From the recording In Harmony

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4. THROUGH BROKEN CHURCH WINDOWS – words and music by J.C. Mueller, arr. Friesen/Ray/Larson

Eugene Friesen, cello; Rhonda Larson, flute; Tim Ray, piano.

Mueller’s original melodies seem to reflect an affection for traditional German folk tunes, and this one “Durch zerfallne Kirchenfenster,” is a good example. What’s striking about this popular Harmonist song is the seeming disconnect between the sunny melody and the dark images of the lyrics. Our arrangement speaks to the lyrics, setting the melody into a darker tone poem calling up broken glass, a graveyard, moonlight, and church bells.

Through broken church windows falls so deeply the moonlight:
Gruesomely promenade the specters over moldering bones.
Thudding bell tones resound from the high spire;
And the leaves of the shrubs seethe, whispering over the mossy grave.
(English translation by Emily Lapisardi)