Jupiter and Two Hymns
“Let Streams of Living Justice” and “O God Beyond All Praising” share the same melody. Gustav Holst, English Composer, wrote the melody, THAXTED. THAXTED is used for a theme to describe the planet, Jupiter, in Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite, “The Planets.”
The hymns are relatively unfamiliar to some of you. Both have been sung several times since I have been here. The tune is said to be a favorite of Princess Diana and was one of the beautiful music selected for the wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate.
When asked to sing a hymn that perhaps is not familiar to you, perhaps you may choose to listen to the first verse before singing. That option is one preferred by many, but others may opt to read its text before hearing it. I recommend for every hymn, to read its text phrase by phrase or sentence by sentence instead of line by line. Reading a hymn’s text in the manner I suggest will assist one’s comprehension of the words and very helpful in determining what the hymn is saying to the worshiper.
The hymn, “Let Streams of Living Justice” was one of the hymns sung during the service on September 11th. Considering September 11th is the 15th anniversary of 9/11, it was quite appropriate as a remembrance for the heroes, the survivors, and the ones who perished that day. As the rest of us watched the news of this horrific event that day, September 11, 2001, the second verse especially speaks to the ones who watched and grieved. It is a hymn of hope and comfort.
“Let Streams of Living Justice” ELW 710 sing to the hymn tune, THAXTED by Gustav Holst
Let streams of living justice flow down upon the earth; Give freedom’s light to captives, let all the poor have worth.
The hungry hands are pleading, the workers claim their rights, the mourners long for laughter, the blinded seek for sight.
Make liberty a beacon, strike down the iron pow’r; Abolish ancient vengeance: proclaim your people’s hour.
For healing of the nations, for peace that will not end, for love that makes us lovers, God grant us grace to mend.
Weave our varied gifts together; knit our lives as they are spun; on your loom of time enroll us till our thread of life is run.
O great weaver of our fabric, bind church and world in one; Dye our texture with your radiance, light our colors with your sun.
Your city’s built to music; we are the stones you seek; your harmony is language; we are the words you speak.
Our faith we find in service, our hope in others’ dreams, our love in hand of neighbor; our homeland brightly gleams.
Inscribe our hearts with justice; your way—the path untried; your truth—the heart of stranger; your life—the Crucified.
Text: William Whitla, b. 1934
The text for “O God Beyond All Praising” is a beautifully written poem of praise hat may be sung within a worship setting. I not only included the words and the melody, but the words alone, in hopes, someone will read and meditate upon the meaning and beauty phrase by phrase, then sentence by sentence. When I take time to study their meaning as well as using them to speak to God, my spirit feels enriched. The singer is speaking to God in words of praise and thanksgiving.
“O God beyond All Praising”
O God beyond all praising, we worship you today
And sing the love amazing that songs cannot repay;
For we can only wonder at ev’ry gift you send,
At blessings without number and mercies without end:
We lift our hearts before you and wait upon your word,
We honor and adore you, our great and mighty Lord.
The flow’r of earthly splendor in time must surely die,
Its fragile bloom surrender to you, the Lord most high;
But hidden from all nature the eternal seed is sown—
Though small in mortal stature, to heaven’s garden grown:
For Christ, your gift from heaven, from death has set us free,
And we through him are given the final victory.
Then hear, O gracious Savior, accept the love we bring,
That we who know your favor may serve you as our King;
And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill,
We’ll triumph through our sorrows and rise to bless you still:
To marvel at your beauty and glory in your ways,
And make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.
Text: Michael Perry, 1942-1996
Gustav Holst was the composer of the music. The music is referred to as THAXTED..
The tune, Thaxted is played by Mary Ruth, pianist, on you tube. Click on the site to listen and read the lyrics.
If you want to learn more about the melody, THAXTED and its composer, Gustuv Holst, continue reading and just maybe you will consider Holst’s orchestral suite as one of your favorite orchestral works.
“THAXTED” by Gustav Holst, 1874-1934.
Thaxted is the name of the English village where Holst lived most of his life. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Manse in Thaxted, where Gustav Holst lived from 1917 to 1925.
“Thaxted” is a hymn tune by the English composer Gustav Holst, based on the stately theme from the middle section of the Jupiter movement of his orchestral suite The Planets He adapted the theme in 1921 to fit the patriotic poem “I Vow to Thee, My Country” by Cecil Spring Rice but that was as a unison song with orchestra. It did not appear as a hymn-tune called “Thaxted” until his friend Ralph Vaughan Williams included it in Songs of Praise in 1926. This setting was sung at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997.
Hymn tune From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia is a melody of a musical composition to which a hymn text is sung.
• History – From the late sixteenth century in England and Scotland, when most people were not musically literate and learned melodies by rote, it was a common practice to sing a new text to a hymn tune the singers already knew which had a suitable meter and character.
Biographical information for Gustav Holst From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This photograph of Gustav Holst, circa 1921, was taken by Herbert Lambert.
Gustav Theodore Holst (born Gustavus Theodore von Holst; (Sept. 21, 1874 – May 25, 1934) was an English composer, arranger and teacher. Best known for “The Planets,” he composed a large number of other works across a range of genres, although none achieved comparable success.
There were professional musicians in the previous three generations of Holst’s family and it was clear from his early years that he would follow the same calling. He hoped to become a pianist, but was prevented by neuritis in his right arm. Despite his father’s reservations, he pursued a career as a composer, studying at the Royal College of Music under Charles Villiers Stanford. Unable to support himself by his compositions, he played the trombone professionally and later became a teacher—a great one, according to his colleague Ralph Vaughan Williams. Among other teaching activities he built up a strong tradition of performance at Morley College, where he served as musical director from 1907 until 1924, and pioneered music education for women at St Paul’s Girls’ School, where he taught from 1905 until his death in 1934. He was the founder of a series of Whitsun music festivals, which ran from 1916 for the remainder of his life. Holst’s works were played frequently in the early years of the 20th century, but it was not until the international success of “The Planets” in the years immediately after the First World War that he became a well-known figure. A shy man, he did not welcome this fame, and preferred to be left in peace to compose and teach.
Apart from “The Planets” and a handful of other works, his music was generally neglected until the 1980s, since when recordings of much of his output have been available.
About the Orchestral Suite, “The Planets,” Opus* 32(*Opus is a term given to a musical composition (or set of compositions) usually numbered in the order of its issue.) … is a seven-movement orchestral suite** by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst. ** A suite is a piece of music that is made up of many short pieces that are taken from a larger work. The word “suite” is also a term given to a group of rooms used by one person or family.
From its premiere to the present day, “The Planets” orchestral suite has been enduringly popular, influential, widely performed and frequently recorded. The work was not heard in a complete public performance, however, until some years after it was completed. Although there were four performances between September 1918 and October 1920, they were all either private (the first performance, in London) or incomplete (two others in London and one in Birmingham). The premiere was at the Queen’s Hall on September 29, 1918, conducted by Holst’s friend Adrian Boult before an invited audience of about 250 people. The first complete public performance was finally given in London by Albert Coates conducting the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 November 1920.
For more, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhHwr1tLrrY
GREAT education site about “The Planets” presented by Leonard Bernstein.
This link will take you to the “The Young People’s Concerts featuring Composer and Conductor Maestro Leonard Bernstein. Even though the program refers to “young people,” this is a wonderful informative program for everyone. If you want to learn and hear more about Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite, “The Planets,” this site will be of interest to you.