Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hymns, hers

Today was the Feast of the Assumption which means we got to sing a hymn dedicated to Mary. We sang "Hail, Holy Queen" which is a song I love. It got me thinking of the Marian hymns I love and that we really do not get to sing that much.

The hymn the organist played as the Mass was ending was "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary." This is such a square old hymn I could not even find a decent version on YouTube. This was the best I could do. But I like it faster and lustier. Are you allowed to say you want a hymn to sound lusty? You know I do not mean it in that way.

This is an old Bavarian melody. The Bavarians and Austrians came up with great church melodies. One of my all-time favorites, one I loved to rip into in my church organist days, is "God Father Praise and Glory." I just had to do research and the only way I could find it is by the German title, "Gott Vater Sei Gepreisen." Check it out. The chorus is great. "Holy God/Mighty God/God immortal be adored!" I used to love to sing that.

It is just a darn good melody, you know? Bouncy. Not boring!

I can say that also about "Hail Holy Queen," the old chestnut we sang at the end of Mass. It is hard to find any recordings on YouTube that are not kitschy or is not just some organist playing somewhere but here is one that at least shows what this song sounds like.

Before anyone else can throw this up at me, here are CPDRC Inmates singing "Hail Holy Queen." Hilarious! Millions of old Germans turning over in their graves.

And there is also this punk rock version. Ha, ha! There is something sweet about this thing. I know a lot of people would consider it disrespectful but I think the Blessed Mother is smiling on these kids. The way they do the last verse.

This being a classical music Web log now I am going to get nerdy. There is a song about Mary I really love and it is Hugo Wolf's "Nun Wandre Maria." It talks about Mary and Joseph on the donkey plodding toward Bethlehem. And you can feel how tired they are. I think Hugo Wolf gets that spirit across so beautifully.

Are we there yet? That is kind of what the song says. It keeps saying, soon you will be in Bethlehem.

Earlier when I checked there was no "Nun Wandre Maria" -- it means, "Now, wander, Mary" -- on YouTube but now there is! Honest, this song makes me cry. The real weariness is in the piano part. You can feel them stumbling, feel how tired they are -- man, woman and donkey. It is from Hugo Wolf's "Spanish Song Book." It is so beautiful. I think it is one of the greatest of German lieder.

This recording is not my particular favorite. I like the song to be more plodding, more inexorable. Well, that is the way we get about songs we love. It is better than nothing. I got to know this song from a recording by Judith Blegen. I bought this one Judith Blegen record when I was a teenager and it is still a record I love. That is it pictured above! I found a picture on the Internet.

Once I was interviewing this one singer and I told her, "You know what, your voice reminds me of Judith Blegen's." Because it did.

She said: "Oh, thank you! A few other people have told me that and it made me so happy!"

My, how way leads on to way! I never thought I would get onto all this today.

Happy Feast of Assumption, everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment