Some hymn texts translated from the German have worn well over many decades.  Others have not fared so well and might benefit from a fresh translation.  Which texts need an update and how they might best be updated (new text, new tune, both) is a rather subjective matter, which is why a site like this can experiment and see what people think of retranslations such as are found below.


I Stand beside Your Manger Here - When it appeared in J. S. Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium (BWV 248), the tune we know as ES IST GEWISSLICH carried the Paul Gerhardt Christmas text "Ich steh an deiner Krippe hier." This four stanza cento brings forward a new translation which makes use of original stanzas 1,3,4,14.  Files in this package include scores and recordings of both the CW 207 setting of the hymn tune and the SATB Bach chorale setting. Compare translations.  Service folder graphics are included for both the rhythmic and isorhythmic versions of the hymn.  $8

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Order My Life, Lord, as You Will - Everything about this hymn traces back to the 16th Century.  The tune HERR, WIE DU WILLST was used as early as 1525 in Strassburg.  The text (which gave the tune its name) is by Kasper Bienemann and is dated at 1574. The new translation employs a slight metrical alteration, adding one syllable to the last line to make the text/music alignment more familiar to modern singers.  Those who are still fond of melodies from The Lutheran Hymnal will recall how this tune carried the text "Lord, as Thou wilt, deal Thou with Me," as well as, "Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Living Bread."   The Reformation-era tune did not appear in Christian Worship but it would seem to be a good candidate for reappearance in future books. Analyze translation.  $6

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Dear Jesus, On Your Pilgrim Way - Commissioned by the WELS Commission on Worship for its 2011 National Conference on Worship, Music and the Arts, TLH 197, "Where Wilt Thou Go, Since Night Draws Near" was retranslated from the German into a new version of English poetry.   Stephen Johnson wrote the new music, the tune of which is entitled, PILGRIM REST (used by permission).  While naturally a hymn for the evening based on Jesus' walk to Emmaus, the hymn is fitting for singing in a service at any time of day. Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  Package includes separate organ and piano settings.  $10

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Jesus, My Joy - Commissioned by the WELS Commission on Worship for its 2011 National Conference on Worship, Music and the Arts, CW 349, Johann Franck's "Jesu, Meine Freude" ("Jesus, Priceless Treasure") was retranslated from the German into a new version of English poetry.   Dr. Kermit Moldenhauer composed the new tune and setting.  With continuing appreciation for the Winkworth translation and the original Cruger composition, it is hoped that the fresh translation and new music will give an even broader use to Franck's strong hymn text. Available on the Northwestern Publishing House website is Dr. Moldenhauer's full concertato with the new text and tune.  Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $12

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O Lord, Take Pity Once You've Seen - Etlich Christlich lider, that group of eight hymns published in 1523 and sometimes referred to as the first Lutheran hymnal, included the German text, "Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh' darein," a paraphrase of Psalm 12. Catherine Winkworth translated the title line as, "O Lord, Look down from Heav'n, Behold!"  The tune was originally sung to ES IST DAS HEIL (Salvation unto Us Has Come).  Not very much later, the Christian Worship 205 tune took over, so popular in its day that the tune took on the name of the first line of the Luther text. Compare the translations here. The hymn package includes a double set of everything to accommodate both tunes mentioned above - tiff service folder graphics, pdf scores, as well as midi and mp3 files of the full score with full stanza introduction, in both organ and piano.  $12

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Praise God the Lord with All Your Heart - TLH #19 and CW #236 are the fairly familiar worship and praise hymn "All Praise to God Who Reigns Above."  The tune for that hymn originally carried a different text of two stanzas, entitled, "Lobt Gott den Herren, Ihr Heiden All."  Those two stanzas have been translated into contemporary English in this new translation.  $6

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God's Word Has Been Fulfilled - The German text for this hymn begins, "Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt," which in TLH was translated, "Now Are the Days Fulfilled."  "Fulfilling the time, " or, as the KJV has it, "When the fulness of the time was come," is no longer idiomatic English so this hymn title, which recurs at the end of each stanza, has been translated mildly interpretively.  An original stanza not included in TLH has been translated to make this a four stanza hymn. $6

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Lord God, Most High, I Cannot Lie - The tune ACH GOTT UND HERR was named after the first line of the original German text of this hymn, which Catherine Winkworth translated, "Alas, My God, My Sins Are Great." TLH 317 is a six stanza hymn; the original German was a ten stanza hymn.  All ten stanzas are included in this retranslation.  If the retranslation is to be sung with less than all ten stanzas, it is recommended that stanzas 7, 8, and 9 be omitted since they form a unit (with 7 and 8 actually being one sentence).  The rhyme scheme of the original German was more ambitious than the Winkworth translation and has been restored in the new translation.  (cf also BWV 692, 693 et al).  Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $6

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At Dawn a Prayer Is Spoken - TLH 548 "My Inmost Heart Now Raises" was not included in CW.  A new translation makes this morning hymn available again. Its possible direct connection with Luther's Morning Prayer can be explored here.   The tune AUS MEINES HERZENS GRUNDE, written for this text, appeared in five places in TLH but only once in CW with an Advent hymn.    The public domain TLH setting has been utilized in the downloadable materials.  An extra text and tune only file is included for those who wish to use the CW setting, which has a slight variation in the melody line (length of one note).  Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $5

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Faithful Father, God Most Holy - With a text written by Johann Olearius and originally translated by August Crull, this hymn is a retranslation of TLH 384 "Oh, How Great Is Thy Compassion."   The setting in the download package is from TLH.  A copyrighted setting which can be used for performance is found at CW 464. Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $5

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Jesus, Jesus, Only Jesus - A 20th Century translation by August Crull has been updated in this version of a hymn which appears in both TLH and CW.  The original language acrostic has been restored in the new translation, with the first letter of each stanza spelling out the name Jesus. Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $5

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All You Who Live on Earth, Give Thanks - CW contains four hymns with Gerhardt and Cruger teaming up to cover text and music.  TLH 581 "All Ye Who on This  Earth do Dwell" was not included in CW, and thus has been retranslated to make the hymn available again. Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $5

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You Are My Highest Joy - This hymn is a retranslation of TLH 93, "O Lord, We Welcome Thee," which did not appear in CW.  The original language makes it clear that this is a text based on the precious, saving name, "My dearest little Jesus."  The two musical settings are isorhythmic versions of NUN DANKET ALLE GOTT, one original and the other by JS Bach. Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $7

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Open, Lovely Doors - A familiar 19th Century Catherine Winkworth translation -- "Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty" -- has been updated in this version of a hymn which appeared in TLH and which retained its Elizabethan language in CW.  The viewable online score and the download score are in C major (TLH), while the hymn can certainly be performed in its CW setting in the key of B-flat.   Two stanzas not included in TLH/CW have been added. Compare this new translation with the TLH version.  $5

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