When I Arise, I am still with Thee: Alleluia! The Introit is a plainsong setting by Lucas Lossius (1508-1582). After studying in Wittenberg, he became a teacher and rector in Lüneberg, where he served for almost fifty years until his death. He was the kantor responsible for liturgical music.
Among his numerous publications contributing to theological and musical scholarship in the Lutheran church was his Psalmodia hoc est Cantica sacra veleris ecclesiae selecta of 1553. It is a combination of two genres of liturgical chant books: the Gradual (musical items for Divine Service) and the Antiphonale (musical items for the daily office).
Lossius’ work is significant because he prepared the ancient Gregorian chant for use in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, free from medieval theological error and true to the style of the church catholic.
Therefore let us joyful be, And sing to God right thankfully, Loud songs of Alleluia! The HYMN OF THE DAY, “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” (458) is Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) Easter hymn.
One of the finest Easter hymns, it is based on an early German hymn, “Christ is Arisen” (459). “Christ is Arisen,” is likewise based on the ancient Sequence, Victimae Paschali (Latin: “Paschal Victim”), (460) sung following the Alleluia.
Luther’s strong text ties Christ’s Resurrection victory to the Passover, for Christ is our “true Paschal Lamb.” As the blood of the lamb marked the doors of the Israelites in the first Passover: “See, His blood now marks our door; Faith points to it, death passes over, and Satan cannot harm us.” Buried with Christ in His death in Baptism, we rise to new life with Him whose grace gives “Eternal sunshine to the heart.” Today in Divine Service, He feeds us with His Word and His Supper: “Christ alone our souls will feed, He is our meat and drink indeed!”
The vigorous tune, “Christ Lag in Todesbanden,” is based on the tune from the German hymn “Christ ist erstanden” and the plainsong tune for the Latin Sequence Victimae Paschali.
The PRELUDE includes two settings of “Christ Jesus Lay in Death’s Strong Bands” by Georg Böhm (1661-1733), who served as kantor in Lüneberg.
Böhm wrote music for organ and harpsichord. Many of his compositions are in the chorale partita form, a series of variations on a chorale melody. (“Chorale” is the German word for “hymn.”)
The choral setting of this hymn is by Kevin Hildebrand (b. 1973), kantor at Concordia Theological Seminary and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church—Fort Wayne.