Lo, he comes with clouds descending

About the time this appears on 7WD, we’ll be singing this (with gusto, I hope) at Christ Church. It’s our closing hymn this Advent Sunday. I love this hymn — the text and the tune — for lots of reasons. For one, it’s a good antidote to any desire to reduce Advent to a sentimental season in which we wait for Christmas. This grand hymn reminds us that we Christians are waiting for Christ’s return in glory. And what glory it will be, assuming it exceeds the grandeur of this sturdy tune!

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4 Responses

  1. GinnyRED57 says:

    We took it at a slightly brisker pace, but it went very well. There were 5 of us in the “early service” choir this morning, and at practice this morning the choir mistress took one look at it, looked over the top of her half-glasses, and demanded to know if anybody needed to run it through before the service. No ma’am, we did not, and we did not discuss any dynamics or musical niceties either.

    We opened our mouths, we sang unison on the first voice, and then the harmony poured out in the last two verses, with a nice little ritard on the last line that ended cleanly.

    Didn’t tackle the descant with the male voices, though – that’s a pretty one! I’ll have to pass that along to Her Musical Nibs for next year.

  2. Rosemary says:

    This is THE most awesome hymn ever written!!!
    Having sung it every Advent Sunday since about the age of 8, I always associated it with the joy of knowing that Christmas really was on its way, but now as an adult I appreciate every little twist and turn of the melody, and the myriad multi-layered meanings in the text…..

  3. Malcolm says:

    We also sang it more briskly – and I attempted the bass line on a couple of verses.

    At school, Dean Buchner had a compulsory non-credit tutorial we called “Dean Hymn” (in distinction to the other comulsory non-credit tutorials “Dean Sing” – where he tried to make us competent in singing the priest’s parts – and Priestcraft – where he taught us the rudiments of actually presiding at the eucharist and baptism).

    In Dean Hymn, he advised us to be very careful with this hymn and only sing it when there were enough competent singers to carry it off – lest “deeply wailing” sound precicely that.

  4. I love this hymn… Advent Sunday has to start with O Come, O Come Emmanuel and feature Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending at the end, or it isn’t Advent Sunday (thanks to our Minor Canon for Liturgy and Master of the Music for getting it right again this year!)