De tierra lejana venimos (From a Distant Home)

Scripture References

Tune Information

c minor or modal

Hymn Story/Background

The tune’s name means literally “enchanted island.” The arrangement was made by Walter Ehret for The International Book of Christmas Carols, 1963, and retains parallel thirds in the upper voices, and the dotted eighth and sixteenth rhythm in the bass.
The carol might be included as a set piece in a nativity or Epiphany service. Stanza 1 may be sung in procession by three male and/or female solo voices in either Spanish or English. Add tambourine and other traditional rhythm instruments as the congregation begins the estribillo (chorus). As in all bilingual settings, the congregation may sing in either the original language, the translation, or both. Assign the remaining stanzas to one of the soloists as they lay the appropriate gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh at the baby Jesus’ crib.
United Methodist Hymnal Companion, Abingdon Press, 1993, p. 316
— United Methodist Hymnal Companion

Author Information

Walter Ehret (b. 1918; d. 2009) was a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Teachers College, Columbia University. He taught instrumental and choral music in New Jersey and New York for over 40 years. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Hofstra University, Manhattanville College, and Teachers College, Columbia University. He retired as Coordinator of Music for the Scarsdale, New York public schools in 1984.
Choirs under Ehret's direction performed in Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden, as well as on radio and television. They were invited to sing at New Jersey and New York State School Music Association conventions, divisional meetings of the Music Educators National Conference, and the first American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) national convention. Ehret served as the first ACDA New York state president from 1961-1966.
Walter Ehret was one of the nation's most prolific and respected choral editors and arrangers with over 2000 publications to his credit. In addition, he was co-author of Growing With Music, a basic music series (K-8); co-author of Functional Lessons in Singing, a class voice textbook; and author of the Choral Conductor's Handbook. 

George K. Evans (b. Clinton, Kentucky, 1917; d. North Hollywood, California, 2003) was educated at Rice University (B.A.), the University of Texas (M.A.), and George Peabody College (Ph.D.). He served as music editor at Prentice-Hall from 1958-1966.
-United Methodist Hymnal Companion, Abingdon Press, 1993, p. 747
— United Methodist Hymnal Companion
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