|Composer:||Joseph Martin Kraus|
|Composer (attributed to):||Michael Haydn|
|Incipit:||51123 14432 51123|
|Key:||A Major/G Major|
O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.
You servants of God, your Master proclaim,
and publish abroad his wonderful name;
the name all-victorious of Jesus extol;
his kingdom is glorious and rules over all.
LYONS, named for the French city Lyons, appeared with a reference to “Haydn” in volume 2 of William Gardiner’s (PHH 111) Sacred Melodies. However, the tune was never found in the works of Franz Joseph Haydn or those of his younger brother Johann Michael Haydn. Recent research revealed that the tune was composed by Joseph Martin Kraus, a German composer who settled in Sweden and who traveled widely throughout Europe. Die Werke von Joseph Martin Kraus systematisch-thematisches Werkvereichnis, by Bertil H. Van Boer, Jr. (Stockholm, 1988), includes information on Kraus’ “Tema con variazioni (Scherzo),” a work composed around 1785 in London with an incipit that clearly matches the opening measure of LYONS. The work was published as a set of twelve variations for piano and violin in London in 1791. The violin part may have been an addition by another composer, perhaps “G. Haydn,” since a subsequent London edition (c. 1808) was entitled “Sonita with Twelve Variations for the Piano Forte with Violin Accompaniments, composed by G. Haydn.”
Joseph Martin Kraus (b. Miltenberg am Main, Germany, 1756; d. Stockholm, Sweden, 1792) spent his youth in Germany, but in 1778 moved to Stockholm. He was elected to the Swedish Academy of Music and became the conductor of the court orchestra and eventually the best-known composer associated with the court of Gustavus III. On his travels, Kraus did meet Franz Joseph Haydn, who considered Kraus “one of the greatest geniuses I have met.” Kraus wrote operas as well as many vocal and instrumental works.
A bright melody, LYONS is much loved by many congregations. Lines 1,2, and 4 are similar in shape; lines 2 and 4 are identical. The climbing melody and dominant pedal-point of line 3 provides contrast. Sing stanzas 1, 3, and 5 in solid unison and stanzas 2 and 4 in harmony. Use clear, bright accompaniment. Maintain one pulse per bar. LYONS’ opening figure is similar to that of HANOVER (149 and 477), a good alternate tune.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987
For the full discussion of the authorship of this tune, please consult this article:
Dismore, Margaret K. "Lyons: A Tune in Search of Its Composer." The Hymn 58.2 (Spring 2007): 27-31.