Hymns by Dr. Bradley Lehman (b. 1964),
composed 1984-2017

  • Introduction
  • List
  • Notes


    Most of my hymn tunes are in four-part texture, designed to be readily singable either a cappella or with accompaniment. I have designed them to present their texts dynamically, expressively, and as dramatically as possible, while remaining easily usable for typical congregational singing. They are also effective as choir anthems and for special events.

    My philosophy of congregational singing: There should be some level in the song at which every worshiper can experience God by participating. The more levels of meaning there are at once, from the immediate to the subtle, the richer the song is for single and repeated use. The four melodic parts must have foremost integrity as interesting, expressive individual lines, enriching and intensifying the meaning of the text (and not merely "sounding pretty").

    My hymns are easiest to learn if the singers simply read their individual lines, instead of trying to do intuitive "harmonizing" against the soprano. That is, the individual parts are designed to be easily singable and expressive melodies in themselves, and somewhat independent. Harmony, in my view, is much more a function of distinct simultaneous expressions (a dynamic texture of tensions and resolutions, as the individual parts play off one another) than a series of stereotypical chords. Dissonance and consonance must be used in a deliberate balance, always as a natural and direct expression of the text.

    The general style of this hymn music can perhaps be described best by the words intense and thoughtful. My melodic and rhythmic habits tend to be a composite musical language of Bach, Mendelssohn, Grieg, Sibelius, Jerome Kern, and Richard Rodgers....

    MIDI sequenced performances from c1996 are available for some of the hymns. To play those, click on the tune name.

    NEW IN SEPTEMBER 2017: I have made a harpsichord solo recording of 63 of these hymns (i.e., everything shown in the list below, except for "COF"). This free demo recording is intended as a simple set of sing-along accompaniments, and to help anyone learn the voice parts. It is easier to hear the counterpoint on the harpsichord than on piano or organ.

    These recordings suggest an appropriate tempo and character. I played two to four stanzas of each hymn. These 63 hymns can be burned onto a CD (77 minutes) from WAV files, or studied from MP3 files (320K resolution).

    The scores are available as a set of PDF files, by request. The set includes everything except the six hymns that are published in Hymnal: A Worship Book.

    Here is a example of my text-writing craftsmanship: Come, let us celebrate today.

    See also my review of The Harmonia Sacra, 25th ed. for further ideas about linear congregational singing and hymn composition. I explored some of those ideas further in a seminar presentation January 1, 2002: part of the 100th anniversary Harmonia Sacra sing at Weavers Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg VA.

    My views about nurturing a healthy mixture of a cappella and accompanied singing are here.

    List of hymn tunes:

    TUNE NAME meter text - poet

    (Other text+tune combinations are possible, per the meter. Please suggest some!)

    A CHRISTMAS PRAYER C.M.D. O God of justice, truth, and love - Wesley L. Forbis

    ABUNDANCE II C.M.D. Thy causeless unexhausted love - Charles Wesley

    ACTON BELL'S DESPONDENCY C.M.D. I have gone backward in my heart - Anne Bronte See text

    BRIDGE Love makes a bridge - Brian Wren

    CMC25 God, whose faithful guidance brought us here - Peter C Blum

    COF irregular Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective - committee, 1995 (a setting of the "Unison Reading A" in that publication)
    This hymn has its own web page.

    DAILY PEACE S.M.D. Our earth needs rest and peace - Bradley Lehman and Wilmer D Swope

    DEVOTED 8 8. 8 8. 8 8. O God, what offering shall I give - Joachim Lange, tr. John Wesley

    DOL Throned upon the awful tree - John Ellerton;
    also Holy Jesus, lovely lamb - author unknown

