Hymns in Periodical Literature

By Music, David W. | The Hymn, Autumn 2007 | Go to article overview
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Hymns in Periodical Literature


Music, David W., The Hymn


Hymns, Hymn Writers, and Hymnals in History

Crist, Stephen A. "Early Lutheran Hymnals and Other Musical Sources in the Kessler Reformation Collection at Emory University." Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association 63/3 (March 2007), 503-532.

Stephen A. Crist's "Early Lutheran Hymnals and Other Musical Sources in the Kessler Reformation Collection at Emory University" is a revision of an earlier article published in Music and Theology: Essays in Honor of Robin A. Leaver, ed. Daniel Zager (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2006). The Kessler Reformation Collection contains more than 3,200 items (including over 900 publications by Luther), most dating from the years 1500-1570.

Among the rare song books and other musical materials in the collection are pamphlets containing hymns, a copy of the Achtliederbuch (in what is apparendy the only surviving copy of a variant printing), liturgies (including early editions of Luther's Formula missaein German translation-and Deutsche Messe), church orders, and other sources. One interesting item among the latter is Joachim Aberlin's An kurzer Begriffund Inhalt derganzen Bible (1534), which "condenses the entire content of the Bible into three very long songs." Crist gives a thorough description of each of the musical items and points to areas in which more research needs to be done.

Eskew, Harry. "William Walker: Carolina Contributor to American Music." Journal of the South Carolina Baptist Historical Society 29 (2005-2006), 18-29.

The tremendous popularity of B. F. White and E. J. King's The Sacred Harp has often caused William Walker, compiler of The Southern Harmony (1835), The Christian Harmony (1867), and other nineteenthcentury shape note tunebooks to be overlooked. As a corrective, Harry Eskew argues that "Walker was not only South Carolina's best known composer of hymn tunes, but has also significantiy influenced the face of American music today." The author briefly reviews Walker's biography then proceeds to a discussion of his collections, particularly The Southern Harmony. Three facets of Walker's legacy in American music are described: the use of his tunes and tunebooks in annual singings, the arrangement of melodies from his books in choral anthems and other genres, and the presence of music he wrote-or text/tune combinations he first published-in modern hymnals.

Morris, Amy. "The Art of Purifying: The Bay Psalm Book and Colonial Puritanism." Early American Literature 42/1 (2007), 107-130.

The demand for an accurate text by the compilers of the Bay Psalm Book has long been commented upon, but Amy Morris notes that the plainness of the poetry and printing-as well as the anonymous nature of both the collection and the individual pieces within it (which she compares to that of the Authorized Version of the Bible)-illustrate larger concepts of the Puritan drive for "rough-hewn and stripped back" purity, and undoubtedly contributed to the popularity of the collection. Comparing the New England version to another Puritan psalter, that by Francis Rous (officially ordered for use in 1647 by the Puritan dominated English Parliament), she demonstrates that the former had scriptural fidelity as its reason for being, while in the latter "the claim to improved literal accuracy comes at the end of a list of diverse improvements," and terms Rous's book a humanistic "compromise" that, despite its official imprimatur, did not achieve in England anything like the status enjoyed by the Bay Psalm Book in New England. Whereas Rous had based his version at least in part on the Old Version of Sternhold and Hopkins, the Bay Psalm Book created "much of [its] impression of textual purity" by mirroring more closely the language of the King James Version. Comparison is also made with Henry Ainsworth's 1612 psalter, which likewise claimed to be faithful to the original psalm text, and the reasons for its nonadoption by the New England Puritans are explored.

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