Academic journal article The Hymn

Songs of Devotion No. 2

Academic journal article The Hymn

Songs of Devotion No. 2

Article excerpt

Songs of Devotion No. 2 edited by Simon Filbrun. Fayetteville, PA: Simon Filbrun, 2005. 224 pp. ISBN: 1-897080-11-5. U. S. $13.95. (Available from the editor: Simon Filbrun, 3971 Mont Alto Rd., Fayetteville, PA 17222)

Self-published collections are rarely reviewed in THE HYMN, but an exception was in order for this fascinating hymnal. Editor Simon Filbrun is a German Baptist music teacher. In church, German Baptists sing from text-only hymn books, with tunes transmitted by oral tradition. New hymns are not added to their worship repertoire. The intention of this collection is purely devotional. Filbrun has included a handful of German Baptist hymns that are notated here for the first time. The remainder of the book is divided mostly between widely known traditional hymns, and tunes composed by Filbrun himself. Tune names are not given at all, and the only index is of tides and first lines. Shape notation is used throughout.

The feature that sets this collection apart is the massive proportion of hymns by 29 year old Lydia Hess, another German Baptist (91 out of 234 texts, most with tunes by Filbrun). She possesses a strong command of meter and rhyme and generally puts both to good use. Her choice of imagery is creative. In the hymn titled Joyous Release (No. 54), she reflects upon the whistling of a burning oak log. She ends with this verse:

Another strong feature of Hess' writing is her presentation of Biblical narrative. She is not shy about including characters that are often overlooked. Who among us can recall Barzillai? He is the subject of hymn 76. (Those who need their memories refreshed can look to 2 Samuel 17:27 and 19:31-39). These character-based texts would be excellent for use in children's Sunday Schools. …

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