Friday, April 30, 2021

ZUM SANCTUS

 





TUNE: ZUM SANCTUS
HYMN: Heilig, heilig, heilig! Heilig ist der Herr! 
(Holy, Holy, Holy Lord)
Composed by Franz Schubert
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

Z is for ZUM SANCTUS.
It is one of the songs in Deutsche Messe (German Mass). 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

YORK

 




TUNE: YORK
HYMN: (Pray that Jerusalem may have)
from the Scottish Psalter
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

Y is for YORK, a short hymn tune from Scotland. 
Like several other tunes I have chosen for the A to Z Challenge, I had never heard this one before I started doing research last February. 
Thanks to this challenge, I have encountered this new song.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

XAVIER

 




TUNE: XAVIER
HYMN: (Jesu's Precious Name Excels)
Composed by Francis H. Champneys
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

X is for XAVIER, which I have found at The Cyber Hymnal. I had never heard of it, until I searched for public-domain tunes whose titles start with an X. I downloaded the sheet music from the website

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

WAS GOTT TUT

 



TUNE: WAS GOTT TUT
HYMN: Was Gott tut, das ist wohlgetan
(What God ordains is always good)
Composed by Severus Gastorius
Arranged by Johann Pachelbel
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

W is for WAS GOTT TUT. We seldom sing this song at our local church, but I often play one of the chorale preludes of the same title as a prelude to the Sunday worship service.



Monday, April 26, 2021

VATER UNSER





 

TUNE: VATER UNSER
HYMN: Vater unser im Himmelreich 
(Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above)
from Geistliche Lieder 
Choral Prelude Arranged by Johann Krieger
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

V is for VATER UNSER (Our Father).
I love playing this short choral prelude based on this tune.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

UNSER HERRSCHER (NEANDER)

 




TUNE: UNSER HERRSCHER (NEANDER) 
Composed by Joachim Neander
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


U is for UNSER HERRSCHER, which means ‘Our Lord’. In one of the Japanese hymnals I have at home, this tune is applied to the song whose original title is “Tut mir auf die schöne Pforte,”which corresponds to “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty.”



Friday, April 23, 2021

TRINITY

 




TUNE: TRINITY
HYMN: (Come, Thou Almighty King)
Composed by Felice de Giardini
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

When I lived in a small town surrounded by the mountains years ago, I played the electronic organ at the local church on almost every Sunday. We often sang this hymn there. I like this powerful song.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

SCHÖNSTER HERR JESU

 





TUNE: SCHÖNSTER HERR JESU
HYMN: Fairest Lord Jesus
Silesian Folk melody
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I like this lovely hymn, which is often sung at our local church. 



Wednesday, April 21, 2021

REX GLORIOSE MARTYRUM

 





TUNE: REX GLORIOSE MARTYRUM
(O Glorious King of Martyr Hosts)
from Catholische Geistliche Gesänge
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

R is for REX GLORIOSE MARTYRUM, which was published in 1608. 
To tell the truth, I knew nothing about this tune before I started preparing for the A to Z challenge. I found this song in one of my old hymnals with the help of the index. 

I’m afraid I played the tune too slowly in the recording above. -- I tend to play too slowly.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

QUEBEC

 




TUNE: QUEBEC
Composed by Henry Baker
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


Q is for QUEBEC, a lovely short hymn tune I have found in one of my old hymnals in Japanese. In that song book, this tune is applied to three different hymns in Japanese translation. Their original titles are “Jesu, Thou joy of loving hearts!” “Our faith is in the Christ,” and “O Love divine, that stooped to share.” 

The new hymnal we usually use at our local church today does not include any hymns with this tune, so I haven’t sung this melody at all for the last twelve years or so. 

I wonder why this tune is named QUEBEC. According to Hymnary.org, the composer, Henry Baker was born in England. The website says they don’t know why the title refers to the city and province in Canada.




Monday, April 19, 2021

PALESTRINA

 




TUNE: PALESTRINA (VICTORY)
HYMN: The strife is o'er, the battle done
Composed by Giovanni P. da Palestrina
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

For the letter ‘P’, I have chosen the tune known as PALESTRINA.
At the local church I attend, we often sing this hymn in Japanese translation on Easter Sunday, though I had no idea the tune is named after the famous composer. 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

O LAMM GOTTES UNSHULDIG

 




TUNE: O LAMM GOTTES UNSHULDIG
(O Lamb of God, Most Holy)
Composed by Nicolaus Decius
Chorale prelude arranged by Johann Pachelbel
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


I have often played this chorale prelude at the beginning of the Sunday worship service. We seldom sing the hymn of the same title, but some of us seem to be familiar with this melody. (I live in Japan.)

