Hymn of the Week: April 24, 2022
by Ed Hanson, Music Director
Calvary Episcopal Church, Columbia
H-192: This joyful Eastertide
Easter is a season of joy, and our music certainly reflects that. Here in Columbia, we literally feast on the various choices for the season for several weeks, enjoying the strength, dancelike qualities, and positive nature of the music we sing and listen to. One of my favorites, and my choice for today’s article, is “This joyful Eastertide,” which employs a folk tune from the Dutch (Vreuchten) and the poetry of George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848-1934), an English cleric.
Vreuchten was originally a love song that was incorporated into a Dutch hymn collection called “David’s Psalmen” in 1685. The melismas (multiple notes on one syllable) that mark the ends of stanza lines make this particular hymn very fun to sing. And of course, the rising sequences in the refrain harken to the Resurrection as we sing the word “arisen.”
Mr. Woodward was ordained in the Church of England in 1874 and served parishes in London, Norfolk, and Suffolk. He was a gifted linguist and translator of a large number of hymns from Greek, Latin, and German. His work, however, is usually considered more academic than artistic in nature and is usually thought of as valuable as a resource for material than singable as a congregational hymn. This one, however, is lovely and quite singable, and it’s a favorite at Eastertide with many congregations, including mine at Calvary! With composer Charles Wood, Woodward published numerous collections of carols and hymns between 1901 and 1922.
I’ve attached here a link to a delightful recording of “This joyful Eastertide”, sung by the Kings College Choir. You might explore YouTube for the many, varied recordings available!