The last in a series of three recordings produced by Canzona devoted to the German hymns and spiritual songs commonly used in Russian Mennonite worship since the 1890s.
Performed by Canzona and conducted by Henry Engbrecht, 2011.
Available online at iTunes
About Stille Nacht
The tunes, the harmonic language and, to a large extent, the style appear as they were practiced in Canada during the 20th century. With few exceptions, the hymns and songs recorded in this series were sung by Mennonite congregations in four-part harmony and by many congregations without keyboard accompaniment as late as the 1950s. In this recording musical variety was provided by setting the verses for varying combinations of voices – male or female voices only, solos, duets and trios; and by the addition of keyboard and additional instrumental accompaniment. There was a time in the history of the Mennonites (even in Canada) when no instruments were allowed in the church. Needless to say, that notion was discarded here. Tempos, especially for the chorales, would have been decidedly slower a hundred years ago.
Mennonites emigrated to Canada from Ukraine by the tens of thousands in the 1870s, 1920s, and the 1940s. The reasons for these mass migrations were the threat of complete disintegration of their religious, cultural, and economic way of life. Most brought with them only a few meager personal belongings. Some were desperately poor. Their most valuable possessions were their Christian faith, their sense of family, a caring community, and the pursuit of advanced education. They also brought their lifestyle and customs, their form and style of worship, the German language, and their hymns and songs, all of which they retained and nurtured in Canada for a long time. Very few hymns were actually written by Mennonite authors and composers. All the songs on this album were borrowed, but the Mennonite people made them their own.
From their Dutch and Swiss-German beginnings in the 1500s and throughout a series of migrations from one region of Europe to another, and eventually to the Americas, they retained and nurtured their faith, their songs, and the German language. Most of these hymns, spiritual songs, and carols were part of that history.
*The first two recordings (combined) consist of over sixty hymns that were central to worship in Mennonite congregations across Canada throughout the 20th century. This album presents the songs and hymns of Christmas, sung by the same people in the same period.
Translation of the first stanzas
Translations of the first stanzas
- Alle Jahre wieder /
Every year again
Every year the Christ child comes again
Down to earth, to mankind.
- Brich an o schönes Morgenlicht /
Break forth, o beauteous heav’nly light
Break forth, O beauteous heav’nly light
and usher in the morning;
Ye shepherds, shrink not with affright,
But hear the angel’s warning.
- Fröhliche Weihnacht überall /
Merry Christmas everywhere
Merry Christmas everywhere
Rings through the air with joyous sound,
Christmas tone, Christmas tree
Christmas air in every room.
- Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her /
From heav’n above I come
From heav’n above to earth I come,
I bring you good tidings.
Of these I bring you many;
I bring to you in speech and song.
- Tochter Zion, freue dich /
Daughter of Zion, rejoice
Daughter of Zion, rejoice!
Celebrate loudly, Jerusalem
See your monarch comes to you,
Yes he comes, the Prince of Peace.
- Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern /
How brightly shines the morning star
How brightly shines the morning star
Full of grace and truth from the Lord.
From Judah he came.
You son of David from the stem of Jacob.
- Am Weihnachtsbaun die Lichter brennen /
On the Christmas tree the lights are shining
On the Christmas tree the lights are shining,
How festive it gleams, lovingly and mild,
As if to recognize my faith and hope
In quiet frame.
- Die Hirten die waren im Felde /
The shepherds, they were on the field
The Shepherds, they were on the field
And sat quietly in their tents.
Then they were surrounded by a heavenly light.
- Leise rieselt der Schnee /
Gently falls the snow
The snow is falling gently,
Still and rigid rests the lake.
The forest glows like Christmas.
Rejoice, the Christ child will come soon.
- O Tannenbaum /
O Christmas Tree
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Your leaves are so unchanging,
Not only in the summer time,
But also in the snow of winter.
- Freue dich, Welt /
Joy to the world
Joy to the world, the Lord has come.
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room
And heav’n and nature sing.
- Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen /
Lo how a rose e’er blooming
Lo how a rose e’er blooming,
From tender stem has sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
As saints of old have sung.
- Nun ist sie erschienen /
Now has appeared, the heav’nly sun
Now has appeared, the heav’nly sun,
And shines through the earthly night.
So dry your tears and shout for joy,
For salvation has come with the birth of Christ.
- O Jesulein süss, o Jesulein mild /
O Jesus sweet, o Jesus mild
O Jesus sweet, o Jesus mild,
Your fathers will has been fulfilled:
You have come down from heaven above
And become one with humankind.
- Nun singet und seid froh /
Now sing we and rejoice
Now sing we and rejoice,
Let everyone give voice.
Our hearts’ joy lies in the manger here,
Illumins you like sunshine
from on his mother’s knee.
You are the beginning and the end.
- Ich steh’ an deiner Krippe hier /
I stand before thy cradle here
I stand before thy cradle here.
O thou that ever livest,
And bring thee with a willing hand
the very gifts thou givest.
Accept me, ’tis my mind and heart,
My soul, my strength my every part
That thou from me requirest.
Open the doors for me; do not let me freeze.
- Hört die Engelchöre singen /
Hark! the herald angels sing
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the new-born King.
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.
- Ihr Kinderlein, kommet /
Ye children, come hither
Come hither, ye children, o come one and all!
To the manger come, in Bethlehem’s stall.
