a battle!  You'll notice in the song that eventually the words disappear and the singers use syllables to mimic different sounds.  When I listened to the recording on Monday, it sounded like there was laughter.  As you view the video, pay attention to the performers, and you will notice one guy thumbs his nose.  I am guessing the opponents on the battlefield were taunting each other during this section of the piece.

This is one song that you should watch as well as listen to.  If you don't know French, the actions and expressions of the performers can give you a clue as to what is going on.

Those of you who do know French or know something about this piece, drop a comment here at All for Hymn and tell us the story!

You can listen to Exploring Music on weeknights at 7:00 pm Central. 

This website will tell you if the program is airing at this minute, and will give you some station information as well.

Southern Lutheran Kantor: Teaching New Music

Join the discussion with Southern Lutheran Kantor as he gives us tips for teaching music to the congregation.  In the comment section you will find my tips for introducing LSB 960, "Isaiah, Mighty Seer."  This one is particularly challenging given that there is only one verse.

If all else fails, you can throw the words up on the jumbotron and have them change colors to the music!

OK, maybe that's not the best method.  Read the article for lots of tips.

By the way, this means we have touched on two of the major parts of Luther's Deutsche Messe (German Mass).  Look for more posts on this in the future.

In the mean time, perhaps this version is a little more desirable than liturgical karaoke.  Plus, you get the added bonus of the Christmas hymn in the latter half of the recording.

By the way, the Christmas hymn (whose name escapes me - I believe it is in LW) is a fine example of how to tackle a hymn with a lot of verses.  No one sings all of the verses at once. Instead, different groups pick up different verses.  Also, the tempo helps keep things moving along.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Luther's Birthday!

November 10 marks the anniversary of Luther's Birthday.  To celebrate, here is the Heinrich Schutz setting of the Kyrie from Luther's Deutsche Messe (German Mass).  You can find the English version in Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 942.

The text and tune date back to the 9th century, hence, it predates Luther by around 6 centuries.  Also, while this Kyrie is so intimately associated with Luther's German Mass, the majority of the text was originally sung in Latin.  The Latin, German, and English versions still contain one element of Greek, Kyrie eleison which means, "Lord, have mercy."

One of the simplest forms of the Kyrie is:

Kyrie eleison.  Christe eleison.  Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.

In this version, the core of the text has descriptions of the Godhead sandwiched between Kyrie and eleison.  Like the simple form, there are three petitions. The difference is in length and content.  The longer Kyrie devotes each petition to each of the three persons of the Trinity.

Kyrie! God Father in heaven above... Eleison! Eleison!

Kyrie! O Christ, our king... Eleison! Eleison!

Kyrie! O God the Holy Ghost... Eleison! Eleison!

My love for this Kyrie is balanced with the practical issue of singing it in church.  My last congregation knew it well, but the current one might not get past the first word!

For those of you with ambitions of introducing this but hesitancy because of your particular situation, here are some options:
  • Have the choir sing Kyrie eleison in unison or in parts, and a solo pick up middle of each petition
  • Introduce it at a special service, say, Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday or Reformation Sunday
  • Before rehearsing with the choir, play the LSB setting during the offering or the Communion distribution (provided there is a little extra time) several weeks in a row
Kyrie! O God the Holy Ghost,
Guard our faith, the gift we need the most,
And bless our life's last hour,
That we leave this sinful world with gladness.
Eleison! Eleison!

Historic Moment: Two Years Earlier: Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall

Historic Moment: Berlin Wall, Piano Scarf, LED Jacket, and David Hasselhoff

On the lighter side of this historic event, we would never know how popular David Hasselhoff was in Germany in 1989 if not for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Historic Moment: Fall of the Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later

Just for Fun: I CALL SHOTGUN!

Over at Autoblog, I found this post regarding the official rules of Shotgun.  You can find the complete rules here.  There is always someone trying to cheat the rules of Shotgun, like calling Shotgun when they EXIT the car, or calling Shotgun when no one is around to hear it, or claiming Shotgun when they never called it and never really intended to call it.

There is even a handy pocket guide.  You need this to keep order in the chaotic world of Shotgun.

