New “Morning Star” Anthem for Christmas!
The latest edition in the Moravian Star Anthem Series is NOW AVAILABLE.
Morning Star, in Darkest Night (Morgenstern auf finstre nacht) by Georg Friedrich von Hellström MMFS1401 $1.75
It is easy to get all these “stars” misaligned, so here is some background and explanation:
This is not the beloved F. F. Hagen (1815-1907) Morning Star, O Cheering Sight, first sung in 1836 in Salem, NC; it is, indeed, built upon the same text by Johannes Scheffler (1657).
The music for Morning Star, in Darkest Night (Morgenstern auf finstre nacht) was written by one of Hagen’s European contemporaries, Georg Friedrich von Hellström (1825-1912). Hellström served the Moravian congregation in Christiansfeld, Denmark for 42 years. His later service included work at Gnadenberg (1894), Kleinwelda (1895), and Neudietendorf (1898), where he remained until his death.
Morning Star, in Darkest Night contains the 1st, 3rd, and 6th stanzas by Scheffler, offered in both English and German, and concludes with a four-fold “Amen.” It is in Eb Major and the highest soprano note is G5 (g”); a lower key organ part is available. It is written in 3/4 time for SATB choir with keyboard accompaniment; instrumental parts are available and optional.
According to Morning Star: the Life and Works of Francis Florentine Hagen by Dr. James Boeringer (1986), the Scheffler text has been set to many different tunes (p. 101), appearing in several German hymnals in the 18th century. The 2007 Gesangbuch der Evangelischen Brüdergemeine, for instance, uses the tune from the 1705 Halle Geistreiches Gesangbuch for Hymn 205, Morgenstern auf finstre nacht.
The Hellström anthem was edited by Gwyneth Michel and Nola Reed Knouse from manuscript copies provided by Nazareth Moravian Church, Nazareth, PA.
In recognition of the work of the Moravian Music Foundation, Jeanne and David Serfas provided the funding for this publication.