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Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty (TTBB, a cappella)

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.

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MP3 sound sample: Complete piece (synthesizer/midi).



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: 21 March 2017