Nun Komm Krumhorns
The offering for day 3 of our Musical Advent Calendar is almost certainly something a little outside of your typical experience. The tune you’re
hearing is called “Nun komm der Heiden Heiland” – “Savior of the Nations, Come” in English, found in our hymnal at UMH#214. It is a traditional Advent hymn with a very extensive history. In the form you’re hearing it, the melody dates to the 1520s, with words penned by Martin Luther himself. However, Brother Martin adapted the text and tune from an earlier chant called “Veni redemptor omnium”, which has roots that go back to St. Ambrose of Milan, who lived in the 4th century.
Thanks to the help of my co-collaborators – Sarah, Linda, and Matt Boice – we are playing the tune in format and style that would have been entirely at home in Luther’s time. The instruments we are playing are called krumhorns, and were widely used in the Renaissance period as a sort of ancestor to the oboe (more like a great-uncle to the oboe, but I’ll spare you the details!). I hope you enjoy our rendition of this hymn, which has been sung for centuries by Christians expectantly waiting the return of the Lord.
“Savior of the nations, come,
virgin’s Son, make here thy home!
Marvel now, O heav’n and earth,
that the Lord chose such a birth.”
Mitchell Stecker, Music Director