Category Archives: musical performance

A Prayer Come to Life

” Beautiful music, beautiful camera work, like a kaleidoscope at times.”  This video is delightful.

Terez Rose  writes about this much loved piece of music:

In the second act of Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera, Hänsel und Gretel, composed in 1892 and first performed on December 23, 1893, there is a treasure that will live forever in the hearts of countless listeners. Called “Abendsegen” in its original German and “Evening Prayer” in English, it’s also known as “The Children’s Prayer.” In the opera, it is what Hansel and Gretel sing before they go to sleep, alone and lost in the woods. The song conjures so many powerful emotions and nuances: the bravery of two scared kids; the comfort of a ritual song or prayer; their faith and hope, and the beauty of all these things (not to mention the stunning music) that arises, like a mystical force, to blanket and protect the two lost children. Humperdinck and his sister, Adelheid Wette, who wrote the libretto, have made it more than “a mystical force.” Fourteen angels take the stage in the opera, in the scene following the children’s song, where they gather round and protect the children, a prayer come to life.

When at night I go to sleep,
Fourteen angels watch do keep,
Two my head are guarding,
Two my feet are guiding;
Two upon my right hand,
Two upon my left hand.
Two who warmly cover
Two who o’er me hover,
Two to whom ’tis given
To guide my steps to heaven.

 

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Veni, Emmanuel

My choir’s first Advent Carol, this coming week:

Be not afraid, I bring you good news.
The Savior is coming in glory to you.
He shall be called “God’s Holy One.”
Will you be ready? Will you be ready?
Will you be ready for Him when He comes?
Light the candle, Jesus is coming.
Open your hearts, prepare ye the way.
Sleepers awake, soon is the dawning.
He will turn night into glorious day,
He will turn night into day.
Be of good cheer and put away fear,
The light now is coming to dry ev´ry tear.
Love now with us, God´s perfect Son.
Will you be ready? Will you be ready?
Will you be ready for Him when He comes, When He comes?
Light the candle, Jesus is coming.
Open your hearts, prepare ye the way.
Sleepers awake, for soon is the dawning.
He will turn night into glorious day.
He will turn night into day.
He will turn night into day.
Veni, Emmanuel.
Captivum solve Israel.
Veni, Emmanuel.
Jesus is coming.Jesus is coming.
Could He be coming today?
Light the candle, Jesus is coming.
Open your hearts, prepare ye the way.
Sleepers awake, for soon is the dawning.
He will turn night into glorious day.
He will turn night into day.
He will turn night into day.
Light the candle, Jesus is coming.
Light the candle, Jesus is coming.

Handel’s Messiah, No. 4 Chorus

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed.
     And all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
I’ve sung and heard this so many times that I know it by heart.  But today I saw it with new eyes through two of the phrases.  “All flesh shall see it [God’s glory] together.”  Not just believers will see God’s glory, but all flesh together.  I can hardly imagine what that will be like.  And that last phrase, “for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it”  reminded me of God’s majestic sovereignty, power, and steadfastness.  He speaks things into being and what he says He will do He will do.

Sure Provisions

Written by Isaac Watts in 1719, a paraphrase of Psalm 23, and the tune titled “Resignation” in Southern Harmony, and “Irwinton” in Sacred Harp.

My Shepherd will supply my need: Jehovah is His name:
In pastures fresh He makes me feed, Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back, When I forsake His ways;
And leads me, for His mercy’s sake, In paths of truth and grace.

When I walk through the shades of death Thy presence is my stay;
One word of Thy supporting breath Drives all my fears away.
Thy Hand, in sight of all my foes, Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows, Thine oil anoints my head.

The sure provisions of my God Attend me all my days;
O may Thy house be my abode, And all my work be praise.
There would I find a settled rest, While others go and come;
No more a stranger, nor a guest, But like a child at home.

From the 2017 Sacred Harp Convention in Germany:

 

Come Ye Disconsolate

Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish;
Come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, light of the straying,
Hope of the penitent, fadeless and pure,
Here speaks the Comforter, tenderly saying,
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot cure.”

Here see the bread of life; see waters flowing
Forth from the throne of God, pure from above;
Come to the feast of love; come, ever knowing
Earth has no sorrow but heaven can remove.

This hymn was written by Thomas Moore (1779-1852), the third verse later altered to the current version by another hymn writer, Thomas Hastings (1784-1872).

From a site dedicated to hymns, Wordwise Hymns:

This is a great hymn of comfort, encouragement for the disconsolate in the face of sorrow and loss….According to the promises of the Scriptures, the Lord is ready to help those who come to Him in faith. And who are the ones who need grace, and mercy, and comfort? Two particular examples are given in the hymn. Those who are sorrowing, who have “wounded hearts” (CH-1); those who have sinned and strayed from the path, and come in a spirit of repentance (CH-2).

For each believer the hymn reassures us, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” Through Christ, our great High Priest at the Father’s right hand, there is “mercy and…grace to help in time of need,” and we are invited to “come boldly” before the throne and seek it (Heb. 4:14-16). “Boldly.” That does not mean irreverently, or carelessly, but honestly and openly, with cheerful confidence that we’re coming to One who understands and has compassion on us.

For more, including the story behind another song penned by Moore, Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms, go here.