ID YOU HEAR the exciting news? They discovered why Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” was never completed! The answer is…… (Sorry; horrible joke from grad school.) Speaking of “missing” stuff, if you haven’t explored the rehearsal videos for each individual voice at the Brébeuf hymnal website, you’re really missing out! In these days of Covid-19 suffering, you can save eons of rehearsal time by having your volunteer singers utilize these! (Singers feel more confident if they can run through their line.)
The hymn “Crown Him with Many Crowns” was written by Matthew Bridges, a disciple of Saint John Henry Newman. Cardinal Newman was never consecrated a bishop—similar to how Avery Cardinal Dulles was a priest and cardinal. The Brébeuf hymnal sets it to DIADEMATA, a sensational tune. (I suspect “Diademata” means crown or diadem.)
Rehearsal videos for each individual voice await you at #752.
Some Catholic hymnals contain pedestrian language with uninspired rhymes. The Brébeuf hymnal promotes sophisticated rhyme schemes, and “Crown Him with Many Crowns” is a good example:
Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heav’nly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless king
Through all eternity.
Brébeuf #804 has—in my humble opinion—a rhyme scheme worthy of Msgr. Ronald Knox. Composed by Fr. Dominic Popplewell, FSSP, the entire hymn is based on the book of Genesis, and it’s married with “Rendez à Dieu,” a hymn melody written by Louis Bourgeois (d. 1561), who helped produce the Genevan Psalter and was once imprisoned (3 December 1551) for changing the melodies of well-known psalms “without a license.” This is wonderful melody, and can be found in many Catholic hymnals such as: Adoremus Hymnal (1997) #515; Catholic Hymn Book (London Oratory, 1998) p. 190; Dr. Theodore Marier’s Hymnal (BACS Publishing, 1983) #329. Consider the fourth verse:
4. Evening and morning alternating,
ocean and air were fraught with life,
down in the deep proliferating,
amid the lofty currents rife.
Those sick of sin, physician holy,
direct to penitence profound,
by virtue rising, ever lowly:
so let thy healing grace abound.
Here is a beautiful picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, but the 15th-century artist did not include a crown: