Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts

JesusThouJoyThe Church of the Holy Trinity, on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, has added an anthem of mine, about once a month, to its services since appointing me Composer-in-Residence back in the fall. John French is the organist/choirmaster, and yesterday he programmed “Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts.”

It’s coming up on 30 years ago that I composed the original music for this well-known hymn text, first as a solo, for the wedding of my brother-in-law Sam and his wife Mary Lou. We just had dinner at their house last week, come to think of it, a belated Christmas get-together.

It’s a moderately easy anthem, the melody, chant-like; one of those tunes where the quarter notes kept refusing to step in any regular quarter-note meter. So I threw the whole thing into 3/2 and let the beats fall where they may.

Click on the image above for the first page of music and that’ll give you some idea.

Yesterday, Normand Gouin, the music director at Old St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia (and a fine composer) also had his choir sing “Jesus, Thou Joy,” I missed both services as I was busy at mine, but I am grateful for John and Normand both. Delighted, too, with the beautiful voices at the Church of the Holy Trinity, which you hear in the clip below.

Jesus, thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts
We turn unfilled to thee again.

Our restless spirits yearn for thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad, when thy gracious smile we see,
Blest, when our faith can hold thee fast.

O Jesus, ever with us stay;
Make all our moments calm and bright;
Chase the dark night of sin away,
Shed o’er the world thy holy light.

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