From the recording In Harmony
1. IN HARMONY – music by Eugene Friesen (based on “Harmonie du Bruderstadt,” lyrics by Frederick Rapp, music by J.A. Hiller [1728-1804])
Eugene Friesen, cello and voice; Elizabeth Rogers, voice; Tim Ray, piano.
“Harmonie du Bruderstadt” is a kind of civic hymn: an original village anthem underscoring both Harmony’s religious underpinnings and the values of communal work and tolerance that founder George Rapp saw as vital to a peaceful and prosperous community. The German lyrics are based on Rapp’s text and penned by his adopted son, Frederick Rapp.
My take on this hymn was created in the Harmonist wine cellar in an all-night recording session in August of 2021. (Careful listening will reveal a cricket that sang with me all night.) Elizabeth and I sang snippets of Rapp’s German lyrics, I reharmonized the hymn and improvised on it while Tim Ray provided a beautiful piano part. The piece starts with a quote from the original hymn, and ends with a newly harmonized interpretation by three cellos.
Harmony thou brother state,
God be with you soon and late,
Foes affright thee never…
(English lyrics by J.S. Duss)