Composers: Henry van Dyke, Beethoven
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee is actually a poem that Henry van Dyke wrote while in Williams College, Massachusetts in 1907. He intended it to match the music of Beethoven's final movement of his Ninth Symphony. In van Dyke's own words:
"These verses are simple expressions of
common Christian feelings and desires
in this present time—
hymns of today that may be sung together
by people who know the thought of the age,
and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion,
or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope."
One of my all-time favorite movies is Sister Act 2, and I especially love their take on Joyful Joyful. If you want a pop-gospel spin on this, rather than the hymn-classical version, it's fabulous! I've included that style in the iTunes list below.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!
All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing [sometimes "Chanting"] bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.
Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.