Hymn for All Hours

Setting by Michael Praetorius

“Hymn for All Hours” (Hymnus Omnis Horae), text by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (348-c.413). Tune traditional Latin. Setting by Michael Praetorius (Hymnodia Sionia 28, 1611). Polyphonic, SATB.
Recording of stanzas 28, 30, 31, and 35. Soprano: Anna Hahn, Alto: Hannah Engwall, Tenor: Andrew Richard, Bass: Nathanael Hahn. April 2024.

Aurelius Clemens Prudentius was born in AD 348 in what is today northern Spain. He was a lawyer and governor. After overseeing a Roman province for a time, he served in the court of Emperor Theodosius I, the Christian emperor who in 385 called the Council of Constantinople, at which the Nicene Creed reached the form we know today. Around 392 Prudentius retired from service in the civil realm and wrote a great deal of Christian poetry in Latin. In 405 he collected his poems, among which was his Hymnus Omnis Horae, or “Hymn for Every Hour.” This poem is 38 stanzas long and recounts the life of Christ. Lutheran congregations regularly sing selections from stanzas 4-9, the Christmas/Epiphany section of the hymn. We know it as “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” and Praetorius wrote this setting for that stanza. The tune that Praetorius used is not the one we use today, and its tone fits well with some of the later stanzas about the death and resurrection of Jesus. We have therefore paired his setting with stanzas 28, 30, 31, and 35. You can read the full English text of the hymn at this link (and the original Latin here).

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