|Composer David Ashley White
Text Johann G. Olearious
Voicing SATB, a cappella
Church Season Advent
Scripture references Isaiah 40:1-5
Price $1.80 (U.S.)
Length 1' 45" Released 11/94
Catalog no. 405-152 Difficulty Mod. easy
Discography Praise the Spirit: Sacred Music of David Ashley White (Gothic Records, 520-254)
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Comfort, comfort ye my people,
speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darknes
mourning 'neath their sorrows' load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover,
and her warfare now is over.
Hark, the voice of one that crieth
in the desert far and near,
calling us to new repentence
since the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God away;
let the valleys rise to meet him
and the hills bow down to greet him.
Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain;
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
now o'er earth is shed abroad;
and all flesh shall see the token
that the word is never broken.
Text: Isaiah 40:1-5; vers. Johann G. Olearious, 1671, tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.
"This is a setting of the familiar text and tune of Hymn 67 in The Hymnal 1982. I often tell my choir that if I taught conducting this would be the exam--the varied 3/2-6/4 meters of the hymn are present (and occasionally simultaneous!) along with a few melodic and rhythmic surprises along the way. The writing is in a somewhat austere and unadorned style, with harmonies very much in the style of Goudimel's harmonization in the hymnal; the mood is that of a joyful dance. My choir loves singing this piece, and it makes nearly annual Advent appearances since it is great fun to conduct as well." --Jane Bourdow, AAM Journal, December 2002
"White's setting is integrated and achieves great effect by playing with the tune's built-in rhythmic alternation of 3/2 vs. 6/4. [This piece] needs clear intonation ('the kind of Perfect Fifths you could drive an eighteen wheeler through,' a Memphis friend used to say) as well as solid rhythm, and both essentially reproduce hymnic material." --AAM Journal, September 1995.
"This text is probably most famously set by Handel, but this lovely little piece will be perfect for those who look for a different tone with the same passage from Isaiah. The texture varies from solo to four voices while the tone remains the same, elegiac. This is a text of longing, an expression of desire, and the muted intensity of music, breaking finally into a more energetic section, in an incredibly apt expression of this yearning." --Pastoral Music, April-May, 1996
"Here is an excellent opportunity to sing one of our fine Advent chorales in a simple, pretty much note-for-note, unaccompanied setting. It is a guaranteed success for a group just a little bit apprehensive about singing on its own. White's arrangement sustains energy and interest in small but wonderful wayssee especially the brief interludes between stanzas, the calling sol-mi, sol-mi ("O comfort, comfort") between phrases, and in subtle variations of rhythm and texture. Be careful about the two or three instances in which rhythms differ from the versions in Lutheran worship books and take it at a more relaxed pace that will allow it to actually sound comforting. Easy. Highly recommended." --Cross Accent, July 1997.
Description A lively and energetic setting of this 16th century advent hymn. And it's a lot of fun to sing!