And see what has happened on this holy night,
The Father in heaven has giv’n us great joy!
- Wie soll ich dich empfangen? /
How shall I receive thee?
O how shall I receive thee,
How meet thee on Thy way,
Blest hope of every nation,
my soul’s delight and stay?
O Jesus, Jesus give me now by thy own pure light
To know what e’er is pleasing and welcome in
- Letzt ist’s wieder Weihnachtszeit /
Now it’s Christmas time again
Now it’s Christmas time again,
with blessed joy in jubilation.
Christ’s day, o happy throng,
comes but once a year.
Fortunate for those who thought how to give this joy to others;
Just as Jesus Christ came to bring us his salvation.
- Josef, lieber Josef mein /
Joseph, dearest Joseph mine
Joseph, dearest Joseph mine,
help me rock the child divine,
Sing to him a lullaby, now sleep and rest
Your slumber blest, o Jesus!
- O du fröhliche / O Sanctissima /
O you joyous (Christmas season)
O how joyfully, o how blessed
Grace-giving Christmas time.
The world was lost, Christ is born,
Rejoice, O Christendom.
- O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf /
O Savior rend the heavens wide
O Savior rend the heavens wide!
Come down, come down with mighty stride.
Unbar the gates, the doors break down;
Unbar the way to heaven’s crown.
- O heil’ges Kind, wir grüssen dich /
O holy child, we greet you
O holy child, we welcome you.
With sound of harp and praises sing.
- Herbei, o ihr Gläubigen /
O come, all ye faithful
O come, all ye faithful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him,
Born the King of angels.
- Sieh’ dein König kommt zu dir /
See, your King is come to you
See, your King is come to you,
My soul, this is joyful news.
Speak: my King, come to me,
See, I open wide the gate.
Move in with thy gentleness,
What you find (in me) is yours.
- Stille Nacht /
Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright
’Round yon virgin mother and child!
Holy infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
- Süsser die Glocken nie klingen /
Sweeter the bells never ring
Sweeter the bells ne’er ring
Than at Christmas time.
As if the angels were singing again,
Of peace and joy.
- Warum willst du drausen stehen? /
Why would you stand outside?
Why (would you want to) stand outside,
You, (who are) blest of the Lord?
Allow yourself to enter into my (heart),
O my star, find favor.
- Welchen Jubel, welche Freude! /
What jubilation, what rejoicing!
What jubilation, what rejoicing
Comes with Christmas time.
One sees all the happy people,
In all of Christendom.
- Alle Jahre wieder
- Brich an o schönes Morgenlicht
- Fröhliche Weihnacht überall
- Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her
- Tochter Zion, freue dich
- Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
- Am Weihnachtsbaum die Lichter brennen
- Die Hirten die waren im Felde
- Leise rieselt der Schnee
- O Tannenbaum
- Freue dich, Welt
- Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen
- Nun ist sie erschienen
- O Jesulein süss, o Jesulein mild
- Nun singet und seid froh
- Ich steh’ an deiner Krippe hier
- Hört die Engelchöre singen
- Ihr Kinderlein, kommet
- Wie soll ich dich empfangen?
- Jetzt ist’s wieder Weihnachtszeit
- Josef, lieber Josef mein
- O du fröhliche / O Sanctissima
- O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf
- O heil’ges Kind, wir grüssen dich
- Herbei, o ihr Gläubigen
- Sieh’ dein König kommt zu dir
- Stille Nacht
- Süsser die Glocken nie klingen
- Warum willst du drausen stehen?
- Welchen Jubel, welche Freude!
Thank you to the supporters of the recording project
- Harold & Florence Barg
- Barkman Concrete Foundation Inc.
- Henry & Elsie Dyck
- Philipp R. & Ilse Ens
- The Bill & Margaret Fast Family Foundation Inc.
- Ted and Linie Friesen
- Harold & Alice Funk
- Harold Funk Architect
- Golden West Broadcasting Ltd.
- LBL Holdings Ltd.
- Peter Letkemann
- Bill & Shirley Loewen
- Nick & Dorothy Heide
- Elmer & Hilda Hildebrand
- The Kuhl Foundation Inc.
- John Kuhl
- Milton Penner
- Henry & Katy Thiessen
- Winnipeg Building & Decorating
- Triple E Recreational Vehicles
- Sara Clefstad, Marni Enns, Zohreh Gervais, Sarah Kirsch, Amy Wolfe, Lynlee Wolstencroft, Kim Brown, Tannis Collins, Erika Engbrecht, Karla Ferguson, Brenda Schellenberg, Kirsten Schellenberg, Michael Dueck, Geung Lee, Michael Martens, Robert Neufeld, Doug Pankratz, Scott Reimer, Keith Collins, Peter Ens, Kris Kornelsen, Jonathan Talbot, Jereme Wall, Paul Wiens
- Henry Engbrecht – Artistic Director and Conductor
- Loren Hiebert – piano, organ
- Ed Hildebrand – guitar
- Boyd Mackenzie – violin
- Elizabeth Dyer – violin
- Karen Erhardt – cello
- Bede Hanley – oboe
- Tracy Wright – oboe
- Dan Donahue – Recording Engineer
- Scott Pinder – Polyphonic Mastering Labs
- Juliana Fast – Artistic Design
- Peter Letkemann – Musicology Consultant
- Philipp R. Ens – Production Consultant
- Alice Pound – Research Assistant