From the recording Free Range Hymns
3. I bind my heart / Let all mortal flesh
"Hymnal: A Worship Book" #411 & 463
Text: Lauchlan M. Watt, "The Tryst, A Book of the Soul", 1907, alt.
Tunes: J. Randall Zercher, 1965, "Mennonite Hymnal", 1969
& French carol, "Chanson populaire des provinces de France", 1860
Daryl: guitar, soprano recorder, voice
Frances: violin, accordion, voice
Nathan: cello, bowed banjo
In the musical setting that J. Randall Zercher composed for “I bind my heart this tide”, the modal tune weds itself to the resolute text in a way that evokes a more ancient time than the 20th century, when both text and tune were written. We were pleased to discover that Zercher’s tune weaves nicely with the tune “Picardy”, a 17th century anonymous French carol, which has been used in publications of the hymn “Let all mortal flesh keep silent”, a paraphrase of the “Litany of St. John” which likely dates from the 4th or 5th century.
Daryl: The first time I heard this hymn, I was captivated by the tune and the complex, yet singable, harmonization. I have been performing it for over a decade with this guitar arrangement (tuned to DADGAD) and altered text. It is a delight to hear what Frances and Nathan brought to this arrangement with their various instruments and imaginative techniques. The sense of community with “the neighbor far away, and the stranger near at hand” resonates well with a global Mennonite perspective.
Copyright ©1965 J. Randall Zercher. Used with permission.