"Savior of the Prophets' Dreaming," a Christmas text
  • Grace and peace, everyone. Here's a Christmas text in 8.7.8.7. that I wrote for John Stainer's melody CROSS OF JESUS. This absolutely lovely tune, which is # 160 in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal, seems to me of a deep joy and peace, not entirely suited to its original text. (You can see and listen to the original version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPV_neMPDyI )

    Since Catholic congregations will know neither the tune nor the text, I would envision this as a piece for choir. I think a solo on verse 3 would be very effective.

    1. Savior of the prophets' dreaming,
    Infant dear and yet divine,
    What unbounded wealth is waiting
    In a manger for mankind!

    2.Though this wicked world would worship
    Gold and power, wit and fame,
    God the deepest treasure opens
    In a Baby, Christ His Name.

    3. Holy Family enchanting,
    Virgin Mary, Mother blest
    With Saint Joseph wise and faithful
    Wonders at the newborn Guest.

    4. Son of God, behold Your brethren
    Off'ring at Your crib our tears,
    All our sins and all our sorrows,
    All our faults and all our fears.

    5. Sages from the distant nations
    Kneel and pray, the Truth to own,
    And the shepherds sing sweet blessing
    To their Lord and Holy One.

    6. Savior of the prophets' dreaming,
    Infant dear and yet divine,
    What unbounded wealth is waiting
    In a manger for mankind!

    (c) 2023 Anna Bendiksen
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    I think the tune you selected pairs nicely with the text. I have had the school kids sing Stainer's Cross of Jesus before, but having only used it once in all the years I've been here, I doubt that anyone in the congregation would remember its previous association.
    Thanked by 1Anna_Bendiksen
  • A lovely text for a lovely tune. With the theme of offering, did you consider adding an Epiphany verse? Otherwise I'd have started v. 3 "Kings and shepherds here adoring … wonder".
  • Check out the edit!
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Richard Mix
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 5,159
    Since first reading Anna's splendid text, I've thought about composing a setting and have worked on it, off and on, over the last month or so. In the last couple of days, I've achieved what I set out to do and am pleased with the result. The PDF score and an MP3 sound file (for a possible simulated performance) are attached. You'll see that the tune is set in two versions, both employing the same SA parts, mostly in parallel thirds, as a sort of lullaby tune.

    The two versions differ in that the first (for stanzas 1,3,5) has quite simple TB parts, while the second (for stanzas 2,4,6) has more elaborate parts. There is also an optional alternate setting for the fifth stanza that has sopranos on a sweet descant, with the melody in the AB parts, while the T basically supplies the original alto part.

    The sound file simulates a performance in which the first stanza is essentially the SA duet with just very soft TB accompaniment and the fifth stanza has the optional setting. Anyway, enjoy, and many thanks to Anna for her wonderful text! Comments are most welcome.

    For some strange reason, several attempts to upload the PDF and MP3 files have failed. It may be due to the apostrophe in " prophets' " - so I'm going to rename the files to see if this solves the problem.
    Thanked by 1Anna_Bendiksen
  • Stunningly beautiful.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • francis
    Posts: 10,695
    very kool, CHG and AnnaB...

    Eternal gifts from heaven to earth are found in you both.

    Would love to hear this with a choir!
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    My choir is learning this one, although we got to it before CHG composed his tune, so we're using the suggestion of CROSS OF JESUS.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,695
    Here is an old hymn I composed in the late 80s that I thought would also be good to reflect this text.

    NOTE: I have deleted the pdf... there is an error in the text that I will have to correct before reposting.
  • Ah! Anna, Cross of Glory will ever be 'Cross of Glory' for me.
    Having said that, I think that Cross of Glory is a convincing fit with 'Savior of the Prophet's Dreaming'. This speaks of the tune's versatility. As for your hymn - I'm hard put to find worthy words for it. Especially for the very rich symbolism and imagery.

    I'm hereby planting a seed
    - it is the seed for what would be The Musica Sacra Hymnal. This would be a hymnal exclusive in scope: It would contain only hymnody by our extraordinary hymnists and composers.

    Every one of us, THE MUSICA SACRA FORUM HYMNAL - plant a seed.

    > We have poets
    > We have motet composers
    > We have Anthem composers





  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    It would be nice to have all these compositions in a catalogue, with composer name, liturgical year, music type, etc. Sometimes I remember seeing something I liked but have to dig around to find it.

    Besides what MJO mentions, we could also have alternate harmonizations.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • francis
    Posts: 10,695
    A while back I mentioned doing the book for us composers, authors, etc. Perhaps chonak can give us a method for compiling files?
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    Perhaps a spreadsheet file for starters with links to the particular forum pages. It could be revised later.

    It sounds like a project for AFTER Christmas.
    Thanked by 2francis CHGiffen
  • francis
    Posts: 10,695
    I would actually give specifications for staff margins, font face, sizes, etc., and request pdf files for placement in a layout file for printing to a real book with a hard cover.

    There should be a few editors.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    Oh, I agree that there should be uniformity, but finding and organizing them into some kind of order is a first step. Can't edit that which you don't know exists!
  • francis
    Posts: 10,695
    TCJ... you gonna make the list?
  • LOL!!

    @TCJ, I am absolutely thrilled to hear that your choir is doing this piece. Thank you so much! As always, I'd love to mention this on my website, so do send me links or post them here.

    There is one small change I'm going to make in the text above. Verse 5 will have "to their Lord and Holy One." I kept thinking of these impoverished shepherds singing prayers, perhaps the same blessings they had been singing all their lives to God the Father, now sung to His infant Son.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    @francis

    I did say a project for after Christmas. I'm willing to work on a spreadsheet if people want to help out posting links and stuff so I can organize it. We should have a separate thread for it, of course.
    Thanked by 1francis
  • TCJ
    Posts: 973
    @Anna_Bendiksen

    We don't stream or record usually. If we get a recording, it will be on a choir members phone.

    Depending on what kind of day it is, I might want to hide any recording so posterity will never know what kind of racket we're capable of making!