This 17th century German hymn is well known in a few denominations in recent years, but may be unfamiliar to many.
It combines a very singable, if rangy, melody with a lyric of personal devotion.
The first stanza is done quite simply, followed by the second with a traditional-style harmonization. The third stanza is reminiscent of plainsong chant. The fourth stanza returns to traditional-style harmonization, as does the fifth.
It may seem that five stanzas would either make this piece unusually long or unusually repetitive, but it successfully avoids both traps.
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Open now thy gates of beauty,
Zion, let me enter there,
Where my soul in joyful duty
Waits on Him who answers prayer;
O how blessed is this place,
Filled with solace, light, and grace.
Here, O God, I come before Thee,
Come Thou also down to me;
Where we find Thee and adore Thee,
There a heaven on earth must be;
To my heart, O enter Thou,
Let it be Thy temple now.
Here Thy praise is gladly chanted,
Here Thy seed is duly sown;
Let my soul, where it is planted,
Bring forth precious sheaves alone;
So that all I hear may be
Fruitful unto life in me.
Thou my faith increase and quicken,
Let me keep Thy gift divine;
Howsoe'er temptations thicken,
May Thy word still o'er me shine,
As my guiding star through life,
As my comfort in my strife.
Speak, O God, and I will hear Thee,
Let Thy will be done indeed;
May I undisturbed draw near Thee
While Thou dost Thy people feed;
Here of life the fountain flows,
Here is balm for all our woes.
OPEN NOW THY GATES OF BEAUTY by Joachim Neander, lyrics by Benjamin Schmolck translated by Catherine Winkworth, arranged by Tom Kirkland for Male Chorus TTBB, comes in a pdf file of 192K, with a nine-page score and a license page, ten pages in all. Performance time should be about 3:20.
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Last update: 8 February 2017