The grey days of Lent are here and it’s time to have some appropriate music to play on our harps that reflect that somber essence of this season in the liturgical calendar.
Polish hymnody offers a wealth of melodies and texts suitable to the mood. I’ve collected a number of them, again from the Polish American Liturgical Center at Orchard Lake, Michigan.
Here is the cover I designed for my spiral bound book. I had UPS Store print one copy for me so I could have it on my music stand on Sunday mornings. Paper is a lot easier to read than screens and it doesn’t dim and then go to sleep at the worst moment!
I didn’t translate all of the hymn text – it’s pretty grim – but I did translate the titles and made my own table of contents.
Below you can get the idea of all the hymns I collected. I did the same thing for my Advent book, three Christmas volumes, general use Polish hymns and my upcoming Easter collection (yet to be printed) – creating a translated table of contents at the front, right after the designed and decorated cover. All have a clear plastic cover to prevent wear and tear.
By the way, the complete collections are downloadable here. Just visit my Books & Websites section and scroll down to Polish Hymns Collection.
These hymns tunes are fairly easy to play on a wire-strung harp. They make excellent Communion pieces and you can also (if you’re comfortable with this) rearrange them at sight to build a service prelude on them. Having two wire harps that allow me to play chromatics gives me some extra flexibility but if your instrument doesn’t offer this, just stay in a diatonic key and work with what you have. Don’t worry about missing that one occasional sharp note called for in the sheet music… just leave it out. It will still sound nice.
And that’s what we really need to do for our congregation (and ourselves). Prayer, not performance.
More Ukrainian and Polish sheet music in upcoming posts – be sure to check back often!