Hymn of the Week(ish): Crown Him With Many Crowns

 Hymn Title: Crown Him With Many Crowns

Tune Name: DIADEMATA

Meter: SMD (that is, Short Meter, Double - 6.6.8.6. 6.6.8.6.)

There is no better example of the power of hymnodal language than Crown Him With Many Crowns. A vigourous, commanding text wedded to a trimphant hymn tune, just begging for a trumpet fanfare, this gem is often found to be the victim of misguided modern verbal castration: cut, sanded, watered down, and just... weakened. However, here it is, in its original lyrical glory - note especially the third verse, my favourite:

"Crown him the Lord of Love,
Behold his hands, his side;
Rich wounds yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye
At mysteries so bright."

And I can never resist a big dopey grin when singing the phrase "Creator of the rolling spheres / Ineffably divine." It's just too much. A real poetic masterpiece.

And the music! A joy to the rational soul, the parts are easy to master, but every one is fun to sing. The melody has a rising pattern in the second half that pumps up the anticipation, leading to a high note and a descending resolution that satisfies expectation perfectly. I can't imagine any other set of words for this tune. This hymn is an absolute must for Ascension, Christ the King, and any other times in the year you want to get your congregation really excited about Jesus.

I am including here not one, but two editions: one is fit onto only one page, which some choir members prefer, while the other has larger notes and type across two pages, and the line breaks match the poetry breaks. I printed both and let my choir members decide which they prefer, but I play from the two-page version when I'm singing and playing at the same time.

Click here to print the one-page version for free!

Click here to print the larger-type version for free!

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