Text: Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Music: Christian F. Witt (c.1660-1716)
Tune name: STUTTGART
This Advent hymn was first published in Charles Wesley’s Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord (1744). As every good Advent hymn should do, it refers to both comings of our Lord, with numerous biblical allusions. The first and second stanzas reflect the longing of ancient Israel for a Redeemer. The third stanza connects Christ’s rule of all things with his rule in us, an idea picked up in the last stanza with the reference of the presence of the Holy Spirit in us, coupled with an anticipation of our ascent to the presence of God.
STUTTGART first appeared in print in Psalmodia Sacra (1715), an influential hymnal of the early eighteenth century. The hymnal’s editor, Christian F. Witt, was a German composer and organist, at one time Kapellmeister at the Gotha court. The cheerful and simple two-line tune is as rhythmically straightforward as a hymn can be, and includes a number of repeated notes.
The tune is used in our Hymnal for two other hymns: the Epiphany hymn “Earth has many a noble city” (Hymnal #48) and “God, my King, thy might confessing” (Hymnal #280).
In 2020, Advent began while we were still restricting singing to the parking lot. So the choir recorded this hymn as part of our “Choir in Quarantine” project.
Below is Andrew Remillard’s rendition of this hymn on piano.