The first in a series of seven (would be eight, but it’s seven since it’s the day after Ascension) posts on Ascensiontide music.
My favorite Ascentiontide hymn is Hail The Day That Sees Him Rise. I discovered yesterday as we were processing in for Mass that there is a second tune. Having searched on youtube, I realized that one tune is used far more often than the other. I must admit that the tune Ascension is growing on me, though I think for ease of singing I would probably use Llanfair as the default tune. (You can buy the Llanfair version in The Complete New English Hymnal.
Hymnary.com has the following note:
Considered to be the most popular of all Ascension texts in English-language worship, “Hail the Day” was written by Charles Wesley (PHH 267) in ten stanzas and published in his Hymns and Sacred Poems (1739). Thomas Cotterill (b. Cannock, Staffordshire, England, 1779; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1823) altered the text and published his version in Selection of Psalms and Hymns (1820); the “alleluias” were added in George White’s Hymns and Introits (1852). Included here with further alterations are original stanzas 1, 2, 4, 6, and 10.
“Hail the Day” sings out its “alleluias” for Christ’s triumphal entry into glory after he accomplished his saving work on earth (st. 1-2) and for Christ’s work of interceding and preparing a place for his people (st. 3-4). The text concludes by hailing the great day when we shall rule with Christ (st. 5).
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