Spring Bursts Today: A Celebration of Eastertide

by Harvard University Choir

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Spring bursts today, For Christ is risen and all the earth’s at play. Flash forth, thou Sun, The rain is over and gone, its work is done. Winter is past. Sweet Spring is come at last, is come at last. Bud, Fig and Vine, Bud, Olive, fat with fruit and oil and wine. Break forth this morn In roses, thou but yesterday a Thorn. Uplift thy head, O pure white Lily thro’ the Winter dead. Beside your dams Leap and rejoice, you merry-making Lambs. All Herds and Flocks Rejoice, all Beasts of thickets and of rocks. Sing, Creatures, sing, Angels and Men and Birds and everything. All notes of Doves Fill all our world: this is the time of loves. Christina Rossetti (1830–1894)
Alleluia! Now is the hour of darkness past; Christ hath assumed his reigning power. Behold the great accuser cast Down from the skies, to rise no more. Alleluia! ’Twas by thy blood, immortal Lamb, Thine armies trod the tempter down; ’Twas by thy word and powerful name They gained the battle and renown. Alleluia! Rejoice ye heavens! Let every star Shine with new glories round the sky! Saints, while ye sing the heavenly war, Raise your Redeemer’s name on high. Alleluia! Isaac Watts (1674–1748)
Awake, arise, lift up thy voice, which as a trumpet swell! Rejoice in Christ! Again rejoice, and on his praises dwell. Let us not doubt, as doubted some, when first the Lord appeared; but full of faith and reverence come, what time his voice is heard. And even John, who ran so well, confess upon our knees the Prince who locks up death and hell, and has himself the keys. And thus through gladness and surprise the saints their Savior treat; nor will they trust their ears and eyes but by his hands and feet: those hands of liberal love indeed in infinite degree, those feet still free to move and bleed for millions and for me. O Dead arise! O Friendless, stand by seraphim adored! O Solitude, again command thy host from heaven restored! Christopher Smart (1722–1771)
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it. Song of Songs 8:6a; 8:7a
Laudibus in sanctis Dominum celebrate supremum, Firmamenta sonent inclita facta Dei. Inclita facta Dei cantate, sacraque potentis Voce potestatem saepe sonate manus. Magnificum Domini cantet tuba martia nomen, Pieria Domino concelebrate lira. Laude Dei, resonent resonantia tympana summi, Alta sacri resonent organa laude Dei. Hunc arguta canant tenui psalteria corda, Hunc agili laudet laeta chorea pede. Concava divinas effundant cymbala laudes, Cymbala dulcisona laude repleta Dei, Omne quod aetheris in mundo vescitur auris, Halleluia canat, tempus in omne Deo Celebrate the Lord most high in holy praises: Let the firmament echo the glorious deeds of God. Sing ye the glorious deeds of God, and with holy voice Sound forth oft the power of his mighty hand. Let the warlike trumpet sing the great name of the Lord: Celebrate the Lord with Pierian lyre. Let resounding timbrels ring to the praise of the most- high God, Lofty organs peal to the praise of the holy God. Him let melodious psalteries sing with fine string, Him let joyful dance praise with nimble foot. Let hollow cymbals pour forth divine praises, Sweet-sounding cymbals filled with the praise of God. Let everything in the world that feeds upon the air of heaven Sing Alleluia to God for evermore. Paraphrase of Psalm 150
Ecce vicit Leo de tribu Iuda, radix David, aperire librum, Et solvere septem signacula eius. Alleluia. Dignus est Agnus, qui occisus est, accipere virtutem, et divinitatem, et sapientiam, Et fortitudinem, et honorem, et gloriam, et benedictionem. Alleluia. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. Alleluia. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive virtue, and godhead, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. Alleluia. Revelation 5:5, 12
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1–2
He’s the Lily of the valley, oh, my Lord. I’ve never been to heaven but I’ve been told, That the streets up there are paved with gold, What kind of shoes are those You wear? That You can walk up in the air. These shoes I wear are gospel shoes, And You can wear these if You choose. He’s the Lily of the valley, oh, my Lord.
O clap your hands together, all ye people; O sing unto God with the voice of melody. For the Lord is high and to be feared; he is the great King of all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. He shall choose out an heritage for us, even the worship of Jacob, whom he loved. God is gone up with a merry noise, and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet. O sing praises, sing praises unto our God: O sing praises unto the Lord our King. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with the understanding. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon his holy seat. For God, which is highly exalted, doth defend the earth, as it were with a shield. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. from Psalm 47 (with Gloria)
Beauty now for ashes wear, Perfumes for the garb of woe, Chaplets for disheveled hair, Dances for sad footsteps slow; Open wide your hearts that they Let in joy this Easter Day. Build His church and deck His shrine, Empty though it be on earth; Ye have kept your choicest wine— Let it flow for heavenly mirth; Pluck the harp and breathe the horn: Know ye not 'tis Easter morn? Gather gladness from the skies; Take a lesson from the ground; Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes And a Spring-time joy have found; Earth throws Winter's robes away, Decks herself for Easter Day. Break the box and shed the nard; Stop not now to count the cost; Hither bring pearl, opal, sard; Reck not what is seen as lost; Upon Christ throw all away: Know ye, this is Easter Day. Seek God's house in happy throng; Crowded let His table be; Mingle praises, prayer, and song, Singing to the Trinity. Henceforth let your souls always Make each morn an Easter Day. Gerald Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)
This joyful Eastertide, away with sin and sorrow! My Love, the crucified, hath sprung to life this morrow. Had Christ, that once was slain, ne’er burst his three-day prison, Our faith had been in vain—but now is Christ arisen! My flesh in hope shall rest, and for a season slumber: Till trump from east to west shall wake the dead in number. Death’s flood hath lost its chill, since Jesus crossed the river: Lover of souls, from ill my passing soul deliver. George Ratcliffe Woodward (1848–1934)
Light’s glittering morn bedecks the sky; Heaven thunders forth its victor cry; The glad earth shouts her triumph high, And groaning hell makes wild reply, While he, the king, the mighty king Despoiling death of all its sting, And trampling down the powers of might, Brings forth his ransomed saints to light. That Eastertide with joy was bright, The sun shone out with fairer light, When to their longing eyes restored The apostles saw their risen Lord: He bade them see his hands, his side, Where yet the glorious wounds abide; These tokens true which made it plain Their Lord indeed was risen again. O Jesu, king of gentleness, Do thou thyself our hearts possess, That we may give thee all our days, The tribute of our grateful praise. O Lord of all with us abide, In this our joyful Eastertide, From every weapon death can wield, Thine own redeemed forever shield. The strife is o’er, the battle done, The victory of life is won, The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia. All praise be thine, O risen Lord, From death to endless life restored; All praise to God, the Father be, And Holy Ghost eternally. Alleluia. Amen. Fifth century Latin hymn, translated by John Mason Neale (1818–1866)
Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain, Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain; Love lives again, that with the dead has been: Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green. In the grave they laid him, Love whom men had slain, Thinking that never he would wake again, Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen: Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green. Forth he came at Easter, like the risen grain, He that for three days in the grave had lain; Quick from the dead my risen Lord is seen: Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green. When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain, Thy touch can call us back to life again, Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: Love is come again, like wheat that springeth green. J. M. C. Crum (1872–1958)
Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day Didst make thy triumph over death and sin, And having harrow’d hell, didst bring away Captivity thence captive, us to win. This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin, And grant that we may for whom thou diddest die, Being with thy dear blood clean wash’d from sin, May live for ever in felicity. And that thy love we weighing worthily, May likewise love thee for the same again; And for Thy sake, that all like dear didst buy, With love may one another entertain. So let us love, dear love, like as we ought; Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught. The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad; The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God. From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky, Our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory. Amen. Edmund Spenser, 1595 John of Damascus (675–749), translated from the Greek by John Mason Neale, 1862