Friday, April 16, 2021

NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND

 





TUNE: NUN KOMM, DER HEIDEN HEILAND
(Savior of the Nations, Come)
from Geystliches Gesangk Buchleyn
Chorale prelude arranged by Johann Heinrich Buttstedt
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


This is my favorite hymn for the Advent season. The piece recorded in the video above is one of the chorale preludes of the same title, which I have often played at church on the first Sunday in the Advent season. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

MIT FREUDEN ZART

 




UNE: MIT FREUDEN ZART
from Genevan Psalter
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

For the letter ‘M’, I have chosen the tune named MIT FREUDEN ZART

MIT (with)
FREUDEN (joy)
ZART (tender)

I don’t remember singing any hymns to this tune myself, but the melody sounds vaguely familiar. If I were not taking part in this A to Z challenge, I would not have had a chance to play it on the keyboard. I practiced it only a few times and recorded it. I’m thankful that I have discovered this beautiful tune.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

LIEBSTER JESU WIR SIND HIER

 





TUNE: LIEBSTER JESU WIR SIND HIER
(Dearest Jesus, We are Here)
Composed by Johann R. Ahle
Chorale prelude arranged by Christian Heinrich Rinck
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

At the local church I attend, the organists are to select the prelude performed at the beginning of a Sunday worship service. Usually, I search for a piece related to the theme of the sermon or the church calendar, but it is not always possible to find something suitable. When I am at a loss, I often decide on LIEBSTER JESU WIR SIND HIER.

My repertoire includes several versions arranged by different composers, and the one in the recording above is a lovely piece in 105 Organ Preludes by Ch. H. Rinck.



Tuesday, April 13, 2021

KIRKEN

 



TUNE: KIRKEN
HYMN: Kirken den er gammelt Hus 
(Built on the Rock)
Composed by Lutvig M. Lindeman
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

For the letter ‘K’, I have selected the tune named KIRKEN. I have heard this song several times before, but I have never sung it myself. I kind of like the pensive melody. I practiced playing it on the keyboard in my room several times and recorded it. 

Since I am not familiar with the German language, I thought this hymn was written in Germany at first. Today, however, I found that the title is in Norwegian. According to Google Translation, it seems to mean ‘The church it is old house.’  I have checked out Hymnary.org and now I know the composer was also Norwegian.


note:
Kirken (Norwegian)
Kirche (German)
Church (English)


教会 (kyo-kai) (Japanese)


Monday, April 12, 2021

JESU MEINE FREUDE

 





TUNE: JESU MEINE FREUDE
(Jesus, Priceless Treasure)
Composed by Johann Crüger
Chorale prelude arranged by Johann Gottfried Walther
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I practiced this chorale prelude hundreds of times, until I finally learned to play it (almost) accurately. When I finished playing it without making any (disastrous) mistakes for the very first time in my life, in my apartment in the small town surrounded by the mountains, on a cold evening more than two decades ago, I found it difficult to believe it. 

My rendition in the video above is just a progress report. I hope to be a much better player in the future. 


Saturday, April 10, 2021

ICH STEH AN DEINER KRIPPEN HIER

 




TUNE: ICH STEH AN DEINER KRIPPEN HIER
(Beside Thy Manger Here I Stand)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I first listened to this beautiful Christmas hymn sung more than two decades ago, when I lived in a small town surrounded by the mountains. Kaori and her sister, both of whom were high school students then, sang it for us at the local church on Christmas Eve. Their voices and the song were exquisite.

Some time later, I started practicing playing the tune on the electronic keyboard in my apartment. It took me a long time to learn to play the version found in our hymnal. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but I remember practicing it again and again for weeks. I was delighted when I finally managed to play the complicated harmony. 

I sometimes practice this hymn, not only before Christmas, but also in other seasons, so that I will not forget how to play this wonderful tune.


