Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Arguably, the committee put this hymn in the wrong place in the Augment. It is an Easter hymn and likely fits in better with the other Easter songs (# 2-5) rather than with the songs about the general resurrection of all believers (# 21-24).

This Easter hymn, based mostly on 1 Corinthians 15, proclaims the death of Christ as the final battle with the powers of evil. He is the victor and His resurrection marks the decisive outcome of the battle. Each stanza begins with some aspect of Christ's resurrection and ends with a response of praise from God's people. Just like some of the Psalms, it ends with a shouted "alleluia!"

Francis Pott translated the song from Latin into English c. 1859. The author of the Latin original is unknown. It is thought to have been written in the twelfth century. Francis Pott was a Church of England minister but had to retire early because of deafness. In his retirement, he devoted himself to psalmody and hymnody.

The tune, VICTORY, was authored by the Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). The tune is also sometimes named PALESTRINA. In addition to being one of the most gifted composers of his age, he was a teacher of voice, organ and a choirmaster.

This arrangement was made by William Monk in 1861. The tune is rather sober but is surrounded by festive "alleluias." This song has the interesting element of a threefold "alleluia" which is sung only before the first stanza. Each stanza, also, ends with an "alleluia."

Sources: Psalter Hymnal Handbook; Internet

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very interesting that a pastor who had gone deaf would devote time to hymnody!