Comfort Ye My People

(Anthem for SATB chorus, divisi, a cappella)
Dan Locklair

My first creation of 2020, this a cappella anthem, Comfort Ye My People, is dedicated to the love of my life, my wife, Paula, on her 13 February 2020 birthday. The anthem sets words by the seventeenth-century hymn writer, preacher, and philosophy professor at the University of Wittenberg, Johann Olearius (1611-1684). The words are based on Isaiah 40:1-8, making it especially appropriate for the liturgical season of Advent. The English translation is by the English scholar and educator, Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878). It was she who introduced numerous German hymns to the English-speaking world, with this one appearing for the first time in her 1863 publication, Chorale Book for England.

Dan Locklair
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Duration: ca. 4 minutes

Comfort, comfort ye my people,
speak ye peace, thus saith our God;
comfort those who sit in darkness
mourning ‘neath their sorrow’s load.
Speak ye to Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
tell her that her sins I cover,
and her warfare now is over.
Hark, the voice of one that crieth
in the desert far and near,
calling us to new repentance
since the kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
let the valleys rise to meet him,
and the hills bow down to greet him.
Make ye straight what long was crooked,
make the rougher places plain:
let your hearts be true and humble,
as befits his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
Now o’er earth is shed abroad;
and all flesh shall see the token
that the word is never broken.

Johann Olearius (1611-1684)
Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878), alt.