This recording presents a selection of Eastertide anthems as they might be heard in the daily and Sunday services of the Memorial Church, Harvard University, during that glorious season. The Resurrection narrative—theatrical to the core—has long-inspired dramatic musical representation, and this recording offers a wide variety of Eastertide joy, from sixteenth-century England, through to a series of contemporary works commissioned by the Harvard University Choir. The recording also highlights C. B. Fisk Op. 139, The Charles B. Fisk and Peter J. Gomes Memorial Organ, which was dedicated on Easter Day, 2012.

We are pleased to offer this recording as a free download. To sign up for the Memorial Church mailing list, please visit our home page (memorialchurch.harvard.edu), where you can also make a donation to our music ministry.


released April 20, 2014

Harvard University Choir
Edward Elwyn Jones, director
Christian Lane, organ

Recorded January 22–24, 2014
The Memorial Church, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Soundmirror, Inc.
Producer: Blanton Alspaugh
Engineer: John Newton


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Harvard University Choir Cambridge, Massachusetts

For over 175 years the Harvard University Choir has provided a unique opportunity for student singers to perform choral literature at the highest level, both in concert and during the services of the Memorial Church. Its program of daily choral services, broadcasts, tours, commissions, and recordings make it one of the premier college chapel ensembles in the United States. ... more

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