Composer: Ulrich Zwingli

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Harmonizer: Clarence Dickinson

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Tune Information

Harmonizer: Clarence Dickinson (1940, alt.)
Composer: Ulrich Zwingli (1529)
Key: E♭ Major
Copyright: Text and harmonization © 1940, 1968, H. W. Gray Co., Inc.


Lord, We Cry to You for Help

Lord, we cry to you for help.
Only you can heal our pain.
Out of deep distress we call.
Help us, Lord, send peace again.

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Zwingli arranged HERR, NUN HEB from a folk melody; thus it is a contrafactum (in other words, adapted from a folk/ court setting for use in worship). The tune is named after the opening words of Zwingli's text. HERR, NUN HEB consists of four lines: lines 2 and 3 are identical, but the opening and closing lines provide a suitable contrast to that repetition. The Psalter Hymnal setting deleted an extended melisma from the final line. Sing this tune quietly in unison or in parts, but increase volume and strength on the final stanza. Clarence Dickinson (b. Lafayette, IN, 1873; d. New York, NY, 1969) harmonized the tune, and it was published as a setting for his wife's English paraphrase in a choral anthem in 1940. They often collaborated on hymns and anthems, with Helen providing texts and Clarence composing the music. Their most significant collaboration and lasting contribution was the establishment of the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary. Clarence served as professor of music and served as its long-time director. Earlier he had studied at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, and at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, as well as in Berlin and Paris. As a church organist he served St. James Episcopal Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the Presbyterian Brick Church in New York. Editor of the Presbyterian The Hymnal (1933), Dickinson composed music for organ and choir; many anthems had texts written by his wife. For her part, Helen Dickinson was educated at Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, and at the University of Heidelberg, where she was the first woman student to be admitted to the doctoral program in philosophy. She devoted much of her life to lecturing and publishing about church art and architecture and the history of church music, including A Treasury of Worship. In 1946 Clarence and Helen Dickinson were both honored as Fellows of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook


Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #261
Text: Lord, We Cry to You for Help
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)


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Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #261

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