Tracks

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Track

Time

Voice of God 02:09
How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings 01:17
All People That On Earth Do Dwell (Psalm 100) 01:25
Into the Tomb of Ages Past 02:42
O Star of Truth 02:19
There is a Mystic Tie That Joins 02:01
To Thee we Give Ourselves 01:47
Behold it is the Springtide of the Year 01:46
 

Liner Notes

The initial edition of the Union Hymnal contained one hymn borrowed from the Berlin Reform prayerbook, the melody of which was composed by Cantor Bernhard Jacobsohn; its English version, “Voice of God,” was created by Harry. H. Mayer. There is one hymn in this sampling by Kaiser, to a rhymed paraphrase of Psalm 82 by John Milton, “How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings,” which Kaiser intended (though not exclusively) as a substitution for the Hebrew liturgical text drawn from that Psalm, ma tovu ohalekha—a common prelude to evening services, even though its origin in the liturgy lies in the morning service, upon one’s entry into the synagogue.

The other Union Hymnal selections here are all based on traditional melodies either of minhag Ashkenaz or of Western Sephardi custom, which Kaiser knew from his years in Sulzer’s choir in Vienna. He adapted variants of these tunes to fit metrical English texts by others. “All People on Earth Do Dwell” is based on a Western Ashkenazi misinai leitmotif for the Festival of Shavuot. Because it is traditionally applied to the text of akdamut, a piyyut recited on Shavuot, it is commonly known as the “akdamut tune,” even though it is also applied to numerous other texts in the evening as well as morning services on Shavuot and would more accurately be identified simply as the Shavuot leitmotif. Its English text here is a paraphrase of Psalm 100 by William Kethe. Kaiser most likely included it in the hymnal for singing at Confirmation services, which were (and still are) held on Shavuot when the Festival occurs on a Sabbath or a Sunday, or on the nearest Sabbath or Sunday to Shavuot.

For “Into the Tomb of Ages Past,” Kaiser abridged a complex and extended melody (actually, a song) attributed to Lewandowski, which, in its complete version, includes fragments of several High Holy Day motifs. Known as Ya shimkha because, beginning at least as early as 1876, when Lewandowski published the piece as a prelude to the concluding or n’ila service of Yom Kippur, it became a custom in Berlin synagogues to sing it for this purpose to a poem of that title by Yehuda Halevi. In Lewandowski’s arrangement, the piece leads directly into the commencement of the n’ila service proper: atzi kaddish, with its unique n’ila misinai motif, fragments of which he wove into the concluding passage of Ya shimkha but were not preserved in Kaiser’s abridgment. It was also adopted by many other German communities where Lewandowski’s music predominated. Kaiser adapted it to a poem by Penina Moise, which appears also to refer to the conclusion of Yom Kippur—especially in the second line of the first stanza (“Another year has now been cast”).

“O Star of Truth” is taken from one of the most ubiquitous Western, or Amsterdam Sephardi, melodies, which is used for multiple texts; its English text is by Minot J. Savage. The tune source of “There Is a Mystic Tie That Joins” is an equally well-known Western Sephardi melody that is employed as a skeletal motif for hallel as well as for tal (dew) and geshem (rain) prayers on Pesah and Sukkot. The English text by Max Myerhardt contains the dated but once common references to the Jewish people as “the children of the martyr race.” Both these Sephardi tunes were adopted in the 19th century by mainstream Ashkenazi synagogues in Germany, where they were known from the Hamburg Sephardi congregation; and they also entered Ashkenazi repertoires in Vienna via the Turkish Temple there.

“To Thee We Give Ourselves” draws on one of several popular tune versions of a piyyut traditionally sung responsively at the conclusion of the Sabbath mussaf service, anim z’mirot. In adapting it to a text by Gustav Gottheil—the rabbi at New York’s Temple Emanu-El for a time in the 19th century who also wrote the famous English paraphrase version of ma’oz tsur under the title “Rock of Ages”—Kaiser used a variant of this particular anim z’mirot tune. The tune of “Behold It Is the Springtide of the Year” is based on motives that recur throughout the Ashkenazi prayer modes (nusa hat’filla) at various points but are perhaps most closely associated with cadential formulas employed in the morning service of Festivals. The English text is by Alice Lukas.

 

By: Neil W. Levin

 

Lyrics

VOICE OF GOD
Sung in English
Union Hymnal 1914

Voice of God, I hear Thy pleading call,
And my soul is filled with awe and trembling;
Earthly longings lose their wonted thrall;
Conscience warns that vain is all dissembling.

Pardon, Lord, my willfulness and pride;
My transgressions pardon and my blindness;
Not in wrath wilt Thou forever chide,
But according to Thy loving-kindness.

In Thy grace, O Lord, I firmly trust;
Surely Thou wilt heed my soul's contrition;
For my sins, O Judge, most kind and just,
In compassion grant me full remission.

HOW LOVELY ARE THY DWELLINGS

How lovely are Thy dwellings fair,
O Lord of Hosts, how dear
The Pleasant tabernacles are.
Where Thou dost dwell so near

My soul doth long, yea, even faint
Thy courts, O Lord, to see;
My heart and flesh are crying out,
O living God, for Thee.

