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The LiederNet Archive
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From harmony, from heav'nly harmony

Language: English

From harmony, from heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high:
"Arise, ye more than dead."
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's pow'r obey.
From harmony, from heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Thro' all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.

What passion cannot Music raise and quell!
When Jubal struck the corded shell,
His list'ning brethren stood around,
And, wond'ring, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell!

The Trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger,
And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat
Of the thund'ring Drum
Cries: "Hark! the foes come;
Charge, charge, 't is too late to retreat."

The soft complaining Flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling Lute.

Sharp Violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains, and height of passion,
For the fair, disdainful dame.

But O! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach,
The sacred Organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heav'nly ways
To mend the choirs above.

Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees unrooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre;
But bright Cecilia rais'd the wonder high'r:
When to her Organ vocal breath was giv'n,
An angel heard, and straight appear'd,
Mistaking earth for heav'n.

As from the pow'r of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the blest above,
So, when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The Trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.

Translation(s): FRE GER

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About the headline (FAQ)

In Händel's setting, each stanza is a separate movement:

1.    Overture: Larghetto e staccato—allegro—minuet
2.    Recitative (tenor): "From harmony, from heavenly harmony"
3.    Chorus: "From harmony, from heavenly harmony"
4.    Aria (soprano): "What passion cannot music raise and quell!"
5.    Aria (tenor) and Chorus: "The trumpet's loud clangour"
6.    March
7.    Aria (soprano): "The soft complaining flute"
8.    Aria (tenor): "Sharp violins proclaim their jealous pangs"
9.    Aria (soprano): "But oh! What art can teach"
10.   Aria (soprano): "Orpheus could lead the savage race"
11.   Recitative (soprano): "But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher"
12.   Grand Chorus with (soprano): "As from the power of sacred lays"

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] and Dave Evan Thomas


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2006-06-12 00:00:00.
Last modified: 2018-12-21 16:55:53
Line count: 64
Word count: 351

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Ode auf St. Caecilia

Language: German (Deutsch) after the English

Durch Harmonie, durch Himmels Harmonie
entstand das ganze Weltgebäu.
Natur lag unter einer Last
uneiniger Atom,
ihr Haupt gesenkt hinab.
Die Silberstimm’ erklang von fern:
ersteh! Ersteh! Ersteh! du mehr als tot.
Und kalt, und warm, und feucht, und trocken nahm
jedes seinen eig’nen Platz,
gehorsam der Musik.
Durch Harmonie, durch Himmels Harmonie
entstand das ganze Weltgebäu.
Durch Harmonie, durch Himmels Harmonie entstand das ganze Weltgebäu.
Durch den Bezirk der Noten irrte sie, und die Oktave
schloß zuletzt der Mensch.

Leidenschaften stillt und weckt Musik.
Als Jubal einst die Saiten schlug, da stand und
lauschte der Brüder Schar,
und wundernd fiel sie
auf ’s Gesicht zu ehren diesen Himmelston.
O nur ein Gott, so dachten sie, wohnet drin in dem
Gewölb’ des Saiten spiels,
das tönt so süß, das tönt so schön.
Leidenschaften stillt und weckt Musik.

Trompete, dein Schmettern
erweckt uns zum Streit
mit hellerem Zorn laut
und tödlichem Lärm.
Der Trommel Doppelschlag rollt
wie Donner hohl,
schreit: horch! Der Feind kommt!
Greift an! Denn zur Flucht ist’s zu spät.

Der Flöte Klageton besetzt
in Trauernoten, die Qual
trostloser Liebe,
zu Grabe wispert sie, die sanfte Laute.

Scharf klingt der Geigenton
von Eifersucht und von Verzweiflung,
Wut und Rasen und Erbitt’rung tiefer
Qual und höchster Liebe
für die stolze Siegerin.

Doch o! Wer preiset ganz
und wer erhebt genung
der heil’gen Orgel Lob?
Sang, der Gottheits Liebe weckt.
Sang, des auf zum Himmel fleugt
und zum Engelchore stimmt.

Orpheus gewann ein wildes Volk 
und Baum entwurzelt folgten ihm,
sie zog der Ton seiner Leier.
Doch Du, Caecilia, tat’st der Wunder mehr,
wenn zu der Orgel Deine Stimm’er klang,
denn Seraphim erschienen schnell, im Wahn,
hier sei der Himmel.

Wie durch die Macht des heil’gen Sang’s,
der Sphären Tanz begann,
und Seligen des Schöpfers Preis
durch’s All des Welt ertönt.
So, wenn der letzte Schreckenstag zerstückte
Schöpfung dich verzehrt.
schallt die Posaune von der Höh’.
Was tot ist lebt, was lebet stirbt,
und Musik tönt die Welt zu Grab.

In Mozart's setting, a re-orchestration of the "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day" by Händel (HWV 76), each stanza is in a separate movement. The arrangement of voices is as follows:

Recitativo: "Durch Harmonie"
I. Recitativo accompagnato e Coro: "Natur lag unter einer Last"
II. Aria: "Leidenschaften stillt und weckt Musik."
III. Aria e Coro: "Trompete, dein Schmettern"
IV. Marcia
V. Aria: "Der Flöte Klageton besetzt"
VI. Aria: "Scharf klingt der Geigenton"
VII. Aria: "Doch o! Wer preiset ganz"
VIII. Aria: "Orpheus gewann ein wildes Volk und Baum"
IX. Recitativo accompagnato e Coro: "Doch Du, Caecilia, tat’st der Wunder mehr"

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]


Based on
  • a text in English by John Dryden (1631 - 1700), written 1687 ENG FRE
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Georg Friedrich Händel, David Evan Thomas. Go to the text.

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website: 2018-12-20 00:00:00.
Last modified: 2018-12-25 08:59:07
Line count: 63
Word count: 329