126. When God Brought Zion's Remnant Band

Text Information
First Line: When God brought Zion's remnant band
Title: When God Brought Zion's Remnant Band
Versifier: Calvin Seerveld (1985)
Meter: 847 847 887
Scripture: Psalm 126
Topic: Laments
Language: English
Copyright: © Calvin Seerveld
Tune Information
Name: MAG ICH UNGLÜCK
Harmonizer: Dale Grotenhuis (1985)
Meter: 847 847 887
Key: g minor
Source: Klug's Geistliche Lieder, 1535
Copyright: Harmonization © 1987, CRC Publications


Text Information:

Praise for God’s restoration from exile, and a prayer that God’s grace may continue until the people's joy is complete.

Scripture References:
st. l = vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-6

Psalm 126 is another of the fifteen "Songs of Ascents" (120-134) the Israelites sang as they went up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. Here Israel celebrates their restoration from exile, most likely the exile in Babylon. With joy so great that they felt as if they were dreaming, the people returned to Jerusalem full of laughter and praise for the great things God had done for them, evoking wonder even among unbelieving nations (st. 1). Having been so favored, the worshipers pray that God's acts of restoration may continue until those who "sow in tears" bring in a bountiful harvest with "songs of joy" (vv. 5-6)–in other words, until God makes their joy complete (st. 2). Calvin Seerveld (PHH 22) paraphrased this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Advent; Lent; expressions of eschatological hope and joy.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Ludwig Senfl (b. Basil, Switzerland, c.1486; d. Munich, Germany, 1543) composed MAG ICH UNGLÜCK for his secular text "Mag mir Unglück nit widerstan." Senfl was a choir¬boy in the chapel choir of Emperor Maximilian I and therefore traveled with the emperor; after his voice broke, he may also have received a scholarship to study music in Vienna, which was the custom for choirboys. He followed Heinrich Isaac as director of the choir in 1513, but three years later the new emperor, Charles V, dismissed the musicians in favor of more Spanish music. Senfl became sympathetic to the Reformation; Luther knew of his work and asked him to write for the church. Eventually settling in Munich, Senfl was an important transitional figure, marking the high point of the old German music at the end of the Middle Ages and of new musical styles at the beginning of the Reformation.

MAG ICH UNGLÜCK was adapted for this text. Rewritten as a hymn (possibly by Luther), it was published in Joseph KIug's Geistliche Lieder (1535). The rewritten text began with the words "Mag ich Unglück. . ." and became known as the "Queen Mary of Hungary Song." Dale Grotenhuis (PHH 4) harmonized the tune in 1985. A sturdy German chorale, MAG ICH UNGLÜCK is shaped in a bar form (AAB) that gains interest through its dynamic rhythms. The tune needs confident and bright organ accompaniment. Try to group the shorter phrases into three very long lines.

Joseph Klug (b. Nürnberg [?], Germany, c. 1500; d. Wittenberg, Germany, 1552) was an important printer in Wittenberg during the Reformation. He published scholarly works as well as Lutheran books and tracts, including Bugenhagen's Brunswick Church Order (1528). His most significant contribution to hymnody was his publication of Geistliche Lieder; a hymnbook compiled by Martin Luther that appeared in a number of subsequent editions (1529, 1533, 1535, and 1543). Its contents and organization became the model for the next generation of Lutheran hymnals. Some scholars think Klug may have assisted Luther in choosing the hymns for this volume.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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