Will The New Hymnal Cancel Thanksgiving?

Will The New Hymnal Cancel Thanksgiving?

Hymn #93 — “Prayer of Thanksgiving”

Text and music: Anonymous, from the Netherlands (early 17th century)
Tune name: KREMSER

In the Church’s announcement of the new hymnal, they state that any hymns with specific National references will be removed.

Ok, so, no more “God Save the Queen,” that makes sense.

But, what about Thanksgiving?

Sure, there’s Canadian Thanksgiving, so we’re not the only ones who celebrate this holiday. But the rest of the world?

Luckily, gratitude and thankfulness are principles of the gospel no matter what country you live in. So I think Hymn #93 is safe.

It’s a delightful, cheery hymn.

The dotted quarter eighth rhythm throughout and the parallel 10ths in bar 2 and parallel 13ths in bar 5, give the hymn its homey feel.

I love the imitation in the tenor part in bar 7. In the previous bar the sopranos sing, on “hastens,” the high D to E dotted quarter eighth. The tenors follow the soprano’s example in the next bar.

Bar 11 has a quaint little downward figure build of a couple upward steps on “cease from distressing” (A-B, G-A). The bass part plays a melodic role as well, especially at the beginning of the last line, bar 13.

All in all, it’s a fine, warm feeling hymn. I like it a lot and hope we get to keep it.

That’s all for today.

Have a good one!


P.S. We’re getting close to 100 hymn reviews. I’d love to hear from you and find out what you’ve liked or what you think is missing from these posts. Hit ‘reply’ and let me know. Thanks!

Commentary from “The Bench Warmer”

by Jason Gunnell, Organist

If For the Beauty of the Earth has strong associations with Thanksgiving Day, this hymn might be the quintessential Thanksgiving hymn. As American as the association now is for this text, it is a translation of a text first published in a collection of Dutch patriotic songs in 1626. The text highlights similarities in the histories of the Dutch and the Pilgrims, and is perhaps why it now is so strongly tied to their history. The text was translated into English in 1894 by Theodore Baker.

This tune finds its source in the same Dutch collection as the text. It is based on a Dutch folk song and was popularized by Edward Kremser, a Viennese composer and conductor. He published a collection of Dutch songs for his men’s chorus. The frequent use of this tune by his chorus familiarized this tune for a wide audience, and were it not for his efforts, this tune likely would have remained in obscurity, as the Dutch Reformed Church uses Genevan psalm tunes as the center of its congregational music.

This is a wonderful hymn, very deserving of its renown and use, especially at Thanksgiving. The inspired text couples very well with this imploring tune in a prayer to our Heavenly Father. It is difficult for me to remember my tempo remarks and recommendations for all of the hymns we have discussed, but this may be the first or second where I find the low end of the suggested tempo marking to be fitting for this hymn. It looks like I would play this somewhere in the vicinity of 92-96 beats per minute. I would use a strong registration, trying to get some oomph out of the organ or something with gravitas. I would make use of the 16’ manual stops, especially for the final verse.

Registration Starting Point:
Great: Principal 8’, 4’, 2’, Flute 8’
Swell: Principal 8’, 4’, 2’, Flute 8’, String 8’, Nazard 2 ⅔’, Hautbois 8’
Pedal: Principal 16’, 8’, 4’, Bourdon 16’, Flute 8’, Contra Bassoon 16’
Sw/Gt, Sw/Ped

Possible Final Verse Additions:
Great: Mixture (this or the Swell, whichever is lower-pitched)
Swell: Bassoon 16’, Trumpet 8’ (only if it is dark in color, I would not select this if there is any brightness to it)
Pedal: Bourdon 32’