Friday, April 9, 2021

HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN

 




TUNE: HERZLICH TUT MICH VERLANGEN  
HYMN: O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Composed by Hans L. Hassler
Arranged by Johann Pachelbel
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

I sometimes play one of the chorale preludes based on this pensive tune at the opening of the Sunday worship service at our local church. I remember singing this song translated in Japanese when I attended church for the very first time in my life at the age of 20. I had never heard this hymn before, so I sang, listening to the others singing. I was deeply moved by the beautiful melody and the lyrics. On that day, I never dreamed that I would be an amateur church organist in the future.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

GELOBET SEIST

 




TUNE: GELOBET SEIST
HYMN: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ 
(O Jesu Christ, All Praise to Thee)
from Eyn Enchiridion oder Handbüchlein
Chorale prelude arranged by Christian Heinrich Rinck
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


My repertoire includes several chorale preludes based on this tune arranged by different musicians, and I usually play one of them at the start of the worship service during the Christmas season. 

A few years ago, I found and downloaded 105 Organ Preludes by Christian Heinrich Rinck, and I have been fascinated with the beautiful short pieces in it. I haven’t played this version at our local church yet, and I hope to play it in December this year.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

FREUET EUCH, IHR CHRISTIN ALLE

 




TUNE: FREUET EUCH, IHR CHRISTIN ALLE
(Oh, Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly)
Composed by Andreas Hammerschmidt
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

In fact, I had never heard of this song before I began to prepare for this project. I searched for hymn tunes beginning with the letter F in public domain and found this beautiful song for the New Year. I immediately fell in love with its melody. I practiced playing it several times before recording it. – Though my rendition is far from perfect, I would like to share with you the joy of learning a new piece of music.

I will practice this tune more, hoping to play it at the beginning of the worship service at our local church in January next year. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

EIN FESTE BURG

 








TUNE: EIN FESTE BURG
HYMN: Ein feste Burg ist der unser Gott 
(A Mighty Fortress is our God)
Composed by Martin Luther
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard

When I was the only organist at the local church in a small town surrounded by mountains, I usually played one of the chorale preludes based on this powerful tune at the beginning of the worship service on the last Sunday of October. I had heard someone say in a radio program that this tune is associated with the Reformation Day (October 31). 

Again, let me remind you that my rendition is NOT intended to be exemplary. I know how imperfect it is. Experts would frown at me. -- I am praying, however, that my Father will smile at me, just as a loving father smiles at his children doing their best. 😊


Monday, April 5, 2021

DA JESUS AN DEM KREUZE STUND

 





TUNE: DA JESUS AN DEM KREUZE STUND 
(When on the Cross the Savoir Hung / Our Blessed Savior Sev'n Times Spoke)
from Babst Gesangbuch 
Chorale prelude arranged by Samuel Scheidt
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


I learned to play this beautiful chorale prelude soon after I started playing the electronic organ at church. I sometimes play this piece at the beginning of the worship service on the Sunday before Easter, or on the first Sunday of the month, when communion is held.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN

 




TUNE: CHRIST LAG IN TODESBANDEN 
(Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands)
from Geistliche Gesangbuchlein
Arranged by Johann Sebastian Bach 
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


Since tomorrow is Easter Sunday, I think it is apt to share the recording of this tune. 

--Let me remind you that I am NOT pursuing perfection here. I am practicing playing the electronic keyboard as a hobby. I know there is AMPLE room for improvement.








Camellia rusticana in front of our house


Friday, April 2, 2021

BALLERMA

 




TUNE: BALLERMA
HYMN: (Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed)
Composed by François Barthélémon
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


I find it interesting that there are a lot of hymn tunes named after cities. Today’s tune, BALLERMA, comes from Palermo, Italy. (source)
 
In Japan, where I live, the hymn usually associated with this tune is a Japanese translation of “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”, so I was surprised to know that this is not always the case in other countries. Different hymns are sung to the same tune, and different tunes are used for the same hymn, depending on hymnals and countries. 

In fact, I had never paid attention to the tune name before I started to prepare for the A to Z Challenge this year. I searched for an easy-to-play tune beginning with the letter B in public domain and decided to record this. 

When you hear this melody, what is the hymn that you first think of?  





Bergenia (elephant ear saxifrage)
in our backyard


Thursday, April 1, 2021

ALLEIN GOTT

 




TUNE: ALLEIN GOTT
HYMN: Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr 
(All Glory Be to God on High)
Composed by Nicolaus Decius
Chorale prelude arranged by Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau
Played by Romi on the electronic keyboard


This is the first chorale prelude I learned to play after I became an amateur church organist more than three decades ago. Since then, it has been one of the go-to pieces to play at the beginning of the worship service. 

I don’t speak German at all, so at first, I didn’t know the meaning of the title. I am trying to learn German words from the titles of chorales I practice playing. Now I know that ‘allein’ means alone. 





Anemone hepatica in our backyard