387. Alleluia! Alleluia!

1 Alleluia, alleluia!
Hearts to heaven and voices raise.
Sing to God a hymn of gladness,
sing to God a hymn of praise.
He who on the cross a victim
for the world's salvation bled,
Jesus Christ, the King of glory,
now is risen from the dead.

2 Alleluia, Christ is risen!
Death at last has met defeat.
See the ancient powers of evil
in confusion and retreat.
Once he died and once was buried;
now he lives forevermore
Jesus Christ, the world's Redeemer,
whom we worship and adore.

3 Christ is risen, Christ the firstfruits
of the holy harvest field,
which will all its full abundance
at his second coming yield.
Then the golden ears of harvest
will their heads before him wave,
ripened by his glorious sunshine
from the furrows of the grave.

4 Alleluia, alleluia!
Glory be to God on high;
alleluia! to the Savior,
who has won the victory;
alleluia! to the Spirit,
fount of love and sanctity:
alleluia, alleluia!
to the triune Majesty.

Text Information
First Line: Alleluia! Alleluia! Hearts to heaven and voices raise
Title: Alleluia! Alleluia!
Author: Christopher Wordsworth (1862, alt.)
Meter: 87 87 D
Language: English
Publication Date: 1982
Topic: Doxologies; Return of Christ; Easter (3 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: Thomas John Williams (1890)
Meter: 87 87 D
Key: f minor

Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 2 = 1 Cor. 15:3-4
st. 3 = 1 Cor. 15:20-23

Christopher Wordsworth (PHH 361) believed it was "the first duty of a hymn to teach sound doctrine, and thus to save souls." Consequently, many of Wordsworth's texts, including this one, are virtually short sermons in verse form. "Alleluia! Alleluia!" is one of two Easter hymns by Wordsworth in his Holy Year (1862). The text was originally in five stanzas; the original second stanza was not included.

The text proclaims the meaning of Christ's resurrection. The "alleluias" that begin stanzas 1, 2, and 4 and run throughout stanza 4 lift this teaching hymn to a high level of praise. The entire text is influenced by Paul's resurrection discourse in 1 Corinthians 15:1-28.

Liturgical Use:
Easter; anytime, because every Sunday is a "little Easter." Stanza 4 is a fine doxology, thus the hymn is most useful at the close of services throughout the Easter season.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

EBENEZER originally came from the second movement of an anthem ("Goleu yn y Glyn" or "Light in the Valley") by Welsh composer Thomas John Williams (b. Ynysmeudwy, Glamorganshire, Wales, 1869; d. Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, Wales, 1944). EBENEZER (meaning "stone of help" in the Bible) is named for the chapel in Rhos, Pontardawe, which Williams attended at the time he composed the tune. Although his primary vocation was in the insurance business, Williams studied with David Evans (PHH 285) at Cardiff and later was organist and choirmaster at Zion Church (1903¬1913) and Calfaria Church (1913-1931), both in Llanelly. He composed a number of hymn tunes and a few anthems.

First published as a hymn tune in the Baptist Book of Praise (1901), EBENEZER is often associated in Wales with "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah" (543). Because an English folksinger claimed that the tune had been washed up on the Welsh coast in a bottle, the, tune is known in some hymnals as TON-Y-BOTL [sic. TON-Y-BOTEL] (tune in a bottle). In the United States, the tune gained popularity as a setting for the text "Once to Every Man and Nation."

Developed out of the opening motif, EBENEZER is a glorious tune built with just six notes and an energetic rhythmic pattern involving triplets. The tune is a rounded bar form (AABA) in which the "B" lines move momentarily into major. Sing stanzas 1 and 4 in unison and stanzas 2 and 3 in harmony. Sing with vigor and majesty, but do not rush!

In Welsh practice the triplet is sung heavily; do not worry about making the dotted rhythms distinct from the triplets. Use rhythmically energetic accompaniment with fairly full organ, adding a crowning mixture and/or reed for stanza 4. Try finishing the final stanza with a major chord.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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