Sunday, October 11, 2009

Yes, Their Pilgrimage Was Shorter

I don't usually think of the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 as one that customarily omits stanzas of hymns. At least, not more than any other current denominational hymnal does (and usually, somewhat less).

The one that I usually remember as missing (because I find it most annoying -- hey, it's my #2 hymn!) is the second stanza of Love divine, all loves excelling. I suppose it may be left out sometimes because the Wesley brothers themselves left it out of one of their later collections, but I'm not sure of what other reasons might be considered.

This morning, three of the five hymns we sang only had three stanzas. There are, of course, hymns that really only have three, but I knew that each of these three were written with more.

Sing praise to God, who reigns above

Be thou my vision

O Jesus, I have promised

Now, it turns out that two of the five stanzas of that last one are generally left out, but three definitely seems short for the other two.

And, to be fair, the two other hymns were as complete as they usually are:

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Hope of the world

I guess it was just more noticable today because those first two are pretty well known across several denominations, and it's too bad that we don't get to sing them as completely as others do.

I want all the verses!

P.S. The title of this entry can be found here (though of course it has nothing to do with shorter hymns).


Leland Bryant Ross said...

I am in general agreement with you about the undesirability of shortening hymns, though in the Wesleyan case the most egregious examples—reducing the 18 verses of the original "Hymn on the anniversary of one's conversion" down to the usually four or five, rarely more than six, never except in The Cyber Hymnal more than eight verses of O for a thousand tongues to sing and the similarly drastic reduction of Come, O thou traveller unknown's fourteen stanzas into, at least for the Methodists, four.

On the other hand, at next Sunday's hymn sing a majority of the programmed pieces will be shortened, sometimes drastically—and yes, often by the pandemic remedy of removing verse three. We are going to essay:

* תְּהִלִּים כ׳׳ג (the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew) (probably more or less a solo by yours truly)
*We’ll sing of the shepherd that died (3 vv., omitting one)
*Malotte’s Twenty-Third Psalm
{audience choice}
*The Lord is my shepherd (Lucie Campbell) (3 vv., omitting the second refrain)
*Jesus, shepherd of our souls (Kaan) (3 vv., omitting one)
{audience choice}
*O beautiful for spacious skies (Bates, tune by Hamilton) (3 vv., omitting one)
*The kings of the east are riding (Bates/Hamilton) (3 vv.—complete!)
{audience choice}
*Shepherd of souls/Shepherd of our hearts (Montgomery/Chepponis) (3 vv., omitting one)
*Shepherd, show me how to go (Eddy) (3 vv.—complete!)
{audience choice}
*O store Gud - (Boberg; this is the hymn Hine and his publishers stole as “How great thou art”) (2 vv. in Swedish – Vics)
*O mighty God, when I behold the wonder (2 vv., omitting seven)
*My soul now magnifies the Lord (Boberg’s Magnificat) (2 vv., omitting three)
*Children of the Heavenly Father (4 vv. from hymnal)
{audience choice}
*Bwana ndiye mchunga wangu (in Swahili, to Brother James’ Air) (1 v., omitting four)
*The Lord, my shepherd, guards me well (Daw, to Brother James’ Air) (3 vv., omitting one)
{audience choice}
*Who taught the snow to melt in springtime (Manito – Kirkpatrick) (3 vv., omitting two)
*The Lord is my shepherd, my guard and my guide (Cornish Canon – round, complete but probably only two-part rather than four-part performance)
{audience choice}
*There were ninety and nine that safely lay (4 vv.)
{audience choice}
*Since God is my shepherd (3 vv.—complete!)
*My shepherd will supply my need (3 vv.—complete!)
*Mine eyes have seen the glory (5 vv., omitting one)

C.W.S. said...

It's true that seventeen stanzas of anything are rarely sung anymore, but cutting four or five down to three in worship doesn't seem like a good thing to encourage. However, as you demonstrate, in a hymn festival setting, sometimes it's a good way to present a broad range of material.

We will look for a complete report on your blog next week!

Leland Bryant Ross said...

Sorry about the ongoing delay in reporting about the hymn sing. Hopefully I'll have time over the weekend. But I just wanted to say that, given your special interest in women hymnwriters, I'm a bit surprised you don't seem to have done a post on Lucie Campbell. Or am I just not looking in the right place?

Leland aka Haruo