From the album Free Range Hymns

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O Thou In Whose Presence

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5. O Thou in whose presence
"Hymnal: A Worship Book" #559
Text: Joseph Swain, "Redemption, A Poem in Five Books", 1791
Tune: "Christian Lyre", 1831
Baroque strings arr. by Frances Crowhill Miller

Daryl: soprano recorder, voice
Frances: violin, voice
Nathan: cello, voice

“O Thou in whose presence” had already undergone one transformation within the Mennonite musical tradition when J. Harold Moyer, one of the most celebrated Anabaptist composers, reharmonized the tune for "Hymnal: A Worship Book". Moyer used the hymn as it appeared in "The Christian Lyre", a subscription service from the 1830s for Congregationalist churches, albeit with considerable alterations made to the melody itself. Moyer’s reworking of this tune reminded us of both a Baroque aesthetic and the open harmonies prevalent in both Medieval music and American folk traditions. We arranged the tune both in a contrapuntal, Baroque-like way for its instrumental iterations and as a plaintive tune with drone accompaniment when sung.