By JR on Monday, May 19, 2014
A favorite hymn
Although I am no longer a believer, I have never lost my love of the wonderful old Christian hymns. So I was a bit sad that one of my favorites was missing on YouTube: "LlGHT'S GLITTERING MORN". It is in fact a medieval Latin hymn and has, as such, been variously translated and set. The setting I like is by Palestrina in 1623 and the translation I like is by J.M. Neale. But other quite different settings are more common -- and are not nearly as good in my view. Anyway, judge for yourself. A performance of the setting that I like has just popped up this month on Youtube:
It is Hymn 126 in Hymns Ancient and Modern (The old Church of England Hymn book) but for convenience I give a few of the verses below:
1. Light's glittering morn bedecks the sky;
Heaven thunders forth its victor—cry;
The glad earth shouts her triumph high,
And groaning hell makes wild reply.
2. The pains of hell are loosed at last;
The days of mourning now are passed;
An angel robed in light has said,
"The Lord is risen from the dead."
Hallelujah! (x5) ’
3. All praise be Yours, 0 risen Lord,
From death to endless life restored:
All praise to God the Father be,
And Holy Ghost eternally.
UPDATE: A reader has noted that the same wonderful tune is used in "Ye watchers and ye holy ones". A splendid example here. The graphics for that performance not only include the happy faces of the singers but also some splendid shots of great British steam locomotives, including some A4s -- an excellent metaphor for divine power.
I am having trouble tracing the source of the tune. I read that its first appearance in print was in Auserlesen Catholische Geistliche Kirchengesäng of Cologne in 1623. And that the German title of the hymn was Laßt uns erfreuen herzlich sehr (Let us make praise very heartily). I also read that the tune was revised first by Bach and then by Vaughan Williams before it reached its present form.