Wonder Wonder Wonder

Before you get to the tunes in the Sacred Harp, there is a chapter on “Rudiments of Music.” One of the illustrative pieces there is THE YOUNG CONVERT from 1805′s Christian Harmony. I’ve always liked that little tune, and with its repeated refrain “Wonder, wonder, wonder,” thought it would be perfect for a Christmas piece. After working on it on and off for eleven years, I finally finished a preliminary five-verse text. I can’t say I’m happy with the words, really. But after a decade-plus, it’s time to put it to use. Here’s a pdf:

Wonder, Wonder, Wonder

If you have a better text, I’d be happy to revise and share credits. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a liturgical stocking stuffer, feel free to use the piece, and copy as many as you need.

Update: I think John Ellerton’s translation of the Christmas Lauds hymn is a pretty neat fit:

From east to west, from shore to shore,
let every heart awake and sing
the holy child whom Mary bore,
the Christ, the everlasting King.

Behold, the world’s Creator wears
the form and fashion of a slave;
our human flesh the Godhead shares,
a human race God comes to save.

He shrank not from the oxen’s stall,
he lay within the manger-bed,
for he who feeds and cares for all,
at Mary’s breast himself was fed.

And while the angels in the sky
sang praise above the silent field,
to shepherds poor the Lord Most High,
the one great Shepherd, was revealed.

All glory be to God above
and on the earth let there be peace
to all who long to taste God’s love,
till time itself shall come to cease.

The Hymnal of the Hours recommends verses 1-2, and 5-7 for Christmas. Unfortunately, I’ve lost one of my best singers to Christmas Day, so it doesn’t look like I’ll get to test this out this year.

Update 2

But if you want to test it, here it is: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/4281211/From%20East%20to%20West%20Wonder%20Wonder%20Wonder.pdf

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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7 Responses to Wonder Wonder Wonder

  1. Eb Hurley says:

    riff-raff?

  2. Liam says:

    I love Wonder Wonder Wonder as a concept, and am thrilled to see you adapt it.

    That said, don’t be shy about borrowing classic public domain iambic Long Meter texts, especially those that are not chained to a given text in the USA and that are intended to evoke wonder and have a sensibility that can co-exist with a vigorous tune.

    Eg: Sussex Carol (On Christmas Night); What Star is This?; et cet.

    The tradition is to re-use and mix-and-match things in this way.

  3. Eb Hurley says:

    riff-raff
    noun rabble, undesirables, scum, hoi polloi, dregs of society, canaille (French), ragtag and bobtail That helps to keep out the riff-raff.
    Mother Teresa said, “Love Jesus in the poorest of the poor.”
    Todd, you are gifted with a beautiful use of language. “Wonder Wonder” touched my heart and made me want to sing. To me, riff-raff was a disconnect. I needed a gentler word for those of us who are outcasts?

  4. Todd says:

    Thanks, Eb. Understood. Being uncomfortable with what Ralph Kiefer termed “Lo! I am a wretch theology” one would think I could find better.

    The text is a work in progress. Liam will tell you that serious comments like yours and his will get a thorough going-over in my head.

  5. Liam says:

    Todd,

    Love your updated choice.

  6. Liam says:

    Btw, the meter might be described as 8.8.8.8. with Wonders.

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