Catholic musicians gathered to blog about liturgy and life
I have read that Abelard intended this as an Office Hymn for Saturdays in Heloises monastery, not as an office hymn for all saints day, perhaps this is a minor mistake made in the title. Though the hymn lends itself very well to being used "ab libitum" for all saints day. I am happy to see you make mention of it. Ms. Pluth has very good taste in hymns. 🙂
It is a great hymn for certain. There are two excellent english adaptations of it for its original latin melody, one by JM Neale, which was good, and the another that I thought better done..by someone whose name escapes me. I typeset one of them a few months ago. It is an incredible treasure chest of hymnography that anglo-catholicism gave us in english from the medieval latin classics. Yet to be fully mined from the 19th c books, but I shall keep mining it until I publish them officially in a book someday.
Here is William Harris' anthemic treatment of Neale's translation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBLvbBJ2xeI
For a really splendid choral version of this hymn you need to find Gustav Holst's setting of the translation by Helen Waddell.
Further to what I just wrote, How mighty are the Sabbaths set to Holst's music is hymn number 97 in the New Catholic Hymnal published in London by Faber in 1971, ISBN 0 571 10027 9. It was compiled and edited by Anthony Petti and Geoffrey Laycock. It requires a degree of musical skill to sing, and, while it works well with organ alone, I imagine Holst had organ and orchestra in mind for a choir festival. Any takers? Sheet music is available (google for an outlet).
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