How to Re-harmonize Hymns

Have you ever wanted to learn how to re-harmonize hymns, to accompany congregational singing? Timothy Shaw’s blog post on Prelude Music Planner provides a 5-step process on how to do this. Check it out here, and be sure to download the free re-harmonization of the hymn “Gethsemane” (link at bottom of post).

Mount Holly, NJ Organ Dedication Service

Review in The American OrganistOn February 26, 2017, Timothy Shaw will perform in the Organ Dedication Service at the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Holly, NJ. The church’s Organist and Director of Choirs, Jackie Bozarth, has been coordinating the rebuilding project since 2015 (following a 2012 proposal), and the time has come to celebrate with music. Shaw will perform William Mathias’s “Fanfare,” J. S. Bach’s “Ich ruf’ zu dir” (from Orgelbüchlein), his own hymn prelude on “Austria,” and his own Partita on “For All the Saints.” The church is located at 125 Garden Street, Mount Holly, NJ, and the service begins at 3 pm.

Hymn Prelude Library vol 9 published by Concordia

Concordia Publishing Househymn prelude vol 9 has released volume 9 of the 12-volume series Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘P’, ‘Q’, and ‘R’. This volume includes Timothy Shaw’s setting of  “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” (PRECIOUS LORD), written by Thomas A. Dorsey during a period of great suffering and loss. Other contributors to this volume (edited by Kevin Hildebrand) include James Biery, Charles Callahan, and Wayne Wold. You may pre-order the book now, and it will be available on June 30, 2016.

A Reformation Easter published by Concordia

A Reformation EasterConcordia Publishing House has released a collection of eight newly-composed organ preludes from eight different composers: Mark Bender, Jonathan Kohrs, Kenneth T. Kosche, Matthew Machemer, Jonathan R. Mueller, Paul Soulek, Steven Wente, and Timothy Shaw. A Reformation Easter: Organ Preludes on Sixteenth-Century Hymns contains Shaw’s setting of “Christ Is Arisen” (“Christ ist erstanden”). You can read more about the collection and hear sample recordings on Concordia’s website: click here. Order the book from JW Pepper.

Hymn Prelude Library vol 8 published by Concordia

Concordia Publishing Househymn prelude vol 8 has released volume 8 of the 12-volume series Hymn Prelude Library (based on Lutheran Service Book), containing hymn tunes that begin with ‘N’ and ‘O.’ This volume includes Timothy Shaw’s setting of the 15th century tune O filii et filiae (“O Sons and Daughters”), arranged as four variations. Other contributors to this volume (edited by Kevin Hildebrand) include Carl Schalk, Wayne Wold, Walter Pelz, and Wilbur Held. You may pre-order the book now, and it will be available on December 30, 2015.

My Top 10 from 52 in 52

top 10As my year of writing one new piece of music a week drew to a close, several people asked, “Of all the pieces you’ve written this year, which do you like best?” This is a tough question to answer, of course, but I do have my favorites! Here is a list of my Top 10. Is your favorite on the list? Leave a reply below, or send me a message.

  1. When Peace like a River (It Is Well with My Soul) (VILLE DU HAVRE) – week 7
  2. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (PICARDY) – week 52
  3. Were You There (WERE YOU THERE) – week 31
  4. Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound (NEW BRITAIN) – week 44
  5. When Morning Gilds the Skies (LAUDES DOMINI) – week 29
  6. Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee (ST. AGNES) – week 6
  7. My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less (THE SOLID ROCK) – week 38
  8. Take My Life (HENDON) – week 12
  9. Ah, Holy Jesus (HERZLIEBSTER JESU) – week 30
10. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (VENI, EMMANUEL) – week 14

New Music week 48: JESU, MEINE FREUDE

52 in 52This is one of my favorite hymns/tunes of all time—JESU, MEINE FREUDE, “Jesus, Priceless Treasure.” In the tradition of J.S. Bach, my setting is a free harmonization (in SATB-texture) that could be used to accompany a verse of the hymn. The text, written by Johann Franck in 1653, and translated by Catherine Winkworth in 1863, is so beautiful in its Pietist imagery:

Jesus, priceless treasure,
source of purest pleasure,
truest Friend to me:
ah, how long in anguish
shall my spirit languish,
yearning, Lord, for thee?
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb!
I will suffer naught to hide thee,
naught I ask beside thee.

Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
though the storms may gather,
still have peace within.
Yea, whate’er I here must bear,
thou art still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure.