Sunday, May 02, 2010

Morning anthem - Blow Ye The Trumpet

Blow Ye The Trumpet 1

Blow ye the trumpet, blow.
Sweet is Thy work, my God, my King.
I'll praise my Maker with all my breath.
O happy is the man who hears.
Why should we start, and fear to die,
With songs and honors sounding loud.
Ah, lovely appearance of death.

Composer's Note
"Blow Ye The Trumpet," from my opera John Brown, was the name of Brown's favorite hymn. A number of different hymn tunes and verses have this same title; as I have been unable to discover which version Brown knew, I have chosen the text I found most beautiful and appropriate - indeed, prophetic - for his life and death. It seems to prophesy both the day of jubilee and the martyr's death which Brown knew would hasten the destruction of slavery. None of the existing hymn tunes seemed to me to do justice to these words, however, so I gave them a new melody in the style of early American folk music.
- Kirke Mechem

Here are the men of the Park Street Church Sanctuary Choir in a TTBB arrangement of Mechem's Blow Ye The Trumpet, May 2, 2010. C. Thomas Brooks directing, with Norma Brunner on piano.

1 - As quoted in Stephen B. Oates, To Purge This Land With Blood: A Biography of John Brown, New York, 1970.

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