St. James Music Press

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John Abdenour How Can I Keep From Singing?

Categories
Anthems
Instrument(s)
Violin(s)
Voicing
SATB
Original Publication
So, You Have a Cathedral Choir!
Difficulty
Moderate
Suggested Uses(s)
Description

SATB Choir and Violin. A traditional and enchanting setting of this now famous text and tune.

Although in A-flat, this work may be performed in A, to facilitate performance of the obbligato on the violin (the part in A is included).
Flute, clarinet, or an 8' organ stop of sufficient timbre and presence may be used instead.

From the composer: For almost a century, the hymn remained unknown in mainline Christian worship.  It was brought to wide notice by Pete Seeger during the folk revival of the 1960's and came into use in Roman Catholic worhsip through arrangements by Marty Haugen and others.  Although Lowry composed the music for the hymn, the authorship fo the words is unclear.  Regardless of authorship, the words, while bearing an unmistakably Victorian patina, are remarkably fresh and viable in their original form, and require little editing for use in modern worship. 

Performance: In this arrangement, the violin serves as a descant to the melody, and should be played as vocally as possible, in the idiom of folk music or fiddle playing (Jay Unger's Ashokan Farewell was a model for this descant).  The violin forms an essential part of the harmony and cannot be omitted.  If necessary, it can be played on some other treble instrument or keyboard, or even sung on a neutral syllable by a soloist. 

My life flows on, in endless song:
Above earth's lamentation,
I catch the sweet, tho' far off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul;
How can I keep from singing?

What tho' my joys and comfort die?
The Lord my Savior liveth;
What tho' the darkness gather round?
Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?

I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since I first learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine, since I am his:
How can I keep from singing?

Contact

Mark Schweizer
P.O. Box 249
Tryon, North Carolina 28782
Phone 828.859.0323
Toll Free 877.822.0304

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