    EARTH 7 6. 7 6. with refrain All things bright and beautiful - Cecil F Alexander

    ELGAR C.M.D. O God! if this indeed be all - Anne Bronte See text

    ELOQUENCE 8. 8. 8. 8. 8. 8. Prayer is the language of the heart - Charles Wesley

    EUNICE MAY C.M. O for a heart to praise my God - Charles Wesley

    EVEN L.M. At even, when the sun was set - Henry Twells

    FIRSTFRUITS 8 4. 8 4. 8 8 8. 4. For the fruit of all creation - Fred Pratt Green

    FIRSTHAND 7 6. 7 6. D. Where restless crowds are thronging - Thomas C Clark

    FLORENCE 6.6. How good to thank our God - Brian Wren

    FREI ABER EINSAM 8. 7. 6. 8. 8. 6. Lord, if thou know'st it good for me - Charles Wesley

    GLORIA DEO irregular Glory be to God (inclusive-language Gloria Patri) - Bradley Lehman

    GLOWING PRIMROSE C.M.D. Your hand, O Lord, in days of old - Edward H Plumptre

    GOD OF BETHEL C.M. O God of Jacob, by whose hand - Philip Doddridge

    GRACEFUL Come, let us celebrate today - Bradley Lehman (wedding/anniversary hymn based on 1 Corinthians 13) words/music

    GUIDEBOOK C.M. O hear and speak the scripture truth - Wilmer D Swope and Bradley Lehman

    HAIL 7 6. 7 6. D. Hail to the Lord's anointed - James Montgomery

    HEALING HEM L.M. with refrain By Peter's house - Anne Metzler Albright

    JOYOUS DAISY 7 6. 7 6. D. How lovely is your dwelling - from Psalter (Psalm 84)

    KALANCHOE 7 6. 7 6. D. Sometimes a light surprises - William Cowper

    KINDLE L.M.D. O thou who camest from above - Charles Wesley

    LAMB 6 6 4. 6 6 6 4. Shepherd of tender youth - Clement of Alexandria, tr. Henry Martyn Dexter

    LAZARUS C.M. At Bethany, where Christ had friends - Wilmer D Swope and Bradley Lehman

    LILY L.M. Eternal beam of light divine - Charles Wesley

    MEEKNESS 8.8. 8.6. What meekness and what majesty - Terry W. York

    MKO's 50TH 8 6. 8 6. 7 5 9. Sing to the Lord with vibrant voice - Janeen Bertsche Johnson (written for celebration of Mary Oyer's 50th year of teaching, 1998) It includes a descant, and is a good choral anthem.

    MOUNTAIN PEAK 7 8. 7 8. with alleluias Christ upon the mountain peak - Brian Wren

    OFFERING L.M. Pour down thy spirit from above - William Romanis
    also We bring our gifts - Rae E Whitney

    ORCHIDS 5 4. 5 5. 7. We are your people - Brian Wren

    OYER 7 7. 7 7. Prince of peace, control my will - Mary Ann Serrett Barber

    PASSAMEZZO COURTSHIP C.M.D. All good, all wise, almighty Lord - Charles Wesley

    PASSAMEZZO GHOST 8.7. 8.7. D. Son of God, eternal savior - Somerset Corry Lowry (composed for Community Mennonite Church, Lenten series 2016)

    PLANET 8.7. 8.7. As we live upon this planet - Bradley Lehman (the third phrase of each stanza quotes the title of another well-known hymn)

    PRAYER C.M. Prayer is the soul's sincere desire - James Montgomery

    PROMISE 7 6. 7 6. D. O Jesus, I have promised - John E Bode

    QUIETUDE Daily we come, dear master - Fred Pratt Green

    RAW PASSION O that I could cast all my load - Charles Wesley

    SINCERITY Try me, O Lord, and search my heart - Charles Wesley

    STANDING AGAPE 8.8.6. 8.8.6. O love divine, how sweet thou art - Charles Wesley

    STORM 7 7. 7 7. 7 7. Holy Spirit, storm of love - Brian Wren

    SYMPATHY 6 6. 6 6. 8 8. Thou God of truth and love - Charles Wesley

    THE ONE 8.7. 8.7. Praise the one whose love conceived us - Kenneth Gibble

    TOUCH C.M. Heal us, Immanuel, hear our prayer - William Cowper

    TRANSCENDENCE 11 10. 12 10. Born of beginnings - Larry Warkentin

    TRINITY 7 7. 7 7. 6. Glorious mystery of God - Anne Metzler Albright

    TRUEST SINGING I sing to you from summers of my heart - Jean Janzen (the poem goes through all four seasons of the year)

