What Star Is This?
Composer Trier MS, 15th cent., adapt. Michael Praetorious;
setting by David Ashley White
Text Charles Coffin; tr. John Chandler, alt.
Voicing Two-part choir, organ, opt. congregation
Length Price $1.65 (U.S.) Released 7/00
Catalog no. 405-344 Difficulty Mod. Easy
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"Finally, there are two delightful hymn anthems from David Ashley White. Alleluia, song of gladness is for the Last Sunday after The Epiphany, while What Star Is This is for the Feast itself. . . . What Star is cut from much the same cloth. Taking the tune's roots in triple meter round dances, this setting is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Sir David Willcocks' broad cathedral setting. Just as the tempo is upbeat, so is the harmonic vocabulary astringent. My only quibble is the substitution of 'Maker' for 'Father' in the doxology stanza, but that is a subject for another time, and those who share my disease around such pentimento already know that it is easily fixed, even by a blunt pencil!" --AAM Journal, October 2002
What star is this, with beams so bright,
more beauteous than the noonday light?
It shines to herald forth the King,
and Gentiles to his crib to bring.
True spake the prophet from afar
who told the rise of Jacob's star;
and eastern sages with amaze
upon the wondrous token gaze.
The guiding star above is bright;
within them shines a clearer light,
and leads them on with power benign
to seek the Giver of the sign.
O Jesus while the star of grace
impels us on to seek thy face,
let not our slothful hearts refuse
the guidance of thy light to use.
To God, our Maker, heavenly Light,
to Christ, revealed in earthly night,
to God the Holy Ghost we raise
our equal and unceasing praise.
--Charles Coffin; tr. John Chandler, alt.