Something to listen to while you read. Solo piano sheet music available at Sheet Music Plus.
Tune Names: Schonster Herr Jesu, Crusader’s Hymn, St. Elizabeth, Ascalon (Silesian Folk Tune)
Alternate Text: Beautiful Savior; God Beyond Glory, Gracious and Holy
Fun Fact: Franz Liszt borrowed this tune to use for the crusader’s march in his oratorio The Legend of St. Elizabeth thus earning the tune the additional names Crusader’s Hymn and St. Elizabeth.
Although this hymn has more than its share of tune names already, it could aptly be titled Chameleon Hymn thanks to its versatility and worldwide appeal.
Originally a Silesian folk song, the tune was first published with the German text Schonster Herr Jesu and then translated into English appearing as Fairest Lord Jesus in 1850 and Beautiful Savior in 1873. Today, Fairest Lord Jesus is the most widely published English text used for this tune.
The hymn is appropriate for Christmas, Easter, or any time in between, and can take on a sweet, gentle nature or a stately, magnificent one depending on the instrumentation and style of the arrangement. Found in hymn books from Australia to Brazil, Hawaii to Switzerland, it’s published with a variety of texts and in many different languages including Welsh, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Swahili, Hawaiian, and Esperanto.
This enduring, all-purpose “chameleon hymn” is one church musicians can use in nearly any place or for any occasion.