    TRUST 6 6. 6 6. 10. Another year has gone - Rae E Whitney

    TURN 8 7. 8 7. Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow - William John Sparrow Simpson;
    also Lord, thy mercy now entreating - Mary Ann Sidebotham;
    also All who love and serve the city - Erik Routley

    UNLESS Gentle Jesus, meek and mild - Charles Wesley

    VENI C.M. Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire - Charles Wesley

    VIRTUE'S REWARD Christ, my life, my only treasure - Charles Wesley

    WATERFORD 50 7.6. 7.6. 9.6.6. We gather here to honor a people and a place - Gloria Rhodes (commissioned by Waterford Mennonite Church for the 50th anniversary of the congregation)

    WATERFORD C.M. O God of truth, whose living word - Thomas Hughes

    WATTS' 23RD C.M.D. My shepherd will supply my need - Isaac Watts

    WHISPER 7 6. 7 6. 7 7. 7 6. Open, Lord, my inward ear - Charles Wesley

    WILLST DU DEIN HERZ MIR SCHENCKEN 7 6. 7 6. D. O day of rest and gladness - Christopher Wordsworth (This tune is arranged from a melody in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach)

    WINGS L.M. O God, thou art my God alone - James Montgomery

    Others in progress, not yet set to presentable score:
    • 8 7. 8 7. 8 7., 3/4, F major, 9/17/2017: a more joyful tune to go with "Praise with joy the world's Creator" (Iona Community), at #16 in Sing the Journey
    • LM, 3/4, F major, 9/17/2017: possibly to match with "O God, your constant care and love" (H Glen Lanier), at #481 in Hymnal: A Worship Book


    Click to supersize this! FIRSTFRUITS, STORM, WHISPER, MOUNTAIN PEAK, HEALING HEM, and OYER are published in Hymnal: A Worship Book, 1992, the current hymnal of the Mennonite and Brethren churches. All six are recorded in the three-cassette set associated with that hymnal. I have also compiled a complete concordance to the texts of that hymnal, now available for purchase.

    "Our earth needs rest and peace" (text only) is published in The Hymn, April 1993.

    MOUNTAIN PEAK has been transposed to C and republished as #209 in The Covenant Hymnal: A Worshipbook (Evangelical Covenant Church), 1996.

    HEALING HEM has been published in a choral arrangement by Philip Orr of Orrganized Sound. This arrangement has also been recorded for publication by the Presbyterian Church USA.

    MKO's 50TH is published in Canadian Mennonite, April 11 1998.

    WHISPER is recorded in a two-piano arrangement by Marilyn Houser Hamm, on the CD/cassette Hymnal Masterworks: Solo Piano (Faith & Life Press, Newton KS, 1994).

    WHISPER and OYER are recorded by a choir from Eastern Mennonite University, on the companion cassette to the book Praying with the Anabaptists by Marlene Kropf & Eddy Hall (Faith & Life Press, Newton KS, 1994).

    FIRSTFRUITS was featured in a summer 1995 workshop presentation by the Hymn Society in the US and Canada. It was republished 1996 in a collection from Brethren Press.

    Most of these hymns have been featured as anthems and introits by the choir of University Reformed Church, Ann Arbor MI, and elsewhere. Many of the unpublished hymns have also been sung congregationally in hymnsings and worship services led by the composer, in Washington DC, Philadelphia PA, Elkhart IN, Ann Arbor MI, Waterloo ON, Champaign IL, and Harrisonburg VA.

    For further information about any of these hymns, for permission to use or publish them, or to suggest texts I might set in future work, please contact me:

    Dr Bradley Lehman
    address available by request

    Most of these hymns are deposited to The Hymn Society in the US and Canada, P.O. Box 30854, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76129.

    See also my resume...

    Bradley P Lehman / bpl@umich.edu

    hits since March 8, 1996