OME OF YOU KNOW I’m currently involved in a hymnal project. As part of our research, we peruse old hymn books searching for melodies and/or texts of a high quality. Whenever I find a particularly intriguing Catholic hymnal, I try to share it with our readers. This one is 232 pages:
The vast majority of these hymns will be unfamiliar to most USA Catholics since they come from the German tradition. The collection was produced by Rev. Aloysius Knauff in Saskatchewan (CANADA). However, the lion’s share of work was done by Sister Pauline of St. Clare Convent (CINCINNATI, OHIO), who translated tons of hymns from German into English. I’m afraid to admit that some of her renderings strike me as a bit forced. The back of the book has quite a nice section of indices.
From the book’s PREFACE:
ROM THE RICH TREASURES of Catholic hymnody of several centuries I have endeavored to choose the best. To this precious legacy from our forefathers I have added many hymns from more recent composers. I have resisted the temptation of including certain hymns which, although very popular, have melodies or texts of inferior character, such as the hymns O du mein Heiland hoch und hehr, Es bluht der Blumen eine, Geleite durch die Wellen, etc. Wherever possible, I have added the Latin text to the English with the hope of extending the repertoire of hymns and motets which could be used at High Mass. Latin hymns for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament commence with hymn No. 160 on page 172 and will no doubt be appreciated—particularly in convents, seminaries, and boarding schools, where Benediction is very frequent.
A word of sincere thanks is due here, first to my collaborator, Mr. Hubert Wachendorf of Aachen, Germany, who has succeeded in producing a fine accompaniment to most of these hymns; to Sister Pauline, S.P.S.F., of St. Clare Convent, Hartwell (Cincinnati, Ohio) who has made excellent translations for most of the German hymns; and to Dr. Eugene Lapierre of Montreal, Canada, for the accompaniments to the Gregorian chants…
To get an idea how these hymns actually sound, click on the video in this article and go to the last verse, which is sung in SATB harmony.