If the official rules can't settle your dispute, the official rules suggest Rock, Paper, Scissors as the final means for dispute resolution.

If one of your friends is a true gaper in the world of Shotgun, perhaps this will serve as a warning to him.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Table Talk Radio: Show 70

The last show in the latest internet gaming craze, "Catching Up With Table Talk Radio," is Show 70, featuring Pastor Wolfmueller's favorite games, "Iron Preacher" (insert sound effect here) and "Praise Song Cruncher." 

Show #70: Iron Preacher 

In this edition of Iron Preacher, the Iron Preacher and his challenger, Rev. Jared Melius of Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Denver, will preach the parable of the Landowner. After that, Pastor Melius will stay on to crunch a praise song with Table Talk Radio.

The cool thing about the latest internet gaming craze, "Catching Up With Table Talk Radio," is that it plays right in your browser for free.  Nothing to download, nothing to buy!

Table Talk Radio: Show 69

All for Hymn is playing the latest game on the internet, "Catching Up With Table Talk Radio."  Here's a show that I missed...

Show #69: Second Annual Reformation Edition
For this edition of the Reformation Edition of Table Talk Radio, we play "Name that Theses" then we are joined by Professor John Pless of Concordia Theological Seminary in which we played Which Ladder and Answer the Question As...

On this episode, learn the latest and greatest theological buzzwords, "Open Theism" and, directly from the justification canons of the Council of Trent, "Anathema."

Table Talk Radio: Please Update Your Bookmarks!

Table Talk Radio has a new look and an updated website.  The old bookmarks still function because the new ones have slightly different URL's.  The old bookmarks, though, do not have updated information.

Click here for the new home page.

The latest episodes can be found here.

The old forum has been obliterated in favor of a simple, "log in and post your comment here" format on the main website.  It promises to be a much more user-friendly interface.

All for Hymn will be updating the blog to reflect the newest episodes.  I am about two episodes behind.  Now that I know where the new episodes are, I can keep you up-to-date!

Kenyan Lutheran Hymnal Project

When a U.S. denomination goes overboard on social issues, often times the partner churches in Africa are the ones calling the U.S. church back to her biblical roots and offering ecclesiastical supervision for U.S. congregations.

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod's partner church in Kenya is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya.  While I am not aware of any such action regarding the LCMS, the ELCK has spoken regarding issues in other U.S. Lutheran denominations.

Enough about those things, this blog is ALL FOR HYMN, and this Kenyan church is embarking on a new hymnal.  You can follow the progress on Deaconess Sandra Rhein's blog here.

You may remember in a previous post that I remarked how difficult it is to translate a hymn into its literal meaning and then squeeze it back into the meter of the original tune.

Deaconess Rhein writes in her August 31, 2009 post
The challenge is not so much in the literal translation because there are a number of excellent Kenyan pastors who are fluent in English and skilled at translating. The challenge is in writing poetically – following the rhythm and flow of a melody - making the stress of the beats and the stress of the syllables match – while keeping the text rich in meaning and clear in doctrine. What we need are a few theologically and musically trained poets who are fluent in English and Swahili. If you are such a person, or know someone who fits the description, please make yourself known!

Unfamiliar with Swahili?

Here are excerpts from the Divine Service and from Matins.  I can't get the embed codes to work, so I will provide hyperlinks.

from LSB's Divine Service I, page 152

from LSB's Divine Service I, page 163

from LSB's Matins, page 229

And in the spirit of international Christianity,
here is a Croatian choir singing a song in both Zulu and English

Table Talk Radio: Show 68

A new episode of Table Talk Radio is now up and running.

Show #68: Bumper Sticker Theology Response Line

In this edition of Table Talk Radio, we respond to our listeners who are on the prowl for Theological Bumper Stickers. After that, we crunch some popular praise songs by request, and end up playing CACG.

Listen to the show here.

Download it here.

In this week's Praise Song Cruncher, one blast from the 80's (Awesome God) and one blast from the 90's (Shine, Jesus, Shine).

That's Table Talk Radio, where the points are like abolitionists at the Munich Oktoberfest, your really not going to get anywhere with your points or your political position at that event.