The Great Unknown Temple Hymn
Hymn #54 — “Behold, the Mountain of the Lord”
Text: Michael Bruce (1746-1767); adapted
Music: Leland B. Sateren (b. 1913)
Tune name: REGWAL
Wow, another undiscovered gem! I must have slept through this part of the hymnal on my previous times through the book.
Since we heard the announcement that the church was planning a new hymnal, my librettist and I, Phyllis Wocher, with whom I write my hymns, have been planning a great temple hymn. We have this wild idea of writing THE great temple hymn.
But we’ve got some steep competition with Hymn #54. What a beauty!
I love the chord progression at the end of the first line. Though it does need a little tweak in the alto line to avoid the parallel 5th between alto and bass.
And what a delicious, crunchy, satisfying descending bass sequence in the 3rd line. Gosh I love stuff like that. It gets all my emotional juices flowing!
Though, the composer in my wants to increase the tension in the first 3 bars of line 3 with some suspensions in the alto line at the start of each bar. Here’s how I would have written this. (NOTE: see the notes in (parentheses) for my additions.)
The added suspensions I’ve inserted go well with the suspensions at the end of the 2nd line (see alto part, C-B-natural) and the end of the last line (see alto, F-G). I’ll have to use these additional suspensions when I play this in my prelude this Sunday. That’s 2 new (at least new to me and probably most) hymns I’m definitely adding to my prelude and postlude.
All these hidden gems we’re discovering lately make me hanker for the days when we had that short music time right after Sacrament Meeting before we dispersed for Sunday School.
I’ve been trying to think how else to bring some of these hymns to the light. I think I will have my ward choir (I’m now the ward organist and the ward choir director, so I might as well take advantage) sing some of these hymns as musical numbers in Sacrament Meeting. They need not even be altered or re-arranged. Just presenting them as straight ahead hymns, possibly having the congregation join us on the last verse, would be a lot of fun!
Time to call the Ward Music Chair and put this plan into action. I can’t wait!
That’s all for today. More tomorrow.
P.S. I could use your help with something. I’m thinking about putting together an exclusive hymn coaching program with no more than 10 people. I would work closely with these 10 over a period of about 6 weeks. The goal would be, by the end of the 6 weeks, for each person to have a rock solid, zinger of a hymn or primary song ready to be submitted to the Church.
So, here’s where I could use your help. If you were one of the 10, what would you want help with? What would you expect from a program like this? How much access to me would you want? What specific things would you want assistance with?
I’m open to anything. Don’t feel like you have to hold back. I really want to know. I think, and I’m guessing here, but I think there are many of you who have some music training, but you may feel unconfident. You may feel fearful that what you write will be frowned upon, or worse, laughed at. But I’m guessing you feel a deep desire to contribute your testimony through music. If I’m hitting any of your emotional buttons with this, would you please respond and let me know? Don’t worry, I won’t shoot you down. I know a lot about these feelings and have them myself. I’m just trying to see how helpful I can be.
So, if you can, please take a minute and let me know what you think, feel, fear, worry about, wish you could have, etc., if you were in an exclusive hymn coaching program like this.
Commentary from “The Bench Warmer”
by Jason Gunnell, Organist
This is a very nice majestic hymn. I think it is a great text very germane to our focus on temples paired with a very appropriate tune (that interestingly enough was discovered by the 1985 committee in the RLDS hymnal and also thought it worked well with this text). It is unfortunate that this hymn is so shrouded by obscurity in the sealed portion. It would be nice for this hymn to be discovered by our members and congregations.
I would not take this hymn slower than the upper-most range marked in the hymnbook. 84 beats per minute is a nice tempo, but any slower and I think this hymn would plod along. Like the last hymn, a majestic registration with gravitas is called for, perhaps utilizing a 16’ manual stop for the final verse.
Registration Starting Point:
Great: Principal 8’, 4’, 2’, Mixture
Swell: Principal 8’, 4’, 2’, Flute 8’, Nazard 2 ⅔’, Mixture (choose the lower pitched-mixture between this and the Great Mixture), Hautbois 8’
Pedal: Principal 16’, 8’, 4’, Bourdon 16’, Flute 8’, 16’ Reed
Possible Final Verse Additions:
Great: Mixture, Trumpet 8’
Swell: Mixture, Bassoon 16’
Pedal: 32’ Flue and Reed, Heavy Reed 16’