Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern

WieSchoenLeuchtet
“Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” was written by Philipp Nicolai in 1597 and first published in 1599. He is also know for his hymn for Advent, “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme.” The melody for “Wie schön leuchtet” was adapted from a melody for Psalm 100 found in Wolff Köphel’s Psalter (1538). The version presented here is the equal rhythm version used by J.S. Bach.

See a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.

Videos:
Evert Groen – Symphonische Improvisation über ‘Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern’ – St. Bonifatius-Dom in Wirges

Veni redemptor gentium

veni-redemptor
Veni redemptor gentium is assigned to the Roman Catholic Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours for Advent from December 17 through December 24. It was translated into the German chorale “Nun komm der Heiden Heliand” by Martin Luther with the melodic adaptation to the German words made by either Martin Luther or Johannes Walter. More recently, Dom Paul Benoit, OSB adapted the chant into the hymn tune Christian Love, as a setting of Omer Westendorf’s text “Where Charity and Love Prevail,” a common meter translation of the Holy Thursday chant hymn Ubi caritas.

See a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.

Videos:
Maria Scharwieß – Improvisation on ‘Veni redemptor gentium’ – Nathanaelchurch in Berlin-Schöneberg

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
Often translated in to English as “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” the German chorale “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” first appeared in print in the late 16th century. The most familiar harmonization was written by German composer Michael Praetorius in 1609.

See a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.

Videos:
Eric Dalest – Improvisation on “Es ist ein Ros” – Virtual organ of ST MAXIMIN
Paul Damjakob – Kommet ihr Hirten und Es ist ein Ros – Würzburger Dom

Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn originally composed this melody as part of a cantata in 1840 to celebrate the invention of printing with movable type by Johannes Gutenberg. William H. Cummings adapted the melody in 1855 to fit a text by Charles Wesley that was first published in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems. The first line commonly used today, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is an alteration by George Whitefield in his 1754 Collection of hymns for social worship.

See a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.

Veni, Veni Emmanuel

VeniVeniEmmanuel

The tune ‘Veni, Veni Emmanuel’ was adapted by Thomas Helmore from a fifteenth century French Franciscan Processional. He first published it in The Hymnal Noted in 1854 with a translation by John Neale of the Latin hymn ‘Veni Emmanuel’. The text is a paraphrase of the O Antiphons sung at vespers during the seven days immediately before Christmas.

See a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.

Videos:
Timothy Howard – Postlude on ‘Veni Emmanuel’ – Pasadena Presbyterian Church
János Pálúr – Improvisation on ‘Veni Emmanuel’ – Óbuda Reformed Church

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

NunKomm

The German chorale “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland” is a translation of the Latin chant Veni redemptor gentium made by Martin Luther. The melody for the chorale was adapted from the same chant by either Martin Luther or Johann Walter. While the chant hymn is designated as part of the Roman Catholic Office of Readings for December 17 to 24, the Lutheran hymn has become closely associated to the First Sunday of Advent.

See a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.

Videos:
Ján Blahuta – Maestoso über den Choral ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’
Ján Blahuta – Trio über den Choral ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’
Ján Blahuta – Sarabande über den Choral ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’
Ján Blahuta – Quasi Fughetta über den Choral ‘Nun komm der Heiden Heiland’
Wolfgang Seifen – Orgel-Improvisation ‘Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland’ – Charlottenburg

Diademata

Diademata

Written by George J. Elvey for the text “Crown Him with Many Crowns” by Matthew Bridges, DIADEMATA was first published in the 1868 Appendix to Hymns Ancient and Modern. The name of the tune is derived from the Greek word for “crowns.” While occasionally used for other texts, the melody retains a close association with the original lyrics.

See a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.

Videos:
Kerry Beaumont – Improvisation on Diademata – Coventry Cathedral
Gerre Hancock – Improvisation on Diademata – Texas

Materna

Materna

Samuel A. Ward originally composed this melody for the hymn “O Mother dear, Jerusalem” in 1882. It was first published in 1892. Katharine Lee Bates wrote the poem “Pikes Peak”, first published in the Fourth of July edition of the church periodical The Congregationalist in 1895. The melody and words we know today as “America the Beautiful” were first published together in 1910. It soon became a well known and popular American patriotic song.

Find a list of other hymn and chorale themes here.
Find a list of other traditional song themes here.

Videos:
Gereon Krahforst – Improvisation on America the Beautiful and The Star Spangled Banner – St. Louis Cathedral Basilica

Toplady

Toplady
The hymn tune Toplady was written by Thomas Hastings. It was written for the text “Rock of Ages” by Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady. While Thomas Hastings wrote over 50 hymn tunes, this remains his most popular today by far.

Rev. Toplady is believed to have written the hymn after taking shelter in a gorge during a thunderstorm in the Mendip Hills in England. The fissure that is believed to have sheltered Rev. Toplady is now marked as the “Rock of Ages”, both on the rock and on some maps.

Other hymn and chorale themes may be found here.

Lasst uns erfreuen

LasstUnsErfreuen
The melody for LASST UNS ERFREUEN is named for the Easter text “Lasst uns erfreuen herzlich sehr” in the Jesuit hymnal Ausserlesene Catlwlische Geistliche Kirchengesänge where it was first published in Cologne in 1623. The setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams first published in The English Hymnal in 1906 has become the most popular version of the tune paired with the text “Ye watchers and ye holy ones” by Athelstan Riley. Other texts often paired with the melody include “All Creatures of our God and King” and “From All That Dwell Below the Skies.”

See a list of other chorale and hymn themes here.

Videos:
DRJFK1986 – Improvisation ‘Lasst uns erfreuen herzlich sehr’
Healey Willan – Hymn and Improvisation – St Mary Magdalene, Toronto