Sun of Righteousness
- For SATB chorus and organ; sacred text from hymns by Charles Wesley; commissioned for an English cathedral choir.
- Length: 5:30
- Difficulty rating (1-5): 3
Listen to a performance by the Choir of Rochester Cathedral (UK), Roger Sayer, organist/choirmaster.
- View a PDF score excerpt
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- Score: $1.50 (for reproduction rights; minimum purchase of 10 required; additional charge for hard copies)
Sun of Righteousness was commissioned by the First United Methodist Church of Rochester, NH, host church for the New England tour of the Choir of Rochester Cathedral, England. The piece was premiered by the Choir of Rochester Cathedral during that tour.
Roger Sayer, then organist and choirmaster at Rochester Cathedral, asked me to write a new setting of Charles Wesley's hymn text "Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies"; I decided to incorporate some solo work that featured Wesley's text "Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown” into the setting as well, because of the phrase these two texts share (which also suggested the title of the work). Though it was written with the traditional English choral timbre (boy sopranos, falsetto altos) in mind, it also works well for standard SATB choir, and has been performed successfully by church choirs.
Come, O thou Traveler unknown,
whom still I hold, but cannot see;
my company before is gone,
and I am left alone with thee.
With thee all night I mean to stay,
and wrestle till the break of day.
I need not tell Thee who I am,
my misery and sin declare;
thyself hast called me by my name,
look on thy hands, and read it there.
But who, I ask thee, who art thou?
Tell me thy name, and tell me now.
’Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me!
I hear thy whisper in my heart:
The morning breaks, the shadows flee.
Pure Universal Love thou art;
to me, to all, thy mercies move;
thy nature and thy name is Love.
The Sun of Righteousness on me
hath ris'n with healing in his wings,
withered my nature’s strength; from thee
my soul its life and succor brings;
my help is all laid up above;
thy nature and thy Name is Love.
—Charles Wesley, alt.
Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise!
Triumph o'er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.
Dark and cheerless is the morn
unaccompanied by thee;
joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see,
till they inward light impart,
glad my eyes, and warm my heart.
Visit then this soul of mine!
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief!
Fill me, radiancy divine;
scatter all my unbelief;
more and more Thyself display,
shining to the perfect day.
—Charles Wesley, alt.