Behold, the sparrow findeth out
A house wherein to rest;
The swallow also for herself
Hath found a peaceful nest.

Blest all who dwell within Thy house;
They ever give Thee praise;
And blest the man whose strength Thou art,
Who faithful loves Thy ways.

ALL THE PEOPLE THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL

Sung in English
Union Hymnal 1914
Words: William Kethe; based upon Psalm 100: 1, 3, and 4.

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him gladly serve, His praise forth tell,
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

Know ye, the Lord is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His flock, He doth us feed;
And for His sheep He doth us take.

Because the Lord, our God, is good;
His mercy is forever sure,
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

INTO THE TOMB OF AGES PAST
Sung in English
Union Hymnal 1897
Words: Penina Moise

Into the tomb of ages past
Another year has now been cast;
Shall time unheeded take its flight,
Nor leave one ray of higher light,
That on man's pilgrimage may shine
And lead his soul to spheres divine?

With firm resolves your spirit nerve,
The God of right alone to serve;
Speech, thought, and act to regulate,
By what His perfect laws dictate;
Nor from His holy precepts stray,
By worldly idols lured away.

Peace to the house of Israel!
May joy within it ever dwell!
May sorrow on the opening year,
Forgetting its accustomed tear,
With smiles again fond kindred meet,
With hopes revived, the New Year greet!

O STAR OF TRUTH
Sung in English
Union Hymal 1914
Words: Minot J. Savage (Strophes 1, 3, and 4)

O star of Truth, down shining
Through clouds of doubt and fear,
I ask but 'neath Thy guidance
My pathway may appear.
However long the journey,
How hard so e'er it be,
Though I be lone and weary,
Lead on, I'll follow Thee!

The bleeding feet of martyrs
The toilsome road have trod;
But fires of human passion
May light the way to God.
Then, though my feet should falter,
While I Thy beams can see,
Though I be lone and weary,
Lead on, I'll follow Thee!

Though loving friends forsake me
Or plead with me in tears;
Though angry foes may threaten,
To shake my soul with fears;
Still to my high allegiance
I must not faithless be:
Through life or death forever
Lead on, I'll follow Thee!

THERE IS A MYSTIC TIE THAT JOINS
Sung in English
Union Hymnal 1914
Words: Max Meyerhardt

There is a mystic tie that joins
The children of the martyr-race,
In bonds of sympathy and love
That time and change cannot efface.

E'en though today the Jews do dwell
In every clime and every land,
Yet, joined by that immortal tie,
A holy brotherhood they stand.

For still in reverent tones is heard
The sacred cry, always the same,
'O Israel, hear, our God is One,
Blest be for aye His holy name!"

This is the mystic tie that joins
The children of the ancient race;
This is the grand and holy bond
That time and change cannot efface.

TO THEE WE GIVE OURSELVES
Sung in English
Union Hymnal 1914
Words: Gustav Gottheil

To Thee we give ourselves today;
Forgetful of the world outside,
We tarry in Thy house, O God,
From eventide to eventide.
From Thine all-searching righteous eye
Our deepest heart can nothing hide;
It crieth out for Thee, for peace,
From eventide to eventide.

Who could endure, shouldst Thou, O God,
As we deserve, forever chide;
We therefore see Thy pardoning
From eventide to eventide.
O may we lay to heart how swift
The years of life do onward glide;
And learn to live that we may see
Thy light at our own eventide.

BEHOLD IT IS THE SPRINGTIDE OF THE YEAR
Sung in English
Union Hymnal 1914
Words: Alice Lucas (Strophes 1, 2, and 4)

Behold, it is the springtide of the year!
Over and past is winters gloomy reign,
The happy time of singing birds is near,
And clad in bud and blooms are hill and plain.

And in the spring, when all the earth and sky
Rejoice together, still from age to age
Rings out the solemn chant of days gone by,
Proclaiming Israel's sacred heritage.

And still from rising unto setting sun
Shall this our heritage and watchword be:
"The Lord our God, the Lord our God is One,
His law alone it is that makes us free!"


 

Credits

Composer: Amsterdam|Western Sephardi Tradition
Composer: Bernhard Jacobsohn Composer: Alois Kaiser

Length: 12:22
Genre: Liturgical

Performers: Carolina Chamber ChoraleMargery Dodds, Organ;  Timothy Koch, Conductor

Date Recorded: 06/01/2001
Venue: New Tabernacle Baptist Fourth Church, Charleston, North Carolina
Engineer: Rob Rapley (Recording), Tim Martyn (Editing)
Assistant Engineer: Aronczyk, Amanda
Assistant Engineer: Frost, David
Project Manager: Lee, Richard
Date Recorded: 06/01/2001
Venue: New Tabernacle Baptist Fourth Church (B), Charleston, North Carolina
Engineer: Rapley, Rob
Assistant Engineer: Aronczyk, Amanda
Assistant Engineer: Frost, David
Project Manager: Lee, Richard

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