Come, Let Us Join
Composer Alice Parker
Text "A Song to the Lamb," para. Isaac Watts, 1696
Voicing SATB and organ, opt. cong.
Topics Praise and Adoration
Length 2' 55" Price $2.50 (U.S.) Released 5/00
Catalog no. 425-856 Difficulty Moderately difficult
Discography Fill the World with Loudest Praise, St. Paul's Chamber Choir, Robert Brewer, conductor (Selah 520-425)
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A bright and bouncy setting of Johann Crüger's chorale melody, NUN DANKET ALL, scored for SATB, with organ and optional congregation. While not difficult, the dance like organ accompaniment weaves a delicate tapestry of tone around the sturdy chorale tune, which always remains prominent.
Come, let us join our cheerful songs
with angels round the throne;
ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
but all their joys are one.
"Worthy the Lamb that died," they cry,
"to be exalted thus."
"Worthy the Lamb," our lips reply,
"for he was slain for us."
Jesus is worthy to receive
honor and pow'r divine;
and blessing more than we can give
be, Lord, forever thine.
Let all that dwell above the sky
and air and earth and seas
conspire to raise thy glories high,
and speak thine endless praise.
The whole creation joins in one
to bless the sacred Name
of him that sits upon the throne,
and to adore the Lamb.
--"A Song to the Lamb," para. Isaac Watts, 1696
History of the hymn
This hymn by Isaac Watts (16741748) is a versification of Revelation 5:11-13:
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in the heaven and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
Watts, the acclaimed "father" of English hymnody, was a pivotal figure in the transition from psalm-singing to hymn singing in the English church. By birth and choice, Watts' did his work as a Dissenter rather than as an Anglican. His belief that the Psalms failed to provide adequate expression for Christian worship led him to write both "Christian psalms"-verses David might have written had he lived in the Christian era-and hymns. "Come, Let Us Join" was first published in Watts' Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707. Watts conceived this book for use in worship, and to encourage its adoption, he used only four meters, suited to well-known tunes. The songs manifest Watts' command of literature and language.
"Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs" is generally considered Watts' first hymn, written in 1696 in response to a challenge to produce something better than the psalms sung in the Southampton Chapel he attended. Known best by its first line, this hymn originally carried the title "Behold the Glories of the Lamb" and consisted of eight four-line stanzas. Watts also used the title "Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God worshipped by all the Creation." The hymn has been widely published in Britain and America. It first appeared in Watts' 1707 Hymns and Spiritual Songs.
In Britain, "Come, Let Us Join Our Cheerful Songs" is generally sung to NATIVITY, a tune by Henry Lahee, organist at Holy Trinity Church, Brompton. In the United States, it is often set to NUN DANKET ALL', a German tune by Johann Crüger first published in a mid-seventeenth-century hymnal, Praxis Pietatis Melica. Also known as GRAFENBERG, the name of an Austrian town, this tune was set to a hymn by Paul Gerhardt, "Nun danket all and bringet Ehr," hence its name.