Sheet music

Musical contribution - June 2012

“As the dew from heaven distilling” – This month we’d like to provide you with an arrangement of an American hymn. This beautiful song unfortunately didn’t become a huge success in Europe. I became acquainted with the song when I visited Washington for Johannus 2 years ago. An improvisation of the song was created there and then and was written up at a later stage.

The melody is by Joseph J. Daynes (1851-1920), whilst the text already existed before the composer was born. The song asks the congregation to become fulfilled whilst singing, like the dew revives the grass in the morning.

The melody line goes up during the first 8 bars. The highest note is in bar 9 and things gradually go down again per bar. The closing bars embody the “confidence” in the outcome of the prayer.

The first 16 bars of the arrangement are thought to be meditative. Beautiful soft 8’ registers will sound best here. We can hear the first 2 lines of the melody in bar 17. A very soft reed stop would be absolute perfect here if possible. But we can still achieve the intended character with a principal 8’ too. It would be preferable not to use any higher footages.

The right hand moves to the accompanying keyboard again in bar 25, in order to subsequently stand out again in the 3rd and 4th line of bar 33. The chorale (bar 49) may be done even softer and is accompanied by a flute 8’, which is subservient to the melody.

Whilst writing all this down, it’s incredibly warm and dry outside (end of May). The fields and gardens will be moist from the dew in the morning. We will therefore be able to see the image of this prayer on a daily basis.

We would like to wish you an “inspirational” musical month.

André van Vliet