Hear the Angels Sing

Article excerpt


HEAR THE ANGELS SING, ed. Richard Leach and David P. Schaap. Pittsburgh: Selah Publishing Co. 125-325, 2005. 80 pp. ISBN 0-9677408-8-1. $15. The celestial beings we call angels are the subjects and actors in these 47 hymns with music, and the concluding antiphon-meditation without music. Mortals' view of the angels in scripture or reflected in poetry forms the five groups: angels as speakers of words, singers of songs, bringers of comfort, wielders of power, and servants of God. While the majority of texts and tunes were written in the 20th century, the overall time span is quite wide. Both familiar tunes and those published here for the first time are included. The juxtapositions of words and music are often interesting. The earliest text, "Blessed City, Heavenly Salem," Latin, ca. seventh century, translated by John Mason Neale, 1851, has music written by David Ashley White in 2004; Patricia B. Clark's text of 2003, "All Wrapped in Grief," is set to music from The Sacred Harp, 1844, harmonized by Hal Hopson in 2000. As can be seen by these titles, the topics are not limited to angels or Christmas. The Latin hymn is about the heavenly Jerusalem and ends with a doxology. "All Wrapped in Grief" is about three women going to an empty tomb on Easter morning. …